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Affiliate program directories are very useful for people just starting out in the industry. If you've got a lot of experience and knowledge about affiliate programs, it is a great idea to consider building your own affiliate program directory.
Initially, build the directory with free links. You could ask for a link back to your directory as well--but don't require it. Once your affiliate program directory is up and has generating traffic to the listed sites, you might consider charging for listings.
There are many different affiliate program directories available on the web. If you choose to use one, be sure that you choose a legitimate one. Many of them may prove to be unreliable.
One of the best ways to find a reliable directory is to ask someone who knows. If you know someone already in the affiliate business, ask them for a reputable affiliate directory recommendation. If you don't know anyone, join a couple of online discussion groups and ask around. When you find a discussion group that seems to be full of friendly and knowledgeable affiliate-related individuals, ask the group to recommend an affiliate marketing directory that covers your area of interest.
*Be careful of who you recommend on your affiliate site because if the services and/or products they offer aren't satisfactory to consumers, you'll look bad as well.
Once you've found an affiliate program directory that is well organized and current, search through the listings for related affiliate programs. Check out each of the web sites and make sure they are well designed, have good navigation, and seem to inspire a level of trust. If you do not know the company and have never heard of them, make a purchase from them and see how well the order is fulfilled and verify the quality of the product (you will be recommending them when you launch an affiliate program). You'll lose credibility with your site visitors if they have a bad experience with a merchant you recommended.
Affiliate guides are for sale all over the web. If you know someone in the business, ask them for a recommendation before spending money on one. Look for testimonials from customers, then visit their web sites and see if you like what they offer. If the web sites don't impress you, think twice before buying any affiliate guides they recommend.
You can also go about getting recommendations by finding affiliate web sites that seem to be successful and then writing to the owners. Asking the owners how they got started and inquiring about any useful books or guides they reccomend can help you gain valuable insight and guidance from someone who knows. You may be surprised about how many people are happy to offer advice.
Cleaning out your database of email contacts is important when you offer an affiliate program directory. If your list of contacts is outdated, your trustworthiness in general can be called into question by your visitors. Cleaning up your contacts source can also help you steer clear of the "spammer" label when you send out your newsletter (ISPs can view someone who sends to too many dead addresses as a potential spammer). Check your mailing statistics and clean out all the hard bounces from your list.
If it's worthwhile for your business and you have physical addresses on file, consider sending a postcard to people whose email has bounced. Tell them you've recently had problems with their email address of record and ask for an updated address if they're still interested in subscribing to your list.
*Figure out how an affiliate program directory is set up in order to achieve optimal usage potential.
Affiliate program directories are organized in many different ways. Typically, an affiliate program directory will list affiliate businesses by category so that you can find a program related to your web site. You might also find an affiliate marketing directory that lists new programs, most popular programs, highly ranked programs, and the like. Some affiliate program directories also rank affiliate programs by type (lead, click, sale) or payout.
Affiliate program directories are listings of sites that offer affiliate fees for selling their products. Many small sites offer affiliate commissions and run their own affiliate programs. Search for affiliate programs that are related to your niche market (be it cooking, books, or camping).
No matter what area you want to start an affiliate business in, you can find an affiliate directory of related businesses. Look for affiliate-oriented online forums as well. Tell them the topic of your web site business, explain a bit about your background and why you're interested in this, and then ask for recommendations. Most people are happy to plug their favorites.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|