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A Beginner’s Guide To Online Selling

Many people join affiliate marketing programs with the dreams of making a fortune but then are left wondering what to do because the sales just aren’t arriving as they had thought. It’s easy to add a banner to your website, but what do you have to do to make that first sale? A lot of people don’t realize that affiliate marketing can take time and work. Remember, you’re not buying a lottery ticket hoping to win a golden jackpot.

We encounter many people with these ambitions, however they are left shaking their head in confusion – they’ve tried everything, but are still unable to generate any sales. With a little bit of patience and a better understanding, the goal of this guide is to help you move in the right direction by earning that first sale then building up to greater achievements. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you work to earn your hard-earned dollars.

What Goals Are You Trying to Achieve?
First thing to ask yourself is what is it that you are trying to achieve? Of course the main goal is to make money. But is your goal set too high (and most likely impossible)? Are you thinking “I want to make a quick million dollars” or maybe you are thinking “As I start I’m just looking to make enough for gas money.” It’s always good to keep a realistic vision– one that won’t disappoint you if your goal is not met at the end of your timeline, or won’t frustrate you forcing you to give up way too soon. Although it would be nice to make a quick payday, most successful affiliate marketers will tell you it takes time and patience to understand this craft.

The best thing to do is to set believable goals and build them up over time as you conquer each one. You wouldn’t expect to join the NASCAR circuit right after getting your driver’s permit, you would work up to that goal after a series of achievements over time.

What Do You Want To Sell?
What is it that you plan on selling? Think about how you would answer this question. “Well, X10 products” you might be thinking. Now think about this, what do you know about X10 products?” If you’re not able to answer this question, then you have some homework to do.

It’s always good to have an understanding of the products you are looking to sell. This will help in your ability to describe to your potential customers about the products, their advantages, and other selling points. Your goal is to sell the concept of a product or service, but if you don’t know much about what you are selling, then your job as a marketer becomes a lot more difficult.

As an X10 affiliate, you have resources at your fingertips. Take a look at the X10 Knowledgebase at http://kbase.x10.com or X10 Community at http://www.x10community.com to learn about the products and to find ideas as to how they can be used. You can even get in touch with the X10 Affiliates Desk via email at Affiliates@x10.com as they are more than willing to assist and can provide additional resources.

How Do You Plan On Selling?
There are a lot of methods that affiliates can use to generate their sales. Traditionally, most affiliates use a personal website to advertise their products and direct the customers to the company’s online store. Others offer a drop ship service by setting up their own stores or by using a third party website such as eBay or Craig’s List.

If your intent is to advertise through your own website, be sure to set up your site to conform to the standards of the top search engines. This helps to ensure better placement from a search, increasing the chance of attracting more visitors. After all, more visitors mean a higher potential for sales. If you need advice on optimizing your website, review our past article entitled IMPROVING YOUR SITE’S PERFORMANCE, posted at the X10 Community Affiliates blog at http://www.x10community.com/michaelm/2008/01/improving_your_sites_performan.html which goes over ways to improve your rankings on the Google search engine.

If you would like to use a third party website such as eBay to sell, be sure to create listings that will grab people’s attention. Use colors that are vibrant and pictures that are clear. But most importantly write descriptive copy that is easy to read, full of information, and explains the benefits of the product.

Is Your Website Up To Par?
Let’s face it; people are always proud of their abilities. This also includes their first time designing websites. As much as you may be proud of your new site, keep in mind that your viewer’s are more impartial and critical of your work. If this was someone else’s site, how would you critique it? Ask yourself if this is a website you would buy from and why? Is the site disorganized? Does it make sense? Or does it not look reliable enough to make a purchase from? Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and unfortunately most people (especially online buyers) are sharper critics of other people’s work and if the site is not up to par, will quickly move on to the next one. You may think you have a masterpiece on your hand, but in reality, is it really just a mess? Continue to develop your site so that it reaches its fullest potential.

How Do You Plan On Marketing?
The nice thing about X10 products are that they sell themselves. Generally there are two types of buyers when it comes to X10 products.

NEED – The first group of buyers purchase because of a need. These products tend to be security related, such as security systems, wireless cameras, and personal assistance devices. Buyers with a need are looking for preventative measures to avoid a negative experience that may have occurred in the past or are finding ways to prevent from ever happening at all. The best way to reach out to customers of need is to design your website with a serious tone explaining how the products can help. Be a consultant, and sell the benefits of the product.

WANT – The next group of buyers purchase out of want, where there’s not really a need, more a desire to have them. These products tend to be home automation products, wireless cameras can also be classified here depending on the buyer, along with video senders and other “fun” devices. Customers with a want should be marketed with a “fun” approach, shown ways that the products can benefit their lifestyle or simplify their daily lives.

Depending on the types of products you are looking to advertise, determine a marketing strategy that works, and continue to build upon it.

How Do You Plan On Advertising?
“So if I set up a website, web surfers just find it and flock to it?” is a question we deal with on a multiple basis by many people new to Internet selling. Our reply is one that is meant to make the affiliate think about the answer: “So if you sign up for a cell phone service, do people automatically know your phone number? The answer is no. You have to tell them about it otherwise they won’t know how to call you”

Of course what we are getting at is advertising. Unfortunately, if you don’t advertise or broadcast your site, then your website will not be found. Just setting up a site doesn’t guarantee that people will find it. You have to reach out to your customers to let them know about it.

Some means of advertising require a budget, such as keyword bidding on search engines, or radios or television commercials, however there are ways of providing exposure to your page that are relatively inexpensive, or better yet free!

One such method is a link share with another site. A link share is where you advertise someone else’s site by adding a link, and they reciprocate by advertising yours.

Another way is becoming a member of online communities or forums and directing readers from those sites to your own. Be careful when doing this though! As this may violate the rules of conduct on some sites, which considers this spamming. Make sure you understand the rules before you start advertising your page.

Lastly, as mentioned earlier in this section under How Do You Plan On Selling?, set up your website to be properly crawled by a search engine, that way your website will show up during an organic search query.

For those of you with a more flexible budget, the strongest form for generating sales is pay-per-click advertising on the most used Internet search engines. Search engines draw millions of search queries everyday of people looking for specific things. If you have the ability to advertise this way, you stand a better chance of attracting the right customers to your website.

How Do You Plan On Retaining Your Customers?
There’s a saying in business that repeat customers are the backbone of every business. If you are loyal to your customers, they in return will be loyal to you. Not only will they purchase repeatedly, they will also advertise your site via word of mouth to their friends, colleagues, and family. This helps to build a stronger business base and a stronger reputation for your site.

So what are some techniques for capitalizing on this? Give your viewers the option to Bookmark your site. This allows them to save the address of your site so they can re-visit at a later time. This also can help in saving on your advertising budget if you use this method, for your customers will not have to re-trace their steps by re-clicking on your ads to relocate your site.

Next, provide a feature allowing your customers to Tell A Friend. This is a link that allows your customers to automatically email whoever they choose to inform about your website, after all, word of mouth is a positive form of advertisement!

Have customers post their experience on a rating site such as resellerratings.com. If they had a positive experience, why not have them share it with others? This promotes your website in a positive light and helps build credibility about your page.

As you can see, there is quite a lot to think about when it comes to selling online. If there is anything that can not be over stressed is to be realistic with your goals and to be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight, however with hard work and determination the sky is certainly the limit.

Earning your first sale is definitely an exciting thing, however, the excitement only grows larger as you continue to develop your technique and surpass each of your goals one step at a time.


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