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15 Reasons to Become An Affiliate Marketer

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By Rosalind Gardner

Wednesday, November 10, 2004; 6:00pm EST

There are HUGE benefits to promoting affiliate programs with your own home-based Internet business, and I've come up with a list of 15 great reasons to become an affiliate marketer.

Let's look at each reason separately:

1. No Production Costs - The cost to develop and produce a new product is prohibitive for almost anyone who wants to start a home-based business. With affiliate programs, production costs aren't an issue. The product has been developed and proven - all on the merchant's nickel.

2. Low Cost Set-up - Compared with building a brick and mortar store, starting a home-based Internet business is relatively cheap. You probably already have a desk, Internet-connected computer and word-processing software, which is all the equipment you may need.

3. No Fees for Joining or Licenses to Buy - I often compare doing business as an affiliate, with distributing a line of products in the real world. The biggest difference is that the distributor must often pay for a license to distribute products within a limited geographic region. Affiliate programs, on the other hand, are usually free to join, and geographic market reach is limited only by the affiliate's ability to promote his web site.

4. Choose From Thousands of Products and Services - What isn't sold online? That list must be shorter than the one describing all that IS sold online. There are thousands and thousands of affiliate programs selling every product under the sun. That makes it easy to find products related to your current or planned web site.

5. No Sales Experience Needed - When I started my affiliate business, I had absolutely no sales experience. That wasn't a problem, however. The companies I affiliated with provided excellent marketing material. Using their sales copy, I was able to get my first affiliate site up in less

than a day.

6. No Employees - The largest expense of most businesses is employee salaries. Although there might be times when you need or want someone to work for you as an affiliate, it's doubtful you'll ever have to worry about hiring full or part-time employees. When you have a project you want to hire out, it is easy to find specialists in every computer-related field who can work for you from the comfort of THEIR own homes. You pay only for the project, and never have to worry about ongoing employee-related benefits and deductions.

7. No Expensive Merchant Accounts Needed - Setting up a merchant account for any business is a time-consuming and costly business. It's even more tedious for Internet businesses. However, merchant accounts aren't a concern when you're an affiliate. The merchant bears that cost and handles all processing of payments. You never have to lose sleep over potential charge backs, fraud or losing your merchant account when you're an affiliate.

8. No Inventory to Carry - Even if you live in a small one-bedroom apartment, as an affiliate you can sell large items without storage concerns.

9. No Order-Processing - Forget the problems associated with collecting and storing names, addresses, credit card numbers, etc. The merchant does all that!

10. No Product Shipping - The cost and hassle to prepare and ship products to customers worldwide could be staggering. Affiliates never have to worry about packaging supplies or postal rates.

11. No Customer Service Concerns - Do you hate the prospect of dealing with nasty people or customer complaints? Don't worry about it! The merchant handles the snivelers.

12. Make Money While You Sleep - What other business allows you as a sole proprietor to keep your doors open and keep making money even when you take breaks or after you go home for the night?

13. The World at Your Doorstep - The Internet is the world's largest marketplace. You can drive more visitors to your online store in a day, than many small-town merchants sees in his or her brick and mortar business in a year.

14. Minimal Risk - The product you chose isn't making money? Dump it. Take down your links and promote another! It's that easy. There are no long-term contracts binding you to products that don't sell.

15. High Income Potential - If you have a job, your salary or hourly wage is probably pre-determined. Maybe there's not much, other than working overtime, that you can do to increase your income. With your own affiliate business on the Internet your income potential is limited only by your desire, effort and imagination.

There you have them - all the good reasons to start your own online affiliate marketing business. Start today and benefit from this incredibly simple, cost-effective business opportunity known as affiliate marketing. The time is right, and the time is now.

Article excerpted from Rosalind Gardner's "Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 Last Year Selling Other People's Products Online". Rosalind is the 'Net's most recognized expert on successful online selling as an affiliate marketer. Visit her site at: www. myinfobiz. net/affbprint

About the Author

Rosalind Gardner is the 'Net's most recognized expert on

successful online selling as an affiliate marketer.

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Need Holiday Help? Hire Your Children!

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Need an extra hand during the holiday rush? Consider hiring your kids. Children and teenagers can handle many basic tasks, from sweeping floors to taking customers’ orders. It’s often a win-win: You get inexpensive help and a tax deduction, and your kids start learning first-hand about the value of work. Just be sure to follow the legal rules for employing workers younger than 18 years old.

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Frank Menard on Real Estate: -After Every Crash There Is a Boom-

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Some people look at the housing market and think the sky is falling. But real estate agents Frank and Carol Menard see opportunity in uncertain times. Or, as the duo tell us, “After every crash there is a boom!” The industry veterans recently opened their own business, the Frank Menard Realty Group, in New Hampshire. Frank (pictured) took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about launching and operating a small realty group.

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5 Curiously Instructive Games for Small-Business Owners

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That old adage about too much work and too little play making some guy named Jack a less-than-scintillating character rings true to a point. But, as Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining demonstrates, it’s possible to go overboard. For example, researchers currently are keen on bringing elements of game-design theory to the workplace [PDF] in order to engage employees and increase productivity, particularly when it comes to group projects.

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Restaurateur Goes All Out for Halloween and More

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Halloween is a howl for Barbara Beltaire. Throughout the month of October, patrons of Barbarella, her popular restaurant and bar in La Jolla, Calif., are met by a choir of mummies on the sidewalk, a rubber corpse in the window, and a mechanical werewolf at the front door - and that’s before they venture inside.

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3 Ways to Give Employees Year-End Bonuses

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Given the current economic climate, small-business owners may hesitate to award year-end bonuses. However, financial uncertainty should give them even more reason than ever to make the effort, says Art Jacoby, a business-growth adviser at JACOBY.

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Five Keys to Productive Meetings

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“If they can-t start a meeting without you, well, that-s a meeting worth going to, isn-t it?” So says Buddy Ackerman, the cutthroat studio executive played by Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks.

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Selling Your Ad Space Like Crazy

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By Larry Dotson

Tuesday, July 6, 2004; 3:30pm EST

1. Give your customers a discount when they spend over a certain dollar amount for ad space. You can also apply this tip to the amount of ads they buy.

2. Offer your customers a free bonus for renewing their ad order. It could be an ebook, special report, online utility, etc.

3. Sell advertising space between your content. You just break an article in half and insert the banner or classified ad between it.

4. Write content that's tailor made to mention and relate to the product your customers are advertising. This is more work but, you'll sell a lot of ads.

5. Tell your customers when they buy an ad you'll also add it to your free ebook and message board for free.

6. Offer to endorse the product your customers are advertising before or after their ad. In all honesty, you would have try out the product first.

7. Write a review for your customer's product to place under their ad. This is similar to a testimonial or endorsement but more in-depth.

8. Offer a buy 2 ads and get 1 free deal. With the slow economy and advertising sales, most businesses are bound to be looking for a good ad deal.

9. Give your customers a ton of free bonuses when they buy ad space. It can be submission software, an ebook full of advertising or copywriting tips, etc.

10. Guarantee your customer's advertising results. If they don't like the traffic they receive, give them a refund or another ad for free.

About Source of Article

? 2002 by Larry Dotson *FREE* eBook! "Hypnotic Sales Letters: 92 Hypnotic Sales Letter Templates!" Just add your product info and...BAM! You've just written a hypnotic sales letter in a few minutes! Visit my site to download it: http://www. ldpublishing. com/.

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3 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates

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By Nick Usborne

Thursday, January 20, 2005; 2:00pm EST

In a previous article I talked about a few similarities between writing direct mail packages and writing web sites. In short, I concluded that as online writers we could learn a lot from direct marketers.

In this article I?m going to take a look at just one of those similarities: both direct mail packages and web sites lose almost all of their readers before the ?task? is completed. Both media struggle with conversion rates that typically hover around the 2% rate.

Most of us throw out or recycle direct mail pieces almost every day. And most of us know how many of our site visitors leave before buying, signing up, registering or completing some other task.

Now for the difference. Direct mail copywriters work extremely hard to minimize the number of readers they lose, at every stage.

How hard do you work to keep and convert your readers?

Here are three tips taken from the world of direct marketing:

Make a promise

First, your homepage should make it very clear what you do. As in the statement, ?We sell printer cartridges?.

But also make a promise. As in, ?You?ll never run out of printer cartridges again?.

The statement is about you. And it?s useful in letting people know they are in the ?right place?.

The promise is about them. And there is a real benefit stated there. This may be copywriting 101, to lead with a benefit, but it?s surprising how many sites don?t follow this simple and proven principle.

Make an offer

This is standard in just about every direct mail package. This isn?t the same as a promise. An offer is when you give someone something extra, at no cost to the buyer. Maybe it?s a free calculator. Or a better price if you subscribe for longer. Or 30 days free. Even a free serving of garlic bread with your pizza.

Try to do the same with your web site. With a free report. Free shipping. A free download. A free consultation. A free gift. Or free gift wrapping.

Guarantee it

Direct marketers know that buyers are often nervous about buying over the phone or by mailing an envelope. So they wrap everything up in a guarantee. Be delighted or get your money back.

Online we also know that many people feel nervous about parting with their money over the Internet, particularly if it is the first time they have bought something at our site. But where are our guarantees? Too often they are found in the small print somewhere, qualified with all sorts of legal nonsense.

If you want to make your prospects and buyers feel secure, make the guarantee bold. Say it loud. Have it jump out at people. Let them know that they are protected if they choose to buy.

These are just three of the ways direct marketers try to increase conversion rates. They keep people reading with a strong promise, an attractive offer and a cast-iron guarantee.

Do you?

About the Author

Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author and speaker. You can access all his newsletter articles on writing for the web at his www. ExcessVoice. com site. You'll find more articles and resources on how to make money as a freelance writer at www. FreelanceWritingSuccess. com.

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Jami Curl on Saint Cupcake Bakery’s Sweet, Sweet Success

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When Jami Curl opened Saint Cupcake, her hip bakery in Portland, Ore., in 2005, she didn’t plan to specialize in cupcakes. The shop originally offered cinnamon rolls, pies, brownies, and more. However, after several local publications touted the bakery’s cupcakes, Curl’s staff could barely keep up with demand. They quit making other pastries to focus solely on cupcakes, which quickly became the bakery’s sweet spot. Saint Cupcake now sells up to 1,500 cupcakes daily and fills large orders for birthdays, weddings, celebrity gifts, and corporate functions.

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-The Lean Startup- Rewrites the Entrepreneur Playbook

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When one of Facebook’s founders endorses a new how-to book on entrepreneurial methodology — because it helps “answer the tough questions about business” — entrepreneurs listen. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries, currently ranks fourth on The New York Times Best Sellers list. His insightful exploration of why startups fail will likely rewrite the playbook for entrepreneurial ventures for years to come.

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In the Trenches: Dealing with an Unhappy Client

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We all know it-s impossible to please every single person, but in a customer service business it-s important to make that the goal. Still, some people will be unhappy, and we had to work through that with a customer recently. A good dose of apology combined with a refund seemed to do the trick. I also decided it was important to offer a future credit to get him to try us again.

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In the Trenches: The Stress of Exhibiting at a Conference

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Editor-s Note: This week we are proud to present the first of an ongoing, weekly series of dispatches from Brett Snyder, a seasoned writer who is one of you: A small business owner struggling with the day-to-day issues of keeping his ship running. From making payroll to dealing with irate customers, Snyder has seen it all. Correction, he is seeing it all, and he-s going to share those experiences with us here every week. In the inaugural edition of -In the Trenches,- Snyder looks at the challenges involved with exhibiting at his first ever trade show.

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In the Trenches: Handling the Surge From Good Press

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The Sunday after we exhibited at the conference in Chicago, we had the good fortune of being written up in the LA Times Travel section. That was good and bad. It meant we had a lot more traffic than normal coming in, which is good, but that also added concern about not living up to our promises of quick response times.

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Recycled-T-Shirt Company Grows with Social Media Help

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Tim Cigelske was always drawn to quirky T-shirts yet frustrated by their prices. “I got really sick of paying $25 for a T-shirt that’s going to be entertaining for about a week because it’s got a certain slogan on it,” he explains. “It’s kind of a knee-jerk reaction, that you need a new T-shirt — a new T-shirt.”

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6 Ways to Stop Email Overload

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A recent report from market research firm The Radicati Group offers some sobering statistics about email use. The number of global email accounts is expected to grow from 3.1 billion in 2011 to almost 4.1 billion by the end of 2015 — an average annual growth rate of 7 percent. Radicati estimates that roughly 350 billion emails will be sent worldwide this year and that the number will increase to 507 billion by 2013.

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3 Alternatives to the Typical Company Holiday Party

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A joyful gathering at the office or a nice dinner at a local restaurant make for fine holiday parties, but why not take advantage of the festive occasion to do something a little different this year? Here are three alternative ways to celebrate the season that could bring your staff — and perhaps your community — closer together.

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Class or Crass? 4 Tips for Designing Effective Vehicle Wraps

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Bumper-to-bumper vehicle wraps transform a set of wheels into a moving billboard, making them an affordable advertising option for small-business owners. Yet, a vehicle wrap-s marketing potential often falls short for a variety of reasons, says Derek Creavalle, owner of Vehicle Graphics Academy in Toronto.

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How Tour Manager Steve Lopez Keeps Widespread Panic-s Wheels Rolling

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When you’re a touring rock band, your to-do list is never done. You travel to the venue for soundcheck, give interviews, do radio promotions, perform a concert, meet fans, and then head back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep, so you can start the whole process over again the next day. Widespread Panic, which is celebrating its 25th year in business, knows this routine well — and tour manager Steve Lopez keeps the operation running smoothly. He recently spoke with the Intuit Small Business Blog about what it takes to keep the jam band’s tour on track.

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Door Hangers: 4 Tips to Help Boost Response Rates

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Door hangers are an oft-forgotten weapon in the small-business advertising arsenal, but their rock-bottom printing costs — as low as 2 to 8 cents per unit, depending on volume and design — make door hangers an intriguing marketing prospect, especially for cash-strapped businesses. (And what business isn’t these days?)

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Intuit Small Business Employment Index Shows Job Growth in October

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The small business employment landscape showed promising signs of growth in October. We just released the October report from the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, and I-m excited to say that both small business employment and compensation grew, with compensation showing strong growth. The Index, which is based on data from the nation-s smallest businesses that use Intuit Online Payroll, revealed that small business employment grew by 0.2 percent, equating to 44,000 new jobs and an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent.

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Using Employee Talents to Grow Your Business

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When working to grow their companies, entrepreneurs often overlook a valuable resource: their employees. “Many business owners regard their IP, products, real estate holdings, and equipment as their greatest assets,- says Frank Goley of ABC Business Consulting. -Unfortunately, employees come way down the list — and sometimes don’t even make the top 10. This is a huge oversight and a huge waste.”

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How and When a CEO Should Apologize

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Gone are the days when being a CEO meant never having to say you’re sorry. Lately, it seems we’ve been deluged with corporate apologies — ranging from Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of Research in Motion, for BlackBerry’s worldwide outage to Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, for a New Year’s deal gone wrong in Japan.

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Adobo Nation-s Michelle Valeriano on Adding * - to Your Online Marketing Mix

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Michelle Valeriano has worn many hats over the course of her career. The former model and * - jockey is now a * - producer, a TV hostess, and the founder and CEO of marketing consultancy Ampliphi Media. She currently focuses on * - production, taking advantage of her deep industry knowledge, passion for creative marketing, and ties to the Filipino community.

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The Pros and Cons of Offering Layaway Service

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Layaway plans — which allow customers to make purchases with a down-payment and pay the balance in installments before taking an item home — had faded into near-oblivion in recent years, as more consumers relied on credit cards for budgeting. But, thanks to the tough economy and stricter lending regulations, layaway is making a comeback. Wal-Mart, Sears, Toys-R-Us, and other U. S. retailers have all recently revived their layaway programs.

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What a U. S. Postal Service Shutdown Could Mean for Your Business

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The U. S. Postal Service is failing to deliver. The much-maligned government agency, which has been losing business to email correspondence and private carriers like UPS and FedEx, forecasts a $20 billion loss by 2015. To avoid default, the Postal Service is closing offices and pushing to end Saturday delivery, but these measures may not be enough. A government bailout could keep the service going, but what could happen if it doesn’t?

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6 Small-Business Documentaries Worth Watching

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What is it like to run your own business? Documentary films give you the opportunity to shadow entrepreneurs in diverse fields, from rock ’n’ roll to farming, on your own time. Although their subjects vary wildly, they all tend to deal with the universal challenges that business owners face, such as grappling with competition, growing an operation, and coping with interpersonal issues. Here are six small-business documentaries especially worth watching.