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Affiliate Programs (cont'd)

If you want to become an eBay affiliate, you'll need a Commission Junction account.  Once you sign up with CJ, you'll be able to display affiliate text links and banners to eBay as well as post on your site real-time eBay listings targeted to your site's content.  eBay will pay you up  to $45.00 for each active registered user you send them, and up to $0.25 for each bid or Buy It Now transaction that is referred from your site.


Amazon Associate Programssociate Program

Amazon Associate Program allows you to make a commission of 5% or higher for sales originating from a link on your site.  As you know, Amazon sells everything, not just books.  For a $2000 watch sold through your site, for example, you would make $100 or more-- not bad for selling a watch without owning a jewelry store! 

If your site is non-commercial and you don't want it to look like one, you can always sell books.  Far from being a distraction, the book ads actually enhance both the content and prestige of your site. 

Amazon offers advanced, yet easy to use, reporting tools to allow you to make the most of your efforts.  Their link builder lets you quickly create ads in various formats, including banners of different sizes, search boxes,  text links, recommended product links and more.  The ads are customizable to fit into your site's format and color scheme.

There are scripts, such as Amazon Store Manager, available for you to build an entire Amazon storefront from which you'll earn commission on every sale.  Your store might target a specific niche by offering only a single line of products,  say DVD's.  If you run a website on horror movies, for example, you might display DVD horror titles throughout the site and provide links to your Amazon DVD store that offers a wider selection of titles. In your store you would showcase horror titles to generate more sales.  To see working examples of working Amazon storefronts, check out our Amazon DVD Store and Video Game Store.

If you're running a Amazon storefront, it's important (but not essential) to have a complementary website with real content to promote it.   If you have a popular site on horror movies, for instance, people will want to support you by making their DVD purchases through your store.  After all, they'll spend the same amount of money buying through your store as they would directly from Amazon.com. 

While content is an effective way to promote an affiliate storefront, it's not the only way. We run  Google AdWords campaigns to drive traffic to our Amazon stores.  A potential drawback of this strategy is running up a huge AdWords bill and not being able to cover it with your Amazon commissions.  It's easy to get lots of clicks from AdWords, but what you're really after is a  high conversion rate (the rate at which the clicks translate into commissions).  So, if you're going to use pay-per-click advertising to promote your store, choose your keywords wisely-- the more targeted your keywords are, the greater the conversion rate.  For example, the generic keyword "DVD" may get you a lot of clicks to your DVD store, but it may not get you many sales.  More targeted keywords such as "The Exorcist DVD" or "movies on DVD" are more likely to generate sales. 
Another consideration for using pay-per-click to promote an affiliate store is the price range of the line of products you're selling.  Higher priced products bring higher commissions but are perhaps harder to sell. A $20 DVD sale will bring you $1 in commission.  If it took 20 clicks at 5 cents a click to get the sale, then you'd be just breaking even.  A sale of car GPS system might earn you $50, but it will take a lot more clicks to make a single sale.  Pay-per-click marketing is very much an art form; succeeding in it requires the right mix of knowledge, creativity, and trial-and-error.

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