Profiting Through Affiliation:
How to Young One Man is Helping Others Realize Their Dream of Being Gainfully
One of the biggest things holding back would be
online business owners is lack of marketing know-how. Even if you are relatively
marketing savvy, the biggest challenge for anyone starting an online business is
generating sales quickly. That's especially true if, like me, you are a one
person, work-from-home operation. You may have a great product, but when you're
essentially a sales force of one, it can be tough to reach the millions of
potential customers that make up the Internet buying community. Happily, there
is a solution and it's called "affiliate marketing."
Even if you already know about affiliate marketing
- and especially if your small business already has an affiliate program -
you'll want to read on. But first a little background on the young man who is
using the power of affiliate marketing to realize not only his own dream of
entrepreneurship but those of anyone who longs to be very gainfully
Less than a year ago I told you about a very
enterprising young man named Anik Singal (see
ChangingCourse.com/archives/issue124.html). When I first met Anik at a
workshop in Florida a year ago last September, he was getting ready to enter his
senior year at the University of Maryland. In addition to earning straight A's
(impressive of itself) he was also studying to become a freelance copywriter and
had written and marketed an eBook for high school and college students and their
parents on how to improve their grades.
As if all of that weren't remarkable enough, Anik
called me this week with an update. To say that I was blown away by what he has
accomplished in less than a year and a half would be an understatement. But I'm
getting ahead of myself...
When I met Anik, what impressed me more than his
actual accomplishments was his dogged determination to follow his own path,
despite stiff resistance from his parents. Anik is a first-generation
Indian-American who is a born entrepreneur. His engineer father however, had
other plans for his son's future - engineer or doctor. That's it. It wasn't easy
to convince his Dad to let him get on plane to come to a three day intensive
workshop on copywriting. Despite his family's resistance, I was left with the
distinct feeling that this very creative and determined young man would have no
trouble succeeding at whatever he puts his mind to. And boy was I right!
Back at school, Anik was accepted into the
University's Hinman CEO Program, a residential entrepreneurial program where
students work, eat, sleep and succeed together. Despite being immersed in
entrepreneurial studies, Anik says when he saw all of his friends applying for
corporate jobs and was himself being actively recruited by big financial
companies, he got nervous. So nervous in fact, that he turned to his father for
guidance. Seeing his son give 110% to his entrepreneurial dreams, Anik's dad
came full circle offering this sage advice:
"Ten years from now do you want to be
working for someone else or do you want to work for yourself... because if you
want to work for yourself and you go out and get a job instead then you'll
start moving up the ladder and making a good salary. And when that happens
you'll get too comfortable and it will be that much harder to leave. So, if
you what you really want to do is start your own business, I say go for it."
That's all Anik needed to hear. A year after
graduating, he went on to win first place in the Hinman program's Young Alumni
category and $15,000 to help launch his latest brainstorm. Around this same time
he beat out some stiff competition to land a spot in a business incubator
program complete with office facilities and an "amazing mentor" who he jokingly
refers to as "Mr. Silicone Valley." And here's where affiliate marketing comes
The business idea that won Anik all of these
accolades is an affiliate training program. Simply put, affiliate marketing is a
risk-free form of advertising through which an online merchant rewards an
affiliate site for every visitor, subscriber, or customer referred to the
merchant - much like a finder's fee. Think of it as cooperative marketing for
people who hate aggressive or "winner takes all" competitive selling.
For example, say you make and sell your own line
of aroma therapy products or organic dog treats. Instead of seeing a business
that sells massage lotion or dog food as competitors, you actively seek to
associate, partner with, connect with or in other words "affiliate" with these
related businesses in a "win-win" marketing partnership. When these affiliate
companies tell their customers about your product and you make a sale then the
affiliate earns either a percentage of the sale or a set dollar amount just for
referring business to you. .
The problem with most affiliate programs is that
online business owners or merchants like me set up their affiliate programs and
then hope people who like their products sign up and start selling.
Unfortunately, this "if you build it, they will come" approach generates little
to no revenue. That's because, as Anik says, "It doesn't matter how grand your
product or service is. No product sells itself." Instead he says, "You must do
what today's best managers do. You must treat your affiliates as a sales force
that represents you and your products to the Internet at large."
When Anik told me he was going to send me preview
copy of the first edition of his affiliate management program, I honestly didn't
know what to expect. A few days later a 14 pound box showed up at my door. There
are far too many resources to outline in detail here so let me just hit a few of
The program comes with a dozen-plus CDs dispensing
priceless advice from a range of experts on topics like "Secrets to Developing
Powerful Upsells" from one of THE top internet website masters in the world,
"How to Get the Most from Network Partnerships like Commission Junction and
Linkshare," and "How to Launch an Affiliate Program Through Clickbank" just to
name a few.
As an aside, I have to admit I was especially
intrigued when I listened to Anik's interview with Deborah Carney on "The
Secrets to Motivating and Engaging the Affiliates You Recruit" and heard how she
herself "changed course." Like a lot of people, Deborah started out looking for
a more flexible schedule that would allow her to spend more time with her kids.
Today she works from home as the affiliate manager for CafePress, a highly
successful online business with a whopping 20 million unique products.
To ensure that you don't have to start from
scratch, the program comes with lots of templates and checklists including
letters proven to work with affiliates, tracking and other spreadsheets, cheat
sheets, and more. The program also includes a thick binder on "How to Build and
Manage an Unstoppable Online Sales Force." I'll be doing a more complete review
of this and Anik's entire program down the road, but in brief this particular
resource covers such topics as:
the fundamentals for building a strong and
stable affiliate sales team
how to teach your affiliates to maximize sales
how top managers get the word out and recruit
an unstoppable team of affiliates
how to write an affiliate newsletter
what every affiliate manager needs to know
about legal and ethical marketing issues - just to name a few
And as someone who has an affiliate program myself
tools like the Self-Assessment Checklist for Affiliate Managers and the "Where
to Find It in Affiliate Marketing" glossary and resource directory were both
eye-openers. Suffice it to say, I have a lot to learn!
Mind you that the training resources and
management tools I've briefly described here are in addition to the extensive
online training and support that is all part of the training package. Anik and
his team have put together a member website that features constantly updated
resources like a marketing library, highly specific case studies, blogs,
tutorials, conference calls, and step-by-step instructions for beginners,
intermediate, and advanced affiliate managers.
The affiliate manager training program is truly
the first of its kind. To give you an idea of how much buzz Anik's training
program is getting, his company's booth received the 5th highest number of
visitors at a recent affiliate industry tradeshow. It will officially launch
next Tuesday, June 27th, so you can't actually enroll until then. But if you
want to take a sneak preview and start receiving updates including learning
about special early bird offers go to
I also highly recommend you watch a 14 minute
video where you'll get to "meet" Anik who'll personally walk you through some
great tips for generating sales through affiliate marketing. If you have already
have product to sell, are considering developing a product, or plan to reselling
other people's products, I can all but guarantee that watching this video will
change your ideas about marketing forever. To watch the video go to
Once you see what Anik and his team have put
together, it will be obvious why he won the entrepreneur of the year award. As
importantly as the product he has developed, is his determination to follow his
dreams. It's positively contagious. And fortunately for those of us who want to
both work at what we love on our own terms AND make a good living doing it,
Anik's affiliate manager training program may the ticket to a lifetime of
Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at
what you love on your own terms.
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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