Plan Your Internet Success – Part 23: Lead Generations, Sales Referral and the Search for Higher Payout

23. Lead Generations, Sales Referral and the Search for Higher Payout

Once you have optimized your Web site and other Web pages you will be able to create “action pages.”

These action pages are critical because they are the most difficult pages to get visitors to go to and probably the pages with the most drop-out. Typical examples of this page include:

a) A page where a banner or text invites visitors to click, and be taken to an online store where they will be able to buy something. In exchange for this you, the affiliate, will get a commission.

b) A product link and shopping cart allowing the affiliate (or advertiser) to sell his or her product. This is done in order to better manage visitors’ requests and offer exactly what they are looking for as opposed to a simple company banner. This can come as a “product feed” and is delivered to your site in many ways and allows you to “keep” your visitors within your site until they click on “check out.”

c) A “registration page” that you host on your Web site (it is pulled from another Web site, in some instances) and where visitors provide information in exchange for getting something such as a newsletter, updates, offers, software, gifts, incentives, etc.

Those are three examples of action pages and we are going to explore in greater detail below each of the options.

Option a) – In this instance, the goal is to complement the content of a Web site with ads (text, banner, etc.) or simple text links that are relevant (in context) with the topic covered and that will generate clicks. The hope here is that some of these clicks will generate sales or actions at an advertiser’s Web site that will convert into a commission or a payment to you upon completion by the visitor of a required action (lead, email submit, etc.). This is probably the easiest way to set up revenue streams for a Web entrepreneur, since banners and text ads are available in great numbers and from many affiliate marketing network or company programs. Lists of networks are available from http://www.affiliate-marketing-solution.com.

However, these types of links are by far the least interesting options, and the reasons for this are simple. As soon as one of your visitors clicks on a banner on one of your pages, you have no idea what happens to this person. He or she may land on an outdated or old page of an advertiser, or worse, get an error from the network indicating that the advertiser has been de-activated.

But even if this person lands on the advertiser or merchant’s Web site, you have no control over how well this store is designed, how fast it will display the merchandise advertised or how well it performs. It may be a very slow Web site that takes forever to load pages, or that has a horribly complicated shopping cart. If so, your visitors will drop out and you will lose any hope of getting a commission.

Additionally, some online merchants have been known to be somewhat reluctant at paying commissions and unless you work with a reputable merchant or affiliate network like CJ or Linkshare, you may be in for a surprise.

Advertisers or merchants may only pay commissions for the first time buyer, so if someone comes back through your Web site and orders something again, you will not get any commission.

Finally, while your visitors may actually go through your site to an online store, make a purchase and the commission is credited, you may end up getting nothing because some smart affiliate has placed an affiliate cookie on your visitor’s computer that override yours when the visitor reach the “Thank You” page. Cookie hijacking is supposed to have been eradicated, but I saw an example of this not so long ago, so beware.


Option b) – In this approach, while the concept is similar to option a), the affiliate features the product that this advertiser or merchant sells on his Web site.

This is accomplished in a number of ways and the easiest include a short code snippet that you put on your page which “pulls” the product that is offered from this merchant onto your Web page.

The advantage over banners and text ads is that you show merchandise and you control how the merchandise is found by a visitor and to a lesser degree how it is displayed. I say “to a lesser degree” because the customization provided by the advertiser may be limited to specific colors and size as well as displays. Regardless, this is a great advantage when compared to banner and text ads, since it shows specific products.

As a result, the risk of losing a visitor is somewhat minimized. Alternatively, problems may still arise when visitors click on products and are taken to the shopping cart of an advertiser that may have a totally different look and feel (to say nothing of domain name).

Option c) – In this instance, you are (to some degree) master of your destiny and can manage how and what your visitors will see throughout their experience on your Web site.

The goal here is to have a registration page where the visitor gives you permission to pass on his or her information to a third party. The benefits are tremendous since you not only will pass on this information but, more importantly, you will retain this information as well for your own usage.

A few notes of warning:

If you pass on your visitor (client) information to a company that will turn around and sell it to anyone ready to pay a few pennies, this e-mail address soon will be burnt and unusable for any future offers that you may want to send. Some companies don’t care for this approach, since they estimate that they can squeeze the maximum amount of money on someone’s information within the first few days of acquiring this information. However, the trend today is in acquiring quality leads (and I personally believe that this is the right approach) in order to monetize a customer over much longer periods of time.

As a result, I would highly recommend that you provide leads knowing how this lead will be used and if it will be re-sold or shared with others and to check to ensure that your trust is not being abused.

By the way, if you do what is called a co-registration, you will need some programming skills or assistance to capture users’ information and pass it on to the company with whom you share this visitor’s registration. Co-registration is the typical form that you see on, for example, an educational Web site or job board and which offers to provide you with information on various online universities. Users fill out the information and click the submit button, but stay on the same Web site.
In the background, code has been created to capture this information and send it to the online university you selected either in real time or via timed batches. This is a lead, and in this example, the job board receives a payment.

Again the beauty of option c) is to allow you to 1) control the environment at all times, 2) capture your visitor’s information and 3) keep your visitor within your Web site.

Finally, be careful of incentives, such as freebies for your visitor if he/she clicks on an offer of fill out a form, since many advertisers do not allow incentivized offers.

In conclusion, while the lead is the best option, as far as I am concerned, all three options should be used depending on how your Web site is laid out and what you are trying to do within each page. As a matter of fact, you should consider these options even if you are an advertiser and only offer products or services on your Web site. However, when and where these are used is critical.

When Web pages are content-oriented and include information about specific products, you should include links to that product within your Web site or, if need be, to another advertiser’s page (always try to keep your visitors on your Web site, though). You may want to include banners for offers that are relevant or complement your own offers. That approach is also fine, but keep in mind that it costs you to bring visitors to your Web site and you do not want to send them away for a few pennies.

No matter what, you should always have a form for your visitors to fill out. This form may be associated with an offer of an online degree or simply to receive your newsletter, email, etc. Regardless of what it is, provide this option on as many pages as you can (and, if possible, on all pages).

To read the complete manuscript and download a free version go to www.planyourinternetsuccess.com

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