Digital Download Dollars

Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or a product owner, you get to choose how much you get paid to promote something. As a product owner, obviously you set the price. As an affiliate, you seek out products that have a good commission.

Digital downloads usually have a much better payout than tangible goods. Of course, if you’re promoting a high-ticket tangible item, you might make more – but it could be harder to sell to the general public, too.

A digital download is a text, audio, or video file that buyers can download instantly onto their hard drive and access immediately. Instead of waiting until tomorrow afternoon to run to Barnes and Noble, they log in at 3 o’clock in the morning when they can’t sleep and download a book on the topic they want.

A tangible book that costs $14.95 in a local bookstore can sell for $49 and up on the Internet as a digital download. As an affiliate, your commission will probably be higher, too.

If you promote a tangible book on Amazon that costs $14.95, and you get 7% of that, you’re only earning a little over a dollar. But that $49 digital download – an eBook about the same topic – offers you 50% commission, giving you $24.50 per sale!

It’s not hard to see which one pays better. As a product owner, you can create eBooks to compete with tangibles. You’ll charge a lot more, but you’ll be able to pay your affiliates a lot for their efforts, too.

If you’re not a writer and prefer a different type of product creation for your digital download, you can choose to create a series of MP3 files – audio tutorials that teach your topic to a paying audience. The public loves information they can digest on the go using their iPod or other electronic gadget.

You can also use a tool like Camtasia and create video productions as your product creation tool of choice. Some people prefer to watch a lesson rather than read it. With both audio and video digital downloads, your price point can go beyond the borders of what text info products can pull in.

Combine all three media elements and you may be poised to market a high-ticket digital download that takes in upwards of $1,500 for a single sale – something affiliate marketers will jump all over.

Defining What It Means to Be an Internet Marketer

There’s no PhD you can strive for to be in the Internet marketing industry. You have to learn as you go – on your own – soaking up information along the way. The first thing you need to know is what it means to be an Internet marketer, because it isn’t always clear to everyone.

Let’s start with what Internet marketing is not. It’s not being a con artist. It’s not being a spam king. It doesn’t just mean selling on eBay or having your own website and products.

In reality, Internet marketers can pick and choose from a whole host of options available to help them make money. Your opportunities are virtually endless, and include one or more of the following:

  • Selling digital downloads (information products like eBooks)
  • Promoting other people’s products for a commission (affiliate marketing)
  • Selling on eBay or other auction sites
  • Running a membership site
  • Selling your online services (writing, graphics, etc.)
  • Owning a website that sells dropshipped or wholesale items

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Being a newcomer to Internet marketing, you might be worried that you don’t have anything to sell. That’s okay – most people don’t start out with anything, and you never have t stock a tangible inventory if you don’t want to.

Internet marketing creates no gender or age boundaries for you. There are teenagers who have launched multi-million dollar companies as budding Internet marketers whose ideas sprung to life and catapulted them to instant success.

You don’t have to do anything unethical or shady to succeed at Internet marketing, and in fact, launching a respectable business with a solid reputation is the secret ingredient that will allow you to hatch an empire on the ‘net to fulfill all of your dreams and those of your family.

Creating a Minisite

The word “minisite” can refer to a number of different things. Some people call small niche article sites minisites, but that isn’t the general use of the word. In Internet marketing, the word “minisite” is generally used to refer to very small websites that are set up to sell a product – usually an eBook or other digital download.

Most minisites are only 1-5 pages. Some of them are only a single sales pitch page, plus perhaps a thank you page for after the customer orders. Others have a contact page, a terms of service page, a frequently asked questions page, or other general pages.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll just work on creating a single page minisite, and we’ll cover only the design – not the sales copy. Most minisites have several key parts. They usually have a header and footer, although some have only a header, or may have neither.

They also have a sales letter of some sort, which is used to sell the product. Finally, they have an order button that is clicked when a customer wants to purchase the product. Some minisites also have an eCover, which is a computer-generated image that mimics what the product might look like if it was a physical product.

For example, if the product is an eBook, the eCover might look like a hardcover or paperback book cover (sometimes a spiral notebook, too). If the product is a membership site, the eCover might be a membership card. Software products usually have a 3D software box as their eCover

The first step in creating a minisite should be creating your eCover, if you intend to use one. Most people create their eCovers with Photoshop, because most eCover action scripts only work with Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, you may need to create it from scratch, or have it made for you by a professional graphic designer.

After you have your cover design, you’ll need to create a header. Although some marketers don’t use headers, most do. A well-designed header can draw attention to your headline, and it can make your site look more professional.

The header should contain your product’s name and a tag line – like a one-sentence blurb that tells what your site’s about. It should also contain a photo that’s related to your niche, and it might also contain a small version of your ecover – all tied into a theme for your demographic.

Let’s say you’re creating a minisite to sell your dog-training eBook. Your header would potentially contain a picture of a woman pointing at a dog, and the dog sitting down. Then the text on the header might say something like the following: Dog Training 101: The Ultimate Guide to Training Your Puppy or Adult Dog!

Don’t make your header too large. If the header is so large visitors can’t see the headline without scrolling, it’s too big! It should attract attention to the headline, not hide it. Headers are generally between 700 and 800 pixels wide and 100-200 pixels in height.

The footer is usually the same width, but about half the height of the header. It may only contain the product name or logo, but may also contain an image or copyright notice. Finally, you need an order button that draws a lot of attention. Your button might contain your eCover, plus a brightly colored button and a call-to-action, such as “Click Here for Instant Access!”

If you have the money to invest, you might consider ordering a minisite package from a professional designer. For about $300, you’ll get the header, footer, eCovers, and sometimes extra banners that you can use for off-site promotions.

Cloaking Your Links to Protect Your Commission

Link cloaking is a very important part of affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, link cloaking is a way to protect your affiliate commissions from being stolen. It’s not totally foolproof. Smart individuals who are well-educated about the matter can still figure out how to keep you from getting your commission.

 

Most people won’t go that far, so cloaking your links will prevent most commission loss. How do people steal affiliate commissions? Have you ever hovered over a link and noticed that the link was an obvious affiliate link?

 

Some people type in the parent domain instead of clicking the link as a way of making sure the owner of the site gets paid 100% for the sale. Some people falsely believe that if they buy from an affiliate link, they’ll have to pay more for a commission mark-up.

 

Some people actually do it for a different reason. If you’re promoting a ClickBank product, especially to other marketers, many of them know they can insert their own ClickBank ID and get what’s usually a 50% or more discount on the product.

 

This is a different type of affiliate commission theft, because the person doing it gets the affiliate commission themselves, rather than just making sure you don’t get it. Most people don’t do that, of course.

 

Most people are pretty honest, and don’t mind giving you a little affiliate commission in exchange for recommending a good product to them. But it’s enough of a concern that you should take steps to prevent it.

 

You can easily set up your own link cloaking system. What you would do is set up a directory on one of your domains. Most marketers use the domain of their own name, as in bobsmith.com. They typically have a subdirectory called /recommends/.

 

Then in that directory, they create a new subdirectory for each product. It would look something like this: http://www.bobsmith.com/recommends/awesomeproductname. In that directory, they place a very simple PHP redirect called index.php.

 

Whenever they send someone to the above link, the script will redirect to your affiliate link. All you have to do is create a file in Notepad or your favorite HTML editor and name is index.php. Then paste the following information into the file and upload it to your directory:

 

< ?php header(“location:http://affiliates.programhere.com/5555”); ?>

 

There are a number of link cloaking scripts available. Most of them are relatively easy to install and use. There’s a big benefit to using a script rather than doing it yourself. Using your simple redirect, there isn’t an easy way to check how much traffic you’ve sent to your link.

 

Most link cloaking scripts allow you to add new links very easily within an administrative area, and then each link is tracked so that you can see how much traffic is going through the link. If you use your own file, the only way to tell how much traffic you’ve sent is through your affiliate stats, which may be inaccurate, or through your web server’s stats, which may be clunky to use or hard to understand.

 

Another way you can do it is to use a link cloaking tool, such as Go Try This. This lets you enter the raw affiliate link and name your link whatever you want as an extension of your domain. Then you can log in and check stats to see how the top 10 links are performing using a diagram and bar graph.