Make Money from Referrals: How to sell more?

The month of October has been exceptionally good for me in terms of blog earnings – thanks to the special offers on OIO Publisher, HostGator and Thesis Theme. Overall, it was a perfect month from other income channels as well which included Google AdSense, private ad sales and paid reviews. I even received a check from AdBrite in the form of referral income after a long gap.

Since majority of my blog income comes from referrals, I thought of writing this post on how a blogger can promote certain products via various conventional as well as innovative advertisement channels in order to maximize his/her referral income. Of course, this month I gave away most of my income as rebates but there was some good learning from this exercise.

How to maximize your referral income?

There are a lot of proven campaign channels that you can use to advertise your offers. Products such as email marketing, facebook or myspace advertising will usually cost you a lot of money. Of course they work, but you have to continuously shell out money to keep those options alive – the moment you stop your campaigns, the sales drop.

I used the following free (well, most of them) mechanisms effectively to improve my referral sales over the past few weeks and these methods are still working for me.

#1 A blog post about the offers

This is one of the first things that you need to do in order to advertise special offers and deals. And I have noticed that most people do this step right by writing an effective offer post.

#2 Using forums

If you are active on certain forums such as Digital Point forums, you can sell your products there via:

  • Explicit posts on offers
  • Your forum signatures
  • Private messages

It is important to check the new posts on forums so that you should be the first one to grab your customers and prospects.

#3 Leverage on your highly ranked pages

Here, I am talking about the pages or posts of your blog that rank high (e.g in top three on Google search). You have to edit the first 100 characters of those posts or edit the post description via All-in-one-SEO post option to include some irresistible four to five words punchline about your offer there. While doing so you have to make sure that the overall relevancy of the post is not damaged via the description change. After that you can republish the post again so that your offer starts getting good click through.

#4 Special offer messages for search users

This is another method whereby you display a customized message to your search users (alone) about deals and offers for your referrals. This works wonders as well, so long as you do not overdo it. You can use certain plugins to achieve this.

#5 Contact commenters

An email campaign can be expensive and sometimes spammy in nature. However, a polite offer message to your past commenters will not do any harm if you do it only once or twice a year. I used my contact commenters plugin to drive my email campaign this time.

#6 Your RSS footer campaign

Using the RSS footer plugin is yet another way to drive you referral campaigns because many RSS readers do not visit your blog very often. Though, it is called a ‘footer’ plugin, in order to get more attention, you might want to show your new offers at the beginning of your RSS post feed. This will increase the hit ratio. Moreover, the RSS aggregators might show the offer on your post excerpt!

#7 Twitter message

Twitter is my least favorite option to drive campaigns as I still consider it as a major spammy social networking mechanism. However, it seem to work as I noticed that some of the referral traffic from twitter actually landed on my offer post (thanks to a couple of twitter friends who RTed it). I do not have a major fan following on twitter and hence this may work well for those who have many good human followers.

#8 Dedicated coupon websites

This needs some investment and periodic updating to be done but once you have traffic to these offer sites, the conversion rates will be very high compared to your regular blog visitors. You need to think a lot about SEO aspects while registering a coupon domain, selecting a theme for it and projecting offers.

#9 Innovative OIO Publisher ad zones

You can have your own customized OIO Publisher text and banner ads on various parts of your blog to improve the referral conversions. For example, instead of a popular 125×125 banner on the sidebar, you may show a text ad at the end of a post or just near the comment entry box for people to notice it better.

#10 Google AdWords campaign

Though I spent very little on AdWords campaign, in principle you can use your attractive offer posts (or even a special landing page) as your AdWords advertisement URL in order to improve your referral or affiliate sales (PPC Internet marketing). However, if you want to drive an AdWords campaign you may have to really go for the right set of low cost (low hits as well) keywords rather than high volume and costly keywords. It is really hard to find the right low cost keywords for hosting solutions.

Summary

In principle, if you are a little bit innovative, it is easier to improve your conversion ratios when it comes to the referral or affiliate programs. But be sure to pick the right product to promote rather than putting a ridiculous number of ad banners of low quality products (Read affiliate marketing success).

Let me know what you think about these tips and if possible share your success stories as well. Please feel free to bookmark this post if you found it useful.

Happy Money Making!

Comments

  1. well, i dont think that using adwords for affiliate marketing is a good idea…it might backfire

  2. Hi Ajith :-)

    Very useful post. Quite relevant to me as I’m exploring referral marketing as an additional income source. I’ll be using some of your tips.

    Thanks for the post.

    Take care…

  3. I think affiliate marketing is good source of automated income.

  4. I have not yet tried my hands at affiliate marketing(seriously) but I am going to start soon. Using a coupon site is a great idea.

    Also, including links/banners in RSS footer is also a good method.
    Your idea of offering people a share from commissions was also good. Me and team ended up buying Thesis theme via you.

  5. Dennis Edell :

    Ajith my man, commentluv go bye bye? lol

  6. Hey Ajith a post worth saying word”Useful”. I have been using referral and almost 40% of my income comes from Refrral amount and more over people always get benefited by writing such referrals and letting people know about whats the latest discount they can avail.

  7. I have seen the message ” This Signature is for sale ” on Digital Point Forums.

  8. Good and timely post Ajith. I have been thinking of working towards income streams other than adsense for quite sometime now. Will crystalize some action plan after reading this post for sure.

  9. @Tushar, not really.. I guess, I had some conversions earlier this month via AdWords as well. It’s like throwing 2-3 dollars a day and making $20 or so via a sign up :)

    @Ebele, wow, so you are after aff. marketing as well. Glad to know that you liked these tips. Btw, I will be contacting you about some possible collaboration.

    @Rahul, probably you need to differentiate between the so called autopilot affiliate money and referral income. I don’t know how many of those affiliate schemes are really good.

    @Ishan, thanks for buying the theme via me :) Yes, it works man… Unfortunately, I could not hit 4 figures this month, may be next month :D

    @Dennis, yes man… I removed it initially due to some issues with the script.. It was refusing to show up. After some trials I gave up on that along with a bunch of other ‘following’ methods. Btw, how are you doing after the hospitalization and discharge? :)

    @Harsh, thought of sharing some of those secrets that anyone can implement :lol: In fact, now I don’t feel bad that my AdSense income is pathetic… Why worry about $50 if you can make $500 or even thousand rather easily.

    @Anish, DP signatures really work.. I see some traffic to this blog from DP and some convert as well.

    @Sita, thanks man.. Good luck with your alternate income streams… It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for you. For me, AdSense is not the best due to the organization of my theme and various other factors…

  10. Thanks for this informative post.

    I have never tried this. I always depended on adsense income. I have to try this and see how it goes.

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  1. [...] chamber? October 31st, 2009 by admin !  Came across this really useful post about earning more money through referrals. This is one of the best posts about blog earnings along with my post about 25 factors that impact [...]

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