In this article we look at two inexpensive, highly effective and leveraged ways to reach thousands of prospects via the Internet: affiliate programs and link exchanges.

Affiliate programs (also referred to as “reseller” or “associate” programs) are a great way to get other people called “affiliates” to promote your product or service for you. For every paying customer your affiliates refer to your web site, you pay them a commission. And since you only pay when you make money – it’s extremely low risk.

Your affiliates send visitors to your web site using banner ads, text links, letters of referral, and so on, while you track these referrals using special software. It’s an extremely powerful way to grow your business because it automates your traffic generation.

To get started with your own affiliate program, you need to:

  1. Set your commissions. (To keep your affiliates motivated, you should pay them 40% to 50% of your profits per sale.)
  2. Get software to track the traffic and sales of your affiliates so you know what to pay them.
  3. Provide your affiliates with tools they can use to promote your products (like e-mails, banners, etc.).
  4. Recruit your affiliates. (Look for sites that target your market, and invite them to become affiliates.)

Affiliate programs are an ideal way to automate your traffic generation because other people market your web site for you – and you don’t lift a finger. Your sales increase on a daily basis – but they do all the selling for you, and it doesn’t cost you a dime until they send you paying customers.

Link requests require minimal effort from you, but they can explode your traffic numbers overnight. How? If your site is a featured link on a major site in your industry, one that receives a ton of attention, your site immediately benefits from all the exposure their site receives.

Getting started with this strategy is simple, but you should follow a structured process every time you request a link. Let’s break it down into a few easy steps:

  1. Do a Google search for your standard keywords – the ones that people generally use to find your site.
  2. Make detailed notes about the sites that appear regularly in the top ten listings for your major keywords.
  3. Use the Alexa Toolbar, LinkPopularity, or Technorati to find out who these sites are linking to, who is linking to them, and how much traffic they are receiving, then look up their contact information.

Make sure you know the correct URL for the site, the URL of the sub-page on which you want your link to appear, the name of the site owner or webmaster, the date you last visited their site, and a brief description of the contents of the site.

When you’re ready to contact these web site owners and request a link, write a personal e-mail – don’t use form letters. Be sure to include some positive comments about their site, information about you and your site (along with your URL), an explanation of why a link to you would benefit them, and instructions for contacting you to get started.

You want your request to be thorough and professional. If you can present a persuasive argument for why the link request benefits both of you, you stand a better chance of forging a connection.

If you are really eager to get your link on their site, be prepared to up the ante by offering them a commission or a link on your site in return. The investment could be well worth the extra exposure your marketing message receives.

But be stingy when other businesses request links on your site – just as links on others’ sites serve as a personal recommendation of your site, links on your site are recommendations for their businesses. Only recommend the best.

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  3. Simple Viral Strategies
  4. Bring BUZZ to Your BIZ

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