Pulled From Both Sides, Affiliate Marketing

I just got done having a brief discussion with a coworker explaining the problem I’m being faced with as an online affiliate marketer.  In the short and sweet I’m being pulled by the bad economy, meaning visitors are not converting as high as normal.  On the other side I’m being pulled by affiliate programs, which are tightening the reins and becoming more exclusive.  Being pulled from both sides puts a huge strain on my already dwindling bank account.

Consider that just a few years ago it was possible to get into almost any affiliate program.  Also, once in these programs there were huge incentives with arguably low ceilings.  eBay is a perfect example of this, with their EPN program switching from CJ to in house and providing lots of easy commissions to affiliates.  Now, they have made it to where they aren’t accepting everyone and are booting you for having low conversions.

Is this a trend likely to continue through the end of the year?  I had hoped that we would see an increase in incentives from affiliate programs as we near the holidays.  There haven’t been seem to been any ramp of that I’ve seen, but they could be waiting until the latter part of November.

Without question, this holiday season will directly make or break online companies.  If this is a slow buying Christmas, then some companies will simply shut the doors.  However, if there is an uptick, like others are predicting, then these same companies will be relying on the sales from Christmas to pull them out of the red in 2009.

P.S. Just a friendly reminder, remember to diversify so that one failing affiliate program doesn’t bring you to your knees.

Marketing Christmas, After Christmas

I’m faced with an unusual question this year, which is how do I continue to market a Christmas affiliate site after Christmas has ended.  My Christmas site focuses on a specific niche, but is heavily dependent upon Christmas, so basically now my traffic has dropped out and I’m faced with deciding on the amount of time and energy to invest in a site I won’t see hardly any returns on until a year from now.

The good news is that my niche focuses on a specific aspect of Christmas that people may be searching throughout the year, think collectible decorations.  This will allow me to get some return on residual income until Dec 25th 2009, but hardly the revenue I would expect from devoting time to wider project.  Furthermore I would expect that time spent earlier on in the year will pay off 10 fold come the holiday season next year, which will allow me to recoop some time spent now.  Therefore I’ve came up with the following plan of action.

1. Updating Semi-Frequently

The niche I’m covering allows for plenty of content creation, so I intend to update about half as often as I was before the holidays.  Basically this should work out to 1-2 posts per week, thus creating a nice archive of pages come next Christmas.  I dont’ think it would benefit me revenue wise over time spent to devote anymore time than that, in regards to content creation.

2. Link Building

The bulk of my link building will be focused on article marketing, since direct link purchases and exchanges will more than likely wear off by the time they would do the most good.  I hope to create some great articles to the tune of a few a month that will remain permanent on database sites.  Continually building links will keep my site seeming fresh in Google’s eyes even though visitors may not be plentiful, helping keep my site in good favor with Google.

3. New Sub-Niche’s

Fleshing out new sub niches will also benefit me throughout the year and I’ll have time to focus on the smaller niche’s that I was too busy to focus on during the launch.  Building up to Christmas 08 was kind of a rush and I just didn’t have time to find smaller sub-niche’s that would have been profitable, but now I can plan for that traffic next year.  Also, I have an edge over the 08 Season because I already have a pretty good keyword list built up from Google Analytics that will allow me to be more focused.

4. Focus on Deal Seeker’s

After the holiday’s the internet, just like traditional stores, are ripe with deals.  Consumers are aware of this and will be looking to get their hands on inventory for a discount.  I hope to capitalize on this thirst for savings by checking out what kind of offers my current affiliates are offering to liquidate.  These items will be the focus of my content creation for at least the first quarter of 09.

Outlook

The US economy, like a lot of the world, is in trouble and hopes to pull out of a recession in 09.  However, not all is bad news considering Amazon.com posted a record holiday season, so buying on the internet has not slowed.

Another side benefit to keeping a seasonal site fresh in Google’s eyes is that hopefully I will gain some PR and link juice.  While I don’t focus my marketing entirely on these factors, many people do and it can make for some great link sales starting around Halloween next year.  So, I better start marking my calendar now to anticipate what the holiday will bring in 2009.  Hopefully money.

When Did December Get Here?

Oh Christ, where have I been? It seems like just yesterday I was sweating outside, forcing myself to finish mowing my yard, weed eating, building flower beds, and other general outdoorsy fun summer stuff. Damn’t!!!111 Now I have to go Christmas shopping!

It’s been a long couple of weeks, but the good news is that my prescious little daughter is finally sleeping throughout the night now. Like clockwork we can put her down at 6:30 in the evening and she does not wake back up until 6:00 or so in the morning. Freaking awesome! Also, she is doing well, check out my flickr images on the right if you haven’t yet.

So when did December get here? Was it when the sun started setting at 5:30 pm so that getting things done after work was no longer an option? Was it when shorts on the weekend gave me little bumps all over? Or, was it when my wife pulled me, kicking and screaming, into the attic to bring down Christmas decorations? Oh well, doesn’t really matter, it’s here and the rush is on.