I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
As to the issues in IL… there are plenty of ways to avoid having your business closed up by an idiotic Governor including like moving your business to a neighboring state that’s actually business friendly. There are ways around the issues and I know I wouldn’t let Amazon shutting the program down in my state stop me. I can’t legally advise you what to do, but I’m just saying there are ways around it.
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Email is a relationship-builder with your potential customers. You want to send them a balance of useful information related to your niche, perhaps an email newsletter, as well as marketing messages, like a sales email, asking them to buy a product on sale. The free information you’ve provided helps them come to know, like, and trust you… which makes it more likely they’ll buy a product.
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This could leave many once competitive niches with a lot more gaps for you to build and leverage into with your niche sites. While we don’t believe we’ll see a mass exodus from Amazon Associates (Even with the currently grumbling about the changes online), some niches may be more affected by this than others so it may pay to look for gaps in the market.
You should also have tracking setup for every affiliate link of yours. You can do this with something like Voluum that can track the sales you are getting and where those sales are coming from. This will be useful data for an analytical buyer who wants to split test the website, not to mention it will allow you to split test the site and possibly push your monthly net profit up which will also increase your site’s listing multiple price.
Although I am an “uber-experienced newbie” in the Internet Marketing world, I was an Amazon-phobic, having been only familiar (and seen some success) with ClickBank products, not venturing into anything outside CB. The low commissions and lack of knowledge on how to correctly promote the products and inner workings of their affiliate program was another deterrent in getting started.
Of course, switching to another program doesn’t have to be done in one day. You can also move gradually over, testing different methods and ensuring that your new affiliate program is working out as you hoped. Although this may mean accepting a lower revenue from your website for a few months, changing gradually will ensure that you don’t lose out in the long run.
Again, the only constant in the online business world is changing. With every change, comes drawbacks and opportunities. In order to see these, you need to take a step back to look at the big picture. Every year or two there is a major shakeup in the online space, here is a list of just a FEW changes that had entrepreneurs grumbling in the last few years:
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On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.