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Using Promotional Domains to Avoid Problems and Increase Sales

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Willie Crawford
November 21, 2006

Willie Crawford
Willie Crawford has been teaching Internet marketing for over 9 years. Take advantage of his uncanny insights and unusual candor by subscribing to his free, information-packed newsletter. Also visit his top-rated blog. Do both at his blog.
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I've had extensive conversations with my mentors, and affiliate marketers who do extremely well. We all agree that you should always use a promotional domain when promoting an affiliate product. A promotional domain is a domain that you buy just to promote an affiliate product. To use a promotional domain, you can:

1) Redirect that domain to your affiliate url at the registrar

2) Put some redirect code in the index page that's physically loaded on the promotional domain itself

3) Pre-sell the affiliate product on the index page of the promotional domain, and then have them click through to the affiliate site

There are several reasons that you should use a promotional domain. One reason you should use a promotional domain is because, during a BIG product launch, there are often a lot of spam complaints against the primary domain for the affiliate product. This is due to tons of overly aggressive affiliates "hammering" their lists so much that list members get irritated and file spam complaints. These spam complaints lead to that domain getting blacklisted. When you send out emails containing references to that blacklisted url, your emails are often blocked by filters!

Using a promotional domain can increase your email deliverability substantially. This can lead to a massive increase in sales! A second reason that you should use a promotional domain is that many people hate clicking on affiliate links. The very thought that someone is earning a commission from their purchase upsets some people who understand affiliate marketing. They just have a psychological hang-up against an affiliate profiting from their purchase. It doesn't matter that they often would have never known about the product if it wasn't for the hard working affiliate.

A third reason to use a promotional domain is that it allows you to pre-sell the affiliate product and to also build your list. You can set up a page on the promotional domain where you do a review of the product, or pre-sell it in other ways. On that page you can collect the visitors' email addresses prior to forwarding them on to the affiliate site. Do this by offering a free report, or using other standard list building techniques. Then, instead of sending them to a standard "thank you page," you send them to the affiliate site.

The sales page on many affiliate sites really stink. If you can do a better job of selling that product, then perhaps you want to post your own sales letter on your promotional domain, and then have your order link "deep link" into the affiliate site, bypassing the "sucky" homepage, and linking directly to the order form. If you do this you just need to make sure that the order is tracked properly. If you're not sure how to do this, ask the owner of the affiliate program, or a trusted programming expert who understands cookies, etc.

Bypassing terrible sales pages works so well that many professional copywriters spend a lot of time writing better sales pages for great products that they know would sell IF the sales letters were better. They sift through places like the Clickbank Marketplace, looking for niche products that would be in demand if properly marketed. They do the standard market research, and when they discover these hidden gems, they fix the webpages and make lots of sales on products largely ignored by other affiliate marketers.

As an aside, if you do discover one of these gems, and it's obvious that the sale page is not working, you may even want to offer to buy the rights to the product from the owner. You know that he's not making much money, and you know how to fix the problem! Buy the business, fix the website and then resell the business at a profit.

My friend Dr. Mike Woo-Ming, and his copywriter, have the rewriting of terrible sales letters down to such a science that they run a membership site where they pass along revised sales letters to their members. That's how important the sales letter is and how impactful it can be to rewrite "sucky" web pages. You can check out what Dr. Mike.

Getting back to using a promotional domain, if you are a serious affiliate marketer, it's often a non-decision. A domain costs you less than $9 per year. Just one sale of an affiliate product more than pays for the domain for a year. If you sell big ticket items, as I do, the commission on a single sale is often $700 or more. Just one extra sale covers the cost of 80 - 90 promotional domains for a year (I buy my domains wholesale).

If using a promotional domain means that 20% more of your email gets through, since it's not mentioning a domain that may be blacklisted, you've just increased your sales by 20% (all things being equal). If that's just one or two extra sales paying you a few hundred dollars extra commission, it's certainly worth it. I buy my domains through a domain name reseller account that I have. I pay $90 per year for this account, but earn a commission every time that I sell a domain.

I also save every time that I buy or renew a domain. You can check out the service that I use at: If you click the link at the top of that page labeled "Become A Domain Reseller" it tells you how to get setup as I am (so that you can buy your own domains at wholesale). By now you should be convinced that you really should be using promotional domains.

However, let me give you two additional reasons. Many online communities, and discussion forums, have stopped allowing you to post affiliate url’s in your signature file. They've done this largely because many affiliate program managers were teaching their affiliates to post to some of the more popular forums and then leave a link. Many inexperienced affiliate marketers were making a lot of "spammy" posts that really said "nothing," just to leave a link. Forum and community owners noticed this and thus the backlash was a prohibition against posting affiliate links.

At the same time, many of these forum owners have said that it's ok to post links pointing to your own domains where you then mention affiliate products. So, in those forums, you would post links to your own domains. On your domains you have pages that pre-sell the product, or perhaps even offer a bonus for buying the product, and THEN you have them click through to the affiliate site. This is the PERFECT place to explain your bonuses if you are offering some extra inducement for them to buy through your affiliate link rather than your competitors'.

A second and final reason for using a promotional domain is that it looks better to ezine publishers and owners of article directories. These publishers want to offer their visitors and readers professional looking material, and frankly... affiliate url’s with all kinds of strange characters don't look very professional. Articles with those obvious affiliate links scream "He wrote this article to sell me something!" Articles with less obvious affiliate links allow your readers to "lower their shields" and be less defensive. They are more open to your marketing message, so you will make many more sales... and isn't that what it's all about?

Copyright 2006 Willie Crawford

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