How To Make Money Setting Up Your Own Local Affiliate Program

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This was originally the 4th volume of the ShoeMoney Newsletter.  I had some deliverability issues (aweber go figure) and had so many requests to resend that I thought I would just post it here (with some enhancements).

Everyday people ask me how they can make money online.  In the past whenever I have found something lucrative, I have written a step-by-step guide on how to make money with it. The down side to having a massive reach, however, is that as soon as I write about something it becomes massively saturated. Right now, companies are tightening up their budgets.  Some of you may be out of work right now and trying to make ends meet.  Look on the bright side. Performance-based marketing thrives in this economy and right now, this is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of it. This following guide will show you how to setup local affiliate marketing, or commission sales deals. I’ll also give you real-life examples so you can see exactly how it works.

Getting Setup With Local Affiliate Marketing

Getting setup with local affiliate marketing is not easy, but once you get it down it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.  There are many different businesses that are great to market but the higher-end businesses include Lasik Eye Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Dentists, Car Dealerships and the list goes on.  Most local companies not only have no affiliate program but they will not understand the value of your efforts.

The best way to get their attention is to lay it flat our for them. Tell them you’ll charge them nothing for the first month and see what happens.  (This method has not failed us yet.) We know what we bring to the table and we know that after one month of new business they will see a HUGE value to it (or be scared to death we start to work with their competitors).   It would be pretty silly for the business owner to not take advantage of this opportunity.

Determining The Goal

Most of these companies have already done research about their demographics and what a new client, buyer or phone call is worth to them.  Obviously the number one goal of these companies is to make more money. However, you need to ask them a lot of questions to help develop the best target market for them.  I am going to use a local dentist as my example throughout this guide.

The local dentist I worked with explained to me that his goal was to get more clients.  I asked him more questions like if he knew any demographics or more information of that sort.  He revealed to me that he had done a lot of demographic research and knew that women age 30 to 45 schedule appointments for the whole family.  Boo-yah! Now we are talking.  So I pressed him to find out more information about the demographics’ interests. He already knew the answer. It was teeth whitening. I asked him what his markup on that was and he said that it cost them virtually nothing other than labor to perform this “teeth whitening” service (which they normally charge $600).  Now we know our target but how much is it worth to them?  I asked him if they have ever done metrics on what a new customer is worth versus a returning customer. That’s when he told me that a new customer to them is valued at over $250.  Boom!

Tracking The Leads & Determining Value Per Lead

Once you are ready to enter into an agreement with the local business, you’ll need to break down your compensation per lead.  You will probably be surprised to learn that most of these established local businesses have already done in-depth research analysis.  When we were working with one of the bigger car dealerships out of Omaha, Nebraska, they told us they knew every time their phone rang it was worth $14 to them.

Depending on your trust level with them, there are several ways for you to get paid by sending Internet leads to local businesses. One thing I have always learned is that greedy people will never settle for just a little bit of greed.  If they are cheating you, eventually it will be so blatant that it’s time to move on to their competitor at which time you are MUCH better positioned because you are kicking ass in the space.

  1. You can just direct people to call a special number. – Most companies have a dedicated person or team of people who answer the phone.  Their job is conversion.  It’s all they do.  They have been doing this for years and they are much more knowledgeable about the products and services their business offers than you are.  They usually work on commission and this is all they do; they convert interested people into buyers.  The value to them is getting the phone to ring period. Car dealerships are perfect for this.  Above as we talked about, the car dealership determined that every time the phone rang it was worth $14.  I proposed a $10 per call rate and that is what we agreed upon.  In 2007 we averaged 4712 calls per month, which meant $47,120.00/month for us.  Our costs were about $6,000.00 per month in pay-per-click expenses and labor. That means a profit for us of about $1320.00/day (or roughly $41,000.00 per month). And with this one client, we spent less than 2 to 3 total hours per week running everything. They were so happy with the results in 2007 that in 2008 they cut their print media, radio, and TV budgets by 80% and gave us a much higher payout. They even offered to reimburse us to try some other online marketing tactics.
  2. Set up a special code that receptionists will ask for in order to take advantage of the deals. – In this instance, the local dentist I am working with does not have a team of sales people but instead has a receptionist who books the appointments.  She does not work on commission and has no incentive to get people signed up.  While he understands the value in marketing, his primary job is obviously dentistry and nobody in his office is specialized in conversion.  In order to cater to this situation, we developed an incentive program. For all new customers, they would be able to take advantage of plenty of offers, but only if they had a special promo code.  This promo code also helped us track which campaigns were doing the best and also which leads we should be credited for.  We negotiated a rate of $75 per new customer that was within the target demographic. In 2008, we have driven an average of 195 new customers per month.  After our expenses, we are profiting just shy of $14,000 per month from this deal.
  3. You can collect all the data yourself. (This includes name, phone number, email, age, demographics, etc., and then forward this on to the business and charge them per lead.) This method is ideal for businesses who have no online presence at all.   In this case, you will have to create a site for them along with landing page(s).  Basically, you’ll create a website along with a form to collect the user information that your business is seeking. I have used this method the most and it is usually a gateway to the previous two methods I mentioned. I have done this for such a wide range of local businesses, everything ranging from tanning salons, real estate agents, lawn services, and an in-ground pool company. You name it – I have probably tried it. Like I said before, most companies can be leery about paying for a new service off the bat and we understand that. That’s why we give them the leads for free for the first month or so.  You have to use some common sense with this.  If you rack up 20 leads in a day then that is probably enough to turn over to them and see what kind of feedback you get after they have contacted the leads.  If they come back and tell you they would like for you to continue it, then work out a price. Bonus Tip:  When you are working with someone and they have not done the research on what a new lead is worth to them, you might have to sit them down and walk them through it.  Keep in mind these companies might not see the big picture of the compounding value of a returning customer over time.  If you feel sour about the deal, walk at any time and go right to their competitor.  When negotiating a price, never be the first person to name a price per lead.  Let them give you a place to start.  If they keep saying they don’t know, then tell them to call you when they do know as you have other clients to deal with.
  4. You can charge them a flat rate above expenses to manage their campaigns. (boring) If you go with this approach, basically you’ll charge a flat fee to manage the Pay-Per- Click and other accounts for the company.  To me, this is unbelievably boring and I try to avoid it at all costs. Maybe it’s more up your alley?  For a performance-based marketer like me, I hate it. ;)

There are several different approaches you can take when generating local business leads.  The most important thing when looking where to spend money to promote these offers is demographics and obviously geo-targeting.  For those who don’t know, geo-targeting is when you target a user based on their geographic location.  For my campaigns, I am ONLY going to want to target the Lincoln, Nebraska, area.  Here are some of the various ways you can promote the offers:

Promote the offers Via PPC.

Search Engine Pay-Per-Click – There are many Pay-Per-Click search engines and I suggest you start with Google Adwords (the big dog).  Google Adwords is eons ahead of the other search engines in terms of volume, accuracy, and speed. Plus, by advertising with Google Adwords you are also advertising on all the properties they have deals with like Yahoo!,  AOL,  and   If you are new to pay-per-click advertising, I HIGHLY suggest going through all Google Adwords tutorials and even taking the test to get Adwords certified.  You get your certification after you have managed at least $1,000 in spending and have passed the test. (It will also help you get clients if you are certified.)

The secret sauce in pay-per-click marketing is keywords and ad copy.  Your ad copy for the PPC engines needs to convey the incentive (covered later in this article). It also HAS to convey that it is a local business.  A lot of people do not know you can enter phone numbers into ad copy within Google.  This can be great because it might not cost you a click to get a lead.  Also, people can easily look at the ad and see the area code. If it’s the same as theirs, the ad appears to be a legitimate local offer.

Get keywords.

Keywords on a local level are a different ball-game than on a national level.  For instance, when we took over the local dentist’s website, we did some basic SEO. Within no time it was ranking #1 for Lincoln. Seems like the target keyword, eh?  Not so fast.  Over 65% of the PPC traffic coming was from bidding on his company name or his personal name. To us, the magic was in bidding on the dentist’s name and business name. 

Also, much of the traffic was coming from people bidding on phrases surrounded by city/state/zip code names.

Money Tip:  If the local business you are promoting keeps logs… GET THOSE!  They will contain valuable keyword data of what people are looking for and give you a great head start.

All-in-all, keywords are going to be a trial and error process on the local level.

Promote the offers via Social Marketing Websites.

Websites like Facebook and Myspace are the best bang for the buck that we have found.  They already have each user’s exact location, age, and sex, so it’s very easy to target your demographic.

Here are a few of the current ads we have running on Facebook for our local dentist:

Failure Tip: One lesson we learned pretty fast is that you do not want to run multiple versions.  Run them long enough to figure out which one converts best, then only run that one.  From our experience, we determined that the same person who is likely to click on one ad out of curiosity to see the offer but does not convert is just as likely to click on another version of the ad – costing you more money for no lead.  With Facebook advertising, we have yet to see the same IP address for the same ad.  I am guessing that Facebook does not show the same ad to a person once they click on it but I am not 100% about that.  Anyway, just run them to get data. Then go with ONE ad.

Promote via SEO.

You should not discount the value of Search Engine Optimization, but just make sure that the site you are optimizing is owned by you and you can take it with you (the domain).

Promote via Craigslist.

Promotion done via Craigslist can be very lucrative if done properly.  You have to be very careful not to be “spammy.”  For instance, if you can find any way to promote your offer along with the current events or say a local concert, that would be a lot less spammy than if you were just to advertise the offer. In Lincoln, Nebraska, it is best for us to tailor some of the offers around the Nebraska Cornhusker football team. That means our ad may read, “Hey Husker fans! Limited time offer! The Husker special! Come in next week and get a free XXXXX.”   You also want to be careful to not get your postings consistently flagged for spam.  Try to come up with a creative way to promote the local business mixed with some value to the Craigslist user.  It’s quite an art!

Landing Pages

As I stated before, there are going to be some businesses for which you will create a landing page that contains contact information or a form for users to fill out. If that is your case, I have some very useful tips.
1) If the landing page is part of a larger site, then keep the landing page with the same look and feel as the rest of the site.  The user should get the impression that the site was tailored to them. 

Whenever I create a landing page for a client, I do a ton of split testing on the page with heat-maps (more on that later) to find out what layout works best and provides the highest conversion rates. On some landing pages, I will use the title and context to let the user know the page was custom made for them, such as a Facebook user.  The bounce rate (length of time users stay on the page) show that this is a huge thing.  Also, the “promo code” is properly placed for ease of use.  At the bottom of the page I usually includ a ton of information about promotion details and other offers that the dental practice provides.

Tools Of The Trade

  • Crazyegg – Crazy Egg is a heat-map tracking utility that will show you where your users are clicking on your page.  It’s very useful when conducting split testing.
  • Google Website Optimizer – I cannot say enough good things about the website optimizer.  It will rotate all of your different combinations and then show you the data on what the best possible combinations will be.  We have seen 20-45% improvements using it.
  • ClickTale – ClickTale shows your mouse tracking.  It’s amazing to see what people do with their mouse movements.  It’s an absolute “must-have” for those who are using forms to collect leads.  It will show you where visitors stop to pay attention, where people stop to read more, and even where people quit and give up on your form.

Other Things To Think About

  • Integrity  – One of the key things to think about is the integrity of the business that you’re promoting. They have spent a lifetime building up their reputation and you single-handedly could destroy that.  Always keep that in mind.
  • Legalities – Always have all contracts thoroughly looked at by your lawyer. You do not want to get caught up in some non-compete or nondisclosure agreement. By the same token, in certain cases, you will want the local business to sign a non-disclosure agreement in regards to your methods.
  • Go with your gut. – If you talk to a local business and you just do not think it’s the right fit, walk out the door and find another one. I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with local businesses when I knew in my gut it was going to be a train wreck. Sure enough, it always ended up costing me more money, time and stress than it was worth.

Right now, I can honestly say that I believe local pay-per-click marketing is the new gold rush. Actually, I think it’s even better than that. It’s really like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s really that easy.  I’m sure a bunch of people will post comments with all of their excuses as to why this will not work for them.  Do not be discouraged by them.  Find a local niche and try it.  Its going to take a little bit of hard work but it’s really the new frontier.  There is a HUGE dislocation in how cheap it is to advertise on these social networks – probably bigger than the ringtone market of years ago when I wrote about it.  Get after it!

(BONUS: The folks at Facebook are giving a free $50 to new users of their advertising platform.  Just use code “shoemoneynl”.)

303 thoughts on “How To Make Money Setting Up Your Own Local Affiliate Program

    1. juliejulie

      This is a great article, thanks! I’m just starting to promote my site as a local niche market haven to local fitness, equipment and apparel shops, and service companies seeking to market to 30-50 year old women who are trying to get in shape. Implementing some of your ideas should help me make money, eventually. Now, I just have to get my traffic up! Guess I should do some SEO?

  1. Tony Spencer

    Jeremy, I’m pissed that you wrote this and now all these guys and gals will be rushing the stage. :) But I have to say this is the most useful, powerful blog post you’ve written to date. Don’t understand why you sacrificed a great idea, but excellent job putting it on that silver platter.


    1. Cameron

      ditto Tony! not too worried about it though… with the number of different local markets and businesses within each of those, I’m not too worried about anyone competing with what I’ve been doing.

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  3. adrian

    I’m curious as to your (or anyone elses) thoughts on getting that first client. Do you do a cold call and lay things out for them? Direct mailing? Cold email, etc. I’d imagine after that first one it gets rolling pretty nicely because then you can just refer future clients to that person, having them provide a solid reference.

    1. Jeremy Schoemaker

      Actually in every case the relationship was already there. My dentist asked me what I do for a living I said internet marketing. He asked how we could proceed to set him up. Same with the auto dealership and other places. You probably already have relationships ;).

      Now we get so much business word of mouth that we really cherry pick locally.

      1. Melvin

        Now that is golden. What a great way to segway into your business while sitting at a hair salon and getting your hair styled by the owner.

        Another thought is to do this kind of promotion anyway and if you know that the company is seeing success in their business, then go in and show them your promotion success. Just a thought.

  4. Hyder

    Is this the newsletter that you sent out? I never got your previous one in my email. Nice post though, really great information.

    1. PTC Blog

      Yes… This is the same as the newsletter, just more pictures. Kind of defeats the idea of the newsletter if there is nothing exclusive!

  5. Ben Tremblay

    Very interesting shoe. I mean, it’s a fairly nice step-by-step guide on how to do it! I thought about this a while ago, like how I could reach my local market and still make money as if I was reaching the international market. I came up with a couple of ideas, but I didn’t thought of running local affiliate programs. Good job and thanks for sharing your experience.

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  9. Anthony Shapley

    I already do this and have turned over an additional £14k/$20 a year from it. Its to build a site, get ranked for local terms and sell off the leads. Very easy work.

  10. mrkbsm

    This is still good info, whether you got it here or in the newsletter.
    If people are wondering about “exclusive” newsletter content, maybe Shoe can just make back-issues available to new sign-ups. Then if people complain about not getting the last newsletter, they can sign up and see what they missed.

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  12. Alex at

    What if I find a business that after a research it appears that there aren’t any searches for related keywords?

    Should I move on to another business, or try to figure something out.. is there anything to do in this case?

  13. Bill Masson (WWAH)

    Nice insight with some great tips for people on a shoe budget in these uncertain economic times. This is a very novel Idea of offering local companies affiliate marketing for no charge for the first month. It’s quite refreshing just how you can improvise and turn this economic downturn to your advantage. You always notice that there are certain companies that seem to thrive in these times.

  14. Bryn Youngblut

    This was probably one of the most actually informative newsletters I actually received opposed to the boring, re hashed bs everyone tries to get you to sign up to their mailing list for. Great info and thanks for the tips.

  15. browie

    Wow, that was a great newsletter/post. I suppose your answer to “what about if you live in a small city area?” would be that you don’t have to live in that city to do business with them.

    Great post.

    1. BusinessX

      A small town may be even a more lucrative market, as there would be many cottage businesses that would want to reach out into the world. They need someone to share their information to the world.

      BTW Browie- Am a fan of your dot com lifestyle.

      1. Tushar Dhoot

        I don’t necessarily agree with you. I live in a small town and I know for a fact that in my city of 9000 people and surrounding community of 15000 people, I will not be able to get enough clicks or leads to make anything like this worthwhile.

  16. Mark A.

    Great post and newsletter article. BTW, my first issue ended up in my spam folder. Unusual for an e-mail from

  17. BusinessX

    Thank you for posting this on your site. I was wondering how to tell people about your local affiliate information. I didn’t know if someone signed up for the newsletter, if they would get this months newsletter or would have to wait for next month (missing this information I am raving about ). Now I can simply send them to this post!

  18. JohnH

    Would you suggest having a lawyer draw up your contract or did most businesses want to have their own contract made?

  19. Lynx


    I really want to try this and have a few ideas to get phones to ring. The question i have is how did you make sure you got paid everytime you got that phone to ring? I see how they gave you a special number, but did you trust them to be honest on how many times the phone rang via your number? I know marketing campaigns often lose track of where leads come from and can see it could be the same in this case too.

    Cheers Shoe, great advice and some that i’ll defo be trying out – local is the key!

  20. 5starAffiliatePrograms

    AWESOME article.

    HEY JEREMY, you need to add a link to an info page about your tools at the bottom of those 2 tutorial pages so people that like them can find out more. I naved back to to find out what tools were included and how much it costs and could not find any details. Some people may remember something you posted in the past about the tools that included the price, but many like me don’t know. Someone like me is not going to fill out the sign up form, just in hopes of getting to any info page that tells them what they need to know to make a buying decision.

    Maybe I missed something, but I was pretty interested in finding more info and could not find it. (Just a helpful tip)

  21. Vijay

    I was working on the same concept and building some relationships with local businesses. It was very nice to see the results I can get…..


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  24. Kev

    Local affiliates are great for those looking to target a large audience outside your town/city but keep in mind the competition.

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  26. payday

    I have been wanting to try this thanks for the great info.
    I am going to try and talk to my wifes dentest and see if I can do something with them. What other business that would be good to work with? I don’t think this is a good time to work with car dealers.

  27. Free myspace layouts

    I’d like to ask this question again:

    “1) How can we actually track this? This is my main concern with this business model – you are relying on the merchant being 100% honest. I think businesses would only report around half of their actual leads. How do you prevent this?”

    1. Tushar Dhoot

      Shoe answered this question just below yours:

      “Well if you decided to charge per click then you could just use a jumpscript and use your own analytics.

      As far as the trust issue… yes they could cheat you and this is one of those excuses you can use to not do this.”

  28. Dave

    How do you keep track of “physical clicks” in this case? You really rely on the vendor’s trust. They could easily cheat you.

    1. Jeremy Schoemaker

      Well if you decided to charge per click then you could just use a jumpscript and use your own analytics.

      As far as the trust issue… yes they could cheat you and this is one of those excuses you can use to not do this.

      1. Dave

        Nah… I love the idea and I will start working on it tonight. I just want to minimize my risks. I think gathering a list of people and charging per lead is probably the safest way…

      2. Ashley

        I don’t see trust as an issue at all – if you’re bringing in leads at a good cost why would they cheat you? That would be killing the golden goose. Of course some people might try scrub your numbers a bit, but any intellegent business person (which they should be if they have a business that’s worth working with) would realize they should pay you as much as possible or you could walk across the street to the competition. If you can bring in legit leads to a business you hold all the cards. And who cares if they scrub leads a bit – look at the margins Shoe is talking about.

    1. Haltingpoint

      What a pathetic attempt to drop your affiliate link. You think people here won’t see through that?

  29. JetPunk

    Great post.

    Do you consider it unethical to bid on other local business names?

    It seems like it could bring up copyright infringement issues as well as resentment from other local competitors.

  30. BloggingBanks

    Shoe, thanks a lot for taking the time to explain in detail how a local affiliate marketing business will work out. It definitely gave me some ideas to take some of my business off-line..

  31. Hemroid Harry

    did anyone else try the coupon code? this is the message that i got when i put the code in : “Sorry, the code that you entered was invalid, has already been used, or has expired.”

    i know i have never used this code before??

    1. Matt

      Still not working for me either :(

      Any chance of hitting up Facebook Jeremy to find out what the deal is?

  32. Gerad T.

    Hi Shoe! Great Article.

    I do have one question. With lead selling option 1 and 2. How do you track the calls to the client or the number of times a code is used? Do you just get a report from them? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. This is a big concern for me.


    1. Cameron

      there are services you can use that give you a special number and it will track all the calls…. and if you can’t figure out how to track web leads yet at this point, perhaps you should consider doing something else.

  33. Jason

    Very good post. I appreciate you sharing this info. I had been noodling an idea that was similar, but this just solidifies it for me. Thanks again.

  34. Ad Hustler

    Do you charge these clients some sort of a retainer up front? Take a credit card? Local businesses are notorious for trying to stiff their vendors so I’m wondering how you ensure you will get paid. Also how do you deal with lead quality issues, such as if you say you delivered 4,760 calls to a dealership and they say, well most of those calls were crap.

    Ive dealt with this, thats why i ask.

    1. OurSalePrice

      I hate to bring the proverbial “wet blanket” to the party. But, after being a sales manager for a dealership, you would be spinning your wheels when it comes to marketing this product to auto dealerships. There is no such thing as “not the right time to go after the auto industry” or any niche. If you think that way you have already lost the battle. The reason being is that there are 20-30 businesses that supply “Good Credit” and Bad Credit Leads” to dealerships for pennies on the dollar.
      The idea is great, but you have to “qualify” these leads in order for them to be profitable to you. There are so many other variables involved within this “market” but there is a workaround. I do have some ideas that may assist you in getting in the door at the dealerships. So, if you are looking to get into this part of the market or would like some ideas please drop me a line.

      1. National Water Council

        Not all leads are created equal. Sometimes a “lead” is just data. If all you know about someone is their credit rating, does that mean they’re interested in a car? I’d like to know where you’re getting “leads” for pennies each.

  35. Steve


    Awesome job on the newsletter. I read the entire thing, and I was impressed by the simplicity of your explanation. You got me excited about local affiliate marketing now.

    I do have one question though. How do you contact new potential clients? Do they contact you first? Do you look through the yellow pages and find numbers to call?


    1. Leo Saraceni

      The idea in the beginning is for you to find the business you think would benefit the most from your services, approach the owner, and say: “I can increase your bottomline – the first month is free. Just answer a couple of questions” . Eventually, you’ll start receiving calls. The competition is pretty good at picking that up.

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  37. Charles

    Do you charge per lead for businesses other than car dealerships? Or do you get paid per sale, as in the case of the dentist?

  38. Chris

    Shoe this will not work for me!!! I can’t get drunk all day long in my underwear and hold up this business… what if they call me and I’m three sheets to the wind?

    Great post shoe, in my community there is basically zero competition and I’m sure in most other below 50k pop. towns can say the same

  39. Christopher Clayton

    Shoe, ive been promoting local events online for the past 2 years and have made over 5 million dollars!

    Myspace is great for this type of marketing!!!

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  41. Mike

    Hey Shoemoney when you use your own 800 number do you make the business get this or… how do you set this up? Who answers the phone etc..

  42. Find Terms

    Local is completely the rage, I’ve been working w/ bankruptcy lawyers and there is limitless possibilities to drag customers off the web and create leads for real businesses in lucrative niches.

  43. yinka

    Whao this is a good post and it came at the right time I am thinking of learn more about affilate marketting.Thanks for opening my eyes may God bless you.

  44. Dick

    I believe that smart people are always trying to keep their nerves. The money can be earned in different directions. People does not have nerves of steel.

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  46. Bourne

    What business infrastructure (site. accounts, tools) does one need to set up and be expert at before marketing this service?

    At some point, you would imagine businesses saying they could make their own Adword campaign. I have no problem cold calling or going door to door, so am ready to set myself up. Thanks for the article!

    1. Leo Saraceni

      What you really need is some form of results to show to those local biz owners. Most of them have very little idea of what you’re talking about, so you need to make it very clear: I’m going to get more people to your website and convert them into leads for you. People dont want to manage their own adwords campaign because it takes their attention out of … running a business. That’s why they have you.
      I made a quick video/post on using local ppc to outrank your competion check it out.

  47. Nokia 5800 Phone

    what a great post! The level of detail and the real world example of the dentist is much appreciated. I agree that the offline niche affiliate business is one of the best opportunities around today. There are literally millions of businesses that need what we as internet marketers take for granted. Its just a matter of keeping it simple and using our skills to bring them more business. That seems to be the best business model anyway, help people make money and you’ll be paid handsomely for it.

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  49. Jim Stiner

    Very Nice article. It was posted over at a forum.

    You said, “Money Tip: If the local business you are promoting keeps logs… GET THOSE! They will contain valuable keyword data of what people are looking for and give you a great head start.”

    And I post on the forum, “What logs is he talking about?
    How would the owner know if he keeps logs? I did a search for keep logs and how to keep logs on keywords and came up with no solid answer.I bet Gina or Mike knows the answer. Please, Help this dummy out. Jim Stiner”

    Gina said, “JIm you are too cute, I could be wrong but I think he meant keeping track of the calls and where they came from meaning asking the caller how or where they heard about them? Or having the caller give a special code.”

    TW said, “I think they mean the website logs — what search words were used by people who arrived at the site, etc. But I could be wrong.”

    and Mike said, ” think the logs referred to are those carbon less phone message books that show who called and messages, etc. Years ago I worked for an insurance company and we were instructed to log in all phone conversations in one of those. This was back before the day of the PC or when a computer CPU was about the size of 7-11 convenience store. They aren’t really looking for keywords, but in a way that’s exactly what they got, because they were pulling data like what people were asking for, etc. But with our “online” mentality, we can use this data to dig out some longtail keywords.”

    Who is right?

    Still confused
    Jim Stiner

    1. Bourne

      Don’t forget to use local placenames in the company’s keyword metatags. provides the most current list of geographic keywords for any location. So I wouldn’t minimize SEO as part of the affiliate marketing service.

      1. pood

        I believe there’s a inverse correlation for marketing and the economy.

        For instance, my friend tells me his business printing store revenues has been increasing since the downturn in the economy

  50. Gumbo

    You covered quite a few bases there Shoe.

    Food for thought. Must check out what facebook referrals are these days.. :)

  51. Ashley


    I had a couple of questions – hopefully they won’t get lost here at the bottom of the comments.

    On the dentist campaign the promo page you showed us said free teeth whitneing. It wasn’t clear to me how the dentist made money by giving away free teeth whitening. Since you were targeting women, once they had the free teeth whitneing they then signed up their entire family for other services? Is that the angle?

    On the car campaign did you set up a website that you owned and created or did you just forward to their website with your 800 number on it.

    On Craigs List where do you place your ads? In the “Services” section? I guess I’m not clear what sort of value you can really add by placing an ad on Craigs List even making it fairly localized. In Los Angeles the services section is so filled with spam when I’ve placed ads in there in the past I’ve gotten zero repsonse. Maybe I just haven’t written the right ad yet, but I was hoping you could elborate a little on that.

    1. Matthew Larson

      Hey Ashley, teeth whitening isn’t permanent so you hope for a return customer. They may also switch for general dentistry. Also, teeth whitening is like the “introductory sell” for more cosmetic procedures.

  52. Chris Guthrie

    Great post Shoe. Are you concerned that the dentist will read this post and think, “Umm… I should do this myself?”

    Also – do you believe the best strategy for someone that is new to local affiliate marketing use the method of giving the leads for free at first (because it’s hard enough to probably convince some companies to try you out let alone if you don’t have an established presence.)

    1. Jack

      The same reason the dentist won’t start a phone book publishing business… They just pay for the ad to be in the book and work on providing dental services to those who contact the.

      Most businesses want to be get better at their core services – so should we!

  53. IamJustinM

    I’d imagine a really good place to get clients for this would be trade shows and conventions. Especially home and garden trade shows. Those shows are freakin dead these days and most of the companies already paid the non-refundable price for the booth setup.

    I’m sure they’ll be all ears.

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  55. Brian

    This works. I am a total newbie (I don’t know anything about marketing). I asked my dentist yesterday and she not only said she wanted to do it but she wanted to do it immediately. I’m definitely gonna need some help

  56. Smaxor

    What a great post. As a network owner people are always asking me what is the great unknown niche. There almost never is one. Unless you make your own :)

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  59. Takumi86

    I have seen quite a lot of this kind of article but i found out this one is quite different among other that i found, thanks for those link!

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  61. Kumar

    I have been doing such things for few local customers for past one year but earnings were not that great.Now I realized that I should have been choosy about the niche I’ll be promoting.I didn’t realize that we should rather focus on high-commission niches ONLY.But your article has shown me the right way to do it.Ans alas, recently I got a call from one of the local dentists to do similar thing for him and I didn’t take any interest.I’ll have to go back and mine out his contact details now.Why didn’t I see this great opportunity.Thanks Shoe for the eye-opener.

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  63. pood

    Excellent post shoemoney, I’ve been doing something similar in the last month. the market is limitless for this.

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  66. David Jason Parrish

    Hey Shoemoney, I used the information in this blog entry to start up a pretty good little business. I wrote a pretty detailed post about it over at my blog. I just wanted to say thanks, and if you get a minute read it (I know you’re busy) and let me know what you think.

    You are really a nice guy for giving this one out for free!


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  68. Rob


    I DID get your newsletter, made a few phone calls, negotiated $250 per lead with a local company, set up a site in 24 hours, ran a PPC campaign and genereated TWO leads in the first 48 hours. Just like shooting fish in a barrel!

    Will you please talk more about owning the domain for the site? Do you have any good examples of different types of sites? Do you just create generic sites packed with content and a lead gen form?

    1. Pat Pushor

      $250 per lead? What industry? I can’t think of a business that would pay that for totally unqualified leads from the net…

      1. National Water Council

        It depends what’s on his landing page. If he gives info and/or asks questions that qualifies some people OUT (encourages them NOT to fill out the form – ex: “only fill out if you’re looking to BUY”) then they might pay that much.

        Another method would be to simply asks so many questions on the form before they become a lead that no one would bother to answer them all unless they were very interested and qualified – then I can think of some industries where it might be worth $250 for that

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    Thanks Shoe, I’ve been wanting to do this for some time but not sure exactly how to track the leads or know how to tell if I was getting paid for all of my work. Great article.

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  82. Bill Rust

    Thanks for the inspiring article, I am making a list tonight, and will begin making phone calls tomorrow! I can think of about 10 new fresh companies I can call on first thing who would go for this.


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  87. Steve Fortuna

    Solid information in this article. I’m actually in the progress of experimenting with this with a good friend who runs a telemarketing department for a company and will let me experiment with things. Can’t wait to get going!

  88. Chris

    I noticed that most local searches I’ve entered result in the Google Map with pins (organic).

    Is it even possible anymore to outrank this?

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  91. Don S

    This is a good idea and I may yet try it out on a 2 or 3 local businesses. I’ve always said, and others have said, smaller businesses don’t want to spend marketing dollars.

    The trust factor is big. I was successful after 3 months with one client who has apartment bldgs in a local geo area with local, targeted keywords.

    I guess one could also charge based upon the expansion of keywords . . .

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  93. Brenda

    Thanks so much for all of the info you send my way. Out of all the email lists I’ve subscribed to, yours is one of the ones I always look forward to reading and following the links on.
    Keep up the great work, I’m counting on you to pull me over the top.. :)


  94. Allan Stewart

    Great article, makes you feel that its easy to just go out there and sign up new clients. In my experience people in the UK are quite retisant to these types of schemes but thats becuase we are all a bunch of negative gits. None the less, great advice and insipres people to try a bit harder to be entraprenurial.

    One question. How do you get your self in front of these business? I presume you don’t just walk in off the street!?

    Phone calls, mailers?

    How do you do it.

    Thats the secret I think.



      1. Jeff

        Why can’t you just walk in? There are PLENTY of small, local businesses that have probably never even heard of online advertisers. What’s keeping you from walking in and showing them how great it is? They’ll be ever so excited to learn about the possibilities of doubling their customers.

        Remember to offer the free month to prove it!

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  96. Kevin

    This is great stuff. I have an appointment with an attorney in a couple hours to talk about doing this kind of work for her. There are definitely other businesses that I go into that will probably be interested.

    I know how I can track the web leads, but what about the phone leads? What if the attorney doesn’t want to get a separate 800 number? I love the idea of putting her local number right in the body of some PPC ads, because there is the potential of a call without a click, but how would I track that? Technically, that would be a lead that I provided. Is the honor system the only way?

    Anyway, despite my tracking questions, I still can’t wait to go to that appointment. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Faceformers

      Kevin, I use Voipo for local and 800 numbers. It’s cheap and offers simple tracking. You can show your client the list of who called and length of call. A more detailed reporting call tracking service I also use is Ring Central. You can record all phone calls and determine which ones are worthy of being considered a lead.

      On a PPC campaign your lawyer should not object to you using a phone number to track leads especially if you are the one paying for the ads. You should be the “owner” of the lead list anyway. That’s what the big boys do.

      If you have a landing page with an opt-in offer, you will own these people and perhaps add them to an autoresponse sequence with legal related offering and useful tips, legal insurance, free consultation, etc.

  97. POS Systems

    Is there any affordable systems that enables phone tracking to clients. Let say i get 30 800 numbers and track replace phone number for the clients number. Is there an affordable way of doing this? Would be perfect for local ads

  98. jackmo

    Yo Jeremy,

    I’ve been a long-time fanboi of Aaron Wall (and still am) and am skeptical of most SEO sites.

    Over the last week I’ve been reading your blog hard and have been loving it.

    Not so much that I’m going to break up with my hero Aaron but I could be keen for some double dating – on the downlow of course.

    take it easy

    p.s. great article, I love the idea of selling leads rather then managing PPC

    1. jackmo

      Also, aside from them being honest, how do you track the leeds you sent when the conversion goal is them phoning or using a promo code?

      i.e. could they just say the number of leads you sent them was half of what it actually was and without checking their phone records you can’t actually disprove this?

      1. Affiliit Review

        I think that’s why he says to really go with your guy when you are first talking to the business owners. If they sound like shady mofos, then don’t do it. If they sound extremely excited to move their business to the online world, then give it a go and trust that they’ll help you out.

        I would imagine that a local business owner getting twice as many customers in one month will do whatever to keep you on board.

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  104. steve warrington

    I don’t get it. Maybe this is obvious to everyone except me, but if the tooth whitening services cost money (as they obviously do if they’re paying $250 commissions, how can you run an ad that offers “free teeth whitening”?

    Especially if you have a concern for the integrity of the dentists’ local reputation.

    Seriously. Help me understand this. Especially considering you have experience in ringtone ads, which had to ban the word “free”.

    1. Affiliit Review

      I think it’s because the dentist said a returning customer is worth much more than a new customer. So, offer the new customer a free offer, get their information, have the dentist do a goodjob, and that customer will go and tell their friends, family, etc.

      It’s why businesses offer incentives :)

  105. dale3318

    After scouring the internet, I finally found a cheap way of tracking calls & recording them. $2 per month plus 8 cents per minute for a toll free number, or $1 per month plus 5 cents per minute for a local number. Check out the simple setup:

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  107. Emmet

    Definitely a great concept. The challenge is in the relationship, and market saturation. A lot of car dealerships are already dealing with automotive web design/online marketing firms. If you can find one that isn’t, pounce on it.

    Alternatively if you can convince them that you can do a better job than their current provider, then you can win them over, but people don’t like to change, so you’re better off looking for dealers who don’t have someone already.

    The example of the dental office I think is much more easy to pull off. They are far less likely to have a SEM company working for them. I think I read something in the comments about someone doing this for their electrician as well, that’s a great idea too. You need to find arbitrage opportunities, and those lie in places where people are ignorant to the possibilities.

    1. Oz Dan

      It doesn’t necessarily have to be a niche that people are ignorant to the possibilities – or even a business that isn’t using sem yet. If you’re good at copy and good at optimization, then you should be able to do a better job at conversion than what they are currently doing, so offer to set up subdomain on a different site promoting them, or one of their products with a Google Voice number to track calls.

      I find most local business in my city don’t really do much in the way of differentiating themselves from the next guy (also, all featues, no benefits).

      I have found that doing a bit of long copy on specific products can get much better results, even for businesses that have been using adwords for some time.

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  119. Senad

    Nice post man, i like the way you tell it straight, keep up the good work.

    MyMoneyFish realy works guys, I have gonnet PAID allready, i joined the progran in december and im a founding father, i got over 6000 people in my downline and over 2000 spillover, they paid me like 2 weeks ago to my alertpay it was a very good over $12,000 in my pocket.

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  121. Motion Groove

    This is the road map to success, the post I have ever ever with affiliate marketing. Honestly this post alone is worth $1,000, not even a joke. I bet by next year I am making $50,000 per month because of this information, UNREAL.

    Thanks Shoe!!!!

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  123. Mike

    I have been trying to build some mini websites for online local marketing. I first started marketing satellite tv offers but has a tough time getting on the front page of search engines. I use mostly free advertising. Mabe this is my hint to use ppc for the same ads. Thanks for the great post. I am looking forward to any future updates to this as I am very interested in giving it another try.

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  125. Greendrops

    I don’t understand 2 things.

    1 – How can you offer the first month for free if you are spending thousands of dollars in PPC ads? I could not afford to spend my own money on PPC ads like this.

    2 – Why not have the customers fill out a form with their contact number and a requested time to be called, instead of relying on the business to track who was your lead?

    Any ideas on this one?

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    can i know how how to make money in internet without any fee pay or any Installment i don’t have a idea


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  128. Matt M.

    Nice article and a lot of great information. Gave me some ideas that I can put into play right away in getting leads for my mortgage business!

    Thank you for the comprehensive tips.

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  130. Kindle Accessories

    Very informative article. When looking for a lawyer do you need to have one with online business experience or just find one than can do the non compete agreements as stated in the article?

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  133. Tawn Smith

    I read this post over a year ago and since then it has helped me a great deal. I currently have an affiliate program with a local dentist here in NC and I’m working on a couple Plastic surgeons because my wife is a surgical tech. YOU ARE AWESOME! I hope you don’t mind but I wrote an article about about this on my blog.

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  137. mark

    This article is several years old, and yet it’s resonating strongly even today. It’s priceless information, brilliantly written. Why have I not discovered you before now?

  138. Curtis Penner

    The one thing that I keep getting hung up on is having to create a landing page on another company’s website. So many people, especially small (service) businesses, have crappy websites and don’t even know how to access the site to create new content.

    Let’s say I want to generate traffic for a local veterinarian, would it be worth while creating a small, content-based site for say animal care, create a landing page with the offer? This way, you have the chance to gain local seo benefits and if one vet decides not to continue, you simply change the coupon or offer on the one landing page. Any feedback is appreciated.

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  143. Lexie

    Wondering about the Facebook ads that you were running — and that each of the ads were promoting free teeth whitening. When taking on a new client are you typically getting them to give away something for free?

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  150. AK

    Hi, can anybody provide any info on how relevant this strategy is in January 2013?

    I wasn’t aware that this article was posted a few years ago.


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    My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right.
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  163. David G

    The problem with ppc is that it’s ALWAYS overpriced, but definition. Since you lose money on low click rates, the per click fee has to be overpriced. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be a good value; it just means that a good ad “could” be purchased for less if it were CPM.

    Some people just have unappealing products, and when you run an unappealing campaign, you lose money. So the appealing campaigns have to be overpriced to compensate.

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  165. Cecil

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