People flock to affiliate marketing as a way to make money online because it seems so easy.
And, in theory it is.
The concept to affiliate marketing is simple: you sign up to become an affiliate, you send website visitors to the website you get to promote a product then when someone buys that product you receive a commission.
Of course, with most things, simple doesn’t mean easy.
This article will give you a great jumping off point, but to ensure you are successful as quickly as possible, you should think about investing in affiliate marketing training too.
In this article I will break down the 5 must do tips you need to know right from the start:
Pick A Niche
Before you sign up for an affiliate program and start sending traffic, you need to decide what types of products or services you want to promote.
You’ve no doubt heard people say you should pick a niche that you’re passionate about, and that’s not bad advice, as far as it goes.
If the niche you love is populated by tons of other people who love it too…and spend money in it, you’re good to go. But if your passion is for something a little more obscure, you need to keep looking.
A good niche has tons of passionate people who buy lots of niche related items. There’s tons of niches to choose from.
For example, start in a huge niche like fitness, food, sports, parenting, etc. than drill down to sub-categories (don’t go too far down or you might get such a small sub-niche that there’s not enough potential customers).
So, instead of choosing the fitness niche why not choose fitness for new moms or fitness for retirees, etc.? These sub-niches will still have tons of potential customers but they won’t be as competitive as the broader fitness niche will be.
Also, spend some time researching the affiliate marketplace you’re considering signing up with. You already know about Amazon.com but some of the other marketplaces may be unfamiliar to you.
Before you promote any product from a marketplace do your due diligence in both the marketplace and the specific product.
You don’t want to promote crappy products to your audience. If you do, they won’t trust you anymore.
Research Your Audience
It’s very important you know who you’re marketing to. If you pick a niche that you’ve personally been involved with for a long time, this part will be a lot easier.
You should already have a really good idea of the people who love your hobby as much as you do. If not, do a little research to find out who your ideal customer would be.
It’s incredibly easy to do, just go to Facebook and create a business page. Then you’ll have access to their audience insights tool. This tool will tell you virtually everything you need to know about the people in your niche.
You can find out which gender is most interested in the niche, the average age, the average level of education, income, whether or not they have children, etc. All of this can provide you with a good idea of who you’ll be “talking to” with the marketing you create.
Get A Website
As an affiliate, you’re main job is to get interested website visitors to the offer you’re promoting.
If you’re just starting and you don’t have your own website, you can send traffic to the web address you were assigned when you signed up to promote a product on some affiliate networks like Clickbank.
This is an acceptable way to start, but only if you absolutely have to due to lack of money.
AND, it’s only a short term fix.
You never want to build your online business on assets you don’t actually own.
Setting up a Facebook page and thinking you’ve got a website is a very bad idea. You don’t own that. Facebook can decide they don’t like something you’re doing and they can boot you off their platform at any time for any reason (this also applies to Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.).
Using these resources to grow your audience is smart, relying solely on them for your online presence isn’t smart.
Think how you would feel if you spent months, or years, building up an audience on their site and you lost it all overnight…yikes!
These social media sites are only to help you grow your audience and drive traffic to your website. Nothing more!
Since a domain name only costs around $10/ year, and a hosting account can be bought for around $4/ month most anyone can afford to get their own website.
Build An Email List
I’ve heard it over and over, and seen it in action myself – up to 98% of the people you drive to your website won’t make a purchase and they won’t come back.
Let that sink in for a second: all your work to get people to your website will be wasted for almost 98% of your traffic! And, if you’re paying for traffic, it’s even worse!
There are tweaks you can do to your website to increase conversions, but there is always going to be a lot of leakage… it’s just the nature of the beast.
People aren’t as likely to make purchases from you when they just met you. It takes multiple positive interactions before people like and trust you enough to buy something from you.
That’s where an email list comes in. It’s a pretty simple strategy and one you’ve probably already seen in action yourself:
- You visit a website and a form pops up offering you a small gift (a free report, discount coupon, etc.)
- You enter your name and email address and you receive your freebie either on a thank you page or in an email
- You are officially subscribed to their email list and they can continue to legally email you.
Pretty simple. When you sign up you are “opting in” to their list and giving them permission to email you. The good thing is that you can always “unsubscribe” from the list. This is the legal way and all promotional emails must contain an unsubscribe link.
If you use this process of building an email list on your website, and offer all your subscribers truly useful information, you can build a huge list of very loyal customers.
Just don’t abuse them – I use a 3-1 system. For every 3 emails I send only one is a “sales pitch”.
Always offer truly helpful information for your audience and they will stay away from the dreaded “unsubscribe” button and you can make a lot more money and better leverage your website traffic!
As I said, your main goal as an affiliate is to drive traffic to your offers. It’s up to you to learn which traffic source is the best fit for your budget, your time and goals.
I personally recommend using some lower cost paid traffic methods at the start while simultaneously building up your free traffic strategies.
Doing so can give you some fast sales while your free strategies are gaining traction.
One of the best free ways to drive traffic is with content marketing.
Content marketing is a very simple method of getting very targeted traffic to your website.
Targeted traffic means the people you are sending to your website are very interested in your product or service and there is a high likelihood they will buy.
You simply add quality content to your site on a regular basis. To expand the reach of your content you can share that content on social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Youtube.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another great way to increase the reach of your content. By putting targeted keywords in your content, you can increase the chance of your website showing up on the first page of results when someone does a web search using those keywords.
You’ve seen this in action yourself. Remember the last time you searched for something online? Remember the phrase you typed in to find that information? That phrase you typed in was a keyword.
The results that appeared higher on the first page of results were there because those content creators used that keyword in their content. The search engines saw they had the same keyword you searched for and placed those websites at the top of the search results.
S.E.O. should be an important consideration when creating your content. There are even plugins you can use with WordPress website that will improve your SEO.
Many affiliate marketers have several websites in several niches. That way they optimize their reach. When you have 5-10, or more, websites, you don’t need to make tons of money from any one of them but rather can make a great living even if you only make a little from each website each day.
And, since so much of your work can be automated or outsourced, you may find that running multiple websites isn’t as time sucking as you would think!
Use the steps above to get started with affiliate marketing. Once you’ve got your first website running and profitable you can decide if adding more websites to your online portfolio makes sense for you.