Becoming an affiliate marketer is an awesome way to earn extra money. It can soon become your full-time income if you work hard enough.
If you are here, you are probably thinking about setting up your affiliate marketing business. This post is only going to deal with the website itself. Before you do this step, it is important that you have your strategy in place. This includes:
Select your niche. This might be kites or knitting or fashion
Doing your product and services research so you know what to market
Your Marketing Strategy. SEO or ADs or SOCIAL, or some combination
Once you have decided this, you can find out how to set up an affiliate marketing website. These are the options you have.
The almost free route
If you have no money you have to learn how to make an affiliate website for free. You need to get googling. But basically, you are going to:
You have some money. Get a professional to build the site for you. This will give you time to work on the business. You can focus all your time on the money-making part. Product research, marketing material, and possibly Paid Ads.
Getting your creativity on and building an affiliate site can be mentally and financially rewarding.
You’ll learn a lot about your selected niche, business in general, and how online business works. You’ll find there are so many aspects, that once you start making money, you’ll pay someone else to do the parts that are hard.
One of the biggest challenges for anyone starting any business is the cost of starting. Many people don’t have access to the large amounts of capital required to start building a business. And this is a major limiting factor for many people. Today I will be delving into one business model that requires little to no start-up capital! Yes, it’s true there is a way to start a business with zero money, it is called affiliate marketing and you can even get started today!
Here is what I will be covering today:
Myths about Affiliate Marketing
Building a business without Boundaries
Why should you find a niche?
Why you need a blog?
Use Social Media to spread the word
Grow Your Email List
Let’s dispense with the Myths First
Affiliate Marketing, like any real business, will not make you heaps of money from day one, no business will! It is not a quick route to making money. It is a great way to start building an income for yourself, through your own efforts. If you are working and want an additional income stream, affiliate marketing can be a way to build a steady income that can grow over time.
As an affiliate, you will be promoting products and services that will earn you a commission from every person that buys that product. Instead of physically selling any products you are acting as a referral partner, and earn money for referring a customer. So if you look at it from a long-term point of view and invest now, down the line it will yield higher and higher returns as you grow your business.
A Business without Boundaries
One of the great benefits of an Affiliate Marketing business is the fact that you can run it from anywhere! It’s also not like a normal business where you need to be available during business hours. You also don’t need to only sell to people in your country, you can market your products anywhere in the world.
This means if you ever built a strong enough business that makes you enough money, you could live anywhere in the world. So you could truly be a digital nomad and live and work where you want. You could even travel while you work, the choice would be yours.
Why should you choose a niche?
One of the challenges facing anyone starting out is what to sell! There are just countless products and services in innumerable industries that you could sell. The problem is not if there are opportunities to sell, the problem is what opportunities will you focus on? Instead of trying to cover too many bases, focus on one niche or solve one problem.
This will help you be more focused on your marketing efforts! And this is a good thing. If you sell too many different unrelated products, it will severely undermine your content. This is also not ideal from a search engine point of view. So think carefully about what you want to sell by asking these questions:
Where are my interests?
What am I knowledgeable about?
What do I love talking about?
What would I love to learn about everyday?
What products or services do I use everyday?
What products and services am I knowledge about?
Dig into your strengths, passions, experience, and knowledge to find areas that will be more natural for you, as this will greatly help you when creating content. There are many tools online that can help you research the demand for online products and services. Doing a Google search can direct you to some free tools for viewing real data about your niche.
No! But although you don’t need a blog to get started, I would highly suggest setting up a basic blog for your business. Some affiliate programs will require you to have a website, so it depends on the affiliate network. You can share information about the products you are selling, and create a resource with your audience.
A blog gives you total ownership over your content. You are in control and can use it to centralize all your content in one place. Even if you decide to move from one social media platform to another, your content will still be accessible on your website. You can also use your web content to repurpose on social media platforms. This can help you maintain consistency, and help you to build traffic to your website.
Many hosting companies have basic webpage builders to help you set up a basic website, that won’t even cost you any more than your monthly hosting fee. Ask them to find out more!
Social media is a powerful content distribution platform to share your content and grow an audience. Your content can educate your audience about what you are promoting and create exposure for your affiliate products. Choose a social media platform where your target audience is to increase the success of your content. The better you connect with your target audience the more effective your affiliate promoting will be.
People will be more inclined to follow a link from a trustworthy source than someone that hasn’t taken the time to build a strong following. Social media can be powerful leverage for driving traffic, and it is free, so take the time to learn how to use it wisely and it could pay back dividends.
A great way to build a good affiliate business is to build an email list! If your customers have subscribed to your newsletter, they have already shown interest in your products and services. Now you can use this list to regularly send out information that can inform, educate and promote your products. But remember, put your customer first and don’t just cold pitch every email or you could land up with people unsubscribing faster than they join!
A mistake many affiliate marketers make is they fail to be consistent! To achieve success you need to be consistent, and that means working at your business every week. Create informative content for your readers weekly and share that on social media! Make it part of your email newsletter and keep your readers interested and your business will grow.
Lets Summarize, an Affiliate Business:
Can make you money if you take the time to grow it!
Can be run from anywhere in the world.
Can be run anytime of the day.
Should be based on your interests, experience, or knowledge.
Can be run with or without a website.
Can be run using Social Media as a primary platform.
Can be promoted through an Email Newsletter.
Can be successful by being consistent!
So, what are you waiting for?
Get ready to Launch into CyberSpace!
With a Step-By-Step Blueprint to Guide You to Success.
One of the most important things to remember in business is WHO we are selling to. We can have the best service, but it’s not enough to focus on its features. When you talk to the right people in the right way with the right content, your sales will increase. The prospect will automatically understand what you are saying and why you are saying it. So, who is your customer avatar?
This is always a tricky question. Deciding on your ideal customer takes time. And it can be hard at first.
You need to know:
Who they are?
Where they are?
What challenges do they face?
What is a Customer Avatar?
It helps to create a fictional person who represents who you want to sell to. In marketing, this is called a customer avatar or customer persona. This will allow you to home in on one specific person. All the content you create can be laser-focused on this one person. The avatar will get you back on track if you veer the wrong way. It will even make your decisions on what to write simpler.
How can we create an Avatar?
Luckily marketers have been doing this for decades. There are many questions and worksheets that you can answer and fill in. Once you have done this, you can prepare the types of content you need to help that customer. All business is in the game of service. Service your customer the best you can.
This includes Age, Gender, Occupation etc. Give your customer a name. It tends to make them real. What is James’s age again?
2) Goals and Values
If you know the goal of your customer, you can create content that leads them to their goals. Along with their values, you can write it in such a way that they value what you write. In essence, you have the same values as them.
3) Challenges and Pain points
Everyone has challenges and problems they face. It’s the force against us reaching our goals. Sometimes there are internal values that clash keeping us stuck. You can never resonate with everyone, but if you can single out the challenges and problems you can help them help themselves. By speaking to your customer’s challenges and problems, they will resonate with you. Finding those challenges and pain points can take time. You need to dig into online forums. You can scan social media groups for clues. You can even send out questionnaires to find out more.
4) Sources of Information
Find out what your avatar consumes information. This not only gives you great ideas of content to create but helps you understand where your customer is. What is your customer reading to stay up to date in their job? What are they thinking about doing next? It will help you target your ads and content.
Maybe you’ve heard about affiliate marketing, and you’re not sure it’s a legit thing. Maybe you wanted to join an affiliate network and decided against it. The point is, you might be feeling skeptical about whether it is safe to pursue. That’s exactly what I’m going to answer in this article… is affiliate marketing just another scammy business model?
Why is Affiliate Marketing Perceived as a Scam?
Unfortunately one of the biggest culprits is dodgy affiliate marketers that use bad practices or misleading strategies to get people to click on links and buy products. Yes, just like every industry there are always bad apples. And well affiliate marketing is no different.
In the early days of the internet, all manner of dodgy tactics were used to get clicks. And well, yes, still now there are plenty of chancers! This isn’t a reflection on affiliate marketing, but rather on the people trying to cheat the system.
Today affiliate networks use more sophisticated technology to track purchases! This is to ensure there is no foul play by catching scammers who misuse their affiliate programs.
Is Affiliate Marketing a Pyramid Scheme?
A pyramid scheme is where everyone has to pay up to join with all kinds of false promises of great returns on their investments. On top of that often they are conned into paying more and more down the line. The people at the top, generally the scammers, will make off with all the money and leave everyone else out of pocket!
Affiliate marketing works on a commission model and rewards affiliates for referrals. It doesn’t require you to pay money to gain benefit from it! You see, affiliate marketing is simply a referral strategy for businesses, large and small. It helps them grow their audience by rewarding people or businesses that promote their products.
And this is a safe and easy way to earn money without having to invest large amounts of capital. No need to build up a stock of products, to then ship to your customers. It takes the complexities of running a business out of your hands! It allows you and me to promote products we like or use, through a blog or social media page at no upfront cost. This is awesome for anyone with limited resources to start earning a commission for their efforts.
Well, the answer is obviously no. Different brands will offer different commission rates based on the value of their products. As a general rule digital products will often earn you more commission than physical products. This is due to the profit margins on physical products. It would be worth researching what digital products would complement your offering.
Even if you have an established business, you could still promote products on your site or social media pages and earn a commission. It doesn’t even need to be a direct connection to your business, it might just be a service you use but promote on your site.
How can you Earn Money promoting Affiliate Products?
Let’s say you are an accountant and help local businesses with their accounting and tax requirements. You could sign up as an affiliate partner for accounting software you use and other related products that your customers need. By doing this you can generate commission from each client who buys the software through your link. You could also promote it on your website, or social media pages.
You could also email new clients your link for them to purchase the software you recommend, and so enhance your service. What’s great about this model is that you can literally use your affiliate links in all kinds of places as outline above and so maximize your earning potential.
What big brands use affiliate programs?
Okay, so maybe you think that’s great, but what brands actually even have affiliate programs. Well, the answer is many, in fact, some of the biggest brands have affiliate programs including Amazon, Apple, Udemy, and many more!
Amazon’s affiliate program is one of the oldest programs around and allows members to market products by sharing links in their content and earning a commission for every referral that ends in a sale. Commissions aren’t as high as other affiliate programs, but the sheer number of products means there are many products you could market.
Again everyone is different and has different interests, so finding products that fit into your overall business plan is the primary goal.
Udemy offers one of the biggest collections of training and learning programs online. They offer anyone the opportunity to promote their courses and earn a commission.
As an affiliate, they offer many tools to help you earn a commission, including links and banners you can simply insert into your content. So they make it as simple as adding links and banners which makes advertising their products simple.
Earn commission by sharing relevant content and offers with your audience
Choose from thousands of courses and exclusive promotions.
Promote Udemy content with tracking assets, including course-specific links, sitewide links, and custom links with deep linking capabilities.
Drive sales using promotional assets and tools from Udemy.
Access creative assets and tracking links to add to your website, blog, social media, or email newsletters.
Earn money with competitive commission rates for valid purchases made through your affiliate tracking links.
Understand your sales by tracking performance through your network account.
Join Trusted Affiliate Networks
If you decide to sign up to any affiliate networks, always do your homework and be sure it’s a trusted network. Always remember this is the internet, and there are always people out there to mislead you. So as long as you joining affiliate networks that are trusted and legit, you will be fine!
Let’s Sum it Up!
Affiliate marketing is a legit business model and is used by many large brands to grow their reach. They do this by offering a financial incentive for promoting their products online. This can be a viable way to monetize your content. If you are thinking about starting a business with little to no capital, affiliate marketing can be a great way to start promoting products you can earn commission selling!
Get ready to Launch into CyberSpace!
With a Step-By-Step Blueprint to Guide You to Success.
My journey into online business has brought me to the conclusion that there are many components of digital marketing that need attention when it comes to online business. Some areas need work at the beginning, some of them need work consistently, and others can come later. Each aspect can require specialised sets of skills. Even if you must do all of them at the beginning, which is a good thing, you will be better placed in outsourcing them one at a time as you start to earn money. (Re-invest into your business)
You don’t need all areas running at once, but you do need to get started. I’ll order them in the way I think is best to get started.
So, let’s get into the areas.
Product, image, brand, and primary message.
If you need to define your vision and values it can help to utilise a professional. A virtual meeting can go a long way. Try Tricia Jones, she helped me really become clear about what I wanted from my business. I’ll touch more on creating your vision and values in a future post.
The following components house your values, vision, and mission.
A Sales Funnel is essentially a page on the internet that has some marketing of your products or services. Its primary function is to get the user to perform an action. Normally it’s to get a name and email address.
To get someone to enter a name and email, you often need to entice them to do so. Perhaps offering them access to a free webinar or a free PDF that has extreme value to that person. Getting the name and email is key to your online business. This person might not buy today, but because you have their email, you can provide them with value and offers until such time as the person decides to buy or unsubscribe.
We have an email address now (Hopefully many!)
The cool thing about online business is you can automate your email. Write once and send it to your subscribers as they join up. Over time, your email sequence can grow. If you write 1 email a week for 1 year, you have a decent sequence. (You can go back and modify when needed)
You can also send them broadcast messages too from time to time. These can be used to push special offers or updates to your subscribers.
A great product I use is Aweber. They make it easy to create, publish and monitor.
If you can push traffic to your funnel, and implement the email marketing aspect, you are essentially in business. You can market and try to make sales.
But supplementing the funnel with context builds trust in your target audience. This is done with a website the houses your Vision, Mission and Values. It provides valuable content to show that there is a real person (or business) behind the scenes.
Aspects that drive traffic
What drives an audience to your funnel, website, and email list? There are a few ways you can target your audience. Some of them cost money, the others will cost you time (consistent time)
In short, it is the skill of structuring your website, content and building authority for your website. It includes both content related techniques and technical aspects that can enhance the content of your website for search engines and help you rank higher.
It includes your keyword research. The words your audience will be looking for in the search engine. For example, if you are selling Canon Cameras online your audience might search:
Canon camera for a far distance shot
What camera should I use?
Your site and content will need to target these keywords and phrases. With time, consistency and quality content, your site will show up in search engines higher up and more often.
On the side of not spending money, you would have to create quality content over time. Consistency is key. The more you produce, the more quality you have, time will bring you internet traffic.
Types of content online include
Case studies and many more.
Begin with one and stick with it for 3 – 5 years. Become an expert.
The content shows search engines that you are committed to producing value, and your reward will be traffic. This together with your keyword strategy is key to your online success without spending money.
With your Sales Funnel, Email marketing, and content in place, we can find other ways to bring traffic to your products. Once again, there are a whole lot of options available. Don’t try and market on all of these at once. Rather, find out where your audience hangs out and target them.
In my SFM business, my audience is full-time employees that know there is a better way to make a living. And so, LinkedIn provides the best opportunity for me to find my audience. Do a little research on how to use your social media platform effectively and be consistent.
If you have the cash flow to run ads, it’s the perfect way to bring a targeted audience to your sales funnel. Most of these platforms allow you to pick specific details of your audience. Age, job title, interests and much more.
It helps to be very specific in your audience and speak directly to that person (Your avatar). If your Ad images and content appeal to your target, it will interest them, and they will click your ad. It will take them to your sales funnel, and you can get their email.
Once you have a list of emails, you can nurture that list over time and generate commissions.
An overriding aspect of digital marketing is measuring what you are doing. If you can measure it, you can adjust what’s not working. Most of the components mentioned above have metrics that you can measure over time.
For example, your email marketing lets you know how many emails were opened, how many people clicked your link and even if emails were not delivered. When you run ads on LinkedIn and Facebook, it measures the success of your ad. In fact, the more successful your ad the cheaper the cost to you! They allow you to measure impressions, clicks and even the position of ads on platforms that were successful.
As you can see, there is lots to consider in an online business, but you don’t have to have to all running in 1 day! Take your time to learn and implement each aspect one at a time. There is plenty of support on the internet on how to do everything, but don’t fall into the habit of overlearning. It’s something I still catch myself doing from time to time. The best way to learn is to do.
Get ready to Launch into CyberSpace!
With a Step-By-Step Blueprint to Guide You to Success.
Okay so you finally decided to sign up for an affiliate program. But now you are wondering what to do next? In this article, I will give you a beginner’s push in the right direction.
Get your Affiliate Link?
When you sign up for any affiliate program, you will need to receive a unique link to the product page you are promoting. This affiliate link traces transactions and allows you to gain credit for that transaction. Always ensure that your links are correct and work to ensure you receive your commission.
Plan content around your Affiliate Product
Before you just start dropping your link everywhere, you need to create content that will inform and promote the product you are promoting. It’s not enough to just create links on your site, you need to talk about the product.
Here are some ways you could promote your affiliate products:
One of the best ways to grab your reader’s attention is to zero in on the primary problem that the product solves for your reader! Explain the problems that they face before they get to purchase your affiliate product. Then guide them forward to the solution, the product! What will it save them and where can they get the product! Yes, now drop your link!
2. Honest Product Review
If you use the product this will make it a lot easier for you! If not you can do your research and cover what makes this product a good investment. Explain the major benefits and features of the product. Also, share images and videos that show in a visual way how the product works.
Consider going into the advantages of the product, what it does well, and even cover what it does not do. Be objective to inform your reader the best you can to give a truthful demonstration of the product.
The more honest you are the better, as this will avoid your customers building false expectations and being disappointed when they finally purchase the product!
3. Useful Product Tutorial
Depending on the type of product that you are selling, you could create a blog tutorial. Show your reader a step-by-step process of how to use the product and its features. This is a great way for the reader to familiarize themselves with the product.
Explain this in simple ways that are understandable and show diagrams and images where possible to better visualize your tutorial for your reader. Including images or videos of yourself using the product will further solidify trust with your readers.
4. History of the Company or Product
Another way to build credibility for what you are selling is to give your reader insights into the history of the product. You can show how the product has evolved over time, and what the latest features offer. Also, you could share that the vendor has a long history in the business, and how they are at the forefront of innovation.