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.
Thrive Themes Suite is Your All-in-One Toolbox. Create a WordPress Website That Converts Visitors into Leads and Customers. But is Thrive Themes Suite really the best tool out there? Hard to answer as there are many tools available to WordPress, but it’s the one I choose to build client sites, funnels, and much much more.
I will dissect each of the different tools out there starting with the Web Builder
Thrive Themes Websites
With WordPress and building your site, there are a couple of routes you can take.
Get your site hosted (Bluehost offers affordable and fast hosting for your WordPress Site), find a free theme that you like, find a whole lot of plugins that work together to give you what you need. The risk of doing it this way is that you have no customer support and limited functionality. It will be hard to customize the site (Unless you are a good PHP developer)
Buy a Theme Route
Find a theme that you like, and you have to pay for it. Buy a number of plugins that offer you premium features and 3rd party tools to build your email list. The costs can rack up as you continue to add functionality
Thrive Themes Suite Route
All in one tool. Thrive Themes Suite allows you to build quality websites with tons of functionality that you can drag and drop as you need. It’s conversion-focused and allows you to focus on your core business
Thrive caters to all your needs. Easy to brand for your business, with many design choices. There’s no other platform in the WordPress world that gives you the design freedom of Thrive Suite. You can build e-commerce sites for physical and digital products. With deep WooCommerce integration and access to 9 tools built by marketers to build conversion-focused websites, building sites that convert is easy.
Create Landing Pages and Funnels
Now you get to create the money-making machine. Your conversion-focused Landing page and funnel. Thrive Architect provides you with 290+ landing page templates. They all focus on specific needs you might have. One will be geared to lead generation, another to webinars, and even one focusing on getting you coaching clients. If there is a need out there, there is probably a funnel for you. And if you don’t like any, customize and create your own.
Building your email list is probably the most important feature of any online business. You need to build your list so you can give great offers to more and more people. With Thrive you can simply pull in opt-in pages and customize them quickly to your needs. There is also an option to create A/B testing to find out which designs work better.
There are 20+ API connections to popular marketing tools including Aweber, one email autoresponder software.
It would be a bit of a lie to say that any side hustle will be easy. But, if you can find something you like doing or it takes you away from pain, then it could be seen as easier. We all want time and money freedom, but it only comes with putting in extra hours somewhere early on. So, what is the easiest side hustle then?
No two hustles are the same. And not all are equally easy. What is the measure of an easy side hustle?
It can be done in your spare time
When deciding on a project to earn extra cash, you need to know you have the time out of your busy day to do it. Especially if you are working full time with a family.
Something you are good at
It pays to work with skills you already have. By doing so, the learning curve will be quicker, and you’ll be able to make more money quicker. If you are good at building websites, perhaps this would be your starting point.
Something you are willing to learn
If you don’t think you have any real skills (very unlikely), or you want to learn something new, pick an area you are interested in. When I was building computer applications, it often took me to clients’ sites. From there I realized that I actually like communicating with clients. So I started a side hustle consulting on the side. I outsourced the actual work to better programmers than me.
Can fit in with your schedule
That same consulting business eventually could not fit into my schedule. It was just too time-consuming and not making enough for it to be worthwhile. So I focused on my job again. My current hustle in affiliate marketing is much better suited for me. I can do my 2-3 hours each day when I can fit it in. (Mostly in the morning when my brain is fresh!)
The question “What is the Easiest Side Hustle” has been answered for me.
If you are willing to put in consistent effort, over time you will learn all the skills necessary to be successful. And you just need to know a little about them all. When you start making money, you can outsource the ones you don’t like.
Although you can do this on your own, it’s always better to get the help and support you need to get it running like a pro. Six-Figure Mentors have guided me all the way. Their All-In-One Package costs $97 per month and gives you the following:
Hosting for your Website
Web Design Tools for WordPress
Training on how to build a Website
Training on where to find affiliate programs
Training on Email Marketing
Training on Social Media Marketing
Online Ads Training (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more)
In one of my previous “business ventures”, onthemark, I made this mistake and it cost me. Designer custom logo, business cards, and a pretty website. This all cost me time and money. The time I should have been getting customers. The time I should have been promoting. Soon I was out of money and frustrated.
Even if you have no money for advertising, share your links on Social Media. Send out a weekly email to all your friends and family. Connect with new people on Social Media sites. I still chat with all my new and old connections on LinkedIn and see if there is a fit for them in online business.
Get whatever you have in front of someone and get feedback.
2. Forgetting Your Story in Affiliate Marketing Online Business
You got into online business for a reason. Do you need extra cash? Do you like the idea of being the star of the show? Or you got “gatvol” of your job. (Gatvol is an Afrikaans word meaning, without being rude, fed up)
And of course, there was a build-up to that too. Your childhood, your failed marriage, and even a drug story or two. But don’t forget the good. The promotion, your new partner in this world. Your furry friends are always around to cheer you up. We are all made up of so many intriguing life moments that we remember as stories.
These all make you who you are.
Great marketing is great storytelling.
Tell a story that your customers can connect with and share with others.
That’s how you expand your message beyond your own borders.
3. Focusing On The Little Stuff
Like I eluded to earlier, don’t waste time on things that don’t make money! Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it makes money! Focusing on things like branding and website design and layout won’t help you early on. Make sure you focus on the money tasks. Blogging, advertising, customer support, and getting it in front of your audience.
And a new one I learned recently; I’m busy creating a strategy around it, guest post blogging to drive traffic back to my site. Backlinks build authority.
4. Inconsistent Emails in Affiliate Marketing Online Business
Smart marketers build an email list. Even smarter marketers build a relationship with that list.
Are you only sending emails when you have a new product to offer? Or are you only sending emails once a month? Stay in regular contact with your people. 2-3 times at least these days. Give them regular values. Link them to your latest Blog, Podcast, or video.
5. Doing Everything Yourself
You’ve got to treat your online business, like a business. Sounds easy right. But that means stepping out the way when you can benefit in time from someone else doing a better job at something than you!
Are you the content creator, webmaster, customer support, and still working a job?
You don’t have time to do it all. Learn the basics of a skill, then outsource it. Bring in extra money doing things you like and use that money to pay for outsourcing.
Even if it means trading your time for money in a skill you are good at. Use the money to pay a professional for something you are not good at. i.e. If you are good at web design, build sites for other up-and-coming businesses. Use the money to pay for something you hate, blogging or SEO.
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.
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.
First off, there were two options I had right at the beginning. Utilise paid ads to generate traffic and build an email list, or SEO and Content Strategy for organic growth to build an email list. Having no space in my finances to do paid ads, I chose the slower SEO and Content Strategy. This one is long term and allows Search Engines to recognise your site as an authority over time. Eventually, the web will be recommending your site and services more often on search engines.
1. What have I learned in my spare time over the last 8 months?
How to Build a WordPress Site
After following the step-by-step tutorials, I selected my domain name, published the default site, and customised it. I did what was suggested and got it up and running. When I needed help, the six-figure mentor’s community was there to assist. With a desire to learn it, anyone can do it.
How to create a Sales Funnel
Choosing to market the SFM system, I was able to leverage a done for you sales funnel. You can see the Sales Funnel here. All I had to do was link it to my WordPress site. Then make sure it was connected to my Email marketing account (Get Your AWeber account). If you want to market your own products, there is a section on how to build sales funnels from scratch. Stuart from the SFM says just do it! It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to work.
How to plan your marketing
Then be consistent. So, I quickly moved onto marketing. The part I probably did and still do need to most help with. Learning from the tutorials, I was able to build up my customer avatar. Now I knew exactly who I was talking to. After some research into my customer avatar, I could identify with him and knew exactly where to find him. Turns out LinkedIn! Knowing what they want, I was able to start producing targeted content for my customer. It’s what I am doing each week so far this year. The more quality content you produce, the more search engines love you!
I did not have spare cash after my initial $100 investment each month. So, I had to do all the work myself. Some of my early blogs were about lessons I would need to learn along the way to free up time and money. Blogging was hard at first, and all over the place. But going through the process allowed me to learn blogging skills as well as time and money management skills to get this business going. Not to mention SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) needed to make sure my content is noticed by web crawlers.
Through applying the money management skills I had learned, I was able to free up cash and start to outsource. I have brought in an online SEO and content specialist to do my blogging and SEO now, but my budget doesn’t feel the impact! And my blogging is much better and more consistent because of it. It frees me up to focus on the social media and email marketing part of my business. Eventually, I will outsource that too.
I have also made extra income by building websites for friends and family businesses.
My Investment So far
Although I have invested $1145 for the first half of 2021, I have cleaned up my personal expenses and it now costs me less than $100 per month.
I have not made a sale yet, but the traffic in building to my site! My 11 subscribers make me confident it’s working. And I am proud of that.
The program so far has been amazing, and I keep learning each day. There are moments where I feel completely overwhelmed, but I just remember why I am doing it. To find my own path in life.
What I get for my $100?
Free Tool to build Sales Funnels
Getting Started Modules
Weekly Training (Mindset, business etc)
LinkedIn Learning Free
A community of like-minded people happy to answer my questions
Access to Content Writers
And much, much more!
I will publish another blog at the end of the year to show my progress updates again, but for the time being, I need to…
Overtraining, and underdoing. The more time I spend on consuming, the less time I work on producing. The name of this game is to produce content often, and of good quality. 80% of your time needs to be spent on the things that build your business. Only 20% needs to be spent on learning.
Keep outsourcing. There are so many people who are better than me at each digital marketing discipline. Just leverage them. Keep doing the things that you are good at in the business and outsource the rest.
Focus on Email Marketing and Social Media consistency. Once you have some followers you need to keep giving them value and offering worthwhile products and services. They want to know you are there. I am also going to utilise Social Media more effectively in the next half of the year.
Also, write more content. I will start to produce more content to complement what we already produce.
So was it, and is it all worth it?
You can probably find all this information to start an online business free on the web.
But, the bottom line is it helps to learn from the ones who have succeeded. And to be a part of a great community of people to share your successes and to help you through the tougher time. Definitely, the best investment I have made in years.