You turned to the Internet to make money online. But, what’s next?
Well, the first thing most people THINK they need to do is build a website.
And there’s NOTHING wrong with that thought process, but people tend to jump ahead and try to run before they learn how to walk.
Even if you’re turning to the internet, regardless of how “simple” things may seem, it is JUST like any other business. There are steps required in order to succeed.
Today, in this article, I’m excited to teach YOU how affiliate marketing works and the exact steps to get started with making money online.
I call this article “The Crash Course Edition” because that’s exactly what I’ll deliver to you today.
Teaser: I’ll be releasing Affiliate Marketing 201: Let’s Get Advanced in the future so keep an eye out for that article.
But, I want you to succeed so it’s IMPORTANT you read this post first ☺
Okay, so let’s get started!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
First things first. What IS affiliate marketing?
Here’s the definition: It’s a marketing arrangement made between a person/company and a product vendor – if this person or company sends a referral to the product vendor and makes a sale, the product vendor would pay a commission to the person/company.
In even simpler terms:
- You recommend a product or service to people (your followers or anyone you know).
- Some of those people purchase the product or service based on your recommendation.
- You get paid a commission for those purchases.
Here’s a diagram of exactly how it works:
Now this diagram represents how simple the model really can be.
But the problem that people don’t understand is – there are also mini steps inside of each of these areas.
These other steps are what actually help you turn a simple hobby or idea into an real business.
Let’s delve into the steps next…
The 4 Steps To Becoming An Affiliate Marketer
Step 1. Choose a niche
First, you need to decide on your niche. You’ve heard this many times but people generally tend to ignore how important it is.
There’s something I say, over and over to everyone and I want to share it with you…
“I’d rather be a small fish in a big sea, than a big fish in a small sea.”
What I mean by this is simple. As someone STARTING out as an affiliate marketer, don’t try to re-invent the wheel or find a “secret niche” that no one is promoting.
Instead, jump on the bandwagon. Start with what you are most familiar with and what has the most offers out there.
In MOST cases, especially if you’re reading this, I would highly suggest the general Internet Marketing sub-niches: make money online, business opportunities, and software automation.
But it’s important to do your research. If you’re unsure of your niche selection, I recommend you do these 3 things first:
- Check popular affiliate networks like Clickbank, JVZoo or PayKickStart and see what offers are available
- Visit YouTube and search for keywords that may be used for the niche you’re considering
- Jump onto Google and do the same keyword research
Just remember… if you can’t find anyone else as an affiliate in that niche, chances are you’re probably in the wrong niche too.
Step 2. Choose your approach
Next, you should decide on the TYPE of affiliate marketer you want to be.
Now this is a purely personal decision that you need to make. As an affiliate marketer, you do need to eventually grow into each and every one of these, but to start, it’s important you only pick ONE to focus on.
This would be someone who purchases products to review them. Then, they post the review on their blog, social media, YouTube channel, or all 3!
Here are a few I shared on my YouTube channel:
Now, in no way does this mean copy and paste a review you read, or steal a video from someone else to post and hope that works. I do not condone negative forms of marketing here.
What you should be doing is forming your own opinions and crafting honest ethical reviews in the form of video or written words.
That means, you would go through the product or service, play with it, and give real feedback as one user to another. This helps you engage with potential visitors and means you can genuinely recommend products.
Recommended Tools for a Reviewer
- a computer with a webcam and microphone
- powerpoint or equivalent
- a WordPress or HTML site
- Social Media automation tools (like HootSuite)
- a budget to buy products to review
- a way to track each and every movement of your visitors (like Google Analytics)
- a way to track each and every click (ClickPerfect)
One of the most successful forms of affiliate marketing starts with an email list.
The idea is to grow an email list by simply offering a small “bribe” to get a person to join your list.
Then, taking them through a journey (using your autoresponder) to promote different products that you feel will help them. Like this:
Recommended Tools for an Emailer
- an Email Marketing Platform (aka autoresponder) like Sendlane
- an ethical bribe to give away (like a nice solid PLR or something you write or make a video of)
- a landing page that attracts visitors (Sendlane also offers this as part of their package)
- a great eCover to attract (we recommend Pixel Studio FX)
- a link tracking tool (like ClickPerfect) to track real time visitors and clicks
The Social Media Guy (or gal)
With the onset of social media in the past few years, there’s been a large emerging group of social media fan pages that give a great mix of value and promotions.
Again, by NO MEANS am I telling you to open up a social media account and slam up 100’s of spammy posts and links. I’m talking about keeping it classy – creating solid images and content while promoting products at the same time.
You would start by creating a Facebook Fan Page and loading in a great cover photo, combined with a very centralized niche name.
Check mine out right here:
Next, start posting great content and images to build a following.
From there, you would eventually promote products to that Fan Page and if you did a great job with your content, your followers will buy those products.
Recommended Tools for a Social Media Guy or Gal
The Product Owner
Now this one may be a bit over your head if you’re starting out, but I noticed with the recent rise of places like Udemy, Kindle, and Lynda, there are more people in the world with products or eBooks.
One way to substantially BOOST your income as a product owner is to leverage the power of affiliate marketing by simply recommending different products and services that may fill the gaps in which you may not provide.
Example: You’re a blogger and you teach people how to blog. You could be recommending great WordPress plugins that your customers could use to automate or accelerate their blogging.
Recommended Tools for a Product Owner
- a product – if you don’t have one, check out Concierge by Snaptactix, where we hand you a fully done, market-ready product of your own
- a way to communicate with your audience, either through social media, email, or direct mail
- and as I continue to mention, you should have a link-tracking tool to track your real time visitors (like ClickPerfect)
Step 3. Find your affiliate network
Now that you’ve figured out your niche and style of affiliate marketing you want to do, it’s time to find the affiliate network you want to start with.
This all depends on the niche you selected, as some are easier to find than others. It will require more research on your part, but let me give you some recommendations:
- Clickbank – a nice array of digital marketing products
- JVZoo – mostly software automation and make money online products
- PayKickStart – mostly software automation and online education products
- CJ Affiliate by Conversant – offers a nice variety of products
- Amazon – Amazon Associates for physical products
- Shareasale – a nice variety of multiple niches
- RevenueWire – a global network with a very solid variety of niches
We recommend you go to ONE first based on your research and start there. Eventually you can start to tap into multiple or even use private programs.
As a product vendor, our products are hosted on JVZoo and PayKickStart. You can see our full product selection here.
Recommended Tools after choosing your affiliate network
- As I continue to mention it through this entire article, the only one here is ClickPerfect. As an affiliate marketer, it’s VERY IMPORTANT you are cloaking, masking, and tracking each and every click.
Step 4. Use traffic
Now that you’ve figured out your niche, the style you want and the affiliate network, you’re on the final phase – Traffic.
Generally, traffic is the area that many new affiliate marketers get stuck. But, it can be found in A LOT of ways.
Here’s just a few forms of traffic those are easy to start with:
Forum or Social Media Traffic (Free)
You go to popular web forms of the niche you are involved in and offer free advice. In your “signature,” you link it back to your website, social media, landing page, or YouTube channel.
This is done by offering true practical advice on the topic (hint: use Google to research and provide factual answers).
This can be done with your social media as well – simply by putting your links on your fan page or personal page as you go offer advice in different groups.
Pro Tip: Please do not just think it’s OK to go from group to group to post links or contact each person via a private message with your link. This is called SPAMMING.
Search Engine Optimization (Free)
Now this form of traffic is one of the oldest ones. Based on keywords and site rankings, you can leverage the power of search engines to get free traffic.
Tedious and time consuming, this approach can take a lot of work. But when done well, you can start getting tons of visitors for free.
Solo Ads (Paid)
One of the true oldest forms of traffic that still work, if you do them properly and do your research.
Solo ads are simple. You are buying traffic from someone who has an existing email list. They send a recommendation to your site and send you targeted traffic.
Your job is to convince those people to either opt into your list or buy your product or service.
Pro Tip: This traffic requires you to be an Emailer.
Facebook or Google Traffic (Paid)
Without getting super deep into it, this form of traffic is the fastest way to ramp up. But it comes with a heavier cost and learning curve.
My current recommendation for paid ads is Facebook.
Read our articles about Facebook marketing to see if it’s the path you want to take:
Whew – That’s a lot to take in!
There are a lot of things you should be thinking about, but I wanted to give you the crash course to really open your mind, while sharing the basics of Affiliate Marketing.
So I leave you with one question:
What part of this article did you enjoy the most? What part of this article would you like me to elaborate more on?
Put your answer in the comment section below!
Make sure you bookmark this page and look for my next article: Affiliate Marketing 201: Let’s Get Advanced!
Also published on Medium.