What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is everywhere! So many times you will put the name of a product you are thinking of buying into Google, and the websites that come up are affiliate websites promoting the product. They will give you lots of great information on the product and when you click through you end up on Amazon. Amazon then give part of the money they make to the person who owns the website. It doesn’t cost you any more money – it’s just Amazons way of repaying the website owner for the sale.
Amazon starts off paying just 5% of the cost of the product to the website owner, but as the amount they sell grows, their commission will too.
The website owner is an affiliate marketer. Probably she or he do not have just website; they may have a great many, all promoting different products. Do they make money at this? Yes, they do.
So, It’s Just Amazon?
No! For every single niche out there, there is almost certainly an affiliate programme that you could join. If you can build a website, then you can promote a product. If you can do this then you can earn money as an affiliate.
One very popular affiliate programme is Clickbank. Clickbank pay their affiliates a much higher rate of commission, but there is much less traffic going to the products that Clickbank sell, when compared to Amazon. To earn money with Clickbank a person would need to get very targeted traffic, people that are genuinely interested in the product that the affiliate is promoting.
Anyone who wanted to become an affiliate marketer would need to think seriously about which affiliate programme would be right for them. The first decision would be which niche to choose.
Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing
How Do I Choose A Niche?
Some people say pick a niche that you love. This is understandable; if you are going to make money as an affiliate marketer you need to be able to stick at it and produce a great deal of content about that niche. You will probably be writing articles, making videos, blogging and doing forum posts that will all drive traffic (buyers) to your website. If you don’t feel passionate about the niche then that could be a challenge.
There is another way of looking at it though. If you have something that you love, and you enjoy doing, writing and producing content about it for six months or so will certainly mean that you might fall out of love with it. Your hobby, which you previously enjoyed, could become a chore.
Perhaps it’s best to find a subject that you are interested in and that you would like to find out more about. That way researching in your niche will not be a chore, because you are discovering more about it. It’s also not likely to be
overkill, driving you to distraction.
Once you have chosen your particular niche, then you need to find out what affiliate programmes there are for you to join. Just put your chosen niche into Google and add “affiliate programmes” – without the speech marks. You will find
many affiliate programmes to choose from.
What to look for in an affiliate programme?
Not all affiliate programmes are created equal. You might find you get a higher rate of commission on one affiliate programme. Another might be lower but you get your own product manager, who will give you a hand with images that
you can use on your website. They may have some tips if you want to go down the paid advertising route. It must be said that many people have lost a lot of money by trying paid advertising with Google or Facebook, buying traffic and not getting the sales they thought they would. So always be very cautious about buying traffic.
You want an affiliate programme that will give you a good rate of commission, that has an affiliate manager who you can email and get a response from in a timely manner. They should have banners and images you can use. They may be able to help you or advise you on keywords to target.
You will find there are affiliate companies, who have clients (businesses) who have products to sell. These company’s are often very helpful, as they are used to dealing with both affiliates and with businesses with products to promote.
Look up the name of the affiliate company in the search engines. Check out reviews. Affiliates who have come along before you will have written reviews, and they will give you an indication of how reliable and helpful they are. It is just like any decision, you must do your due diligence and research, to decide which are going to be the best options for you.
Once you have decided on a niche, and you have an affiliate programme, then the real work starts. You need to get a website built, more information on building a website from scratch right here and then
add content to it. You can write general articles about the niche, including links in the articles. You can also do reviews of specific products, which is a great way to get more traffic and more sales.
Links – Links are literally the code that makes the sale personal to you. It’s a sad fact of life that people will take the piece of code that makes the link yours, and put theirs in instead, stealing your commissions. I know, it is real pond-life that do this sort of thing. Nevertheless, it is something we need to cope with. What I do is I use a plugin on my WordPress sites called Pretty Links. It changes a long affiliate link, something like this:
This makes the link look better, and it hides the code that makes the link personal to you, thwarting the attempts of the low life that want to make money off the back of your hard work! Even better, the plugin is free.
Back to getting traffic and getting those all important sales.
Another popular way to get visitors is to record yourself making a video all about the product, particularly if you already have it and can show yourself using it. This will make the visitor want it!
Some video marketers unwrap the box containing the product on camera, which gives the viewer the feeling of excitement, a little like that whole Christmas morning feeling!
Of course video isn’t the only way to drive traffic. You can write articles and add them to article directories. You must send original work to high quality websites or your websites ranking could suffer. Google used to love article directories
but they are not in favour as they were previously. EzineArticles remains the most popular article directory. If you are getting started in affiliate marketing, it’s best to try and get traffic as many different ways as possible. Track where your visitors are coming from and you will soon see where to put the most effort into.
Another way to get traffic is to register your website with blog directories. This is still a way that works to get traffic. Try Technorati for starters.
Whatever content you put out there, remember the importance of social media. Getting a twitter account, a Google+ account and maybe making a Facebook fan page means there will be space for you to promote your content to potential buyers. Once they read your content and begin to see you as an authority in your niche, they start to have trust in your opinions.
These are the people you want to get to your website, or onto your list. Because people don’t always buy straight away, they often like to see a product a few times before buying it, you need to get involved in list building.
List building goes hand in hand with affiliate marketing. The truth of the matter is people buy from those they like, and those they trust. Trust is something that has to be built over time. Often, people don’t buy on the first visit to your
website. They may come back; they may not. This is why it is a good idea to build a list.
How Do I Build a List?
Building a list can feel rather intimidating for a person getting started in affiliate marketing, but it is an important part of getting customers to like you. You will need a way to collect the email addresses of your potential customers. You have to make sure the customers are aware and agree to you emailing them, and to do that we use an auto responder.
First of all you will need an auto responder. There are a few reputable auto responders, I personally use Aweber. They are probably the best well known of all the auto responder businesses. GetResponse is another, and I hear they are good too.
Autoresponders gather the names and email addresses of people on your list, they have wizards that allow you to build forms to put onto your website. The form can be just put on the sidebar of the website, although some affiliates prefer
to send people to a specific “squeeze page”. This is simply a page on the website, usually it is empty except for a headline that will intrigue and engage the visitor, a few details about what the visitor will get, and the form for them to add their address to.
So, your visitor comes to your website, interested in (your niche) and they see a form that says “Get Your Free Report On (your niche)” and they can put in their name and address and get their free report.
If you choose to go with Aweber, they have lots of videos to show you exactly how to make the forms, and how to add them to your website. Like most things, this isn’t hard to do once you know how.
You then have their name and address and you can mail them useful information. Some of the information will encourage them to buy the product that you are promoting. The more people you have on your list the more sales you will get. Of course, the point of the list is to build a trust based relationship with the people on it. They are your potential customers and you must treat them very well. This means you don’t spam them with repeated emails day after day! It’s good to talk to your customers and give them information which they will benefit from.
Perhaps you are thinking “I don’t have a report to give away!” Well, you can write one yourself, preselling your product. You might try to find one already written, with PLR rights. PLR rights mean you buy the report and you have the right to rewrite it however you like, or even just give it away as it it is. Make sure it has your own affiliate links in it though! You can find PLR by putting in your niche and PLR into the search engines. You will see a whole lot of PLR stores
where you can get reports and articles on almost anything.
One PLR store I particularly like is Tiffany Lambert’s PLR MiniMart. Her work is recommended by many marketers and you will get a good report which will benefit your list. You can be sure of well researched solid information, also,
the writing is of a high standard.
So, in review. Affiliate marketers make money by promoting other people’s products. They do so by building websites around the product that they are offering. In order to build trust, an affiliate marketer will try to get a visitors email address so they can mail them interesting information and promote their products. The email address is given in return for a report, or a video, or some other gift appropriate to the niche. Once you have the persons email address then you can write to them and form a business relationship with them, which will help them trust you enough to buy from you.
When they do buy from you, you earn a commission. The more work you do, the more content you put out, the more customers you get. You can watch your commissions rise and rise!