Ah, the beautiful, frustrating, but the infinitely promising world of affiliate marketing. Like many other online ventures used to make money online, affiliate marketing is so attractive that it drives people to do some crazy things (like buying backlinks from the Internet equivalent of a dude’s van).
You envision a never-ending cascade of commissions. Success is so close – just on the other side of your screen, in fact – but getting there requires patience and tact, my friends.
Tact, I say! So, what exactly are we talking about here? How does a complete newbie get from a day 1 rookie to a complete stud? As it turns out, there is some artistry to affiliate marketing (meaning you can carve your own path), but on the other hand, you simply cannot succeed if you don’t follow the fundamentals. Here we go!
Find A Teacher
It’s pretty short and sweet! You can’t just jump in and think you can wing it in affiliate marketing through trial and error. Why not find a successful person who can show you the way to earn money. There are training courses out there, but do your research and find a company or teacher that is thorough and has great customer support.
To say you’ll have questions along the way is an understatement. Ask any seasoned affiliate marketer about the value of trust, and they will talk your ear off. Cool story Scott, you might be thinking, but how do I build trust?
Know your product. Demonstrate your knowledge. Provide valuable, FREE content for your audience and help them with a problem. Answer their questions. Reach out to them. The list goes on. That is what a teacher will help you learn all about!
Pick A Product
Before building a list and providing content, you have to pick a product. If you want to accomplish all of the above, every word you type or say has to be sincere. If it’s a product you’ve never used or even researched that well, your page visitors will click away. Guaranteed. Ideally, your product(s) has to do with a passion of yours.
Whether you’re building a niche site and/or a blog, a landing page, a video or training seminar, or all of the above, the more you already know about that subject area, the less painful it will be for you to develop compelling content around your offer. At the same time, the expertise that you already have will strengthen your selling points tenfold.
Position Yourself Well Online
Now we’re getting just a tad technical, and rightly so. Who would you rather buy your next gadget from? Your cool neighbor who doesn’t call the cops on you, or some guy you don’t know who just screamed “HEY, BUY THIS” at you while you were crossing the street? If you don’t have anything but an ad or a landing page, I’m sorry – you’re a street guy.
If you position yourself well, however, by starting and maintaining a YouTube channel, blog, website, social media account(s) and so forth, your customers will say “Oh yeah, that’s Steve. He knows a lot about XYZ.” Your preferences are your own, but a multi-faceted approach is best here.
Many businesses will have a blog, Facebook, Instagram and possibly Twitter. Depending on the product or service, YouTube can be absolutely huge as well. Don’t fret too much about where fret about quality. Where does your content shine? Does it need to be seen, heard, shared, or what?
Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!
Remember that first day of high school tryouts? Eighty-five kids show up to try out for the basketball team, and the coaches are like, “Crap, we gotta thin the herd,” so they make everyone run sprints for 45 minutes. Then, about half of the kids don’t show up for day two.
That’s traffic for ya. I want to be completely honest with you. Traffic is a challenge for newbies. Traffic is where patience comes in. If you’re banking on completely organic SEO, you are in for a long haul.
Hopefully, you already know that Google uses more than 200 factors in its algorithm to rank websites. Several of those factors relate to time, meaning that new websites are not given a bump for six months or more. Organic SEO is such a fluid and nuanced topic, it would take volumes for me to discuss it at length. Here’s my attempt in one sentence:
Organic SEO refers to a set of techniques used by website owners to attract search engines. Boom. There’s “on-page SEO,” which refers to blogs and articles – keyword ratios, alt text, images, outbound links, etc. – anything you can slap onto a webpage.
“Off-page SEO,” on the other hand, refers to any practice outside of posting and creating content (most commonly, backlink building) that helps your site climb the search engine rankings. Now, if you’re willing to risk a little cash, things change.
Paid advertising, once scoffed at by successful affiliates, is quickly rising in the ranks. Pay-per-click is an awesome example. Do you know those search engine results that say “ad” in front of them? Those business owners pay Google every time someone clicks on their ad because Google agreed to slap them onto the first page of search results.
Of course, they’re hoping that “x” people out of 100 will buy something on their site, which will offsite their ad spend and generate profit. Yes, it’s a risk, but for a quarter or two a click (in most cases), you can literally start a one-page website with one word on it and end up on the first page of Google within an hour.
The Small Detail of Conversion
Alright, so let’s say that a hundred people visit your site. For this example, we’ll say you are paying $25 for that much traffic. If your product nets you $20 per sale, then you need at least “x” people out of a hundred to buy, which would net you a fifteen-dollar profit (60% return on investment).
Since two people out of the hundred purchased, you have a 2% conversion ratio. This is the single most important number to an affiliate marketer. Think of it like this: SEO, paid ads, social media traffic generation method you use is like having a good agent.
The “book you gigs” by getting your content in front of people. No matter how many gigs you get, though, if you’re a terrible singer, no one is coming back. So, the conversion ratio is all about quality. Refer to the above. Build trust. Choose a product you know and love. Establish a presence. Have fun.
Drive your selling points home in an effective, yet non-spammy way. The final tip within a tip that I will give is a doozy in terms of importance. If you do nothing else, you have got to research your audience. If you don’t know where to start, just Google your product.
Find forums. Browse YouTube comments. Take notes on your product’s fan base. Where do they hang out online? What do they eat? How do they talk? Do they use special terms?
All of this can be used in your messages to sharpen your appeal. You don’t have to have a market research degree to do this – just a dedication to authentic, effective content.
You know what happens next from all of those hyped-up YouTube videos. When you go to the grocery store, take a nap, and you’ve made $200. I wish you the best! 😊