You want to start earning an income online but you’re not sure if you should jump into the deep end and create your own product or if you should test the waters first. Well, then, affiliate marketing is an outstanding way to get started making money online. Here’s why.
As an affiliate, you don’t have to invest much money, you don’t have to have your own products, and you don’t have to deal with customer service or shipping. It’s a quick-start method of generating an income while you learn the ins and outs of marketing online.
Since there are countless books written on advanced affiliate marketing techniques available for further information, we are going to cover just the basics of affiliate marketing. With this overview you can determine whether or not it’s something you want to pursue.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you earn commissions selling other people’s products or services. You direct people to the product developer’s website using your unique affiliate ID that identifies you as the referrer. You do this by way of your own website, business blog, email campaigns, or other marketing methods.
Affiliate program owners typically offer all of the material you need in order to promote their products. As an affiliate you typically have access to pre-written content, graphics, auto responder sequences, and articles.
Of course, the amount of material offered will vary depending on the developer. At times, you may be required to write your own articles or email campaigns.
When you join an affiliate program you are provided with a unique link that includes your affiliate ID. All visitors are tracked using your link and sales are credited to your account.
As an affiliate you will only be paid whenever a sale occurs. Each affiliate program will offer a different percentage or flat fee, so it’s important to choose wisely. Your job is to select good products to promote and engage with your customers; persuade them they cannot live without the product you are offering.
Skills You Need to Succeed as an Affiliate Marketer
While affiliate marketing is easy to get into, you will need to put a lot of work into promotion. If you don’t know how to generate traffic to your offer, you won’t turn a profit as an affiliate marketer. If you don’t know how to communicate with your customers, you just won’t cut it in the world of affiliate marketing.
You need to learn marketing methods and apply them one at a time. The more techniques you learn and utilize, the better you become. The better you become, the more money you’ll make.
As an affiliate marketer, you need to create captivating pre-sell pages (or free report) then drive traffic to those pages. By the time your visitors land on the product developer’s website, they are ready to purchase.
You could skip the pre-sell page and send your traffic directly to the product sales page, but that could work against you. Why? Simply put, because the official sales page could be lousy and turn off your visitors. You want to make a good first impression when introducing the product.
Know the Product You’re Promoting
One mistake affiliate marketers often make is starting a promotion without having a clue about the product. Without properly evaluating the product themselves, they know very little about it. Do more than just repeat the hype offered up by the product vendor. Of course, that’s his job, not yours.
You have a slightly different objective. Yes, you want to sell the product, but you also want your potential customers to trust you. It may take a few shots at this to master this skill, but it’s not rocket science; you can learn to do this effectively.
Just as you would with your own products, you want to establish a credible reputation as someone who is knowledgeable about the various products you promote. You want your visitors and customers to trust your judgment whenever you make recommendations or write product reviews.
That’s why it’s very important to spend time looking over the products you plan to promote. Within reason, you can purchase them or request a review copy from the vendor. You want to become familiar with not only the products, but also the developers who create them.
The last thing you want to do is put in a lot of time promoting a product developer who fails to deliver, or who is not concerned with his or her own reputation. By association, you can destroy your own so be very careful when determining with whom you want to associate.
Focus on High Converting Products
When you begin to scout out good, solid products to promote you want to pay attention to a few factors. These include the commission percentage you will receive, the price of the product, and the demand for the product. You also want to know how well the product sales copy converts a visitor into a buyer.
Affiliate programs present this information differently so you have to familiarize yourself with each. Pay particular attention to the number of units sold and the conversion rate. I also look at the refund rate.
For example, if 1,000 units of the product are sold and the refund rate is 10%, I’d probably pass on that. However, if I know the product and/or use it myself, then I can attest to its worthiness and value.
Try to determine how many affiliates are promoting the product you choose. Affiliate programs don’t necessarily provide this information, but you can glean the information in other ways. In the ClickBank marketplace you can obtain this information by looking at the gravity.
Gravity is an estimation of how many sales have been referred by affiliates. A high gravity indicates there are many affiliates promoting the product… promoting a product that converts. The assumption is lots of affiliates will continue to promote a product that people buy. That’s how they make money.
Next, take a look at the merchant’s sales page. Sales copy can often make or break your sales and, therefore, adversely affect conversions. If you don’t feel it’s up to snuff and you can do better, then concentrate more effort on your pre-sell page. The goal is to have the reader go straight to the buy button when they land on the merchant’s sales page.
Check for Customer Complaints
Check the search engines for any complaints or unresolved problems. As previously mentioned, don’t focus your energy on promoting products if vendors are not taking care of their customers. If vendors don’t take care of business, it will ultimately reflect badly on you. Then it won’t matter how well a product converts. Be smart about your choices, not greedy.
Keep in mind you will need a website or blog, even if it’s brand spanking new, in order to be approved as an affiliate. Merchants want to know their products will be properly represented.
And, a word of caution. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of any affiliate program or network you join. This is very important. You don’t want to put in a lot of work setting up a campaign just to get shut down because you didn’t follow the rules. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
Also, be sure to keep records of the programs you join as an affiliate, including your username and password, a link to the login control panel, and any other information you might need to be able to check your earnings and stay on top of the program.
Prepare Your Marketing Campaign
Too many affiliate marketers simply stick up a one page sales letter and call it good. This isn’t the smartest thing in the world to do. As a middleman, it is your job to focus on pre-selling the potential customer. (How many times have you read that in this article?)
The easiest way to do this is by providing useful information and resources that help your visitors make an informed decision about the product and how it will benefit them. This is where your blog becomes your best friend.
You can publish informative content such as articles, an honest review (including positive and negative points) of the product, and whatever information is relative to the product. You can even create a video of the review. Videos are hot, and effective, so you definitely want to learn how to create short product videos.
Additionally, you can create a lead magnet. This is typically a short report, 1-7 pages, related to the product. For example, if you are promoting a weight loss product, you could write a report stressing the advantages of taking care of your overall health; how it affects weight loss. Or, you could create a cheat sheet of Tips & Tricks for your customers that facilitate the weight loss process.
Your goal is to offer value to your visitors. The more information you provide, the better able they will be to make an informed decision. Remember, you want to stress how the product will benefit them.
The more genuine you are, the more your visitors will trust you and the products and services you recommend. By taking this approach, you will develop a reputation as someone who actually cares about their visitors and customers. This will help you build your affiliate business in the long run.
This is by no means all you need to do; building a list of subscribers is also an integral part of becoming a successful affiliate marketer. But it is enough to help you decide whether or not you want to give affiliate marketing a try.
Does it take work? Yes, it does. Are you going to become a millionaire overnight? That’s a resounding “No.” Don’t pay any attention to those who try to convince you otherwise. What I do know is that the more campaigns you set up and promote, the easier it becomes.
The more you learn about online marketing and improve your marketing skills, the better your results will be. You must be prepared to put in the work and you must have patience. You will see your income grow.