Welcome to my free training series
on how to get started with affiliate marketing
This training series breaks down 5 simple steps to get started with affiliate marketing.
This is a long article, so you might want to bookmark it to come back for reference.
So you know you want your own business, I don’t need to tell you how wonderful it would be to not have to drag yourself out of bed on a cold wet Monday morning for the daily commute La la la. You know that’s what you want. But just imagine not having that Sunday night sinking feeling, when the weekend is over and there are 5 days ahead of you of the same old thing.
I know I have been there.
You CAN work the hours you want and fit your job around the family. You CAN pick the kids up from school or travel wherever and whenever you like. This was my dream and how I came to own my own business and I want to help you get started. If you can see this lifestyle working for you, then you just have to give it a try. There is nothing to lose.
The world of home business has really opened up in the last 5 years or so. Not only are people working from home more in conventional employed jobs but people are finding success setting up their own home businesses.
There is an opportunity out there for everyone to start their own business, regardless of background and experience. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have a drive and a willingness to succeed. Sound like you?
So where do you even start?
It’s easier than you think!
The whole prospect of building your own business sounds daunting doesn’t it. Will it cost a lot of money to set up, what if it doesn’t work?
Well I can tell you from experience that if you have a something you are interested in, anything, you can build a business around it.
Once I tell people this, I usually end up with the same reservations
1. Won’t I need a shop, somewhere to sell?
2. I don’t have an actual product to sell
3. I haven’t got enough money to start a business
4. Where would I find investors?
5. Do I have to give up my current job?
6. I don’t have a business idea
7. It’s just so risky
This is how it used to be. Before the internet – Wow that makes me sound old! Yes indeed, setting up your own business used to involve a hell of a risk.
But now with everyone being online, building your own online business means that you can get set up with very little capital outlay. You can work in the evening or weekends to get you started. You can put in as much or as little time as your life affords. Your level of success is up to you.
The internet has opened up possibilities that never existed before.
But people have reservations about working online. Perhaps they think there will be too much competition, that they might get scammed, or maybe that it’s too technical?
How could you ever get your head around all of the things you need to know, that are far beyond your reach? How could you understand social marketing, website design, email marketing? It’s just not possible.
But it is entirely possible, for anyone, even someone with NO previous online experience.
Don’t believe me? I am going to show you how in these 5 steps:
Step 1: First you need an idea
When you start thinking about building a business, the foundation for that business is key. If the foundation is strong the business will stand strong. This foundation is your core idea – ‘what is your business about’?
And this idea is key to your success. You need to have really bought ‘into’ the idea
So to start the brain juices flowing about what your idea could be, I have some key areas to think about before you start.
1. What are you interested in?
Think about things you like to do in your life, what makes you happy and what you are passionate about, and make a list of them.
Think about your hobbies and what you ENJOY doing in your spare time. Don’t think of them in a business context, and whether they will work as a business idea, you are just making a list at this stage.
Don’t worry I am not trying to tell you that this is going to be a hobby. In order to build a business you do need to work hard and you need to put in the hours. You need to have drive and determination, but it won’t feel like you are working so hard because you will enjoy it, and get so much out of it, and when it’s a business of your own, what could be better?
Example: maybe you have real interest in children, more specifically babies? Perhaps you have recently had kids, and you feel you know a lot about it.
2. Select your niche within areas of interest
Now you can use the list of interests and let’s be more specific. This is called selecting your niche.
Let me carry on with the example. We have identified an area of interest for you might be ‘babies’.
But this is a very broad subject area. No one goes onto google and searches for ‘babies’, so we have to be way more specific, and narrow down this category.
The reason for this is so that you can talk to people in a very targeted way.
Think about a sub category within this sector ‘babies’. For example it might be wooden baby toys, clothing for 0-6 months, Cribs, nursery furniture. There are millions of different ideas within this category.
But what about all the competition? Shouldn’t I be trying to find a little ‘gap’ in the market? No! Absolutely not. The reason there are millions of stores selling baby products means that people buy them and that you can make money from selling baby products.
Think about this. There are 4 million babies born in the US every year. How many new Moms and Dads looking for information about babies does this make? And this doesn’t even include the rest of the world!
For the sake of this example I will look at nursery furniture. Why nursery furniture?
When I had my children, it wasn’t just about the bricks and mortar, their nursery was the sanctuary where I would be spending A LOT of time (I had no idea just HOW much time!). Where they were supposed to feel relaxed.
Think about areas of interest surrounding this as a niche. Room decoration and everything involved in that, stories about different cultural beliefs, contents of a nursery (all the things that babies need and parents think they need before they have a baby), great product offers, product reviews. The list goes on.
I hope you are starting to get an idea of what I mean about a niche?
3. Consider how you will be working on your niche
So when honing down on your niche, it’s important to know what sorts of work you will be doing surrounding this niche. This way as you build your idea you can think about how you will be communicating this niche and what sorts of areas you cover:
1) You will be firstly writing content about the niche as illustrated a little above
2) You will be talking to your target customers through your website, email marketing and social media
3) You will be finding products within that niche to promote and sell. This is how you will make money.
It is important to think of at least 3 or 4 niches that you would be interested in, and within each interest, list out areas of content. You will soon start to see which one has the most to say, the most areas to cover and is of the most interest to you
You will probably find that the list of interesting topics with ONE particular niche massively outweighs any of the others
This is your WINNER!
Step 2: You need a website
Many online ‘gurus’ would have you believe that you don’t need a website to build a successful online business.
These are the ones that generally promote their ‘turnkey’ or ‘push button’ businesses, a business in a box idea. It sounds really tempting but believe me, I have been caught out myself and I have reviewed several of these businesses. They just don’t work. They are so tempting, because they tell you stories of people who are successful in this type of enterprise, but they are one in a million – you are likely to just lose money, while they get rich off you!
With no website, there is no foundation for your business. No hub for your customers to come back to, no where to build the trust that customers are looking for when they want to buy from you. Every business, whether you are selling fabrics or computers need an online presence, and at the very heart of this is a website.
In fact a lot of these turnkey business ideas, start out with their quick system and then later on down the track start talking about building your website. By then you have spent all the money you have on their get rich quick scheme and you are left on your own to work out how to do the most involved part of your business. Cheers for that!
So, its’ agreed, you do need a website. This will be where you can find all the information to share with your audience. You will use this to write and share your content and sell your products.
Maybe you are running for the hills right now.
The thought of building a website yourself is sounding really technical and overwhelming! But believe me, it really isn’t. There are places where you can get a website up and running in 30 seconds. Really. I’ll get back to that in a bit, but in the meantime you can play around with a free website right here, and see how quickly you can get one up and running.
You used to need a developer, a designer, and all sort of complicated involvement but now websites are so easy to build and edit, anyone with NO knowledge of how to do this, can most definitely do this. With a little training to guide you on the way.
For example WordPress, which is the most popular website platform at the moment, is so simple to use and is designed to be user friendly to absolutely anyone.
So let’s say, with a bit of training help you have built your website. I’ll come back to this, don’t worry, I’m not leaving it there.
Step 3: Develop your content
You can then start writing your content around your niche.
Start off small. You will need to divide your content into two areas for two different types of content
1. Information, relevant to your niche market
2. Product reviews, relevant to your customers
As far as point 1 goes, you can gather information around your subject area easily. Firstly, write a list of things that first spring to mind. For someone in the nursery furniture niche, think about what someone in that stage of life would be interested in:
• They are about to have a baby, what are they looking for?
• They are thinking about decorating the nursery, what would they look for?
• They are looking for help an advice. Maybe they are first time parents. Can you help?
I don’t even need to go on here, but those few statements bring a million different ideas of what you can write about in terms of just content and spin them so they fit your niche.
Define your target market. On paper create the person you are talking to. Is it a young couple who are affluent, a single mum who needs help finding the best value or older parents who already have younger children? This will help you decide how to talk to them. There are many other strategies to gather information on your target customer such as using Google Alerts, signing up to online magazines..I could go on – but that’s for another day.
So that’s one part of your content outlined, then you need to make the money, by talking to them about products. Remember that your information articles can link through to your product reviews. This builds the trust in you.
So onto the products…..
Step 4: You need some products to sell
This is often a stumbling block for people wanting to have their own business. If they don’t have a product to sell, they think that they can’t possibly have their own business.
Enter affiliate marketing as a concept.
Do you know, I worked in marketing agencies for a large proportion of my career, and I can honestly say, we never touched on affiliate marketing. I was astounded when I came across it is as concept. I don’t know what that says about my career, but it’s true.
We are not talking about some backstreet selling techniques selling scammy cheap products. If you look around you will see that MOST large retailers AND specialist retailers run affiliate programs.
Including Amazon across the globe. US giants such a Walmart and more niche retailers such as Jo Jo Maman Bebe, Mothercare (in this niche). Have a look for yourself. Type into your browser the category that you are interested in and then add ‘+ affiliate program’, and you will see just how many there are. For example nursery furniture + affiliate program. See what I found below, and this is just a small screen grab.
This opens up a whole world of products you can sell. You don’t have to create a thing. All that hard work has been done for you. You just need to help people find them
So how does this work?
Well, quite simply, this is the ‘products’ section of your business that I spoke about before. You talk about and review products on your website and draw customers to you. When a customer clicks on your link that you have inserted in your review page, and then buys from, say, Amazon, you are given commission on every sale. And this is great for them. These companies make great money out of affiliates.
Why do you think so many businesses run affiliate schemes?
In addition, there is a whole raft of affiliate marketplaces where you can search for affiliate programs, such as Clickbank, Shareasale, Linkshare. I could go on.
Remember you don’t just have to promote nursery furniture within your nursery furniture niche…
You can branch out and promote a program to get back into shape after pregnancy.. Think outside of the box (to coin a marketing phrase from the 80s)!
So you have your website and you have your products to sell, what’s next?
Step 5: You need to find your customers
This is the trickiest part of online marketing but this is where you need to follow some structured training in building a business.
Driving customers can be done in three ways: These are VERY in depth subjects each on their own, and there is no way I will be able to cover them in this e-book, and do them justice, so I have just given a quick overview of what you might need to consider are ways to build traffic to your business.
1. Through organic search:
This is created through building great quality content. Within your niche you select keywords that are ‘low hanging fruit’. By keywords I mean words or phrases that are relevant to what you want to write about. The best way to find the best keywords is using what is known as long tail keywords, which are phrases that people are searching for but few people are delivering answers to. Let’s look at an example. Within our nursery furniture niche, I might be looking for ‘white cribs that rock’. There will be a lot fewer online businesses out there providing an article for this keyword.
So how do you find these golden keywords? It’s not guesswork, it’s a science. You need a keyword tool. There are many out there, and I can help you choose the right one. For example, the one I use is called Jaaxy which is by far the best out there in my opinion. But there are many others out there if this doesn’t suit.
Then you build your information article around this keyword. And from this you can link to a product review on which you place your affiliate link and direct people to the sellers website, where your site visitor will buy. And boom, you get the commission. Think about if you have many visitors to your site and how the commissions can really build up.
Simple really. Naturally, keyword research and building your content is a detailed subject but it’s not complicated, and following the right path can lead to some great content and great positioning within search engines and subsequently great traffic.
2. Through Social Media
Social media marketing is so important these days. Everyone is getting in on it, and although the sound of getting involved in Twitter and Google Plus sounds like a headache to you, it really doesn’t have to be, and it really is quite simple.
Personally I never had much interest in social media, especially channels such as Twitter. But as Google would tell you, they measure the effectiveness of YOUR content by how much it is shared on social media. It is becoming one of those things, you can’t get away with avoiding. So you have to embrace it.
And actually social media is an excellent tool to start driving immediate traffic to your business. Don’t worry you don’t have to go out and advertise to all your friends. You build a separate business profile and use that as your marketing base.
3. Through Paid Advertising
This is a pretty straight forward method and there are loads of ways to drive traffic if you pay for it. It doesn’t have to cost the earth if you know the right way to do it. And this is key. You can quickly run through a truck load of money if you don’t research your strategy properly.
Methods of paid advertising includes Facebook ads, Google, Bing and Yahoo ads, known as Pay per click, content networks and countless other opportunities. Again this is an in depth subject which would require one, if not two ebooks on their own.
3. Through Building Your list
Any online marketer will say this is their most valuable asset, their email list. Once you start driving traffic it is really important to start building your list by capturing their data.
Then you can talk to them at regular intervals, you can provide them with interesting content, sprinkled with an affiliate link, you can give them news updates or even information about you. Whatever you like, the key is to build their trust and create a relationship.
You know the saying:
‘It is easier to make more sales to existing
customers than it is to find new ones.’
Well I have para-phrased that, but you know what I mean.
Email Marketing is really important to keep your customers coming back. This might sound a bit technical to you at the moment, or maybe it doesn’t, but there are so many autoresponder email marketing solutions out there to make this as simple as building a website, it really will become second nature.
There is nothing to be afraid of, everything is within your capabilities.
So What’s Next?
So I have given you outline of what you need to think about to start your own business, and I hope from reading this you are able to see that it really is entirely possible. Possible for anyone to build a business in any area. So you really can have a business in something you enjoy.
But something is missing.
It’s not really possible to do this all alone. You will need training, support and the tools to build this business.
Getting involved in structured training will teach you how to build your website for the best customer experience and for the best sales conversions. It will teach you how to add your affiliate products and how to drive traffic and visitors, the right ones, to your site.
Support is essential and often overlooked when starting a home business. This doesn’t need to take the form of Hi fives and ego boosting when you need it, but you need to find somewhere where you can ask questions when you are unsure, get technical support exactly when you need it, and get ideas and inspiration for your business.
And the tools. You need to be able to build your website easily and quickly, search for the right keywords the right way, and have access to all the information you need to build your business.
Where can you find all of this?
There are many affiliate marketing training programs out there, but be careful because some offer low quality training and are there to take your money.
Or they get you to buy in and then upsell, upsell, upsell. What you originally purchased is not enough to get you there.
Back when I first started in online marketing, there was very little structured training, you had to piece together what you knew, but now there are great services that take you through step by step how to build an affiliate business.
Wealthy Affiliate is my no 1 recommendation, and is an accredited training program where you get everything you need to build your business.
And the best thing is you can try it out for free, no obligations.
You get 10 lessons, 2 free websites and hosting for free which is enough to get you staretd. If you like what you see, you can joing the premium membership which is only $47 a month (not much to start a business), where you have access to build unlimited websites, a
community with fantastic support full of experienced marketers and newbies alike sharing knowledge, and state of the art keyword tools. And that’s it, no upsells.
To finish up
Could this be you? Could you see yourself having your dream of owning your own profitable business and living the life that you want?
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs haven’t had years of experience behind them and loads of money to start up. Do you know what they do all have in common. Persistence. And if you have this, you can join the multitude of people starting and building a really successful business from their homes. And you can start easily with very little money.
I wanted to share this information with you because in my journey through affiliate marketing, I learnt so much that a career in agency marketing never taught me. I learnt more in months than I did in years of real world experience. I want to share this with others and help them build their dreams and absolutely live the life they have always wanted. Anyone can do it. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!