This is the second instalment in my series of articles about affiliate marketing. The first was Affiliate Marketing Basics, and as I did while writing it I intend to include links to resources of use to budding affiliate marketers and old hands alike.
Many people dream of the day they can pack up our jobs to be our own bosses, and are working towards that end. Others have had the decision to venture out on their own made for them by being laid off during corporate downsizing, or their place of employment close it’s doors completely. No matter which category you fall into, if you’re here you intend to make money with blogs, and if you’re reading this article affiliate marketing is something you are considering as a way to earn income.
The idea of working for one’s self attracts many people for different reasons. However, making it happen deters many. The vast majority cannot get a business off the ground due to three main factors; the first being money, the second being risk, and the third being the fear of failure. With my approach to affiliate marketing none of these are a justified excuse for not going forward.
Starting even a small business takes a fair amount of money. You need to buy or rent premises, purchase your stock and equipment, probably make deposits on utilities, pay for advertising, etc.
I will explain a bit later why none of these costs relate to affiliate marketing, and how, if you are able to access this blog you’re already poised to be an affiliate marketer.
Risk is a concern for anyone venturing into a brick and mortar business and is the main factor that kills most new business ventures. Even if you’re lucky enough to get the capital to start, nearly 90% of all small businesses fail in the first year. If yours is one of the lucky ventures, you have to keep reinvesting your time and money to build up your business, usually for 3 to 5 years. It could be anywhere from 5 to 7 years before any significant profit is seen. Most people cannot wait that long, which is what makes affiliate marketing so attractive. You can be making money immediately, with little or no investment, as an affiliate marketer.
Fear Of Failure…
No one admits to be too afraid of being self employed. In fact, most people don’t even recognize fear as being what is holding them back, but it is. The justification may be that the timing is wrong, or that they need a larger savings cushion, or they lack the training, etc. etc. etc. It’s all nothing more than rationalizing to one’s self that anything other than fear of failure is what’s holding you back.
Well, set your fears aside. With affiliate marketing you need no special training, can start off part-time, need to invest virtually no money, and the amount of time you invest can be as little or as much as you have available.
Affiliate marketing involves you, working as an affiliate for a merchant or company. You sell either their goods, or their services, and you’re paid a percentage of each sale or a flat fee on each sale. There are no costs, and no risk. So there’s no need to be fearful. And if losing face if you fail is your concern, and it is for a lot of people, don’t tell anyone what you are doing until the checks and wire deposits start coming in. With affiliate marketing you put in what you can in the way of money and time, and are rewarded accordingly.
Don’t get me wrong and think I’m suggesting running an affiliate marketing business is a snap to set up and cash in on. Affiliate marketing is challenging. You’ll either have to work very hard to build it up or build up your business over time. However, whether you work on your affiliate marketing business 24/7, or you can only invest an hour or two each day, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
Also, no matter what you hear from self appointed affiliate marketing gurus who are trying to sell you “How To” eBooks, tutorial videos, webinar classes, etc., there’s no guaranteed success formula in affiliate marketing. Some people will fail because they’re failures by their very nature. For such people, nothing anyone teaches them, no advice they’re given, no instructions, will deter them from following a path to failure. However, if you aren’t a failure by nature and are determine to succeed, or at least willing to try, succeeding at affiliate marketing if more likely to be your fate than failure. By following my series of blog posts, and taking advantage of the resources I recommend, I can pretty much assure you of success if you’re willing to give it an honest effort.
In this series I don’t want to reiterate what I cover in previous posts. The first step in affiliate marketing I covered in Affiliate Marketing Basics. However, I do need to say that to be an affiliate marketer you’ll need your own website, blog, forum or online newsletter. Do not opt for any of the multitude of free website offerings. Nothing is free! You can bet if someone is giving you free web hosting they’re making money. That’s money that should be going to you, and for sure it’s more than the cost of the inexpensive hosting packages recommended in Affiliate Marketing Basics.
To get started in affiliate marketing, there are literally thousands of programs for you to choose from. I recommend you choose to focus initially on products and/or services that you’re familiar with, both as the basis for your website or blog, and the companies you promote. You will feel more comfortable and confident on home court, so to speak. Plus, it will be much easier for you to assemble or create quality content for your blog or website when you know the topic well.
I do not recommend starting out with a forum, even though they are great vehicles for affiliate marketers to promote products and services on that are relevant to the forum topic. They simply require a too much technical knowledge for a beginner, so I will discuss using forums in a later post.
I also don’t recommend starting with an online newsletter for the same reasons. Plus establishing an opt-in mailing list takes time that’s better invested in other online publications, such as a website or a blog.
The product or service you are most comfortable with may not be the hottest thing on the web, or make you a buckets of cash overnight. But you will come off more confident and sincere sticking with something you know and believe in.
For example, if you worked as hairdresser or manicurist, or you are interested in cosmetics, your website could be about salon treatments, hair care products, skin care treatments, etc. The number of companies with beauty and cosmetic related affiliate programs for you to promote is mind blowing.
The same goes if you have a knowledge of welding. If you are or were a welder, you could easily create content or acquire content from someone that anyone interested in welding would find helpful. There are same, but far fewer metal fabricators or welding supply companies with affiliate marketing programs than say clothing or health related products or services. However, there are literally thousands of such companies that would pay you to place their banner or a link to their website on your blog or website. Some brick and mortar businesses will pay you a flat fee for a banner spot, while others may be willing to pay you for referrals, or even for each time someone clicks on their banner. This is still affiliate marketing too, but an area I will cover in a later post.
Knowing the topic of you blog or website will help when it comes to creating your site too. Something you’re familiar with will allow you to be personally involved in the creative process, even if you start out with a simple template website or blog. You will know by instinct what is the better layout, images, etc. to use because you will understand your audience well. Trying to create a site around something you know little about will quickly become tedious, and will not be as professional and authoritative as you’ll want your online presence to be to maximize sales potential.
The most common mistake new affiliate marketers and those who’ve been at it a while but are struggling make is to include as many banners as possible on their blogs or websites. First off, no one visiting the website is impressed with what is known as a “banner farm”.
Also, the better affiliate programs you want to work with will not activate an account until they visit the website or blog, and they will not approve anything that is banner cluttered, and content shallow. The people that manage affiliate programs know their business, so if they refuse to allow their banners to be displayed, you have to believe it’s the wrong approach. After all, their jobs are to get affiliates signed up and promoting their products or services, so to decline advertising means they either think the site is a waste of time or, worse, will cast their business in a poor light.
Lastly, Google now has their spider bots programmed with a page layout algorithm that rates pages based on the number of banners displayed in relation to content. Banner farms do not earn much, if any page rank, and are gradually being deleted from Google’s database. Selecting only products or services that are relevant to the content of your blog will actually enhance your Google page rank. Also, blogs or website with relevant content to the companies being promoted will both enhance the visitor experience and improve the likelihood of banners being clicked on and sales being made.
You also need to put care into the placement of your banners. You’ll notice that within this long article I minimized the number of promotional links and banners, and all are on topic. In fact, my whole blog has fewer banners than most you’ve probably seen. However, I’ve monitored a great many banner placements and numbers of banners displayed, and I can assure you that a few banners on topic convert clicks to sales at a far higher ratio, earning me more money than putting up 2 to 3 times as many.
Selling banner ad placements or traffic is one of my favourite types of affiliate programs for online marketing related blogs or websites. Why? Because it converts!!! And if it pays 40%, all the better. Sign Up Now!
Selecting An Affiliate Program…
With affiliate marketing there’s no such thing as the perfect program. Every affiliate program page is stuffed with testimonials, promises of huge earning potentials, earnings graphs, even screen captures of PayPal accounts with eye popping totals.
Remember, the job of anyone managing an affiliate program is to attract affiliate marketers, you, so the hype is always as positive as possible. Chances are, you’ll select the wrong affiliate program, and there is no shame in that. I have been doing this since 1995 and I continuously try new affiliate programs that fizzle out. You are not married to any specific affiliate program. If you do not see money coming in, it may be the best program on earth for a multitude of affiliate marketers, but it is wrong for you or you blog or website, so move on and try another that looks promising.
To get you started, I recommend you focus on affiliate management services because they have many merchants offering thousands of products and services for you to choose from. I consider two of the best to be Google Affiliate Network and LinkShare Referral Program. There are many others, and I will be reviewing them in upcoming articles, but for now sign up for each of these… provided you already have a blog or website.
If you don’t have a blog or website, here are two choices to get you going. With PlutoCrazy Hosting you get both inexpensive hosting and you can choose from a good selection of free blog and website templates that will have you up and running in a matter of minutes. The other is HostGator, which also offers hosting clients thousands of free website templates, or you can set up a blog like this one in 5 minutes, also at no additional cost. If you sign up for either of these, let me know in the comment section because I’ll have something to pass on that will have you making more money then you pay for hosting in a matter of days.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money while working for yourself. The risk is minimal, there are only minimal start up costs, and the rewards can be huge.
When you first start out, stick to what you know and use it as the subject of your blog posts or website.
There are many great affiliate marketing programs wanting you to promote their products or services. Select the one(s) to promote that complement your blog or website content.
Make your site as attractive and search engine friendly as possible by resisting the urge to fill it with banners.
Finally, there is no perfect affiliate program. Some you will have success with, and those that don’t are wrong for you so need to be replaced. A short trial and error period will have you working as an affiliate marketer for companies you’re able to promote and make money with.
Selling banner ad placements or traffic is one of my favourite types of affiliate programs for online marketing related blogs or websites. Why? Because it converts!!!
And if it pays 40%, all the better. Sign Up Now!