Affiliate Marketing is the act of selling a product or service for a percentage or commission of each sale that you make. Some people do affiliate marketing as their full time jobs. That’s it. That’s all they do – they market other people’s products or services, collect their commissions, and live their lives as they wish.They do not have to deal with customer service, shipping orders, or anything else. All they do is promote other people’s products or services, everyday.
The first objective is to find a profitable market or niche. This can easily be done in Google or by reading magazines. Let’s start with Google. Do a search for any topic that interests you. Interest in what you hope to sell is important, and later, you will learn why. Make a list of things that interest you, and do a simple search in Google for each thing.
Once you’ve chosen your market, or your niche, you are almost ready to get started, but there are several other things that you need to do before you can call yourself an affiliate marketer. First, you need to make sure you have the right tools. Then, you must find the programs, understand the terms of the programs, and finally understand how to choose the right programs.
You can’t do any job successfully without having the tools you need to do the job. This is also true for affiliate marketing. Here is a list of the tools that you will most likely need to get the job done and become a successful affiliate marketer.
These are also part of my Affiliate Marketing Training course.
- An email account – You want to appear as professional as possible. Do not use a free email account such as Yahoo or Hotmail as your business email account. If you have a website with a domain name, you should be able to set up an email account associated with that domain in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.
- An Autoresponder – An autoresponder is web based software that sends out one email or a series of emails to people who sign up to the autoresponder. This can be used to manage your ezine, which will be discussed later. A good autoresponder will also give you the ability to send out broadcasts to your list. The best in the business for me is Imnica Mail and many affiliates and internet marketers use them.
- Keyword Research Tools – If you will be doing PPC campaigns, which are discussed later, you will want Keyword Research Tools. Google has free tools that you can use, but stand alone web based software, such as Wordtracker is also recommended.
- A List of Resources – You will definitely need to start gathering a list of resources that includes a list of article directories, PPC search engines, affiliate program directories, and directories of ezines.
- Word Processor – Word processing software is essential. You will use it to write articles, sales letters, ads, and newsletters. Microsoft Word is recommended, WordPad will do if you don’t have Microsoft Word.
- A Website and Domain for Each Niche or Market – Some affiliate programs will give you a replicated website. You will eventually send prospects to that website, but not sending them to your own website first is a mistake. You need a website for each niche with its own domain name. The website should be full of content, with affiliate links worked into the content. Ideally, each website will also have a squeeze page, where you will collect the names and email addresses of your visitors as well, in order to build your lists. Check out HostGator Hosting, the leader in hosting for many marketers.
- A Link Cloaker – Although you can use the standard affiliate links, they tend to be ugly and long. Many people simply get turned off by them. Check out this Link Cloaking Software for a great solution.
I have created a sample plan below to get started with Affiliate Marketing. This plan will fit just about any project you may be doing, and focuses on the principle of keeping things simple.
– Decide on a product or idea
– Buy a domain name that reflects the product name or idea.
– Add the domain to your hosting service
– Create the website or use the templates that may have come with the product.
– Use a link cloaker to protect affiliate links.
– Write a few articles on the topic of your product and submit to article directories.
– Promote your site to start making sales.
Once you have started making sales and have tweaked the website to get a decent conversion ratio, then you can move on to the next project. The principle here is to finish a project before starting the next, Even if this project is only making $100 per month, it is at least making money, which is an important start. Rinse and repeat!