My 10 Insider Tips On How To Start With Affiliate Marketing
If you're a regular visitor you know that I make my fulltime living as an affiliate marketer. And because of that it's natural for people to ask me questions.
And one of the most common questions I get asked is "how to start with affiliate marketing?".
Getting started with affiliate marketing is not that complicated.
In fact affiliate marketing in my opinion is one of the best online business models any new online marketer (newbie) can follow because of the low threshold of getting started to generate an extra income as well as scale it up to a fulltime online income.
Why Do I Say That?
I say it because of the advantages that affiliate marketing has over other business models.
One of the biggest advantages of being an affiliate is there's no need for you to create a product of your own to sell. Someone has already spent all the time, energy and money doing the research and development for the product.
The other advantages of affiliate marketing are:
- It's absolutely free to join affiliate programs
- You don't have to carry any inventory
- There's no need to have a payment processor
- No customer service support or issues
- No shipping of product
- No processing of returns
- You don't have to have your own product
- No Nothing!!!
None of that stuff is your responsibility. You simply focus on promoting the product or service you’re affiliated with and cash your checks.
You could say it's a dream business.
Here's The Problem
95% of newbies will fail at affiliate marketing. Yeah that's probably not what you wanted to hear. But it's the truth.
People start out like gangbusters with high expectations but eventually give up because things are not going according to their master plan.
And that master plan is the money making part - and it's not happening like it's supposed to.
I can tell you from my own mistakes and from what I've learned from other affiliate marketers I've talked to over the years. The reason most newbies fail is because of these two things:
- The wrong mindset
- The lack of or improper training/skills (this is the biggest problem)
I've been a fulltime affiliate marketer for ten years. And I've learned a lot about marketing in that time, in fact I'm still learning, simply because the internet is always evolving.
So to help you I've put together a collection of what I feel are the 10 most important tips on how to start with affiliate marketing and succeed in 2016 and beyond.
Let's get to it. Now these are in no particular order.
1) Run Your Business Don't Walk It
What do I mean by that? I've come across a lot of people that go into affiliate marketing with the attitude of "I'll dip my toe in the water and see how it goes".
So they don't go into affiliate marketing with the attitude of building a real business.
Well you're already set yourself up for failure. Simply because you don't have the conviction needed to build a thriving online business.
This "well I see what happens attitude" is why many people fail at affiliate marketing. Because they have no real skin in the game, so if something happens or things don't speed along like they think things should.
And that can be reason enough to quit. And then they can tell themselves "I tried affiliate marketing and it doesn't work"
You need to take building your business seriously. Now you don't have to go into things with a do or die attitude, but it wouldn't hurt you either.
I think one of the problems is that starting out building an affiliate business does not cost a heck of a lot of money to get going. In fact you can get going for free.
Becoming an affiliate for companies cost nothing, and you can get training, hosting and a website for free. So with very little capital invested people see they are not risking much so if things don't work out, it's not a big loss. Move onto something else
But it is a big loss. The loss of building your own thriving business where you're in total control of your financial destiny. If that's what you want and I'm talking about creating a fulltime income online. Then you must take your business seriously and start running it right from the get go.
I bet many people would not have such a casual attitude about their business if they invested $100,000 in the real world to start a business. I bet they would live, eat and breath their business.
I doubt very much if things did not workout right away, they would say "Ah the heck with it I'll try something else".
So right from the get go - take building your online affiliate business seriously and Run It - Don't Walk It!!
2) Focus On One Niche First
There are so many opportunities in affiliate marketing. And because of that I see this happen over and over again. People think if one niche will make them money then being in multiple niches will make them more money.
Well in theory that's true. But if you're just starting out focusing on just one niche is the smart thing to do. Trying to manage multiple websites in multiple niches is a recipe for disaster.
Until people get into building their business I don't think people truly understand what's involved and the workload related to building their business. Now multiply that by more than one niche.
If you're in multiple niches then right off the bat every niche is lacking the true care and attention it needs to succeed, and then months later they wonder why nothing is working.
Or they can't believe how much work it takes to care for multiple niches, and again they wonder why things aren't working out.
And guess what? They quit because they are so overwhelmed and burnt out.
Laser focus on just one niche. Devote all your energy to that one niche, get it to profit and then build that profit. Once that niche is making money and I mean real money. Then you can look at other niches if you want.
And when and if you decide to go into another niche, you'll have the skill set and expertise from what you've learned building your first money making niche to make this new one a success.
But you really don't need to be in multiple niches. All it takes is one ncihe to make you a fulltime income.
So make sure to Laser Focus On One Niche First
3) Own The Products You Market
Man I see this a lot. A person gets into affiliate marketing and they don't even own or use the product(s) or services(s) they're marketing.
Big mistake in my opinion.
Honestly how can you recommend a product or service to me or anyone else if you've never used that product or service? To me you truly can't!!
Well I guess you can. But your recommendation will not have as much validity compared to someone who owns and uses the product.
Everything I market and recommend I own and use. I know these products inside and out. And because of that people trust and respect me when I talk about them.
And by owning the product I can talk about them at a deeper level and talk about things a non-owner would know nothing about.
I can defend the product because I have the personal positive results of the product. I can show social proof and I can even show it's flaws. Every product has flaws nothing is perfect.
So make the effort to you Own The Products Or Services You're Marketing
4) Get The Proper Training
For many people affiliate marketing or online marketing in general is very new.
So this does make people vulnerable to shall we say questionable training and flat out scam products/programs.
There is no denying there is a learning curve when it comes to online marketing and this is where many beginners get tripped up.
The online world is plagued with garbage scam products claiming that they have the secret to making money online. You don't have to work, you just set up a few things and your online money dreams will come true.
Well that's a load of crap. There is no secret to making money online. There is no push button set it and forget program for making money online. Never has been never will be.
But if you're new to online marketing and you have not been exposed to these scams and can't recognize a scam pitch when you come across one it's not hard to get sucked in and get taken for a good chunk of your money.
Hey I got scammed when I first started online, but then I found the right mentor and got the right training and I never got scammed again.
And if you have been scammed don't beat yourself up about it. These marketers know exactly what to say and what buttons to push. They tell you exactly what you want to hear.
When you see and read thing like:
- You can make X amount of dollars in 30 days with no effort
- Get floods of traffic with a push of a button
- Receive $3500 - $6500 or more a week
- Million dollar blueprint
- This offer will be gone tomorrow
- We're not sure how long we can offer this deal
- Want to make a fulltime income by the end of the week?
This is scam language.
The big red flags are when the product owner tells you, you can make money overnight and with no effort or uses false scarcity saying this offer will be removed so you better buy now.
To protect yourself from getting scammed simply slow down and take a day to put on your detective hat and research the program/product you're thinking of buying/using.
First place to start is in Google and search for reviews. But stay away from reviews that say things like "don't buy this product until you read my review". More often than not this person is an affiliate for the program/product.
Add the word "scam" to your search. Go to forums. Go to sites such as mine that has unbiased reviews of products and programs. Even places like the rip off report is a good resource.
The point is do your homework before you open your wallet.
Also avoid programs that charge you to promote their product. Many times these are disguised as MLM opportunities posing as affiliate programs when in fact they are Ponzi Schemes. The Empower Network is the perfect example of a Ponzi scheme program.
So absolutely make sure you get the most Up To Date Quality Training You Possibly Can
5) Focus On One Core Marketing Strategy
Everyday you're probably been hit with the latest marketing strategy. And of course more often than not the person pitching this new strategy says it's the latest greatest thing and what you're doing is old news and you better do this.
And this is where I step in and say bullshit.
Like everything it's usually someone trying to sell you on some new program or service. Remember when Periscope came out?
Everyone was talking about it. And not to long after that every so-called Periscope expert had a how to course about Periscope.
Yes there are a ton of marketing strategies. You have Social Media, you have Video, you have, PPC, you have Media Buys, you have Ezine Advertising - you have, you have....
But you don't have to do all of them. All you need is 1. You'll have far better success is you become 90% good at one thing then 10% good a 9 things.
Personally my main marketing strategy is video marketing. That's what I focus on. In fact in one of my niches all I did for this niche was videos.
I created one new video every month and uploaded it to YouTube. Just doing that in this one niche I created an additional $47,000 in income by the end of 2015.
Do you think I would have had that sort of success if I was trying 10 other ways of marketing? No, there's no way because my focus would have been all over the place.
So you need to find a marketing strategy that you can dive into and focus on. Become the expert in that one core area of your marketing. Sure I do other things for marketing but at the core of everything I do it's video marketing.
In fact I'm going to start advertising on Facebook this year. But not text ads, I'm going to use my core marketing strategy and I'm going to do Video Ads.
Now I'm not saying you can't try other marketing strategies, of course you can. But before you spend to much time on another strategy master your core strategy first, and then once you have that in place and can do it with your eyes closed.
By all means if you want to learn another marketing strategy go ahead. But even with that said if your core marketing strategy is giving you the results you want, then in my opinion what's the point of learning a different method.
So master one marketing strategy.
6) Have A Schedule
This not only applies to affiliate marketing this applies to working online in general.
Having a weekly schedule will have you working smart not hard. We all think we can multitask and get several things done at the same time and on the same day.
I speak from experience, that rarely happens and what usually ends up happening is you get half or none of what you wanted to get done for the day and you wondered how it happened.
Now just starting out as an affiliate marketer there is a lot to get done. But by breaking things down into manageable chunks you'll be just fine. And then having a schedule for building your business will have you further ahead of most people.
This is one reason I'm such an advocate for the wealthy affiliate for beginner affiliate marketers it provides clear manageable steps of setting up and growing your affiliate business.
Using me as an example here's my latest weekly schedule:
Remember that other niche I mentioned where all I do is videos? This is the day that I voice, produce and do everything related for the video for the week.
Tuesday & Wednesday:
On these 2 days I create content for my site.
This is my keyword research day. I do this for not only my content but for my videos.
This is learning day. I set aside this time to learn what's new and what can potentially increase my skills as a marketer to keep growing my business.
Remember I mentioned I'm going to be doing video advertising on facebook? Well I'm taking a course from a Facebook Video Ad expert and I'm going to use these knowledge to drive traffic to a squeeze page for a new high end affiliate program I've been invited to be a part of.
In fact I'll be documenting everything about my venture into vidoe advertising and sharing everything with you.
Because I have this schedule I get everything I need to get done to grow my business. I'm not all over the place when it comes to my business.
Oh and don't get caught up in time wasting activities such as:
- Chasing the latest online business opportunity
- Checking your email throughout the day
- Hanging out on social media (biggest time waster ever!)
- Hanging out on YouTube or other streaming formats
- Hanging out in chat rooms/fourms
- Texting on your phone
Of course I'm not saying you cannot do these things. But there is a time and place for everything. When you building your business - build your business. Once you have your tasks done for the day - you can anything you want online or off.
You'll be a lot further ahead if you create and stick to a schedule.
7) Make Wise Product Choices
It's pretty safe to say this is a very critical part of your overall affiliate business success. And there are two key factors to choosing the right product.
- The products quality/reputation
- The commission you earn
I have to admit it can take some time to find the perfect balance. On one hand you want to be associated with a product that is of the highest quality but you also want to make money.
Obviously you certainly don't want to be associated to a crap product. Because your reputation as a marketer is attached to the quality of the products you represent. You also have to remember you're going to be marketing this product for a very long time.
So it has to be a product you believe in and as I mentioned earlier it's one you should ultimately be using yourself. So that's why taking your time when sourcing out a product is so important.
Now there are countless places to source out products.
For big brand name physical products more often than not you'll find that they have their products or service available through Affiliate Networks.
An affiliate network simply acts as an intermediary between affiliates and the companies. It's also easier for you as an affiliate because you'll have access to hundreds of companies with just as many products all in one place.
With all affiliate networks you need to apply for access to the network. Once you've been approved to the network you'll have access to all the companies within that network.
However you still have to apply to each individual company within the network to become an affiliate for that companies product.
There is a ton of affiliate networks. Here's the one's I've personally used:
Now I do want to mention one other affiliate network and that's ClickBank. The reason I want to mention ClickBank is to recommend it but with a cavet.
With Clickbank you simply need to create an account. And all ClickBank represents is digital products. Now with that said here's that cavet.
Not everything that ClickBank has in their network is of the best quality. There are a lot of crap products. They have cleared out a lot of garbage products so there there still some really good products with great commissions and new products being added all the time.
So make sure you do your due diligence about any product you decide to represent from ClickBank. Yes you have to do that with any affiliate product. But because of the amount of garbage products they had in the past personally I would be a little more diligent when sourcing out ClickBank products.
The quality and reputation of the product you're going to represent is very important. As I mentioned earlier the products you associate yourself with are a reflection on you.
It's pretty simple. If you market crap products you're going to be known for representing crap products. And it works the other way just as much. Market great products and you'll have the reputation of representing great products.
Not rocket science.
One thing I've seen many affiliate marketers do is get sucked into representing a product because it's offering a very high commissions. Don't let that happen to you.
If the product is crap or it doesn't sell, how much you could make is not worth your reputation or the amount you can make.
The Commission Amount
As an affiliate you want to maximize your return on your efforts. So you need to consider the commission that is being offered to you as an affiliate.
Let's say for argument sake your goal is to earn $5000 per month. If for example you're an Amazon Affiliate. And as an amazon affiliate their commissions range between 4% and 8.5%.
Let's do some math. Let's say you're selling a product for $100 and with amazon you're making the top commission of 8.5%
In order for you to earn $5000 per month on 8.5%, which would be $8.50 per sale. You need to sell 588 units each month or just over 19 units per day. (the total would be $4998.00)
In order for that to happen you're going to need a lot of traffic coming to your website.
At a 5% conversion and that's doing well you would need 3225 people per day coming to your site or 96,750 per month. That's a LOT of traffic you have to build. And that's if you can achieve a 5% conversion rate. It's certainly doable, but it will take time.
But now let's change that up and you're an affiliate with a company that offers you 25% commission for a $100 product. Now you're earning $25 per sale.
In order to earn the same $5000 per month now all you need is to sell just over 6 units per day or 200 units per month. This changes the amount of traffic you need big time.
Staying with the 5% conversion rate you now only need 140 visitors per day or 4200 visitors per month.
Like I mentioned Amazon offers commission ranging from 4% to 8.5%. You'll find that within most affiliate networks the companies within these networks offer commissions on average ranging from 10% to 20%.
Whereas within ClickBank you can find products that offer commissions as high as 75%.
You also have the option to source out a private affiliate program. This of course would be an affiliate program offered by a company that is not in a affiliate network.
When sourcing out private affiliate programs simple do the search as follows. In Google type the name of the company or product name and then add "+ affiliate program" to your search query, without the quotes.
So your search query would be: "company/product name + affiliate program"
But like any affiliate program make sure you do your due diligence prior to investing all you marketing efforts with a private affiliate program. Unlike affiliate networks you're not as protected.
Now I'm not saying private programs are not worth associating with, I'm just saying do your homework.
I represent a few private affiliate programs - and like any product or service I use these products and services. So yep, I certainly did my homework first.
One last thing when it comes to earning commissions. Try and find programs that offer recurring commissions. These would be memberships programs where the customer has to pay a monthly fee in order to use the product or service.
Representing affiliate programs that have recurring commissions gives you a residual income each month. Now you have money coming in at the start of each month before you've sold anything new for that month.
Now you know how some marketers can take a month off and still make money and even increase their monthly income.
I have several recurring affiliate programs I belong to. In fact most of my affiliate programs are residual programs.
Food For Thought
Still on the subject of commissions don't discount high ticket products or services. And I mean items that cost $1000, $5000, $10,000 or more.
There is this big misconception that people won't spend that kind of money online. And this is simply not true. This misconception comes from a lack mentality.
There is a price point for everyone. And I speak from experience because I'm an affiliate for a high end service which is priced at $10,000.
So where are these high end affiliate programs?
You can find these private affiliate programs within your own niche. You simply have to reach out to the experts in your niche and strike up a JV deal with them.
I'll be posting a complete blueprint on how to strike up these high end JV affiliate deals later on. So keep an eye out for that. if you want to notified when I post this blueprint simply join my subscriber list.
So take your time and make wise product choices.
8) Be Patient Young Jedi
I kind of touched on this in point 1 and that's where many affiliate marketers quit because things are not happening fast enough.
Despite all the chatter and sales pitches from the self proclaimed so-called gurus. Building a online business takes time. It's not going to happen over night. Things take time to develop.
It takes time to learn the steps of building your business, it takes time to generate traffic, it takes time to build the trust of your audience so they will buy from you and it takes time to build up your income to a full time level.
Everything takes time. In fact some of the things you do today may not show results for weeks and in some cases months. That's just the way it is.
It took me 18 months from the time I found my mentor to where I could quit my day job.
Sure I could have quit my job much earlier but my goal was to make 3 times as much online as I was making at my job before I quit. Your goal may be different. But regardless, it took time. But it was time I was willing to invest to become my own boss.
And that was back in 2005 when I quit and I've been making a fulltime income online ever since.
many people wants things to happen right away, I find lots of people expect to be making money in less than 30 days. Well sorry to burst your bubble for the majority of people that's not going to happen. You can reasonably expect to be making a fulltime living within 12 months with the right business plan.
Sure it some cases it can happen sooner, but I'm not here to give you false expectations.
But even so, what's a year or less to create your own thriving online business compared to your job which you'll be at for years and years?
Ok what about paid traffic to build my business faster? What about it?
Do you have the money to spend right out of the gate to learn how to drive paid traffic to your website and then have that traffic convert to sales once at your site? Especially if you've never done paid traffic before.
I doubt it very much. And if you do have the money be prepared to spend a lot of it tweaking and testing everything. You have to walk before you can run.
Yes you can do paid traffic, but not right from the start. You need to build the foundation of your business first. And the foundation starts with organic traffic growth, and that comes from creating great content and proper SEO for that content which gets ranking in the search engines.
I did a post about creating killer content that gets ranked and you can read all about that here.
So relax don't get impatient - keep taking at least one positive step towards your business goals each day and you will reach them.
In fact you'll be light years ahead of most people knowing it's going to take time to build your business. This is going to give you the edge. Give yourself 6 months to a year to build your business.
When you think about it a year is not that long be in complete control of your financial future. Compare that to where you'll be in a year financially with your current job. I'll think we can agree it's a year well spent.
So be patient young jeti.
9) Share Your Story
No one likes to be sold. I certainly don't like it and I'm pretty sure you don't either. So as an affiliate you don't want to do something that you don't like being done to you.
The most successful marketers affiliate or otherwise simply share their story.
They tell people their personal experiences with the product or service they're using. And in doing so they're also recommending said product or service.
Can you see why owning the product is so important? You can speak from a place of truth and conviction. You're not selling you're Helping - big difference.
Zig Zigler said it best:
"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
When people ask me about affiliate marketing and where to start. With no hesitation I tell them about the wealthy affiliate. And I can do so because I'm intimately involved with the tools, training, resources and the community of the wealthy affiliate. I know what it has to offer and I'm proud to be associated with the WA. Just like I am with every product and service I talk about.
I share my stories and the things that have happened since being a member of the wealthy affiliate. I don't sell anyone on the wealthy affiliate. I just recommend the wealthy affiliate and give them all the information they need so they can make their own decision on whether the WA is the place for them.
It's up to them to do what they want to do, it's not up to me. Never has been and never will be.
And you have to be of the same mindset. Not everyone is going to like what you're marketing. And that's ok. Because there will be just as many that do. And those are the people I focus on, don't worry about the rest.
So don't sell people help people.
10) You Need The Proper Mindset
This is probably the biggest thing that prevents people achieving everything they want to achieve. Not only as an affiliate but in every area of their lives.
I've already told you it's going to take hard work, determination and persistence to build your business.
And there's going to be those days where you're going to be at the edge and may think of quitting. That's when you need to be the strongest.
And that strength does not all come from will power. It comes from having the right tools in place to help you get through those challenges.
I can tell you of epic failures I've had. Ones that would stop many people in their tracks. Hell they almost stopped me. But because of having the proper mindset I was able to push through those challenges and keep moving forward.
Two of the most powerful tools you can have in your mindset arsenal is understanding your "Self Talk" and knowing "Why" you're doing what you're doing.
Your self talk is that running dialogue in your head. What you say to yourself everyday determines your destiny. And having a powerful "why" is your anchor to success.
Now I did two very in depth posts inside the wealthy affiliate about both of these topics and I highly recommend you give them a read.
And this goes beyond the scope of building a successful affiliate marketing business. As I said understanding these two very powerful principles will help you in every single area of your life.
You can click the individual links below to read these post.
Set yourself up for success and create the proper mindset.
One last parting thing.
You've heard me referring to the wealthy affiliate many times. If you're truly serious about starting and growing an online affiliate marketing business. Then take a few minutes and check it out.
The WA has all the up to date training, tools, resources and support (including personal support from me) you'll ever need while building your business.
I hope you found this post helpful. If so, feel free to share it with your audience, and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
I believe in you!!