Learn To Do Affiliate Marketing Like The Experts- The Essential Steps For Success
Getting into the affiliate marketing business seems easy enough. Find a web hosting site sign up and go right? Hardly ,this is a big decision and you need to make sure you do your research. So to help you out, I have created a beginners guide to affiliate marketing for 2018, in order to show you some main steps needed to make this work.
I will list a few things and they are not in any specific order. But all are critical to sustained success, this guide is more generic as it will show you a path and options available to you so you can decide what you need. It is important that you know, that what I am listing here works.
Also I want you to know that I was where you are right now, searching for information to get started. I already knew about affiliate marketing and the concept, but how to start? what was needed? I had the same questions. Let me share some of what I have learned in my journey into affiliate marketing and hopefully answer those questions for you.
First let me say that Affiliate Marketing is truly a fantastic online business model. You get to make money while you sleep and work your own hours from wherever you have access to the internet. I know people from countries all over the world that have very successful online businesses running today. We interact regularly to share knowledge and experiences and most say the exact same things that are in this guide on how to make this a success for you.
As was I,you are looking into the affiliate marketing industry because your current job can’t cover what you need expense wise as well as for your life goals.
I think we all want something great for ourselves but are we willing to take action on the thoughts we have and make it actually happen? or do we just fall into the “I told you so” rhetoric we get from our friends and family?
You are cautious and you should be, about starting “some online thing” as folks will say. You need to make sure you are taking the right step before you go down the path that others are afraid to try because they are uninformed and unwilling to make it a reality. Get used to doing research because it will be your daily activity going forward.
In this guide we will discuss the following topics
- Having a passion or at least an interest in something
- Hosting service
- Keyword Research
- Training Program
- Niche Market
- Affiliate agreement
- A Website
- Quality Content- Repeat often
- Auto Responders
- Using Social Media
- Realistic Budget
|Affiliate Disclosure– Some of the links on this page are affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission for any resulting sales. I use that commission to run this website and it is also how I make a living just as you can do the same. The cost of the commissions are not an addition to your cost, I get my commissions from the vendors or retailers providing the service you sign up for. If you are not comfortable with affiliate links then use the names of the programs or tools I provide or the url and go to the website directly that way by opening a new tab in your browser. I am in business to help you first, if I should benefit from the deal then we both win but my first priority is to assist you with the information. The information I provide here is real and not a scam, the services I recommend are ones I have used myself and know to be real and accurate, I am providing you this information as I only recommend quality options to my readers. As you progress as an affiliate marketer you will gain contacts from others in the industry and you will benefit from helping each other out. It is what helps give credibility to you as a marketer. Using affiliate links is how this business works. Please take care and have a great day-
Todd- Owner Webincome4me.com
Affiliate Marketing is one of the fastest growing online business models and with much more users getting online daily the forecast is for even more growth in the future. 3.5 Billion people are your audience, remember that when starting up your business. This guide will cover several aspects of how affiliate marketing works and I will also lay out a few examples for you to consider as your tools to success. Simply because it is what I am having success with today.
This business is a test. A test in patience and also a test in how committed you are to making this work. Anyone claiming that you can get instant success with affiliate marketing is either lying to you or scamming you, as this business takes time to mature when done “properly”. As I will explain as we go further, to make this work requires a certain mindset. The folks that fail at affiliate marketing fail for 3 main reasons.
1. No Patience, they jump right to Pay per click marketing trying to get traffic before learning how to convert that traffic.
2. Lack of proper training to have the right information to make it work.
3. Do not want to work for it,they want it for free and to get rich instantly, when it does not happen they quit and claim it is a scam
Perhaps you can identify with what is listed above. I can easily help you with Number 2 and get you going in the right direction. But the other two are up to you, if you want to jump in and expect to get paid right away and not follow the training given to you ( I say given because it is FREE) then think hard before trying again to avoid going down a path that may not be what you expected
Know Who You Are
Yes that is what I said. Know who you are and what you like hobbies wise or something you are interested in learning about that could become a niche market for you. We will cover niche markets in a bit. But it is much easier to be good at this if you have a passion for something, since it will drive you to do more and more posts on your website once it is up and running. Let us look at this 3 ways.
1. You are a dog lover and are very involved in your pet eating a healthy diet. Maybe you even make your dogs food from scratch. ( like my wife does). In this example you could use “healthy treats for dogs” as a niche or ” healthy food for dogs” or how to make sure your dogs eats a healthy diet. this can go on and on. But my point is you can make something you are good at or passionate about into a potential niche market even though it may not be the exact phrase you initially thought.
2. You are interested in learning about healthy diets for your dog. You can still use the same niche market as above and learn as you go and make this work well, because it is something you are interested in. You could also go one step further and go with ” making healthy food for dogs for a beginner” and go that route or just include articles on that when you refine your niche and begin to market your brand.
3. You have little to no interest in healthy dog food but while doing niche research you find that there is a market for it and you run with it. This is more for the experienced marketer in my opinion. Once you learn how to spot niches and how to get information, you can dive into literally unlimited potential markets.
This is why for folks just getting started it is best to start with something you are interested in, because as you go forward you will need to add quality content to your website relating to your niche and it is way easier to do that when you have something you are interested in and can provide a more detailed perspective on it.
Information Is Critical
Just like above, you need to do your homework and find items for your affiliate marketing tool bag, before you start. Find a good web hosting service, Like Hostgator or BlueHost or Wealthy Affiliate. Those are all places to look but you certainly can find others. You need to know how much hosting fee’s are and what kind of website creation tools are available through them otherwise you will have an additional cost in a website creator unless you are a whiz at HTML.
Hostgator has a variety of plan options as well as other scaling up from there for hosting. You may want to consider one that includes a website builder. so I added the information chart from host gators website-
This is the option they have for including a WordPress site builder using “C-Panel” which contains many more options that the basic builder in my video ( see website section). However when getting started you wont use many of the options in the panel. Me? I prefer the keep it simple method, this website was founded on the keep it simple approach and is doing just fine without all the options available within C-panel. But if you want all those features then this may be an option for you
Hostgator offers a few choices at affordable prices for hosting with a website editor starting at $3.95 but it only includes 6 pages for your site which is kinda silly in my opinion. In reality you would need the Pro option which has unlimited pages for $16.90 a month. Here is the link to the chart and more information on Hostgator website – Here
Hostgator is a less expensive way to get up an running on web hosting and they have a website builder. However there is no training on how to do anything related to running the website or adding quality content or keywords. The support available has mixed reviews so do your research first.
I listed Bluehost as an option because they also have a variety of plans to choose from including a nice WordPress platform they support for $19.99 Monthly to start. Here is a Link to the page explaining it on their website with a chart breakdown of the options available
Both Hostgator and BlueHost use C-Panel for admin(you) to use for maintaining the websites
They have 2 choices for hosting and that is it. But what a difference in services,there is a large contrast in the difference between the 3 options here between Wealthy Affiliate and Hostgator or Bluehost.
The difference is that Wealthy Affiliate is an all in one training platform that comes with secure SSL web hosting and a WordPress site builder as part of their membership options. So in other words you get way more than just web hosting with them, you get to learn what to do with your website once you create it. The website builder is a bit limited as opposed to C-panel, but at the same time it is robust and stable and very easy to use.
They do this so they can have a stable platform for all members and gear it more towards folks getting started so they keep it simple. I am a member and this site is hosted by wealthy affiliate and was created using the same website builder I have mentioned. Here is the information below
They offer a free starter membership that includes 2 websites hosted by wealthy affiliate using a Siterubix.com domain name. The free membership includes the website builder and secure hosting and a ton of training- 20 free lessons on how to get an online business running.- Not bad for FREE.- See My Wealthy Affiliate Review Here for more detailed information
The Paid member ship is $49 a Month- yes a bit more than Hostgator but the difference is in the incredible amount of training available and community support as well as great tech support as well. I have used support a few times and have had responses right away with good and valuable solutions.
The support from both the community and site support is truly world class, I am not just saying that because I am a member I am saying it because it is true. There are other options, I would not hang around if this was bogus.
They also allow you to host 50 Websites on their platform all included within the Premium membership fee. ( see review for more information)
There are several other web hosting companies that will offer similar packages as host gator. So this is your call on what works best for you. I am not going to list all of them as this guide would go on forever just on this one topic.
I tend to lean to Wealthy Affiliate because they have everything in one place and they teach you how to be successful without a bunch of up-sells and hidden costs like other programs have, even though the website dashboard is simpler it is stable and over 4000 theme’s at your finger tips to use with several thousand plugins for all other aspects needed.
Here is a quick chart that shows the plans side by side so you can compare. The reason wealthy affiliate is more per month is because it gives you more in the form of all the training you need and then some- A one stop shop for everything you need. The others just do hosting and a website and let you figure the rest out.
WordPress Pricing Table Plugin
Affiliate Training Plan
Several Amt unknown
Your Word Is Key
You also need to find a great keyword tool to help with Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. There is only 1 tool I recommend for this honor. Jaaxy, but seriously, look for others as well and see what works for what you need. To really be a success when getting started, avoid tools that give you Pay Per Click stats as opposed to competition stats like Jaaxy does.
If you only do PPC to get traffic because you are looking to make money fast, I wish you well as you spend way too much and are very likely to struggle and progress can be much slower- More on PPC below.
The Main reason I am a Jaaxy fan? It was created by affiliate marketers FOR affiliate marketers, so it is designed to provide the “real” data you need to make it all work out.
I recommend Jaaxy as your main tool here because it is extremely accurate with the data provided and I have had great success getting organic rankings (non PPC) using Jaaxy repeatedly.
Once you get used to the interface you see all the things it can do besides just keywords you will understand, they have a free option to try it out with 30 free searches if you are curious. Jaaxy was designed to be a full suite of tools that provide you everything you need for SEO in one place.
There is certainly no issue with you trying out several other keyword tools and SEO tools to get your information, however I caution you that many will provide you with useless graphs and confusing information, or better yet.
Instead of giving you information about your competition in a keyword phrase they will give you Pay Per click stats, which are great when your are ready but useless until then. There is a place for Pay Per click for sure, it will be a very powerful way to enhance your online success, but until you know how to do it properly you need to stay away when starting out and learn the fundamentals to building a great foundation for success.
Many programs push PPC right off the bat, and in my opinion that is not the right way to build a long term successful online business. Trust me, I did the same thing when I started a few years ago and it cost me a lot of money just to stay relevant. While others could spend nothing and rank just fine and get the same traffic I was paying for.
Now that has changed as over the years I have been able to acquire the skills to out perform PPC sites on a regular basis, so now I get ranked for free simply by following some simple steps in order to get rankings.
Part of the boot camp training provided by wealthy affiliate covers Pay Per Click marketing, in fact there are several classes on it, but it is at the end of the training with the expectation that you have already built a solid foundation already and have learned how to rank and convert before you go with PPC.
Get With A Program
It is much easier to get started in this industry if you learn from others who know how to do it. So I suggest you find a program to follow to learn the basics. There are a few good ones out there to pick from.
I’m sure you know by now that My #1 recommended option “Wealthy Affiliate” is good program with good reputation for success. They are pretty much the gold standard for affiliate marketing training and online business training
Over 400,000 people started their online business with Wealthy Affiliate Last Year
The reason I suggest you join is because, they will teach you what is needed to build a solid foundation for a successful online business instead of getting bits and pieces of information by searching online. There is a definite process to this and it is successful when followed.
The process is proven to work and is repeatable so you can use it to build your online empire and also gain the knowledge to grow your business in other ways that enhance your brand. Having a step by step process that shows you how to get set up is great as it helps you understand that you do not need previous experience to do this, we have members from age 14- 90+ learning and running their business online.
They have made a free starter account that has no time limit on it, you see all over the net programs saying, start free for 30 days and so on. There is no time limit on a free membership. You will be given an option to go premium at a reduced price for the first month but you certainly do not have to do that and can stay free as long as you like.
Many of the members I know said they started for free then saw what was truly available to them since they get 7 days of premium with starter membership, that they decided to up grade and take their business to a new level. I have to be careful here not to go on a huge sales pitch, that is not my intent. I am trying to explain a small portion of what is available for you and then let you research on your own to find anything else you may be curious about.
Finding A Niche Market
You may not understand quite yet what niche markets are and that’s okay, you will learn, which is one reason why I suggested you join an established program. They will teach you that. There is a real nice training video inside the “jaaxy help” tab in Jaaxy. The link only open after you sign up for a free Jaxxy membership unfortunatley.
But you can get started with Jaaxy for Free so that makes it easy
But for now, A niche is a group of people looking for stuff, or maybe what you are offering. Finding those folks is where the keyword research comes in. It is one of the most important functions for the success of your business, finding good Keywords that can provide value to your website, by value I mean actionable traffic even if it is in small amounts. All traffic is good traffic. Everyone online is looking for something, if you have what they want and can present it in an effective way you are well on your way to success.
To find a Niche market you need to have an effective keyword tool, thats why I recommend Jaaxy. Even though there are many other tools available, I always come back because of the data provided with how accurate and effective it is.
One important thing to mention here is that to really make this work out, you should make helping people the primary function of your business, no one likes the pushy salesman types and if you are only trying to sell something to someone, they will see right through it and you may not have the success you expect. As you gain exposure and authority for your website you will have much greater success if you help people first.
Affiliates R Us
There are hundreds if not thousands of affiliate programs online, most folks just starting out do not realize that. As a test, run a google search for an item you are familiar with and add “affiliate program” to the end of the search and see what you find-part of the research you will be doing is finding information on a regular basis, this is no different. Once you find a website with an affiliate program look at the footer of the website, most have them listed there.
Then open that link and find out what the “terms” are, what the payout structure is and so on. Do not join one yet, until you have a web site up and running and have been indexed in google and are starting to rank. The reason why I say this? many affiliate programs require a certain amount of activity on your website or sales as well, and when you are just starting out you won’t have much traffic and you could get bumped by an affiliate program.
Amazon for example is very strict about making sure you are making a certain amount of sales in order to remain an affiliate. Many people use Amazon with great success so do not let that scare you away, it is something to be aware of. These rules apply to many other affiliate programs online but also many have no requirements for minimum activity.
This is why I suggest you wait to sign up for a program until you are generating a fair amount of traffic. One of the industry experts I know, claims he does not add any affiliate links to his pages until his post or page is ranking on page 1. I am not advising you to do that, but I just put it out there to show how others approach this.
here is a link to the Amazon Policies Regarding Affiliates
Others to Look into –
A very large market place with many choices and also some good training options available on how to approach selling a product- Many successful marketers use clickbank. Click bank is an affiliate marketing network, they have a wide variety of products and retailers to promote. Good reputation and a very successful company
More focused on digital products but several big name companies have partnered with them so you can promote name brand items from reputable and well known companies
A large network of known online retailers-Helpful staff that can provide tips to success for your business
ShareaSale– An affiliate network with a wide variety of options to choose from to promote. Good commissions and a well established brand
The Web We Weave
As mentioned above you will need a web hosting service for your website and that means you need to create that website. WordPress is what I use since they have made everything so easy now it is very helpful. Back when I started I did mine in HTML which is a much slower process unless you are a coding whiz.
Many hosting sites have some sort of web creation tool, however nobody does it better than Wealthy Affiliate. They have it all, they have an entire training suite as well as web hosting and web creation using WordPress. That’s one reason why they are my main recommendation for you. Yes I am a member, and that’s also why I can tell you this is a great deal if you are just starting out.
Check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review Here
As I mentioned I recommend using a WordPress format for your site when starting out. WordPress is the website design platform used by roughly 1/3 of all sites online today. Easy plug and play options to create a website in literally minutes
The below image is a screen shot of the WordPress dashboard used to easily build a website
Here is a Quick Video on how a website is created using the WordPress editor for a FREE domain Via the Wealthy Affiliate Hosting. The Process would be very similar with Hostgator or Bluehost
Having a professional looking website is actually easy today as the tools and systems in place to make that happen are abundant.
Content Is King
The backbone of any successful website for affiliate marketing is the content on the website. You can learn how to write content ( it is easier than you think) that connects and provides value to your visitors and also can help them find the answer to what they are searching for.
Posting on a regular basis helps gets you ranked and noticed and also established as an authority for your brand. Any of the programs you get involved with to get your training will stress content creation.
Yes I know it sounds like a scary situation. You mean I have to write? Yes you do, but please do not let it scare you, it is amazing how many people start this business with little to no knowledge and end up posting fantastic content over and over again.
I certainly am no writer, but I post regularly and have written every word on this website. You can do the same with some training and some simple steps to follow that you can use repeatedly until you have website that has become a brand and an authority on a given niche and you are making a great living from doing it.
Of course you can hire content writers and researchers and so on, so that is an option if you are afraid you will not be able to consistently post new content. I know people who have a “staff” that are in this business and they help keep the website or sites up to date in a variety of ways.
Usually those folks are already established in this business and run multiple websites but there is nothing stopping you from doing something like this if it works for you.
Email Auto Responder
As you progress with your new business you will want to connect with your readers who are asking to see your content. You can do that with an opt-in list.
Folks can join your list via your website, you do that in a few ways, One is an auto responder format. which means you post a sign up form or page on your site and folks sign up using email and you collect that email with a program that does the work for you. You can collect , sort and send email and newsletters to your list with one of these tools.
They are referred to as auto responders. You may want to wait a bit before getting this going since the best auto responders charge a monthly fee, roughly in the $17.95-24.95 A month range. So until you are getting consistent traffic it would be a waste of money to start with this….So I advise that you look into it a few months after you start your website and have steady traffic.
Here are a few places to go for Auto responder programs
Aweber.com– Sort of the pace setter for most responder programs, easy to use and very stable
Get Response.com -Reputable program with good tech support scaling fee system based on list size.
Trafficwave.net– A good solid option with has a set price that never goes up based on how big your list is like the others do. They offer a simpler set of form templates not quite as fancy as Aweber but they do the job, several training videos to refer to. Flat fee of $17.95
Mailchimp.com has a free version. Not recommended as the interface is cumbersome and not user friendly and results are problematic- I used Mailchimp on my site then switched to Aweber and have not looked back. I am willing to pay the fee since it is a vital component of my business.
I mention this in the guide because it will be an extremely important part of your business going forward, the saying in the industry is “The Money Is In The List” because people that opt in to your information are willingly asking to receive it and that means they are interested and that really helps to connect with readers and return visitors in a way that helps them solve whatever question they have and at the same time you have a much greater chance at a conversion to a sale of some sort from your site.
This will become one of the most important parts of your business going forward so it is a good idea to let the automation help out. You literally can collect a list and send emails and or newsletters or promotions without being present. You can be sipping on umbrella drinks at your favorite vacation spot and have this all set up to work for you
Lets Be Social
The power of social media is truly remarkable for a marketer and you need to make sure you use as many social media platforms as you can when posting content. When starting out in this business you will have a hard time getting traffic at first. But social media can save your bacon.
If you do not have accounts on the main sites Facebook,Twitter,Google Plus, Pintrest and Instagram not to mention the others, set them up now and start building your followers base. Many folks ask why google plus? does anyone use it anymore? yes they do and one main user that is important here is “Google”.
You are playing in their sandbox when you use google plus, and it does help a bit getting ranked when you use the services google provides. I make it a habit to post on google plus every time I post without fail. Then I systematically post on the other Social media sites.
There are a few places to try out for social media automation. This will help get followers a bit faster than one at a time. I will list a few of them and you can check them out and see what works for you.
Crowdfire– helps you automate a bit and has options to see who un follows you. works on all major SM platforms- They have a nice free option and also some very affordable paid plans as well. I just updated to the yearly option and have taken my Social media to a new level. I like crowdfire.
Social Quant– One of the larger automation sites for social media, many options and paid plans. On the pricey side . Standard plan is $50 a month.
Hootsuite– a favorite of many marketers for the variety of options available. A bit more affordable, Can start for $19 a month and has free trial
Buffer-Post queued posts so you do not need to time each one you can load the buffer and go. Has a Nice “free” plan and then a $10 a Month option
As your following grows you will start to have much more exposure for your articles
These are just a few of them, but as you can see they can add a cost as well. I would advise using free options and trying a few of them out before you commit to a plan. Each one has a few different perks so just go free until you can afford to add it to the budget
One thing to remember with social media is that you can post something once and it can help you later as many people find your info later on and you get un expected traffic and when one of your followers shares your post that has many followers you are suddenly in the traffic zone as you get exposed to however many followers they have on their list not just yours. I have had people click on my twitter posts quite a while after posting and even retweets and shares.
Costs in any business there are costs to stay afloat. Expecting everything for free and expecting to make huge money with little to no effort is not a realistic expectation.
If you are serious about making this a business rather than a hobby, then expect some costs. Fortunately you can get an effective revenue generating business up and running online for a very reasonable cost as opposed to a traditional brick and mortar business which has over head costs for a building and inventory and employee’s and all sorts of other costs which add up quickly.
Using what we have already listed, let’s add them up. There are Free options for the ones I will list but let’s go with what they would cost if you wanted to get all the bells and whistles and get going.
Training Plan with Hosting- $49 Monthly or $359 a Year = less than $30 a Month.(Free option available)
Keyword suite software- $49 Monthly – $499 Year – Pro Version Or Enterprise if You are a Wealthy Affiliate premium member
Auto Responder- $19 Monthly- ( I used Aweber costs)
This is just an example as we can go higher or a bit lower either way. But to keep it real it adds up to around $100 – $120 a Month to realistically run an online business- Compare that to a brick and mortar business and it is not even close.
I did not include the social media paid plans in here because you can do just fine with free plans at first until you have incoming revenue then you can jump in the paid plans
|This is what my costs are for running my business so you can use it as a comparison
WA Membership $359 Yrly or $49 Mnthly (yearly makes it $30 a month) = 1.00 a day
Jaaxy $499 yrly/ $49 a Month = $1.63 a day
Aweber – $29.95/Mnthly ( I pay $34 Qrtly) = $.35 a day
Video creation software $15/Yrly = $1.25 Mnthly or $.04 a day
Crowdfire and Buffer Free Social Media options- No Cost
Total Yrly Cost = $1009
Monthly Cost = $110. if you go Monthly at WA with Yrly discount it =$84.08
Daily Cost = $2.82 With Wa Yrly Discount or =$3.66 without
So basically you can run a very lucrative business for $85 a month if you choose to
If the Yearly costs has you flinching then please consider this. You most likely pay more for your morning coffee if you are here in the US then you would for a potential life changing business.
so my operation costs are about the same and I am able to run my business effectively and make a nice living doing so.
If you want to avoid the training then you can have a website up and running at a much cheaper cost. But really what is the point?Since this is a guide about getting started in affiliate marketing, then you need to acquire the skills to do that so a training plan is the way to go to really make it work.
You can do this for free to start as we stated earlier
Recommended Starter Plan
|Here is how you get started for Free and What is included
In addition to this you will need an affiliate relationship with any one of thousands of affiliates. Most are usually Free- ( information included in WA training on where to go and how to find them)
Select the Image below to start now for Free
We have listed the critical pieces of what you need to get started in affiliate marketing. There are a few different ways to approach this business and I am sure someone reading this that has other options may be willing to share them and that is to be expected. But like I stated at the beginning of this guide, this is what works for me. Others have had success doing other routes and that is fine.
By all means share that in the comments below so my readers can see what else may be available that can be a success for them. The information listed here was a high level look at what is needed for success, I will be writing a more detailed version eventually that will include some specifics or I may break each step out into posts I am not sure yet.
I will be sharing that with my mailing list as first priority before I post it but it will be on the website eventually as well. ( remember the money is in the list)
I hope you enjoyed this guide. We covered the topics listed in the introduction and I hope you found value in the information. Feel free to comment or share this post, I would love to discuss it with you
If you would like to start right now? Give it a shot. The Free starter account I mentioned above is available right here, to get the training you need to succeed and your websites online quickly. Click the button to Join now
Thank you for your time