So, you want to enter the exciting world of online marketing but don’t know where to start. Perhaps you have a full time job and you are looking to make some extra cash with hopes of transitioning into a full time affiliate marketing professional in the future.
Whatever your situation or goals, there is undoubtedly one thing you must know before you read any further. Prepare to work impossibly hard. You will work long hours, make no money and ultimately be insanely frustrated. If you can muster up the patience and work your tail off you might join the group of affiliate marketers who make a little bit of money. 5 years ago you could have done the above and made good money, but this is no longer the wild wild west.
Affiliate networks, advertisers, FTC and traffic sources have come down hard on affiliates and have transformed the industry. A successful affiliate marketer must drench themselves in the industry. It should be the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed.
The industry itself is massive and there are more routes you could take than I care to talk about. So, I am going to cover one most common among our clients – products.
You have come across a product that you swear by…whether it be your own, or someone else’s, you are convinced if taken to the internet all parties involved could make a mint. What’s next? Here are some simple affiliate marketing tips that will help you along. (in no particular order)
1. Payment Gateway. Hooking up with a good merchant solution can be a long, exhausting process. I suggest you get it out of the way as soon as possible. Paypal is often the easiest choice, however I would suggest you shop around. Take a look at some of these paypal alternatives.
2. Promotion. So, your merchant account is being sorted, website is built and agreements between you and your supplier are squared away, but no one is visiting your site : ( You have some big decisions to make…which are very much dependent on your free time available, budget, skillset etc. I will separate them by the ‘easy’ route and the hard route.
a. The relatively easy route is to entrust your promotion efforts to a search engine optimization company. Make sure you look for one that has e-commerce experience. OR, hook up with an affiliate network. An affiliate network is essentially a broker. They act as a middle party, connecting those who require affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing professionals. (advertisers: YOU and affiliates THEM) TIP: Not all networks take on advertisers with tangible products. Clickbank for example only promotes digital products.
b. The tougher route would be to take on the duty of an affiliate marketer. As a ‘newbie’, my suggestion would be to put your efforts into search engine optimization. Organic (free) traffic may take longer to build, but the payout is generally bigger. Take a look around our blog, there are plenty of SEO tips.
3. Trustworthy. It is very easy to fall into the shadier methods when promoting products online. Blackhat methods as they are commonly known may promise quick gain, but they will not pay off in the long run. We are in a new era of online marketing and not only have rules become more strict, but your average online shopper has become much savier. If your goal is repeated traffic, strong rankings and long term revenue streams, keep it clean.
4. Test, test and test some more. This is one of the more important affiliate marketing tips. You need to be patient, and diligent. If something isn’t working try changing a small element like your title, content, or banner. Try 10 samples and measure which one converted traffic better. Once you have discovered which sample works best, move on to another feature and do the same.
5. Build a List: No matter what you are selling, you need to focus some attention on building a list. Otherwise, you are opting out of repeat traffic and sales. By employing a successful email marketing strategy, you have an opportunity not only to make repeat sales, but to connect with those who weren’t interested immediately. You essentially have a second change to sell them and a medium to communicate how great your product is and your authority on the subject. We have a detailed take on how to build email list, here.
We hope the above information will prove useful to you in your online endeavors or at the very least it will save you some time and frustration. These affiliate marketing tips only skim the service of what it a massive industry.
Lastly, before making any rash moves (quitting your day job), educate yourself work at it for a while. There are VERY few overnight successes in this industry…many of the folks I know spent 6-12 hard months, before they broke even.
Good luck and please let us know if you have any questions at all.
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