I’m actually going to describe 4 methods but only recommend the final 3…
1. Direct Linking (no content) – Is the name given to the practice of linking directly with the vendors sales page / offer, without the use of any form of pre-selling content.
Visitors / traffic usually come from advertising networks, but people can also drop their affiliate links into social networks and forums.
This is the simplest and fastest form of affiliate marketing.
Don’t try this with Google – they’ll likely ban your account.
Google dislike affiliates in general because they feel that they don’t add any value to the buying cycle, to the point where they won’t let affiliates advertise on their network if the affiliate doesn’t use helpful, balanced, quality content that adds value to the process.
Direct linking is meant to add nothing to the process.
Though you can’t direct link with Google you can with other ad networks such as Bing / Yahoo for example.
I do think direct linking is good for testing purposes. By sending paid traffic directly to a vendors sales / landing page you can quickly establish if the page converts.
Though you’ll probably lose money to start with the objective is to find out if the page converts. If it does it’s then worth investing the time to develop the quality pre-selling content that will help improve conversions and bring profitability.
Direct linking can also be successfully used for cost per action type offers where the visitor faces no risk or purchase, they have only to leave their email or fill in a form to comply. These offers often tend to pay very low (50c – $5) but convert high.
2. Review and comparison content – Is a fantastic way to earn affiliate commissions. A good helpful review / comparison piece is often that final confirmation a potential buyer needs. Personally I love to read real reviews from product owners before I make a big purchase.
There is a lot of competition from other affiliates but that just indicates there is money being made.
There are also no shortage of products and services to promote.
3. The ‘how to’ content – is another brilliant strategy for affiliates to add value into the purchase life-cycle. Imagine you’re considering a new piece of software or a camera, and you discover a site where the affiliate is clearly an expert in the product, and does the pre-selling through great helpful content that shows how you can benefit from the product.
This method requires the affiliate to really understand the product, but conversions go through the roof when you can help people like this.
4. Story based content – people love stories period. If you can write engaging stories that somehow incorporate the product you’ll also do great as an affiliate. So using our camera example from above, imagine telling people about your holiday, with the story punctuated with awesome photos. If the photo’s are good people will happily follow a link that shows them how you took them and your honest review of the product.
Or maybe the story is how you financed the holiday through the extra earnings you’ve made because you have been following the training in the new…. link to the product.
This type of zero hype helpful content is what Google loves.
Unfortunately the internet is flooded with fake. Resist the easy route and concentrate on really helping, or entertaining people.
Pre-selling content can be used in many ways, on blogs and websites, in video’s, and pdf’s, or as email content if you’re collecting email addresses and building a list.
In my opinion the best advice is to do your experimenting and learn the ropes with free resources. The community I mentioned earlier offers two free websites and all the training required to get off to a great start.
So once you’ve found something you’re happy with I’d urge you to buy your own domain name and hosting. This is going to cost way less than 100 bucks per year for a real business!
Try setting up a business offline for less than $100.
There are many places you can buy a domain name but Namecheap and GoDaddy are both excellent with new domains costing no more than $20 per year.
Similarly hosting has thousands of suppliers with Hostgator and Bluehost being highly rated, and with plans starting at $3/4 per month you can see why online business is so popular.
Some people own hundreds of websites earning them passive income 24×7. Others like to create and sell websites rather than keep and develop them.
Auction sites like Flippa let you sell your website super easy. And with a website valuation being generally 10 X the sites monthly revenue there is an thriving industry of buying and selling websites.
What about other free ways to become an affiliate?
Tumblr, WordPress.com and Google’s Blogger offer great free blogging platforms for people to start with. Though you’ll have to stick to their rules about the content you post and this may restrict you.
Youtube is also an excellent free resource for affiliates. Create a great helpful product review video for example and use your affiliate link in the description box to send visitors to the offer. Some folks make a full time living doing this alone.
Facebook Pages are also free and can be used to promote affiliate products very successfully.
The downside with only using free resources is that you own none of them andyour revenue is potentially at risk from some corporate change of policy you have no control over. It happens.
Best advice. If you’ve got successful content make sure you own and host it, and no one can then pull the rug from under you.
The Choice of Affiliate Programs to Promote Is Massive