How Can A Beginner Learn To 
Make Money Online With Affiliate Marketing


Typical affiliates office?

Online affiliate marketing is a fascinating subject. Successful affiliates don’t conform to any one personality type, or skill set, age, gender or location, this really is a business model where anyone can succeed.

Though to suggest it’s easy would be a crime.

Like success in most ventures it requires vision, planning and consistent unfailing action.

The intention of this article is to provide an overview of Affiliate Marketing and the best actionable advice I can give to start you off on the right foot.

Having the correct mindset is key.

Watch the video below and then carry on reading…

Lets crack on…

In simple terms affiliates (you, and me) get paid a commission for sending people through a unique link (our affiliate link) to a vendors website, where they must complete a required action (for example submitting their email, completing a form, or making a purchase). (Wikipedia’s definition here)

As a business model it’s very popular because of the super low (even free!) start up cost, and speed in which an online affiliate business can be set up.

It’s very popular with big companies and service providers to sell through affiliates, because it enables them to reach a broader audience at a lower cost than other marketing channels. Many large global companies provide a free to join affiliate program… Amazon is probably the largest example.

Is It Easy To Make Money As An Affiliate Marketer?


Yes and no…

Yes, because as an affiliate we have very little to do apart from introducing potential buyers to sellers…

  • No product development
  • No stock or inventory to manage
  • No service or customer care responsibility
  • Heck you can even do it without a website (will discuss later).

Bring on the hammock!…

Affiliate Marketing can be overwhelming
Hold on, not so fast…

The reality is it’s not that easy to make money as an affiliate…

Because of the amount of ‘stuff’ to confuse, distract and ultimately overwhelm us

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Stuff like…

  • How do I find potential buyers? (referred to as traffic)
  • Website or no website?
  • What products do I promote?
  • Must I own them?
  • What is a niche?
  • Must I use social media?
  • Should I collect email addresses?
  • … and if so what do I do with them?
  • Video marketing
  • Article marketing
  • Pay per click
  • Pay per view
  • The list goes on… and on… (really)

Many people fail because of overwhelm and because they spend 95% of their time on non profitable activity…

Like learning! obviously learning is vital but please recognize that learning without implementation is nothing more than potential.

Successful affiliates start by becoming very very good at as few things as possible.

Millionaire affiliates (yes it’s possible to make serious money) get very good at a few things, recognize them, develop them, and then leverage systems and other people to continue to grow their business.

Being quite good at many things is not as profitable as being excellent at one!

So how do you cut away all the ‘noise’ in order to concentrate on the vital?

Well after studying many successful affiliates there is one other thing they have in common…

Every one that I researched got themselves a mentor.

A mentor or coach is ideally somebody who…

  • Has already achieved what you want to achieve and is still doing it – they know the way and their knowledge is current.
  • Possesses similar values – they are somebody you’re going to be comfortable emulating / working with.
  • They started with similar resources and skills as you.

Finding a mentor who started in a similar place as you is an important point. If you hate writing for example it would be foolish to model somebody who’s success is based on their blogging / writing skills. Also if you have little budget I wouldn’t suggest starting out copying somebody who excels at profiting from paid traffic solutions.

Basically mentors have made the mistakes and ridden the highs and lows of finding a marketing system that works for them. By using and possibly adapting someone else’s system to suit you, you’ll cut months maybe years off your journey…

A Mentor can show you the way

How Do You Find A Great Mentor?


In the ideal world you’d be able to work with your mentor in person one on one.

However that’s likely not possible, or affordable (paying a successful person for their time to train you one on one shouldn’t come cheap).

Lets park this point for now.

If your starting out with no experience of affiliate marketing how do you know what to look for?

If you haven’t tried anything for yourself you wont have formed you own opinions, assessed your own skills and interests. In short you’ll be guessing.

First I believe you’d be better advised to gain a little experience… dip a toe in the water so to speak. Try a few things, gain some experience, maybe find some inspiration…

So how about an online community where a person can find real help?

A place that offers free training, and even two free websites from which you can happily dip that toe in.

A community that can help you…

Affiliates who brand themselves tend to do much better than those that just blend in...

A community of helpful like minded people, all involved in learning and earning through affiliate marketing.

A community that contains some very successful people whom believe in paying it forward by helping others.

  • Find your way
  • Your unique ‘style’
  • A strategy you’ll be able to follow and enjoy.

Including…

  • Successful niche selection
  • The easiest affiliate markets to break into
  • How to build a successful website with no technical experience
  • Best ways to earn money from your website
  • Why keyword research really is a life changing skill to learn
  • Getting your website ranked in search engines
  • Paid advertising techniques (if that’s your thing)
  • Another so much more…

Is this not the ideal place to plant that seed of an idea you’ve been considering?

Or browse around and let the success of others fire your imagination…

This community could contain your mentor / inspiration…

Dip Your Toe Into The Affiliate Water

How Fast Can A Beginner Earn Affiliate Commissions


Affiliate marketing is not an opportunity to get rich quick. It requires learning a few (not too many – no need to get overwhelmed) skills, and consistent implementation ideally following a proven plan that plays to your strengths.

Unfortunately there is no set time frames for success. Everybody is different there are a few exceptions who see great results within a few months but most take longer.

Read through the ‘success’ thread within the community I suggest and you’ll see for yourself.

Though all the most successful people I researched share the following traits…

  • Learned from a mentor and are following a plan
  • Have experimented but found ‘their’ style or voice
  • Either help or entertain people (maybe both) within their content style
  • Are taking consistent relentless action…

Many started by working part-time, putting in focused planed work when time permits.

It’s worth emphasizing again that most successful affiliates see the best results when their focus is on helping people before all else.

model your business on one of these three marketing strategies that are proven to work

Three PROVEN Affiliate Marketing Strategies


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.

There is a huge choice of affiliate programs and networks for promoters to consider

The Choice of Affiliate Programs to Promote Is Massive

What Products Are Best To Promote


As I stated earlier selling through affiliates is a great option for many large companies.

Therefore there are no shortage of free to join (be very wary of any that charge) affiliate programs.

Many companies run their own affiliate programs like the Amazon Associate Network. But others use third parties known as Affiliate Networks to run them for them.

Commission Junction is a renown affiliate network that manages many of the affiliate programs for some of the biggest companies in the world.

Clickbank in the information marketing space is another top quality affiliate network. In Clickbank's case managing the sale, distribution, and transaction for the thousands of info product vendors that sell there because of the trust and reputation that Clickbank brings to the market.

Clickbanks famous 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee makes it a no risk option for info product buyers.

CPA networks such as Neverblue, can also be considered. CPA means cost per action and these networks offer products that don’t always require a sale in order to get paid. Rather the visitor simply has to take the required ‘action’ which maybe to leave their email address, fill out a form, take a free trial, download a freebie etc.

These offers can convert very well but many of the CPA networks have an affiliate screening process which isn’t always easy for a beginner to pass. They tend to be looking for proven experienced affiliates rather than people new to the industry.

Affiliates that operate successful in this space are known as ‘performance marketers’ they are expert at paying for traffic and extracting profit through detailed tracking and optimization of their advertising campaigns. This type of marketing is not for the feint hearted. If you want to read a behind the scenes account of life as a performance marketer try reading Finches blog

Offer Vault is a CPA offer search engine and is useful if you don’t want to search through each network separately.

At this point it’s worth mentioning Google Adsense, this is Google’s advertising network, and pays up when visitors simply click on an advert that we allow Google to display on our websites. No selling is required.

Adsense and other similar add networks are not strictly affiliate programs, but they can compliment affiliates sites very nicely when used wisely.

First of all good helpful content with appropriate affiliate links will earn way more than allowing visitors to ‘click’ away through the low paying ads. But if you have content on your site that attracts visitors but doesn’t help your affiliate conversions, why not earn something from them by allowing add placements.

When it comes to evaluating whether a product will sell well there are a number of indicators to look out for. Firstly if the product is sold through an Cost Per Action (CPA) affiliate network such as Neverblue for example. The networks often publish the average EPC (earnings per click) for the offer. So if a product had a $1 EPC it means that on average you’ll earn $1 for every visitor you’ll send to the offer. So if you can generate visitors at less than $1 each you should be profitable.

Clickbank are a very newbie friendly marketplace for digital products. Digital downloadable products usually offer very high commissions in the range of 50 – 75% of purchase price. Affiliates can join Clickbank for free, and many of the product vendors also offer great support for their affiliates.

When looking for good sellers on Clickbank the most promoted measure is something called ‘Gravity’. Gravity is a weighted number meaning the number of affiliates that have sold at least one unit over the last 8 weeks. So if a product has a gravity score of 200 it means that 200 separate affiliates have sold at least one unit over this period. It doesn’t tell us how many units in total have been sold.

It’s also worth noting that when you search the Clickbank marketplace they list their products in order of popularity and not gravity which explains why sometimes you see products listed with low gravity above those with higher. The lower gravity products have actually sold more. Personally I wouldn’t be put off by low gravity, I’d check out the vendors sales page and see if it compels me to want to buy the product.

Finally it’s worth highlighting that some products and services offer recurring commissions.

This is huge…

Meaning sell once and be paid until the customer stops the service.

In some cases (email autoresponder services for example) people use the services for years, all the while earning the affiliate a truly passive income for work done once.

There are also what’s known as ‘high ticket’ programs. These are often full customer life cycle product funnels, that are often built around training of some description. They usually start with a low cost book or report about how to do something, and then offer up sells that may take the client through, video training, maybe a done for you service, and possibly ending in an expensive live training event or one on one coaching.

Be careful of the ones that are linked with multi-level marketing (MLM), or where you can only qualify for commission if you own the product.These schemes are generally designed to funnel the money from the new starters to the ‘leaders’ and founders.

There are so many ways of finding targeted visitors for your website

So What About Traffic?


The whole make money online affiliate model can be simplified as…

Traffic > Pre Selling Content > Offer or Sales Page > Sales or Conversions = Commissions Yeah!

Of the 4 elements above as affiliates we’re in charge of traffic and the pre-selling content (if you opt to use it).

Simply put the more traffic you send the more money you make… right?

Yes, if your traffic is targeted to the pre-selling content and ultimately the offer your ‘conversion’ rates will be good.

Like a chain the content throughout the process must me highly relevant to the visitors needs, get this wrong and the disconnect will break the chain and reduce conversions.

When you find products that convert and you can start to identify your personal earnings per click (EPC) more traffic options can open for you.

Free traffic is obviously most popular with beginners. The trade off is that it takes time to build free traffic, often a whole lot of time.

So in terms of popular free traffic techniques we have…

Search Engine Optimized traffic (SEO) this is about doing keyword research to identify search phrases people will be looking for in Google, Yahoo, Bing (the main search engines /SE’s). The idea is to find keywords that have lots of people looking for them but search engine competition that you can beat with your superior (longer, easier to understand, includes video / images whatever it takes to make it better) content.

Content really is king when it comes to affiliate marketing

‘Content is king’ is a common phrase that suggests if you create awesome content you’ll naturally attract visitors…

MMMMmmm… really?

Creating awesome content is a proven technique that has always worked.The problem is that it’s not always reliable. ‘Awesome’ is a subjective opinion and for SEO what counts is what search engines deem to be awesome. Search engines can also be fickle…

Google the biggest search engine by far uses a secret algorithm to rate content. The algorithm and the penalties imposed on sites for trying to ‘game’ it are always changing.

Googles Penguin and Panda algorithm updates have destroyed a lot of websites, and put a lot of people out of business.

It also takes a long time build a resource of great content before the SE’s trust your site. Don’t get me wrong this is still a fantastic strategy but it’s a long-term one.

SEO content can be placed on your owned websites and also free sites such as Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.com as examples.

YouTube is also a great free resource for attracting keyword targeted traffic.

Social Media done properly can also produce lots of targeted traffic. Social media is about building relationships / networking with people and being very careful not to promote products at the expense of your reputation. Facebook is the obvious giant but there are many others and the secret is to understand the nuances of the site and your target community to ensure you’re seen as helpful rather than pushy or worse yet spammy.

User forums are another fantastic source of targeted free traffic. There are usually forums for most topics, and as with social networking as you join the conversations and add helpful information people will naturally check out your profile which is where you can link back to your site and affiliate links.

Blogging is a hugely popular approach for attracting people. This again is a long game strategy about building a following of people who like your stuff. Very much personality driven but mix in some expertise and entertainment and this can be a very lucrative way of making money. Pat Flynn is a great example if you want to check blogging done well.

Than there’s paid traffic…

Paying for quality traffic is a great strategy if you know your pre selling content and offers convert. Ideally you get to understand what each visitor to your site is worth to your business. Then as long as it costs less you can afford to pay to bring people to your site.

The heavyweight direct marketing companies know the value of their average customer and therefore are certain that when they spend money they’ll make more than they spend. Nice position to be in…

This position is not easily achieved for affiliates because to track the outcome when passing on your visitors to a 3rd party you need serious tracking software that works with the 3rd parties transaction systems.

For the paid traffic marketer tracking is everything.

In terms of types of paid traffic we have pay per click (PPC) where you pay every time somebody clicks an add that brings them to your content, Google and Bing are two of the biggest networks both offering excellent PPC services though Bing are far easier for affiliates to work with.

Facebook also offer excellent advertising and the best targeting available today. Many affiliates complain that it’s impossible to make money with Facebook ads, the theory being that people are on Facebook for fun rather than to buy or search for information.

Others advise affiliates to send Facebook traffic to content that really does add value and build trust before trying to link to anything that sells. Logically this makes sense but like everything else in marketing the proof will lie in testing it for yourself.

Pay per view traffic (PPV) is interesting, this delivers full page banner adds to people who have opted to install ‘Adware’ in return for a free download (often a game or software utility).

Triggered when the person with the Adware searches for something on their browser and then clicks to visit a site or specific url the PPV network will pop a banner over top of the site they originally wanted. If the banner interests the searcher they click on it to be taken off usually via an affiliate link to the sales page / offer.

PPV advertising normally requires an upfront investment of min $200 before you can run campaigns. This traffic can be very cheap and very targeted.

Major PPV networks include Lead Impact and Traffic Vance. If your interested in PPV I suggest reading Luke at Peerflys excellent review of the top networks.

There are many more add networks and ways to buy targeted traffic but I think we’ve got enough here to be going on with.

Best traffic advice… Don’t be reliant on any ONE traffic source.

When you start out definitely concentrate on getting good at one traffic source, but once you have a profitable growing business look to add at least one other traffic source.

Each traffic source is a potential point of failure. SEO for example can be cruel and fickle even good (white hat) websites have been hit by Google changes. It’s the age old ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ advice.

But please don’t start off by trying to learn SEO, PPC and Facebook traffic you’ll both fail and likely go insane.

Summary


So Affiliate Marketing offers opportunity for many people to make a ‘little extra’ to a full time ‘living’ and beyond.

Many fail… for there seems so much that MUST be Learned that it’s simply overwhelming.

By-pass overwhelm by finding a mentor / system to copy. The clarity gained from knowing what and how to do will fuel your motivation to take the consistent action required for success.

Success through acting on a proven plan is accelerated when you add an ability to get help and coaching along the way.

Start your journey here…

If you’ve made it this far – thank you!

I sincerely hope it helps in some way.

Kindest Regards

Richard

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