Back in June I shared a couple of videos from Rosalind Gardner that give you an inside look into her affiliate accounts, and her affiliate marketing methods.
Rosalind is the author of Super Affiliate Handbook, which I originally bought and read around 5 years ago. This is the book that turned me into the super affiliate that I am today.
About the same time that I shared those videos with you, Rosalind came out with an updated version of SAH. I decided to grab a current copy and finally write a review...
This is probably the one ebook I get asked about the most, and it's also the one ebook that has been around and that has been recommended consistently since 2003. Honestly, you don't see very many info-publishers support and update their work for that long. Not only is Rosalind a trusted publisher, she is still also an active super-affiliate herself.
This is a very meaty ebook at 206 pages, and is delivered in PDF format via instant download for $47. Rosalind starts at the very beginning by defining affiliate marketing, how it works, various commission structures and a basic overview.
Super Affiliate Handbook is very "newbie friendly" and a great choice for someone interested in getting started with affiliate marketing. I was not a newbie myself even 5 years ago, so I remember scanning through much of the introductory information during my first read. I was already working with a variety of affiliate programs and knew how to create my own websites. I skipped right through to examine her model and her process, and her marketing strategies.
I earned my investment back in less than week.
I was able to do that because I already had the resources and knowledge to dig right in and implement some very specific advice and methods outlined in the book. I continued using Rosalind's model from that point forward, earning almost $30k in affiliate commission the first year (or the 9 months left of it when I bought the ebook) and continuing to grow from there every year after.
Reviewing this new 2009 Edition of the Super Affiliate Handbook, I can see that Rosalind Gardner has updated the entire guide extensively in the 5 years since I originally read it.
WordPress is of course mentioned in this edition, and her marketing section has expanded quite a bit. In the original guide I recall her primary focus being PPC or Pay Per Click advertising. That's certainly not the case in this revised version...
Topics such as blogging, RSS and how to use foreign currency rates to your advantage are now included. Most notably, I have simplified the niche selection / market research process considerably.
My original and basic business strategies remain unchanged however because they still WORK extraordinarily well. sah
This time, I decided to sit down and read it all the way through. Start to finish.
Rosalind does a great job of getting her reader in the right mindset about affiliate marketing. What she does not teach are fly-by-night methods, building crap sites just to attract search engines, building a million sites that earn a dollar a year, or any of the other temporary get-rich-fast-and-lose-it-all-even-faster tactics.
Affiliates using my prescribed marketing methods do not have to worry that their traffic or income will suddenly disappear, as happened to many who bought into false promises about building an affiliate business... sah
Instead of skimming through, this time I read the introductory sections slowly and carefully. It actually made me smile, as I had ultimately taken Rosalind's advice full on - it must have 'stuck' even through my original skimming. Prior to reading the Super Affiliate Handbook, well... I'll confess I had played around with some shady hit-or-miss methods trying to learn things myself through trial & error.
Rosalind has a great writing style, and the pages and information are well formatted & organized. The use of headlines, bullet points and images make it a very easy read - and its chock full of screen shots and actual site examples.
The first example of an actual working affiliate site is shown on Page 14, and is Rosalind's personal travel blog. In that example she shares details about the way it is set up, the type of content she uses, the type of affiliate promotions, and even the commission rates.
She even gives a link to that affiliate site, and to a specific blog post, so that you can study it as a working example yourself.
She goes on to share specific affiliate domains that she owns, as well as specific affiliate programs she uses and details of their commission structure & commission rates. She also breaks down the 6 most common affiliate structures, in order of her preferences. To give you a spoiler, her top two picks are pay-per-sale and pay-per lead affiliate programs.
Page 18 offers a 7-step Affiliate Business-Building Process that gives you a detailed outline of how to set up a profitable affiliate site. She gives you the exact order for each of the steps, and then teaches you exactly how to do each of those steps as you get deeper into the guide.
Page 18 is actually worth printing as a personal checklist...
By the time you get through the first 20 pages, you'll have a full understanding of affiliate marketing and how it works - even if you'd never heard the term before in your life.
Affiliate marketing on the Internet is NOT rocket science. sah
Pages 18-24 show the software and tools that Rosalind uses to manage her affiliate business - in detail, with screenshots. I found this particularly interesting as I use many of these same organization methods myself. She shows you how she organizes site files, program log-ins, affiliate emails, etc. She even shows a screenshot of her own affiliate data spreadsheet.
Page 25 is where the real fun begins: How To Find A Profitable Niche. Considering that everyone seems to have their own unique methods for niche discovery, I found this section to be particularly interesting.
Rosalind starts by scanning through product types, and follows that up with market research. Some of us start with market discovery and then research potential products to promote. Either way is fine of course, but I really like the order and method that she lays out in this section.
The first Brainstorming Session is found on Page 27, and by this point in the guide you're actually ready to put pen to paper and do the exercise. She helps you with this exercise by giving a 3-point tutorial and a detailed example, as well as what NOT to do here (which includes screenshots, research data & specific reasons).
Page 32 gets even more fun: How To Evaluate Market Demand & Competition. Again including the how, why, specific screenshots & examples, analyzing trend data... and the "acid test of a profitable niche". Also included are 9 resources for Market & Trend information.
By Page 40 you should have your niche selected, affiliate products chosen, and you're ready to begin building your affiliate site - beginning with 6 Keys To Choosing The Right Domain Name which is outlined on Page 42.
Rosalind now prefers WordPress for her affiliate sites, and shares a screenshot example of one of her own affiliate blogs on Page 46. Later in the guide she provides a 7-step tutorial for WordPress intallation (complete with detailed screenshots), as well as a section on creating traditional HTML-based affiliate sites.
I especially enjoyed the screenshots from the WordPress admin panel of one of Rosalind's dating affiliate sites. Nothing like getting a behind-the-scenes view of a super affiliate's work.
Those newer to affiliate marketing will enjoy the step-by-step screenshots of how to unzip files, upload them to your hosting account, and how to install & activate free WordPress themes.
She walks you through every step with both images and text, from the bare bones WordPress installation to the end result: an attractive, professional, complete affiliate site.
Page 66 is where the Content tutorials start, and not just how or what to write - but how to create content that will increase your conversion rates from the typical .5-1%... to between 2.5 and 6% or higher.
Starting on Page 77 you'll learn how to write a compelling product endorsement, create product comparison charts, and write the types of articles that attract visitors and make sales.
Rosalind even gives you 21 fill-in-the-blank post/article titles to get you started.
Next you'll learn how to structure your actual website based on keywords, which includes creating keyword-rich navigation and categories as well as sub-categories and actual content. By this point you know exactly what your target market wants, and you'll be able to deliver that down to the detail.
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Sidebar: I really like the way Rosalind has included specific WordPress help throughout the guide. She teaches you how to install it, set up the theme, post to your blog, create categories, add images, add affiliate links, etc. Even if you have never set up a blog or promoted an affiliate program, you'll easily be able to walk through the guide step by step and have your first affiliate site (or blog) up and running in no time...
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Page 93 is the Monetization section - learning how to make money from your site. The chapter kicks off with contextual advertising, and even includes some great details on what NOT to do if you're using Google Adsense. And of course you get the step-by-step screen shots for getting the code and placing it into your blog.
Rosalind lists her Top 3 Affiliate Networks, as well as 44 other affiliate networks to consider. The next section walks you through product selection - again, with detailed screenshots. In one example she was able to log in to CJ.com (Commisson Junction) and locate 32 different advertisers for just one of her niche affiliate sites.
The monetization section is chock full of great affiliate advice, including:
- Performance Incentives defined
- In-House or independent affiliate programs
- Types of affiliate programs to avoid
- How to choose between similar affiliate programs or multiple commisson options
- Sample letters for approaching merchants who offer great products but no affiliate program
- 5 ways to assess products you may want to promote
...and you're given a list of "20 Questions to Ask Before Joining Any Affiliate Program". (this 20-point checklist is truly invaluable) All of this data is based on her personal experience, and her testing & tracking over the years as a super affiliate herself.
The next section, beginning on page 124, goes into the 9 Types of Merchant Copy & Sales Tools. She covers everything from text links to datafeeds (including use of Datafeedr), how she cloaks her links, an example product review, screenshots and actual affiliate site models in action.
On Page 132, she digs into Affiliate Site Marketing
She gives very specific PPC/Adwords advice in addition to organic search traffic, article marketing, email marketing, social media & social networking, offline marketing, and more - and even shares the 5 Marketing Strategies That Kill Time.
At this point you have selected a niche, selected products to promote, registered a domain name, set up your affiliate site, implemented the marketing advice and you're starting to see traffic.
In the next section, Rosalind teaches you how to manage and grow your affiliate business with very specific daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks.
You'll learn how to evaluate site performance, which stats to track, how to calculate your conversion rates, the cost and value of each site visitor, how to perform side-by-side product performance comparisons, evaluate monthly trends, etc.
Once you finish reading the ‘Super Affiliate Handbook,’ you will have all the information you need to start your own profitable affiliate marketing business quickly, easily and inexpensively. sah
Page 171 is where you'll take things to the next level, and learn how to become a Super Affiliate. Rosalind gives specific advice on how to earn higher commission rates, how to deal with affiliate managers, and how to prevent some of the common issues in affiliate marketing.
Oh - and another great checklist to print out: 25 Mistakes To Avoid As An Affiliate on pages 189-190.
This was SO worth reading again! Super Affiliate Handbook is hands-down the best affiliate marketing guide for someone that is looking to get started - or for those that are ready to take their affiliate business to the next level.
There is not really a downside to this guide that I can point out. Even as an experienced super affiliate, it's well worth $47 just walking through Rosalind Gardner's affiliate sites in great detail. And as any super affiliate knows, $47 is a small investment for even one tip you end up implementing on your already established affiliate sites.
And for newbies? A very low and worthwhile investment to shave months - or even years - off the learning curve for getting your first affiliate site off the ground and actually making sales...
Download the Super Affiliate Handbook & Get Started!
p.s. You can also order a a paperback version from Amazon.com for a slightly higher price. The downside is that you won't get log-in access to download updates - and the digital version is updated frequently!
Like I said, Rosalind and her Super Affiliate Handbook have been around since 2003 - with constant updates & revisions made available ever since. She's not your typical fly-by-night publisher, and she actually practices what she teaches you in her guide. Five stars, 2 thumbs-up and all that jive - this one is must have