We were having a little fun on Twitter the other day, and I said "why yes, I do wear my super affiliate crown around the home office every day!"
(this is probably why my children call me a dork)
Anyway, I asked what their one question would be on affiliate marketing and there were 10 really great questions tweeted. I'll share each of those with you this week, starting with:
@Amart62: How do you get started in Affiliate Marketing?
The short answer is: choose a topic, do your market research, select affiliate programs, and create a website around that topic.
Of course, there are a lot of different methods to affiliate marketing. There's pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, squeeze pages, ecommerce-style sites, blogging, etc. This seems to be where the confusion comes in - especially for those who are just starting out and trying to learn affiliate marketing...
Not every model is going to work in every market, or for every type of keyword phrase even. It's more important to know your market, and then work from there to choose the model to best communicate with that market.
To simplify that, let's say that I'm searching for "how to french braid hair". This is an informational search. I'm looking for free tutorials or videos. I don't want to buy your synthetic french braid hair extensions, or pay for a book on french braid styles, and then wait for it to be delivered. Google knows this...
Marketing - affiliate or otherwise - is not about interrupting the consumer in their search for information, but about "meeting them exactly where they are".
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Going back to the example above, using a purely informational search, you want to give your market exactly what they are looking for. In this case a free video could lead to a free download sharing step-by-step instructions for the 3 most popular braids.
You can use that download to build a niche mailing list, while also giving them what they want at that exact moment. From there you can build rapport with them and make other recommendations along the way.
This is just one example. Obviously you would have a different approach using keyword phrases with commercial intent.
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So the magic bullet is not in using the right model, or following a certain blueprint (or having all the right wordpress plug-ins, for goodness sake). It's about creating a website around a market, and specifically around what they want or need.
I like to define Affiliate Marketing as bringing a product to a market, or bringing a market to a merchant. Your job is to serve both the market and the merchant, and the better you serve them... the more profitable you'll be as an affiliate marketer.
These are the essential ideas behind getting started in affiliate marketing: treating it like a business from the beginning, and realizing that business operates around real people. Connect with those people in a positive way, and you'll be a profitable affiliate marketer!
I have 9 more great affiliate marketing questions to share with you, some of which I'll combine in the next few posts. Stay tuned! You can subscribe below to get a weekly update on Monday mornings, and you'll also get the option to subscribe to daily updates if you'd rather get quick current notices of new posts.
Next, we'll look at how you go about choosing topics, niches or products.
p.s. I'll be presenting at the Niche Affiliate Marketing workshop in Atlanta this January. There are still a few seats left if you're interested in joining us! If you can't make it to a live event, but would still love to learn niche affiliate marketing, check out my overview of Rosalind Gardner's super affiliate guide.