Affiliate Marketing Tips: Getting Started

The Super Affiliate Crown -the real secret to my affiliate su... on TwitpicWe 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!" πŸ˜€

(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.
- - - - - - - - - -

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. πŸ˜‰


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.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreΒ»


  1. Alex Newell says:

    Very cool idea. I've heard of an email interview but this is the first Twitter interview I've seen!

  2. Free Article Directory says:

    This is great information. Understanding what the consumer is looking for, and in what format is the most important step in affiliate marketing. If a niche, or micro niche does not involve selling something at the first point of contact, DONT! Build your list and contacts and try to convert at a later date!!!

  3. Your list of the different methods is helpful to my. I know the basics of affiliate marketing, but now it's time for me to dig into the details. Your list of methods looks like a good list of topics for me to start researching.

    • It's not an exhaustive list, by any means. Just some examples. The point is that you figure out where your target market is online, and how they search for information and/or discuss the topic, and make sure you enter the conversations in those places.

      Wherever you engage your ideal visitor, you want to make sure you have a very strong "message to market match" - as in the example above. The goal is to strategically lead the person from initial contact to and through your funnel or process. Miss a step, you lose them.

      • Lynn,

        I know this seems like a clear explanation to you (and probably is to people who are active affiliate marketers). But I struggle with this. Your one example is fine as far as it goes, but the generic explanation is Greek to me.

        It's not YOU, it's me, I realize that. Guess I'll just have to get concrete and ask specific questions in the forum. No sense asking you to give a gazillion examples that won't help me with what I'm working on, right? LOL

        I know. I know. I want the moon...

        Deb Gallardo

        • It's not you - the fact is, there is no clear explanation or any ONE tried and true method that works in every niche or with every product or with every keyword phrase even.

          Get as specific as you can with the questions - that really does help. And I'll do my best to answer them specifically too. :)

  4. wow, i have so many questions i want to ask you haha but i'll just ask you this, what would you say are the essential tools that one needs to get started and how much should you expect to be spending per month on those tools? e.g. webhosting, autoresponder, tracking software, etc...

    just asking because some companies charge a ridiculous amount of money for their services and often they are not really worth it!

  5. Yeah! Connecting with people and building a rapport is the key. We also have to bear in mind that we are dealing with real people so making a realistic approach would be very effective for me.

  6. Great advice as usual - build a site around a market is something most people don't do and then they are frustrated when they have no results. With the way you have shown above, you get traffic, build brand and build a list so in the end the money should flow.

    Any advice on how i should style my big white beard this year? :)

    • I'd be the last person to ask -lol. Definitely not a hair expert. Unless throwing your hair up in a twist and using paper clips to pin back the fly-aways counts -ha!

  7. Robin Lynn says:

    Dear Lynn - I just found you today and at the best time for me! Appreciate your site and masses of information you share. Great ideas and tips for us who are very new to all this. Blessings to you and yours!
    Robin Lynn

  8. Hi Lynn,
    I subscribe to your marketing tips and have a question. We have over 6000 "backyard" products and currently have a blog in addition to our website. We do not do any email marketing but we do 2 print catalogs a year. I work on that, link building thru forums, and alot of other SEO projects (article spinning, utube product videos and more). Do you think twitter is a must? It is hard to prioritize these marketing efforts because there are so many.

    • Email marketing is great for customer follow-up, or to keep in touch with visitors who may purchase at a later date. You can send out special offers, notice of new products, related information, etc. I would start there with a free report your target market would enjoy - perhaps "how to choose the right products for YOUR back yard" or something along those lines.

      Twitter may be something you want to integrate later. I'm not sure how much information you have to share on a regular basis with your topic? That said, you can get real creative with it. One of the perks is that the search engines are integrating social media feeds into their results...

  9. Franck Silvestre says:

    Hey Lynn,

    It's funny, cause I'm French, and I'm yet to see this braid hair cut? Is this really French (like French fries?). I'm a bit off topic here. Anyway, this is a great piece of advice. Treat your affiliate business like a REAL business from day one.

    What I start to realize (after coaching many beginners offline and on), is that what they really need is to get this business mindset and understand that investing in their business is NOT equal losing money.

    Waiting for your other aff posts.


  10. Charles Tillett says:

    Nice Hat Lynn. lol

  11. Allen Walker says:

    That was a really great tip. :) So often we focus on building traffic that we forget what marketing is really all about - understanding your customers and meeting their needs and wants. That said, thanks a lot about talking about the different models. Hmm... too be honest, I know that different niches call for different actions, but I had never considered that different models will be needed depending on the situation. That was really insightful! :)

    That being said, I understand the theory behind it, connecting with and understanding your market, but in reality it is easier said than done. I guess it will take some time, effort, practice and experience in order to really be able to do it well.

    Cool crown by the way... πŸ˜›

    • Thanks Allen -haha. Yes, it takes a bit of time to really get the hang of it, but it's mainly about knowing your market (which is much easier now thanks to social media) and creating a strong "message to market match". Traditional marketing was more of an interruption, whereas what works today is a seamless integration into the content & conversation...

  12. Charles Tillett says:

    It takes work. LOL

  13. LessThenZerO says:

    French Fries were invented in Belgium @Franck and the French stole the idea ;-} anyways stumbled across your site here because I'm researching affiliate Marketing for a college assignment...Thnx for the useful information.

  14. I really admire and appreciate the way you so succinctly explain affiliate marketing and all its idiosyncrasies. You really make it approachable and do-able for those just starting out (like me). Though I have been writing professionally, full-time, for 20+ years, I just started the affiliate marketing component of my business this summer!!!! It's so exciting for me to explore and learn this whole niche and use it to enhance my services to my clients.

    I look forward to reading the rest of this series! Thanks Lynn!

  15. Carol Giambri says:

    HI Lynn,
    I may not be hunting in the right place for my answers so here's my challenge. First, thanks for being so proactive here. I appreciate all you do for us. Since so new and tendency to become overwhelmed with the process, for a newbie, me, when you describe to do our research, can you give me a further handle. Besides saying go to google and look for words. Maybe a little more details. My niche believing is coaching ladies over 55ish, maybe 60, gain financial freedom turning their passion into profits...more like a cheerleader and talking mindset, health/wellness, aging myth, etc. Buzz words would be change, courage, decision and of course "choosing to change" is key. Little side words would be dream bigger / better, don't quit...

    So when looking at the affiliate process here is where I am wondering to find products relevant to this market. It's a challenge and appreciate any feedback. Thanks so much Lynn.

    So maybe I need to revisit information, but please direct me to where it all happens. Obviously I'm missing nuggets I need to start thinking and acting in the "world of affiliates."

    Carol Giambri

    • Hi Carol,

      For keyword, niche & market research you might start here:

      You may want to do some specific market research of your own and find out where your target market "hangs out" online. Do they use forums, and if so which forums? Are they on social sites like Facebook and Twitter - and if so, are they involved in groups and/or how can you find them there?

      Find them, join them, listen in on the conversations there and figure out how they are asking for what you are describing. What words do they use? What is it they're really after? What search might they do that ultimately leads them to your solution?

      Keywords are important to but may or may not reveal much in your micro-niche (age specific). For that you don't use Google, but WordTracker (free):

      Start broad, and you can click on each result to search deeper.

  16. Internet Business says:

    Hi Lynn,
    Thats indeed a nice example and info for the beginners like me :). Looking forward for more....



  1. [...] in the Affiliate Marketing Tips series, is how to get traffic and make sales with your niche affiliate [...]

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