After writing my goals for 2012 I have started working on them. I have established a niche site (one of my goals), I started a website in the niche: Photography. While researching for ways to monetize my niche I came up with the term Affiliate Marketing. I thought of sharing my extensive research on affiliate marketing in this post. So here is my 10 step guide to successful affiliate marketing,
Before I start let me explain what Affiliate marketing is?
Simply put, you sign up for a program with someone to help make a sale of his/her product or a service. In exchange for the help you get a commission or a percentage cut from the sales that a customer is making.
From my research I’ve found out that affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online, with costing no fortune or having your own products/service. I also believe that this could be one of the best ideas for generating passive income. However, I suggest that you to carry out your own study in addition to the material presented in this post.
So here are the 10 steps to jump-start your affiliate marketing program.
Step One: Get Advice
If you are starting out in the niche, It is better to take advice from an affiliate marketing expert, and by getting advice I mean reading their experiences, listening to podcast or video interviews. This way you would better understand the ins and outs of the business. You’ll learn from their mistakes and apply their experiences to your own niche. The concept I understood by doing this exercise is as follows. The various companies who are offering affiliate program are already carrying out their marketing. They have their own marketing budgets and their marketing team is already hard selling the products through various media. This made me understand that I have to soft sell the product.
Step Two: Soft Sell the Product/Service
“What is soft selling? “, you might ask. Well anything which the company is not doing while marketing the product. Begin with the various readers and your target customers of your niche. Build up your community and then recommend the product.
Step Three: Finding the Affiliate Program
In the first two steps you have understood the business and you have decided the product or service to promote. Now you need to find an appropriate affiliate program for the product. The best answer is; “Google it!” or for the loyalist you can Bing or Yahoo it as well. You shortlist an affiliate program, make sure you read the program’s terms and conditions and the whole contract; especially the payment terms and termination clauses before signing up for any affiliate marketing program.
Step Four: Know the Product
You need to clearly explain the benefits you derived from using the product/service. Yes, it is essential to use the product. It’s because, using the product forms the foundation to recommend or soft selling. By using the product its implicit that you are aware of the product, the after sales service provided and other benefits which may be associated with the product in your niche. For example in my niche, I am targeting the beginners in photography, I won’t go for an affiliate program for a high-end digital camera or some studio equipment. I would suggest a typical entry level camera. Moreover I’ll suggest those cameras which I have personally used myself or handled during my photo workshops.Sure I’ll lose some money by not recommending the high end awesome cameras or equipment but it’s always better than no money. Remember you want to do a favor to the customers by recommending them the product along with building a couple of bucks for yourself. I’ll reiterate here, “Always recommend the best product for your reader or the target customer. You provide the the benefits that you have derived from using the product.Your knowledge of the product and your explanation will have a direct bearing on potential customers making a purchase through your affiliate program.”
Step Five: Placement of the Links
The placement regarding the recommendations is very important. Don’t oversell it by putting it every where in the post. Contextual strong links work best – generally you’ll have an overabundance of good fortune promoting something from the inside any post than on any sidebar. Top of the post is a hot spot. So try to place your links there. The top of left hand side bar – or even inside content – or as well as at the end associated with blog posts above comments.
At this stage I realized that this post would be a very long post and my readers would probably hate me for that. So I decided to break it into two parts. In the next part I shall explain steps how to make your affiliate marketing program more effective.