Q: How do I make money as an affiliate marketer?
I received this question from Mark of 45n5.com via a video on YouTube.
He went on to elaborate on his question with a scenario for a typical affiliate marketer. He poses the question from an affiliate described as the following:
- He’s a forklift driver worked eight to ten hours a day
- In a little bit of debt
- Has limited time on the weekends and evenings
- Lots of passion to make an affiliate marketing business work
He also has a general understanding of Web site, as he has put up a couple sites, but hasn’t been able to figure out how to convert visitors to buyers through affiliate links.
So if I was starting fresh tomorrow, how would I do it?
First of all, the most important commodity is passion, and that doesn’t cost a thing.
But there is a minimal amount of money I would suggest spending to get things started. You will need a domain and Web hosting, and you should also get an account with an e-mail service provider.
Check out 1&1 Internet for hosting. Their 1&1 Business account is $9.99 a month and it includes the registration of three domain names.
And for e-mail, get an account with AWeber. This will run you $14.95 a month (if you pay a year in advance).
Next up, 1&1 includes a lot of cool tools, one of which is a WordPress blog that’s really easy to set up for your account. I set one up at http://www.blogaff.com via 1&1 in less than five minutes.
This blog will be your Web site, and the home base for your affiliate earnings. Now you’ve got to brainstorm about the subject.
Write down a list of three or four things you really care about – sports team, book, make of car, movie, etc. Decide on one that is your true passion and commit to make this your focus.
Then search for the shortest domain name that evokes your passion, but doesn’t violate any trademarks. Don’t dwell on this too long – find something decent in ten minutes and go with it.
When you’ve got a topic and domain name, then it’s time to start writing. Don’t try to write like a scholar – write in your voice like you’re talking to friends.
I know your schedule is tight, and you can’t afford to sit around your computer on nights and weekends brainstorming about what to write in your blog.
Take advantage of other times. As a forklift driver, use time at work and during your commute to think about things for your blog. It will make your work and drive time go faster and save your precious time at home when you want to be productive.
One thing I do when I have an idea is to call myself on my cell phone and leave myself a message. No fussing with scraps of paper. Then go home, listen to your message and pump out some words.
Your blog posts don’t have to be articles – be consistent and short. Better to provide two to three paragraphs and new information daily than a long weekly post.
After you’ve posted five to ten times to your blog, check out the affiliate networks for some relevant offers to promote. Don’t fixate on the EPCs – rather look for what is most relevant to you.
Pick two to three merchants that you like and would endorse that relate to your topic and join their affiliate programs. Put up a couple or three ads on the blog and monitor which ones are getting clicks and sales. Test everything and if it’s not working out, try something else.
In addition to some banners and text links as ads, work an affiliate link into your posts if it comes natural – don’t force it.
When you’ve followed all of these steps, add your AWeber account into the mix. There are three things you should try out with AWeber: follow-up e-mails, broadcast e-mails and feed broadcast e-mails (the AWeber site details how to use these).
Also, two free resources to sign on with to help promote your blog and monitor the performance are FeedBurner (RSS feed distribution tool) and Openads (free ad server).
The key to all of this is to be patient and passionate. Don’t be discouraged if the checks don’t roll in right away. It takes some time to get traction for your site and build in audience.
In time, you’ll start getting noticed, and those past posts will get indexed in search engines. One last thing to do within your 1&1 account to help with this process – go into your control panel and click on Google Webmaster Tools and set up a Google Sitemap.
Give this all a couple months – if you don’t see some progress in your bank account, you’ve still got two domains available in your hosting account. Consider starting from scratch with a new idea or changing the angle of your existing blog.