Affiliate marketing is probably the simplest business model you can choose to build a business. Of course the devil is in the details, as they say, but the overall model can really be broken down into six steps.
Before we get to the steps, I want you to ask yourself a question. What do you hope to accomplish with affiliate marketing? This is an easier question to answer than it might seem. There are really only two basic choices here.
The first is what I call the “quick buck” choice. In other words, you want to make a few dollars quickly, and you are not interested in building a business. If this is you, all you need to do is learn how to write exceptionally good ads, and then use them to promote your affiliate product. Many people will say I am wrong, but there is nothing wrong with doing this, as long as you are honestly not trying to build a long term business this way.
On the other hand, if you are looking to build a business with income potential for the long term, then you will have a longer road ahead of you. It will take you longer before you see any profit from your efforts, but it will be worth it when you are able to take a day off, or even a week off, and still have sales in your absence.
These steps should be followed in order. If you try to go out of sequence, you will not get the results you are after.
1. Pick a Market
Why pick a market and not pick a product? Because you will eventually want to add additional products into your pipeline. You should pick a market that interests you, and maybe something you already know something about. Don’t forget that you are building for the long term.
2. Pick a Product
Once you have your market chosen, you should pick just one product to begin with. It will be very tempting to try to add all kinds of related products at first, but don’t. Having just one product will help you focus on the important tasks. You will want to pick a product that converts well. What this means is that the product sells to a high percentage of visitors. This will help keep your cost per visitor down and increase your profits.
3. Build a follow-up series
Also called an autoresponder series, you should build one based on the topic and the contents of the product you are promoting. If it is a physical product you are promoting, you will have to create or locate content that is directly related to the product. As an example, if you are selling golf clubs, you could create a series about how to buy golf clubs that fit, or the benefits of custom clubs, or even something about the club preferences of famous professional golfers. Be as creative as you can, and do not stray off topic. It has been said that most sales are not made in the initial contact, they are made on the seventh. If you are not following up with your prospects, the bottom line is you are losing sales.
4. Build an email capture page
This is where you will capture information about your prospects so you can send your follow-up series. If you are building a business, having your own web site is a necessity, if only because you will control the content, and be able to capture email addresses for yourself. You might be able to get by for a while without this, but it just isn’t worth it.
5. Drive traffic to your squeeze page
Until you are finished with step four, you shouldn’t even think about traffic techniques. If you don’t have anywhere to send the traffic, why worry about how to generate it in the first place. Depending on the traffic generation techniques you choose, it may take some time for you to start seeing sales in your program. You should spend this time developing one or two streams of traffic, and refining these techniques to help you drive more traffic with less effort.
6. Find additional related products
Once your business is making some money, it is time to start adding to your list of products. I don’t mean you should go out and sign up for every affiliate program that is even remotely related. What I do mean is that you should carefully choose an additional product or two, and add them into your pipeline. Because you have been building a list of qualified prospects, you will be able to market these new products to them. This is the really long term money maker for your business. As long as you continue to recommend good products to your customer list, you can continue to make money off of them, even the ones who have already bought your last product recommendation.
So these six steps are all you need to go from nothing to having a profitable business selling other peoples products. It can be easy to loose focus if you are not seeing immediate results, so keep your sights on the end goal of having a profitable business. You may also find it hard finding your initial market and product. Take your time and choose the best product you can. If the product you choose to promote is not good, your prospects will not continue to listen to your recommendations.