Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and a lot of people are making a lot of money by doing it. But, like any other business, there’s an uphill battle to climb before you’re able to start earning those big commissions.
This guide will walk you through all that’s required to become successful at affiliate marketing, including the pros and cons. We’ll also discuss the various ways to implement affiliate marketing strategies and give you a step-by-step guide on becoming self-employed.
But first, let’s get one thing straight:
Being an affiliate marketer does not necessarily make you a ‘marketer’. While it sounds like a pejorative term, being a marketer is actually a good thing. A more accurate way of describing an affiliate marketer is as follows: “He or she is someone who sells other people’s products and/or services (for a commission). The goal is to make money from the sales made by those who are being sold to.”
That said, let’s get down to business. The following are the steps you need to take in order to start affiliate marketing:
1) Decide who you’re selling your products and/or services to:
Your target market will affect just about everything when it comes to making money as an affiliate. So, first off, decide whether or not you’re selling to a niche market or a general market. The niche market is a smaller group of people who are interested in the products and/or services you sell. The general market is the largest and most broad target market possible. While it’s difficult to know exactly how many people there are in total, advertising media usually break it down into three groups:
a. Baby Boomers – they’re roughly 50 years old and have been in the workforce since the mid-1960s so they’re probably retired now or planning to retire soon.
b. Generation X – Generation X is currently anywhere from 25 to 50 years old, so they’re still working and their income is fairly stable as they’ve had time to grow career-wise.
c. Generation Y or Millennials – this is either the smallest or second smallest generation depending on who you ask. It’s roughly 20 to 34 years old, but it ranges in size from age 18 to 36. This generation is known for its social networking capabilities (thus the term “Millennials”) and many of my friends are members.
These three generations have different wants and needs, so it’s up to you to decide who you’re targeting with your products and/or services. Once you have your target market in mind, do a little research on their wants, needs, and desires. The more research you do on these topics, the better off you will be when it comes to making money as an affiliate.
2) Come up with a product or service to sell.
Now that you know your target market, you can decide on the actual themes that your products and/or services should focus on. It’s up to you as to whether or not you want to sell a single product or multiple products. When selling multiple products, it’s a matter of personal preference as there is no “right way” when it comes to doing things when it comes to affiliate marketing.
It’s all about finding your niche market that is most likely to buy your products and/or services. If you’re selling a single product, it’s best to find something that has a high demand. Another thing you’ll want to look for is whether or not other affiliates are selling similar products or services. If other affiliates are vying for the same market, you may get more sales with a better product than some of the others would do.
3) Write articles for the multitude of websites where these people hang out (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.).
If you’re selling a single product or service, there are a lot of websites that cater to your target market. Don’t worry about the “how” of it all. Just be ready to research as much as possible so you can at least attempt to be an expert in your field (I’ll explain this more below).
If you’re selling several products and/or services, remember to find similar websites and blogs that are geared towards your target market. This will help you relate to the people you’re selling to. If there are a lot of similar websites, why not make your own? This way, you’ll have complete control over what people see and how they see it.
When you’re just waiting for orders to come in (which happens more often than you think), this will make your job easier and more enjoyable. You’ll be able to (weirdly) get a kick out of all the ridiculous things people are saying to your products and services.
4) Start networking.
Do this as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the more contacts you’ll have to help you get your products and services out there. If you wait around, you’ll leave a lot of potential income on the table. If one product or service doesn’t sell well, try another one that will be better suited for your target market or feel free to change up your target market if it’s not working out too well right now. I’ll go into this more below.
5) Find a website that will sell your product or service.
Remember that most of these websites are made up of people who want to make money off of other people. This means the process can be a little bit different than what you’re used to from going to a store and buying something outright (though there are several more options than you might think).
You’ll have to contact the owner of the website and convince him that you want to put your product or service on his website. You can do this by talking about how many other people will use it if they see it there, what you’ll do to make sure people know that your product or service is there, etc. You’ll have to convince him that your product will sell and, finally, he’ll have to agree to let you do it. Be ready for a little bit of hard work here, as this can be a lengthy process.
If you don’t know anyone who would be interested in your product or service, it’s not the end of the world. You can get a lot of information about how other websites are doing by reading their comments on various blogs and websites. You can also read their product reviews and connect with them through similar social networking services. This will help you know what people like/don’t like about your products and services so you can be sure to make it better the next time around (should you decide to make any changes).
If you’re going to be selling apps, software, eBooks, or any other type of downloadable product, it helps a ton to follow the people who make these types of things. Find out who the top sellers are (as well as the top reviewers), what type of services they offer, how much they charge for their products and services, and how often they post updates. You can even email them after you have your own product or service up and running and ask if they’ll review it.
6) Set prices that will make you a profit every time someone buys your product or service.
Pricing this way should be easy enough, right? Actually, it’s not that simple. Pricing your product or service incorrectly can cost you thousands of dollars. What do I mean by this? Well, think about it. If your prices are too high, people won’t buy from you. If your prices are too low, people will take advantage of you and might even take your product or service without paying for it (either out of malice or simply because they don’t know how to pay for it).
The problem with setting prices that are too low is that people might take advantage of you. They’ll buy your product repeatedly, even if they don’t need it. Then, when your credit card processing company catches on and stops sending you money, you’re out of a lot of cash. You might have to pay $20 or more for each transaction that is reversed because someone stole from you.
So what’s the solution?
Set prices that are fair to both you and your customers. Read on to find out more about how to choose prices that are fair for your business.
The Importance of Pricing Your Products or Services Fairly
Pricing your products or services has a lot to do with making sure that you and your business stay afloat. Here are some reasons why it’s important to keep prices fair: It keeps customers coming back.
Consumers tend to be loyal to businesses that they feel are treating them fairly. When you ask for more money than you’re going to need, your customers may become less loyal, which means that they don’t return as often. That means you’re also losing out on sales and profits. When you charge more than your costs aren’t, it isn’t uncommon for business owners to start having gaps between their revenues and their expenses.
This is when it gets a little more complicated.
What does it mean to have “gaps” between your business’ revenue and expenses? In short, it means your costs are greater than the amount you’re bringing in. This causes you to start seeing a recurring gap between what you’re making from your business and what you’re spending on running your business.
If you’re not careful, this can make you vulnerable to bad business decisions that may end up costing you (and your business) a lot of money. The best way to avoid these gaps is to keep your prices fair and reasonable.
It keeps you in business for a long time.
Gaps in pricing between revenue and expenses aren’t always bad, but they can create some major problems in the long run. If you don’t correct them or put measures in place to avoid them, the gaps will start to grow.
If you’re not careful, you could find yourself not being able to pay your bills by the end of the month. This is especially true if your business depends on a large number of customers from across the country (or world).
There are a couple of ways that you can create systems that will keep your business from having these gaps. One of them is to keep your prices fair and reasonable. If you do this, you’ll be able to constantly bring in new customers. As long as these customers are happy with what they’re getting from you, they’ll keep buying from you.
Another way it’s possible to avoid gaps is by creating a system that is able to track, manage and analyze your expenses. These systems can be more advanced than most businesses are willing to implement on their own.
If you’re looking for these types of advanced systems, we have a list of five different expense management solutions that can help you do a much better job at managing your business’ expenses and setting fair prices.
Types of Businesses That Can Take Advantage of Setting Fair Prices
If you’re selling products or services online, any business in which you need to take out a lot of credit for marketing and/or advertising can benefit from making sure your pricing is fair.
There are a number of different businesses that need to worry about this. Some of them include:
Online companies with a lot of expenses. This includes e-commerce companies, info product companies, and software developers. These types of businesses have to take out a lot of credit for advertising and marketing purposes, so it’s important that they’re always aware of how much they’re spending (and making).
Affiliate marketers get a lot of their money from placing ads and sending people to certain websites. If they’re not careful, they can end up making a lot less money than they should be.
Here’s an example to help you understand this a little better: Let’s say that many other affiliates are selling similar products or services to the one you’re selling. This means that people will be going to those websites that have your competitors’ ads on them. Instead of being able to sell your products or services for what they’re worth, your traffic will pay more because they don’t know how much it actually costs to get customers.
These are just some of the types of businesses that can benefit from setting their prices fairly. This is especially true if the amount you’re spending on marketing is more than you’re making in revenue.
Some of these businesses might be able to do their own product or service research. Others, however, will rely on outside organizations for their product or service. These organizations can be very thorough in researching your potential clients and are often able to provide you with a lot of information about what they need and how much they’ll pay for it.
What to Do If You Feel Like Setting Your Prices Fairly Isn’t Going to Work for You
If you’re a small business that doesn’t have a lot of marketing expenses, it might be difficult to set your prices fairly. In cases like this, you might want to consider lowering the prices that you’re charging so that more people will buy from you. You might lose some money on each sale, but if you’re able to sell more than one product or service at a time, it can balance things out.
In cases in which you’re selling a number of products or services, it’s possible to set your prices fairly. This is good for those businesses that depend on having consistent customers purchasing their products from them over and over again.
Selling a lot of different products and services can be an advantage, especially if you have a lot of time on your hands. You’ll be able to market to people who want exactly what you have to offer.
There are other times when setting your prices fairly could be a good idea. If you’re selling products or services that don’t have much shelf life, setting fair prices will help you because it will encourage people to buy from you. You won’t have to worry about losing money on repeat sales. If you want your business to be able to last for a while, then you’ll need to make the most out of your marketing and advertising expenses.
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