There are tons of affiliate marketing training guides, programs, forums, and other resources, but it can be difficult to know which ones you can trust.
Like John, I found my own success with Mark Ling’s AffiloBlueprint. There are many similar systems out there, but to me, it was the best investment I ever made in my business.
I started affiliate marketing 4 years ago, when I found out my job was in jeopardy. I now run 2 online companies that make money through a variety of methods, including affiliate referrals.
Back in the old days, affiliates could pretty much rely on search engines, and build simple sites that generated revenue almost on autopilot. In fact, there are many programs teaching that you can still do this even now. However, it isn’t as effective, or as easy, as it used to be.
Now days, successful affiliate marketing comes down to learning how to build trust and authority. More and more people are wary of affiliate sites because of scams and people just out to make a buck. IF you really want to learn affiliate marketing, you need to break free of the “autopilot mindset, and think about building a real business that will withstand the coming changes to the world.
So, today, I thought I would share 10 steps that you need to go through to learn affiliate marketing and build a real business. Following these steps will help you to get off the ground and build a strategy that you will be able to rely on and master your online business.
Learn How to Pick Your Niche
Having a niche is essential to your affiliate business. Your niche will help you define the topic of your business, and find the most common problems that people within that niche face. There are many ways that people pick out niche markets, and you need to decide what is best for you. Personally, I prefer to look at a mix of profitability and personal experience. Although many people (myself included) have proven that you can make money from a niche that you don’t know anything about, are you really certain that you are providing value to the people who buy products through you?
Just look at all the internet marketing scams out there. Most of them only make money because they con affiliates into selling their product who don’t know any better, mainly because they buy into the “get rich quick” hype. Knowing your niche and having personal experience greater than your target customer will help you build authority and create a business that will last.
Create Your Customer Profile
Once you have a niche, you need to create your unique selling point (we will refer to this as the USP). This is your own unique message that you want to share with the niche. The more you share a unique point of view, the better you will be able to connect with an audience, and build trust. This will help you choose which products to promote and identify the problems that you need to help people solve.
Again, with no experience in your niche, this would be impossible to do. However, if you know your niche, you will be able to pick out the common problems. Creating your customer avatar will help you know what your USP is, and create a profile of who your ideal customer is. This would include things like knowing your ideal customers age range, gender, location, ideals, goals, fears, and hopes.
Pick Killer Affiliate Products
Once you know what your message is, you can begin looking for products that fill the needs and ideas that you want to share with your customers. I would recommend reviewing at least one or two products before building your first site. This will give you loads of information to use later on in creating content, plus product reviews are the best converting content you can have.
Again, if you have personal experience, it will be easier to tell if a product is a good quality product. Without that experience, you might get a product that has good marketing, and sells well, but doesn’t deliver on its promises.
Never trust sales copy or info gathered from a merchant! Chat with people in your niche, and find out the real experiences that people have had with a product before deciding on one. I personally can’t recommend a product I wouldn’t be willing to use myself.
Ask yourself, if your mom was asking for help would you recommend it to her? If not, maybe you shouldn’t recommend it to someone else. If you don’t know, you need to do more niche research! The best way around this is to actually use the products that you recommend. Every product I recommend I have either used to help myself, or at least reviewed it to make sure I agree with what it is teaching. You don’t want to recommend a program that is contradictory to your USP. That will lose the trust of your readers.
Master Your Keywords
Once you have a customer profile, you can begin learning how to use that information to find what people search for, and what information they want when they do a search. This will help you target your audience, and build a site that attracts the people who you really want to help into your business.
Build Your Content Factory
The web runs on content, and if you think this is easy, or quick, you are sadly mistaken. Just like a factory produces massive quantities of products, you need to create massive amounts of content consistently to build a reliable online business.
Creating content is probably one of the biggest stopping points for most potential affiliates, but it isn’t as scary as it may seem on the surface. Don’t get stuck on just one form of content either. Articles are the most common, but audio and video are huge, and sometimes even easier to make than writing articles.
You will need content for your site, for syndication to get traffic to your site, and for your emails to your subscribers. Later on, you can even leverage this content to create your own products. For example, I recently released an ebook, which is a compilation of my best articles from 3 years of blogging.
Set Up Your Website
Once you get to this point, you will have a bit of learning to go through. Depending on how you build your sites, there are a lot of technical details to get right. I recommend learning the basics.
don’t get too complicated right off the bat. I see people all the time wanting complex websites that can’t even do a basic WordPress post. Master the fundamentals before you try getting too complex. Find a good WordPress theme ( I recommend the AffiloTheme for newbie affiliates) and focus your efforts on content and traffic rather than building the prettiest site.
Drive Traffic To Your Offer
Once you have a website online, you need to focus all your efforts on traffic. Sadly, many people put up a website and focus on sales. If you do that, you will be sadly disappointed. However, if you focus on driving traffic to your sites,often the sales start taking care of themselves.
Traffic to your website, and especially to your affiliate offers, is what will determine your success. Once you learn the tricks to making that traffic convert (which we will cover later), it becomes just a numbers game, and to make X dollars, you need Y visitors.
Test Presell Copy
This is really important to understand about affiliate marketing, for beginners especially. The purpose of an affiliate site is to presell people, help them understand their problem and RECOMMEND a product that will help them.
Your initial goal IS NOT TO CLOSE THE SALE!
That is the job of the sales page that you send them to. However, preselling is an art form, and requires you to understand sales copy, as well as understanding the emotional hot buttons people in your niche have. This is why humor, controversy, and highly personal content is important.
Testing is essential to your marketing business. The calls to action I use within the IM niche are different from the dating niche, because I am hitting different emotional buttons with my pitch. I had to do a lot of testing to get things working right. It didn’t happen overnight. Once you have traffic, converting them to sales is essential, and that is largely something you will learn by trial and error.
Capture Leads From Visitors
Email marketing, social media, and other forms of building leads are essential to the survival of your business. My granddad, who owned a grocery business, always taught me ” We make a profit from everyone who comes into our store and buys something, we make our living from those who come back to us again and again.”
I keep this in mind every day. Capturing leads and getting people to come back to your site is essential to a long-term business. By building a list of leads, you won’t have to rely on SEO for long because your list will become one of your top traffic sources. This allows you to build a long-term relationship, and make multiple sales rather than relying on one time shoppers.
Analyze Your Progress To Master Your Success
Analyzing is one of the hardest parts of affiliate marketing for beginners to master. You need to be able to track large amounts of data consistently in order to make the most profitable decisions. This is probably one of the most frustrating things for me as an affiliate marketing consultant.
I had a client call me up the other day. They had a really great month several months before, and wanted ME to tell them how to repeat it. They hadn’t had a single sale since and it was frustrating. The problem was they weren’t tracking and analyzing what worked so there was no way to tell what happened that time to make a difference.
I guess they wanted me to look into my crystal ball and tell them what happened. I am not a psychic. Without tracking data, there is no way to know what works and what doesn’t.
Track everything, and follow-up on what is happening. If you track and analyze, failure and success will just become data of what not to do or what to do in your business.
Testing Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
At the end of the day, affiliate internet marketing is all about testing. I test constantly. Although I learn a lot from studying affiliate marketing training programs, I still learn more by testing what works and what doesn’t work. If you aren’t testing, you won’t stay in business. Testing also creates adaptability, and helps you learn basic problem solving skills, which are essential to any business, online or offline.
The great news is that you can master every one of these steps by following the AffiloBlueprint training. Make sure you check out John’s Affiloblueprint 3 Review, and see how this system will help you master your marketing business. You will learn step by step, all the fundamentals to running an effective affiliate site. That is how I started, and without that training, I wouldn’t be running 2 profitable companies today.
About James Pruitt
James Pruitt has been working online since 2008, and now runs 2 online companies. He has built several successful affiliate sites, as well as teaching up and coming marketers how to master online business through Relationship Marketing Strategies.