A Realistic Look At Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has become a true contender in the entrepreneur arena. In the recent past hardly anyone had heard the word affiliate! Now it’s a common word especially among search engines. Personally, I stepped onto the affiliate marketing stage in 2010. I’ve jumped through the hoops, and I am now earning an income.

An incredible 97% of people that attempt affiliate marketing fail. It seems like obvious reasons: #1 They have unrealistic goals. You are not going to come out of the gate making $1,000 a day. For the average affiliate marketer you won’t see numbers like this for a few months. #2 They try to accomplish everything by skipping important steps. There are hoops you just can’t ignore. Like learning how to write so people will want to read your work. Just last night I was looking up some information on the internet. The third option down hit the nail on the head so I clicked on it. The language and content of the copy was so misaligned, confusing and poorly written that I clicked out of there after the first sentence! Am I going to favorite that website? Not even. Am I going to pass it on, or share this website? I don’t think so! The writer on this website skipped one of the first important steps, learn to write well and he paid for it by losing me and probably several others.

Since I’ve been through the ringer I can help you streamline your affiliate marketing. Some of the hoops are pointless, well, many of them, but some are essential.

Essentials of A Website

Content is King

If you haven’t heard this phrase yet, well now you have! Content IS King! You may as well hang it up if you have no intention of learning proper English and how to write great copy.

The content, copy, articles, whichever you like to call it, what you write must be impeccable. Could you imagine shopping on a website like Amazon and the items had misspellings? You’d never find what you were looking for!

When a consumer is searching for an item the search engines will look for similar words in the content of the websites. If the spelling is wrong, they will never find you! If you are selling bicycles, but your website has it as “bycycles” for sale. You won’t be found. So just as important as sounding like someone who knows what they are doing. You need to be identified by search engines as selling “bicycles” not “bycycles”. Plus, if you’re an authority in that arena, which you need to be if you want to gain and retain customers, you’re are obviously going to know how to spell “bicycles” correctly, right!

Mentors

If you can find a mentor, that, will put you way ahead of the game! Good mentors are few and far between. I am, in a sense, mentoring you here. Providing you with sound, honest, good, advice. That is what a mentor does.

You may choose to pay for a mentor. It streamlines the process of obtaining a mentor. Money is the name of the game with 99% of affiliate marketers. But even the mentors you pay for may not be up to snuff. This is one of those hoops I should have avoided.

I couldn’t find a free mentor in my time frame, so I decided to pay for one. The mentor assigned to me was completely unhelpful. She criticized my websites with nothing positive. There was no constructive criticism. The problem is I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket. She didn’t like that. She was of the mindset that I should have one website and only one site. Obviously we were not a match for mentoring. I was able to get my money back.

I use the investing strategy where I don’t put all my money in stocks. Especially in the affiliate marketing arena, don’t put it on one endeavor. Diversify and put your where it works best for you weather that be purchasing traffic, or investing in a mentor. If you can find a mentor that has the same strategy as you do, then it would be well worth it to have one.

Marketing

No matter how you look at it you will need traffic to your website. This is one of those hoops you don’t want to ignore. If the only people that know about your website is your friends and family you will need to advertise, there is no question about it. The options for advertising are huge.

When I first launched my websites my advertising budget was near nil! I hadn’t really planned on an advertising budget. I had focused so hard on optimizing my content and its value to my readers, marketing hadn’t really dawned on me.

If you do a little research on top performing companies you will find that their advertising budget takes the lions share of their budget! Many times their marketing budget far out weighs their employees salaries. It’s simple, you want customers, you need to get the word out there that you are available.

Your Money

Yes, you will, at some point in time, need to put some money where your website is. Some important words of caution. Everywhere you turn people have their hands out for your money. If they aren’t up front about the fact they are seeking your fortune, then watch your back because they’ll have a hand in your bag behind your back! Use complete caution when purchasing anything online! I will only use reputable companies. Always beware of the https: compared to the http: on a website. You should know by now that http: is an unprotected site whereas https: is protected. It’s subtle things like that you need to watch for. You could clean out your bank account in a minute if your not careful. Research what you plan on purchasing. What exactly will you receive for your dollar? How much traffic will you see? Where will this traffic come from? What kind of guarantee do they provide, etcetera, etcetera.

Free Traffic Sources

I started by using free sources of advertising such as Google business, Facebook and Yelp. Google allows you to create a profile of your business with them for free. They encourage you to make a complete profile with pictures and pricing. Facebook and Yelp offer the same thing. Yelp will have a salesperson call you and try to get you to pay for advertising. They will say that they can get you so many calls per day. They even asked me, “How many calls per day would you like? For 100 – 200 calls per day it will cost ???? (what ever the salesman offered).” But you are not obligated to purchase. To this day, I get more calls from my Google profile than any other source!! Yelp is a close second and Facebook I get a few. Facebook offers “ad boosting” where you can boost a post you have put on your website for so much money. The budget is very flexible and totally under your control. You choose who to advertise to (targeted advertising) and how long you want your ad to run. Then you set your budget and your ads start running. Even if you don’t run a Facebook ad you still have your website profile anyone can can see.

Mailing Lists

Your mailing list is important, but it is not the Holy Grail! Don’t let anyone tell you it is. Your mailing list, or opt in list, contains people that definitely have interest in your product, that’s why they signed onto your mailing list. But think about your own email. How often do you do mass deletions? You open your personal email and there’s so many ads and junk email you just click that button at the top and then Delete All! I’ve abandoned two email addresses because there is so much junk mail going to them! You don’t want to be in that Delete All category. Use discretion when deciding to use your mailing list for advertising or contacting your parties of interest.

Only email your email list when you truly have something different or important to offer to your readers. The days of indiscriminately sending out mass mailings are over. Spam protection, wise consumers, and ad blockers have changed all that. It was rude from the start, mass mailings, now the consumer has methods to fight back. I use mass delete for mass mailings!

A Favorite Website, Dumped

I had one website I really liked a lot. It was about herbal gardening. I signed up to her email list. Little did I know that she sends out an email several times a week!! When that first week I received several emails from the website I thought, “This won’t go on forever. She’ll reduce the emailing soon.” But it didn’t stop. Several times a week all these emails from her, I was overwhelmed. Who ever thought someone could talk so much about gardening!! The emails were coming so fast and furious, I opted out within the first two weeks of opting in to her site. I had enjoyed her topic, but she drove me nuts and she lost my subscription because of it.

Purchasing Email Lists

I don’t recommend purchasing an email list. As I mentioned above the days of mass emailing people whether you know them or not are over. Books about affiliate market still have a section on how to email people and how often (daily to weekly). I don’t recommend purchasing a list or harassing people in this manner. Don’t be that person that buys an email list and emails these people that never asked you to in the first place. This can also get you marked as a spammer and that will ruin your business!

The absolute BEST thing you can do is create a relationship with your customers! Learn what they want and how you can get it to them! Be that friend that knows all the right people and how to get things. Send your customer quality information and quality products and you will see your business flourish! Look at your own online experience. How important are your contacts that you know will get you what you need, fast and reliable? They are at the top of your list, maybe starred or thumbed up, right. Be that person!!

Education

Education is vital to the whole affiliate marketing world. Even if you are only learning what doesn’t work, you’re still ahead. Learn what people want. Learn what people are shopping for. Learn what website layout works best. Learn, learn, learn! The more you know the better off you will be. It’s the guy with the most information, presented in the best manner, that wins. Joe Blo that doesn’t know how to write interesting copy, has no idea what a website layout is and has no clue what people want to buy is one of those 97% that don’t make it.

I see education as a life long endeavor. You can be 20 years old or 70 years old and there’s still many things you don’t know. The best thing of all, education is FREE. And once you have it, nobody can take it away. It’s yours forever!

Get out there and learn everything you can about your niche, about the English language and marketing skills!

Last words: Use discretion spending your money!

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