Become an Affiliate Marketing Professional
Overview – Outline: Affiliate Marketing Business Model
1. Ideas and Brainstorming – You have to come up with an idea for a product or service to sell. Think about products you use in your everyday life, think about products you WANT, think about the things you have purchased for yourself, friends, and family. Pick products and services you know about and/or are interested in; this makes your time spent marketing more enjoyable and helps you sell.
2. Market Research – Does your idea for a product or service have a market? You MUST MUST MUST know if a viable market exists or you are totally wasting your time. People who rely on luck nearly always lose!
Do not build a site then try to figure out how to get people to come to your site with the hope they will buy something. Make sure you have a viable product or service to offer first. And don’t guess… do your research. You want to make money right?
* Keyword Research – What words and phrases are used to find your product or service? I write about tools used to find these keywords on other parts of the Internet Marketing IQ site. What is important here is that you take the time to see how people are finding what they are looking to purchase.
* Affiliate Research – Are there companies willing to pay you to sell these products and services (You’ll be joining these programs AFTER you have your site working properly)? An Affiliate Marketer works on commission so you must select industries with companies willing to pay you.
* Competition Research – Who else is selling in your niche market? How many websites already exist selling what you want to sell? Are they huge companies or mom and pop operations? Don’t be discouraged by competition – you need it; it shows there is a viable market. But don’t think you can just step right in and knock the big boys out of the top spots either. Make sure you know your competition so you can develop a realistic marketing plan.
* Legal Research – Is there any liability to sell in the marketplace? Don’t pick a Market that is “sketchy”. You might find online gambling, pornography, and pharmaceuticals look profitable, but it could come back to bite you.
3. Internet Access and Computer - High Speed Internet Access is mandatory you must budget for it in advance. You’ll also need a computer – Mac’s and PC’s are both great, except you’ll find many more customized programs for the PC. Some very valuable marketing software will only run on a PC.
4. Site Creation Software – (Choose BEFORE you select Web Hosting service to be sure your selected host will support your needs. My preference is for WordPress because it’s free, powerful, and easy to learn. I would NOT recommend using a FREE host like Blogger or WordPress.com because you do not control your destiny. At any moment your account could be deleted and all your work gone! What do you do then? Own your destiny!
5. Site Optimization and Copywriting Skills - Your site needs to have Headlines and text that BOTH sells and allows search engines to find you. This is exclusive of other Search Engine Optimization methods which are external to your site. You’ll need to learn those as you build your business. There are some very powerful WordPress Plugins (Many of them free) to help you accomplish SEO.
6. Affiliate Link/Product implementation – Don’t go crazy here… start with a couple of products. Too many new affiliate marketers try to take on too much at once, and the result is unprofessional sites cluttered with advertisements and links.
7. Domain & Web Hosting – You need to think about what the name of your site will be and purchase the domain. Do not take this lightly! I have written a helpful article on Domain Name Selection to help you brainstorm.
I always recommend “.com”, as that is what people doing business expect to see from other people doing business. Make sure the Web Hosting Service you choose supports the Web Design Software you choose. Once you install a script like WordPress it can be a hassle to move your site later. You want a host that keeps up with technology so your site continues to operate smoothly into the future.
8. Promotion Skills – Promotion is a key part in your success; you must find ways to get people to visit your site. Think of your Web Site as an Address… how are you going to let people know you are open for business at your address? In the “Real World” you have the potential advantage of location, location, location… in the Online World you need to create it!
You can also purchase links from other sites, or participate in Pay Per Click (PPC) programs where you purchase clicks based on the keywords you select. This is a fast way to get traffic to your site, but if you don’t know what you are doing it’s also a fast way to lose a lot of money. You’ll need to brand your site, our offer, and make yourself stand above the competitors sites and offers.
9. Statistical Tracking – You need to know where, how, and when people come to your site. You use this information to figure out what they buy and why. You can use the built in statistical reports your Webhost provides, purchase services from vendors, or participate in Analytic services like Google Analytics (The best FREE Analytics service). This is a CRITICALLY IMPORTANT part of affiliate marketing. People who learn how to understand site metrics will make a lot more money than those who do not.
10. Business – Once you start to make money you’ll need to choose a business model – Proprietor, Partnership, Corporation. Guess What? Taxes are owed on affiliate income. So in order to pay them, and track your expenses to write off against your income you need to be a business. This all depends on how much you make. As you grow you will need to talk to a tax professional or learn what is required on your own
A well conceived Business Plan will help you enormously. People can and do make money with Affiliate Marketing. The big Affiliate Money Payouts go to people who develop a plan, then put it into action!
This Affiliate Marketing Business Model outline has shown you the Basic Skills required to get into Affiliate Marketing, the rest is up to you. You don’t get rich quick, most don’t get rich at all. But if you have a good idea, a good site, and good marketing plan you can make a real living.
Everyone has their own work style, so you will likely rearrainge the order of the above and that’s okay. That is the great thing about working from home for yourself; you get to make the decisions. If you take only one thing from this article it should be this: Make sure you have done your Marketing Research BEFORE you start building your sites.