Affiliate marketing should be viewed as a long term business. Your ultimate goal is of course to make money, but if you focus purely on this you may never get things off the ground. If you are constantly giving people a hard sell you’ll find it very difficult to build the audience of followers you need to be a real success. Your first six months is a critical time for laying foundations and developing the skills you need.
Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
Planning and research are critical for any business, and this is no different in the world of Internet marketing. If you choose the wrong niche and don’t carry out keyword research you could find yourself in a market with too much competition. Conversely, you could find that the market isn’t large enough to make ling term profits.
Choosing the right niche from the start can make things much easier as your affiliate marketing business grows. I personally feel it’s important to work in a niche you have an interest in. You’ll need to develop some expertise in your chosen subject and spend hours reading and researching it, and this can become a real grind if it’s something you don’t enjoy. You can make money as an affiliate marketer in millions of different fields, so whatever your passion in life it’s worth considering it as a basis for a business.
Having a good range of quality products you can promote is essential for an affiliate marketer. The fact that you can make money as an Amazon affiliate now has made that much easier. I have a number of websites related to photography and cameras, and these giving me thousands of options for making money promoting products. As well as digital cameras and lenses I promote books, DVDs and online courses on photography.
Your early weeks as an affiliate marketer should be spent researching potential niches and the products you can sell in those markets.
Laying The Foundations
You need a number of skills to make it as a successful affiliate marketer, and the first few months are the time to begin to develop these. You can of course outsource some aspects of your Internet business, but I strongly believe that you should have a basic understanding of these. For example, I have no interest in coding or the technical aspects of building websites, but I understand that’s involved, how long it takes and the main options available.
Your first six months as an affiliate marketer can involve a lot of studying and hard work as you learn new skills. It’s unlikely you’ll see any financial returns for some time (at least 6 to 12 months), so you must accept that this period is all about laying the foundations for your business. If you constantly cut corners and aren’t prepared to invest your time there’s a strong chance you’ll regret it down the line. Setting up your first affiliate marketing website may be a painful experience, but it will get easier every time.
It’s critical that you stay focussed when you start your first online venture. If your attention is diverted by other business ideas and the challenges of everyday life you’ll never get things off the ground. It helps if you have a clear vision in mind. As yourself why are you setting out to become an affiliate marketer. Do you want to give up your job and make a full time income from the Internet, or are you simply looking for a way to supplement your income?
Build A Network
Running an online venture can be a lonely life. Building a network of likeminded contacts can help you to feel connected and give you access to support and expertise. There are some great forums where you can find answers to problems and chat to other online marketers. Spending a little time on these can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
As well as building a network of marketing experts you should connect with people with an interest in your niche. Eventually these might become people you can sell products to, but initially they will help you understand more about your niche and the potential for the future of your online business. Reading the threads on forums will help you to understand common problems of people interested in your subject and the sorts of things they might buy. For example, I recently came across a lot of discussion on a photography forum about how to photograph the stars and moon. This gave me ideas for content for my blog and I was able to source books on the subject I could sell as an affiliate.
Build Your List
Have you heard the saying ‘the money is in the list?’ I certainly believe this to be true. Actually, I think ‘the money is in the RELATIONSHIP with your list’ is a bit more accurate. Failing to start building a mailing list early enough is one of the most common mistakes made by affiliate marketers. To make matters worse, many affiliate marketers spam their list which results in a very low open rate. It can feel like you’ve achieved your goal when you start attracting visitors to your website and making your first sales, but it’s a wasted opportunity if you aren’t capturing email addresses for future marketing by developing a trusting relationship with your readers.
In your first six months as an affiliate marketer you could add several thousand people to a mailing list. If you understand your niche and distribute the type of kind that will appeal to this audience most of these people will follow you for years to come. A visitor may buy an ebook for just a few dollars the first time he visits your website, but if you stay in touch he could go on to spend hundreds of dollars on other products with you over time.
An Internet marketing business won’t take off overnight. If you’ve done your research well up front you will eventually make money as an affiliate marketer. Choosing the wrong niche is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and it’s hard to go back from this. You may need to adapt and refine your approach over the first few months, but don’t get distracted or give up.