In this article, I’m going to talk about how to be an affiliate marketer. I’ve been an affiliate marketer since 2009 and went full-time in 2011, so while I haven’t been around for as long as many very successful affiliate marketers, I’ve learned a thing or two in that timeframe. My affiliate marketing business is my passion and I earn more from this business than I ever earned in any previous job.
With that said, there are so many ways to succeed with affiliate marketing and just as many ways to start. You can learn how to be an affiliate marketer by becoming a master of social media marketing. Or, maybe you’d prefer to develop a high quality blog that you write on regularly and use affiliate marketing to monetize that blog. Along the same lines, perhaps you wish to be an SEO expert and drive sales that way? You could operate an e-commerce style affiliate business, write an e-book, or heck, even advertise for affiliate products on billboards and on television.
Learning how to be an affiliate marketer is tough because there are SO many ways affiliate marketers have found success. Many of the affiliate marketing guru’s out there claim there are certain “formulas” you can use to become a successful affiliate marketer quickly. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. We are all unique in terms of our strengths and weaknesses, so there is not formula that will guarantee success for you. That is something you must figure out on your own as you go along. There will be successes and there will be failures, but in the end, both your successes and failures will help show you the specific formula that will work for you.
With that said, you do need a starting point. So, what I’m going to do is walk you through how I started affiliate marketing and show you the techniques that I have used to double my revenue almost every year since I started. I don’t like to divulge the exact amount I earn, but let’s just say I earn five figures per month with my business. The “formula” I have used has proven to be profitable FOR ME. Will it work for you? I don’t know, but this is a good way to at least start and see where it takes you.
I Learned How To Be An Affiliate Marketer From Scratch
When I first began to learn about affiliate marketing, I knew absolutely nothing about it. Sure, I could perform a pretty badass Google search and research information I needed to find, but my online expertise ended there. When I first started, I didn’t know a single line of computer code, I had no idea how to build a website or blog, and I had no idea that the term “affiliate marketing” even existed, let alone how it worked. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed because you don’t know squat about how to develop a website or feel like you don’t know anything, don’t worry. Not long ago, I was in the same exact spot as you.
My First Blogging Experience
Back in 2009, I was laid off from my corporate sales job (glorified telemarketer) and I decided the office life wasn’t for me. I wanted to travel and I loved to drive, so I say “screw my college degree” and became a truck driver. When I did that, I was asked to blog about my experience on a truck driving site. I did not start writing for that site to make any money and I had no ulterior motives other than to help people who wanted to get into trucking understand what it was like. From day one of truck driving school all the way until the day I quit to focus full time on my online business, I was blogging.
After I gained a nice following and realized the owner of that site was making a full-time living from it, I began to wonder if I could create my OWN blog and start making money writing on my own sites. That was the first time I ever considered making money online.
The Training Program That Changed My Life
At this point, I still didn’t even know the term “affiliate marketing” existed. I just knew that if I could create a quality blog, I could make money from it. I then started to find all the success stories about ordinary people making a full-time living online with affiliate marketing. I had to learn more.
That’s when I found a service called Site Build It. Now, before you rush over to that site and sign up, I have to say that I no longer recommend that service. If you want to know why, here is an article I wrote about that situation.
With that said, there is no disputing that Site Build It changed the course of my life. I stumbled across their service and with only a few hundred bucks in my bank account, I became a member. Their training program showed me how to perform industry research, choose between topics to build a site on, register a domain name, build a site, and write great content that would attract free search engine visitors. And finally, they taught me how to MONETIZE my site. They are the reason I started my very first website ever, Drive-Safely.net.
It took me a solid month or two of research and learning before I ever had my first site up and running. After that, I was writing like you couldn’t believe. Keep in mind, I was still working as a truck driver at this point up to 70 or more hours per week. But any free moment I had, I was writing, and writing, and writing.
My First $7 Commission & Going Full-Time
I remember when I made my first $7 affiliate commission online. I might as well have won the lottery. I knew if I could make one sale online, I could do it again, and again, and again. If I can make sales on one site, I can make sales on multiple sites. For the first time in my life, I was certain that I would become a small business owner. Right then and there, I had a dream of owning hundreds of websites that all earned me money every day. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I had the potential to become a millionaire. I wanted success more than anything. Success to me was being able to quit my full-time job and rely solely on my affiliate marketing income.
Finally, it happened. In November of 2011, just 11 months after starting my first website, I was able to quit my trucking job and focus on my own business full-time.
My Initial Formula For Success
Since I’ve gone full-time, I have been able to grow the number of sites I have and multiply my earnings. Almost every year since I started, my income has doubled. It’s just insane. With that said, my “formula” for success has changed since I started my first site. When I began my very first website, all I was really interested in was learning. I learned a process from Site Build It that I still use to this day and it looks something like this…
C –> T — P –> M
C = Content
T = Traffic
P = Pre Sell
M = Monetize
When you build a site with great Content, you will attract Traffic (website visitors) from the search engines. You can then Pre sell those visitors to become ready-to-buy customers. At that point, you can Monetize.
Let’s dig into each of those a bit more…
Content – There are two ways you can get visitors onto your website. You can pay for it through advertising, or you can get visitors for free from search engines. Most of us, at least when we first start, don’t have the money for expensive advertising, so we need to try and get the free visitors from search engines. The only way to do that is to develop search engine friendly content that will help your site rank highly for various search terms. So, without having quality content on your site, you will get nowhere.
Traffic – Once you have some great content on your site, the search engines will start sending you visitors. We call this “traffic”. The more visitors you have on your site, the more traffic you are getting. Obviously, more is better. There is no way to get a high amount of traffic onto your website through free search engines if you don’t have quality content. So, develop high quality Content and you’ll get the Traffic.
Pre Sell – If you want to make money online through affiliate marketing, you will not actually be selling your own products and services. That means, you need to send people off of your site and onto a partner site where your visitor can then make a purchase. Before you send your visitors off to your partner site, you need to pre sell them. In other words, by the time they click on your affiliate link, they are ready to make a purchase. Pre selling your audience is important for conversion rates, but it isn’t as difficult as you think. If you are creating very high quality content, the majority of your pre selling is already done. Simply by having a high quality, but more importantly TRUSTWORTHY site, your are doing a great job by pre selling. When you do make a product or service recommendation, people trust your recommendation and are much more likely to buy, thus earning you a commission.
MONETIZE! – The reason most new affiliate marketers fail is because they try to monetize too early, then get frustrated when it “doesn’t work”. Notice how monetizing is the last thing in this “formula?” You can’t monetize until you you have great content that attracts pre sold visitors.
I still use this method to build out every new site I start.
How My “Formula” Has Changed – Outsourcing
The only thing I’ve really changed over the years is how I outsource. From the first time I earned that $7 commission, I was re-investing back into my business. I now spend thousands of dollars on outsourced content monthly and also hire freelance marketers and site developers from time to time. From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to scale up my business as fast as possible. I couldn’t do that alone, so I enlisted help.
By hiring writers, I could focus on sites I enjoy writing on like this one, while the freelance writers grew other sites for me. I know own about a dozen money making sites and blogs. It’s not fun to invest into a business at first because there are so many personal things that the money could be spent on (and after all, you’ve worked HARD for that money!), but the power of outsourcing and building a team of people to grow your business for you becomes apparent before too long. Outsourcing is the best decision I’ve ever made for my business as well as my personal well-being.
Other than that, my “formula” hasn’t changed. I still follow the C –> T –> P –> M process, I simply outsource the content to others. My dream of owning hundreds of money making websites is on the horizon and I have ever expectation of making that happen, all through the power of outsourcing.
How You Can Follow My “Formula” And Become An Affiliate Marketer Yourself
Now that you understand the CTPM process and the power of outsourcing, you need to know how to put all those pieces together. Let me tell you, the learning will NEVER stop. You will always feel like you don’t know enough and there will always be new things you need to learn, but to get started, there are only a few things you need to know how to do.
Learn How To Perform Industry Research – Before you even learn how to create a website, you need to perform market research. If you build a website about weight loss, for example, you’ll never make any money. The competition is way too high. On the other hand, if you build a website about blind one armed airline pilots, you’ll never make any money either. There’s not enough supply. The rules on supply and demand exist on the internet, too. So, before you build a site, you need to learn how to choose an industry that has enough demand but not too much competition. I highly recommend you learn how to do market research from this free resource.
Learn How To Develop A Website – Believe it or not, this is the easy part. You don’t have to learn any computer code at all to develop your fist affiliate marketing site (or any site for that matter!). You can literally have your first website up and running today. How? By watching step-by-step tutorials like these.
Learn How To Write Search Engine Friendly Content – You can have the best looking website in the world, but if search engines can’t figure out what your site is about, you’ll never get any traffic. You also have to write content that people will love, share, and want to re-read again. I hope you feel that way about this very article you’re reading! 🙂 So, how DO you write great content that both people and search engines will love? Check out this series of videos.
Learn How To Market Your Content – While gaining traffic from the search engines is a great source of free traffic, it isn’t the only way to get free traffic. You can also use social media and other sources to get free traffic onto your site or build a following. These other sources are also great additional places to promote your affiliate partners, not to mention it helps you diversify your business so that you aren’t so reliant on search engines. You can learn more about how to market your website content here.
Your Main Job As A New Affiliate Marketer
Now, once you’ve got a site up and you’re adding content, you will have one main job and that is producing MORE CONTENT! As I said previously, every affiliate marketer has had their own “formula” for success which is why I keep putting the word “formula” in quotes. However, if you follow my “formula” above and want to mimic the way I have grown my affiliate marketing business, you will need to write and write and write. Content is king. I spend at least 90% of my time creating new articles, making YouTube videos, creating fun quizzes that people like to share on social media, etc. Of everything I mentioned above, content is by far the most important. If you don’t love to write or make videos, you can forget about enjoying a career as an affiliate marketer. This job is for those who love to write.
Some Final Thoughts
If you’ve been wondering how to be an affiliate marketer, I hope my advice and this lengthy explanation of how I’ve succeeded has been of help. Ultimately, you’ll find your own pathway to success, but by following the strategies I’ve laid out in this article, you’ll be well on your way. Do your market research, develop a website, and create content. That’s really all there is to it.