When someone is searching for how to start affiliate marketing, they are inundated by thousands of websites, e-books, training programs, and videos. It can be very overwhelming at first because so many people seem to have so many different strategies. You might also get the impression that you must have some “secret system” or special software or something else that so-called guru’s just want to sell you and profit on.
I’m going to tell you how to start affiliate marketing in the most simplest of terms. This isn’t some get-rich-quick garbage and I’m not going to be sharing some “secret system”. What I am about to share is so simple, but it really is all you need to know about affiliate marketing.
Notice how I said simple. That doesn’t mean easy.
The truth is, affiliate marketing is about as simple as it gets. I’ve been a full-time affiliate marketer for years now and my strategy hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t use any secret traffic sources, I don’t have special connections in the industry, I don’t network with other people in the industry, and quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of people getting the wrong idea about how to start affiliate marketing.
What I’m about to share might not be exactly what you want to hear. If you think affiliate marketing is quick and easy, you’re very mistaken. However, affiliate marketing IS simple!
So what makes affiliate marketing hard? It takes commitment, long-term dedication, and more patience than most people have. If you DO have the patience required to succeed with affiliate marketing, you have the chance to make more money than you ever dreamed of.
So, how do you start affiliate marketing in simple and easy to understand instructions? Let’s get into this.
Step 1: Choose A Niche
The key to affiliate marketing is finding a great niche. You need to find an industry that you are interested in (preferably passionate about) and something with enough monetization potential, but not too much competition. The problem is, as a brand new affiliate marketer, how are you supposed to know how to find a great niche in an industry you are interested in that has monetization potential without too much competition?
Answer: You can’t possibly know.
So, either you go out there and try to figure it out as you go along, or you save yourself the weeks, months, and possibly years of lost time and learn from someone who has put in those years already. Check out these free videos to learn how to choose a great niche. They are totally free and they are freakin’ awesome. Just go to the section that says “Market Research For Affiliate Marketers” and then go through ALL of those videos. By the end of them, you’ll be in great shape and will know how to choose a good niche. Some of those videos will require that you sign up for a free account, but it’s totally worth it.
Step 2: Learn How To Build A Website
For those of you who aren’t very technical, don’t stop reading here. Yes, you will need to learn how to develop a website, but I assure you it’s much, much easier than you think. While I personally taught myself some VERY basic HTML and CSS, you do not need to learn any computer code at all.
How much time will it realistically take for you to learn how to build a kick-butt website? A few hours per day for about a week. That’s it.
What I personally recommend is to learn how to create a WordPress website. That is the very same platform this website uses. In fact, ALL of my sites are on WordPress. Most of you have probably heard about WordPress before, but maybe you’re a bit intimidated or you’ve tried to start one and you get stuck, frustrated, and never return.
First of all, welcome to affiliate marketing! You’re going to run into situations where you get frustrated and can’t figure something out. The real winners are those who push through and refuse to give up. Truth be told, the most difficult aspect of setting up a website is getting it set up. Once it is up and running, the rest is easy.
Second, when you build a WordPress site, you can get help from thousands upon thousands of people. That’s because WordPress not only open source, but it is used by about 70% of all websites in the World. Crazy, right?!
But enough with all this talk. I’m going to make it as simple for you as possible to get help creating your very first WordPress website right now. It’s going to look awesome, it’s going to function well, and it’s going to work on any device. There are a ton of videos on YouTube that will walk you through, step-by-step, building a WordPress website from scratch. You just look over their shoulder and copy exactly what they do, then in an hour or two, you’ve got a kick ass website up and running.
Below is a great step-by-step tutorial of a guy showing a 9 year old how to develop a WordPress site. You simply follow along as this father teaches his son how to build a site. If a 9 year old can do it, so can you.
So click play below and let’s get step 1 out of the way right now!
Step 3: Create Content, Content, And More Content
There is a well known term in the affiliate marketing industry and you may have already heard it. The term is Content Is KING!
Affiliate marketing is primarily driven by content creation. There are some exceptions to this rule, but I personally have used content marketing as my primary affiliate marketing strategy since day 1 and it has worked out extremely well for me.
Just take a look around this very website you’re on right now. I don’t just preach certain methods and then do something different. I have created hundreds of pages on this site and as of this writing, it is only about 1 year old. My ultimate goal is to have thousands (yes, thousands!) of content pages.
This is where most people fail at affiliate marketing. Finding a good affiliate marketing niche is relatively easy. Building a nice website is even easier. Creating hundreds or thousands of high quality content pages? Not so easy. This is where patience comes into play.
Unlike the get-rich-quick scammers out there, I’m going to tell you the hard hitting truth about how long this is going to take. If you start creating content on your website today, you should be able to start making money in 6 to 12 months, assuming you work on the site for at least an hour or two every day.
With that said, you can help reduce the amount of time it takes by learning how to properly create content that both people and search engines love. You can also get a kick-start by getting articles to go viral in social media. Check out these videos and scroll down to “Content Creation”. Watch ever one of those videos and you’ll be ahead of 99% of anyone else starting affiliate marketing.
Step 4: Implement Your Monetization Plan
Most people who want to start affiliate marketing focus on monetizing first. This is a big mistake. You must provide value to others before you can realistically expect anyone to pay you. First, you must provide value to your website visitors. When you do that, your website will raise in popularity from search engines, social media, and other forms of exposure. Once you have that traffic, you then are able to provide value to advertisers who can capitalize on your highly targeted website traffic. Any affiliate marketing business usually boils down to what is known as the CTPM process:
C = Content
T = Traffic
P = Pre-Sell
M = Monetize
By creating high quality content, you will begin to receive lots of traffic, especially from search engines. You can then pre-sell that traffic by earning their trust. That way when you make recommendations and attempt to refer them to your affiliate partners, their guard is down. That’s when you can monetize.
Monetizing comes LAST!
Now, finding a monetization plan is easy. Say you create a website about dog training. You can just go to Google and type in “Dog Training Affiliate Program” at which point, you’ll be greeted with dozens of affiliate programs you can join for free. You can also sign up for services like ClickBank.com and get access to thousands of products / services to promote. Honestly, monetizing is the easy part once you have the traffic.
Content leads to traffic which you can then pre-sell by writing in your own voice. That is what makes monetizing easy.
Step 5: Reinvest Profits By Outsourcing
Once you have an affiliate website that is making you money, it’s time to outsource. You can hire freelance writers, find people to manage your social media campaigns, invest into various forms of advertising, hire a programmer to make your site even better, and all sorts of different tasks. Many affiliate marketers, myself included, use virtual assistants to help deal with day-to-day tasks.
When you outsource, it frees up your time to build yet another site, and another, and another. Allow your sites to pay for their own growth through outsourcing. Your income can become exponential and you can truly become a publishing powerhouse by doing this.
Rinse and repeat as often as you can!
Some Additional Things You Should Know About How To Start Affiliate Marketing
The steps I’ve posted above may be simple, but actually putting them into practice over the long-haul is a much different story. If you’re going to start affiliate marketing, you must approach this as a legit business, not just some way to “make extra cash on the side.” This has become an all or nothing industry. Contrary to what many others might tell you, there is no “secret system” or “proven method” or anything like that. You can get plenty of help along the way, but ultimately you must learn on your own through experience, dedication, and an incredible amount of patience.
So are you in, or are you out? If you’re in, you better be in it 110%. The steps to start affiliate marketing are simple. It’s the dedication and patience that counts.