Many people dream of giving up their job and living the Internet lifestyle, but is it really possible to become a millionaire working as an affiliate marketer? Thousands of people have achieved this goal, and there’s no reason why you can’t join them. Most of them were no more advantaged than you. My affiliate marketing venture started very small, but it’s now become a bigger income stream than the photography business it grew out of. You may only be looking for a way to top up your earnings when you launch your first online business, but within a few years it could be generating enough money to give you the option to quit your job.
Running an online business can certainly give you a more flexible lifestyle, but don’t think of it as an easy option. You must be willing to work hard and invest lots of time if you’re serious about making it. If you’re working a full time job when you start out as an affiliate, you must be prepared to sacrifice evenings and weekends to get things off the ground. The rewards will come eventually, but don’t expect to see any profits until you’ve spent hours of work researching, writing and building the foundations.
The Long Term View
It is possible to jump on the bandwagon of a hot niche and make a few hundred dollars in a short space of time, but I believe it’s always better to take a long term view as an affiliate marketer. Choosing a niche related to a celebrity or a fad like a new diet is a way to generate traffic quickly, but this will generally tail off after a couple of months. Setting up an affiliate marketing business in an evergreen niche like photography or dog training means your website should remain popular for years.
Constant updates to search engine algorithms and the techniques of SEO have put a lot of people off affiliate marketing in recent years, but it’s still possible to make it work if you avoid shortcuts. Using so called ‘blackhat’ techniques might get a new website ranked more quickly, but it will eventually be penalized. SEO really isn’t difficult if you stick to the rules. Google offers plenty of tools, information and advice on how to build a website that will rank well and won’t suffer when future updates to the search engine are introduced.
Planning for the long term future of your Internet venture can help you to make the right decisions from the start. If you cut corners you may regret things further down the line. One of the things I’m often asked about is how much should you spend on a domain name. If it’s a choice between a .com or a .net domain I’m generally happy to invest a few more dollars for the .com option. Choosing a cheaper hosting package is something else you may regret of you find the customer service is poor and your sites are suffering unacceptable downtime.
What Can You Learn From The Top Earners?
There’s no need to re-invent the wheel if you want to make it as an Internet marketing millionaire. You can learn a lot from looking at how other people have achieved success as affiliates, such as Pat Flynn who openly shares his revenue and expense reports. Research indicates that less around 3% earn more than $500,000 a year, and these are the people to follow if you want to make it big.
The statistic I find really interesting is that around 50% of affiliate marketing experts promote less than ten products. If you’re tempted to constantly add new products to your offering you could confuse people and end up losing potential sales. The top earners have a clear understanding of what sells, and constantly refine their marketing to promote products with the highest conversion rates.
Another interesting statistic is that some 80% of affiliates use SEO as their main marketing strategy. This tells me two important things. Firstly, SEO still clearly works in the world of Internet marketing. Secondly, there are alternatives worth considering. Some gurus believe that social media marketing will overtake use of more traditional websites within the next couple of years. It’s certainly worth looking at Facebook, Twitter and other popular platforms as a way of generating traffic. Infographics, blogs and video clips are also proven ways to drive visitors to the products you are promoting.
Many affiliate marketers start by promoting ebooks and digital downloads, but those earning huge incomes often do so with less traditional types of products. Apps, online courses or software could be the route to your first million dollars.
Building Trust and Confidence
Multi-million dollar affiliate marketing empires are built on trust. If you’re in it to make a fast buck, you’ll never reach your full earning potential. Promoting poor quality products, offering poor customer support and focussing all your efforts on making the sale won’t lead you to your first million dollars. Smart Internet marketers know that the real profits are made in repeat sales. If you build trust with buyers, especially through marketing methods such as email marketing, they will come back for more.
I’ve never really been interested in paid traffic, but I do know that using it can be a profitable business model. Your first sale may actually be at a loss with paid traffic, but offering related products of interest to the buyer mean you can produce a profit over time.
A question I’m often asked relates to how many subscribers you need on your list to make a full time income as an affiliate marketer. It’s actually a lot less than most people think if you build a good quality list and develop a good relationship with your subscribers.
Becoming An Expert
Establishing yourself as an expert in your niche is a highly effective way of building a multi-million dollar affiliate marketing empire. People will be hungry for information and advice from you if you can demonstrate knowledge and expertise. I now receive hundreds of emails every month from photographers asking for advice about new lenses, cameras and photographic gear. Building a reputation like this can take a couple of years, but the rewards are worth it in the end.