From my experience, affiliate marketing is not a business. Affiliate marketing is a possible way for an Internet business to make money on the Internet. Here are a few facts:
• Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting the product of vendors whose job it is to sell the product.
• Years ago it was easy to promote products on a simple website, a bare-bones site that had no other value in the world.
• The search engines, especially Google, have never liked affiliate marketers. They do everything they can to put affiliate marketers out of business. They have put many affiliate marketers out of business.
• The search engines have a major purpose which is to lead people searching for specific information on the Internet to information that is the exact match to what they are searching for. If the searcher puts, “How can I grow carrots on my front porch?” in the search box of his browser, that is exactly what he wants to know. The search engines will favor sites that answer that question and tell the searcher exactly how to raise carrots on his porch.
Sites with skimpy information or irrelevant information, will not be rated, they will be downgraded.
• The search engines do not like sites with a lot of ads on them, even though Google loves to plaster ads on your site if you are an AdSense customer. Maybe they overlook their ads. But they don’t like commercialism in general, all of commercialism is their main goal now days. Yet, whenever you search for a site, Google will have ads disguised as sites at the top of the page. (Yes, Google, like Gurus, is part of your competition.)
• Basically, the search engines think they own the Internet. Because they have great influence on where searchers end up, they are calling the shots. They want the Internet to be a place where the information provided is relevant, original and comprehensive. But as I said, at the top of the search page, they will plaster their ads. They make these ads look like search results. So they are basically hypocrites with a noble purpose.
Here is one way to promote affiliate products on the Internet:
1. Create an information site where you provide pages and post that are relevant to a single topic.
2. Do not put ads or affiliate links on your pages and post.
3. Make sure that your post and pages are at least 1500 words, that the content is original and detailed so that the information will be valuable to your readers.
4. Provide an e-book that has some aspect of your topic clearly defined. To obtain the e-book, your readers will be asked to submit their email address. Post about weekly to the mailing list providing more useful information to your readers. After you have established yourself as an expert and friend, you can point out affiliate products or your own products that might be useful to your readers. (Note: If you have your own products, you must sell, not just promote but you can do it sooner.)
5. Eventually, you should create your own products to promote and sell.
6. Traffic is everything in this business of Internet marketing. You should not consider yourself a marketer but a person supplying useful information. You should be in no hurry to gain profits. You must have traffic and you must be considered an expert in your field. I cannot over emphasize this.
How to start an Internet Business
Many people want to go to the Internet and instantly earn money. The first thing you have to do to be successful in the Internet is to get money out of your mind. The Internet is a source of information and that is the only real function. Therefore the purpose of your business is to provide information to people on the Internet.
You need to think globally. I think that the United States comes in about third in the number of people who are on the Internet. If you have language skills or can hire a translator, the world is your oyster.
The Business Plan
A business plan is essential to any business. Don’t even think about getting on the Internet without a business plan. If you’re already in business, you will be able to transfer your business to the Internet. I know many who have done this very successful. The main difference is that you will be able to reach your market more readily. An existing business transferred to the Internet, using a good mailing list of your customers, can double or triple your business overnight. My son has done this twice.
There are a number of ways to prepare a business plan. Examples are all over the Internet. But I would go to SBA and make up my business plan there because you will have good information on how to prepare a business plan. You will be able to prepare your plan right online at the SBA site.
Another way to prepare a business plan, is to go to your local Chamber of Commerce and ask them for help. They will put you in contact with free courses given that junior colleges and other places in your area which are usually taught by retired business people who know what they’re talking about. In such a class, and you will be able to back up your business plan.
What is a Niche Market?
In Internet marketing, we often speak of a niche market. A niche market is simply a submarket of a larger market. To be effective on the Internet, you need to find a niche. This seems to be the most difficult thing to do for new marketers. The reason for that is that it can be difficult.
Think of a niche market as a group of people with spending money looking for something. You need to join this market. That is you must work the market from within. You have to be an insider. You have to be that someone who people know and trust. You must be a contributor which means that you must help others find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Once you have done this, which may take a year or even longer, you will be able to suggest products or services for which you will get paid.
I am not going to get into how to find a niche market right now, the dig down into your experiences, skills, education and your passions and find something that you love that you can write about for a very long time.
To find suggestions, look at the categories and subcategories at eBay, Amazon and DMOS. Also use Google Suggest using what we called the ABC method. You put, “how to grow carrots A” in the Google search box. You keep doing this by going through the alphabet. You soon will have tones of keyword phrases to think about.
You can use the ABC method at Ubersuggest.org. You will be amazed what you can come up with.
Using a Keyword Tool
What you have a list of possible niche markets that you might work, take all of those words and phrases that you have gathered and placed them in a keyword tool. I use JAAXY which is really designed for affiliate marketers that is good for any marketer working the Internet. Find out how popular a keyword phrase is and how many competitive sites there are. Click on QSR in JAAXY and make sure that there are less than 300 competitive sites.
Your Domain Name
Many marketers include keywords in their domain name. This is a pretty good idea, so if it fits your style, do it. If you find out that the domain name is too expensive are not available, then use your keyword tool to modify the name. Make sure you that your domain is either a .com, .net or org. Go to NameCheap for lower cost domains.
Internet visitors cannot use the senses of smell, taste or feel. You have to supply those senses with words and pictures and videos. You can make videos free with Windows movie maker or with Moovly. There are more costly software programs to make movies.
e. You also can pay to have videos made.
As far as that goes, it is easy to purchase text for your word pages. Many writers major in this activity.
The search engines like you to have links in your web pages. I’m talking and outgoing links that point to more relevant information.
Warning, do not buy incoming links to drive traffic to your site. If you do, the search engines will dump your site into the proverbial Google wastebasket.
When you put a pic in your post or page, you can link from it which is a good idea.
If an Internet visitor can’t find your site, and that will certainly be this case when you start, he certainly will not visit your site. And if he comes to your site and does not find what is looking for, he will take off like a rocket. You won’t even know he was there.
Again, I’m not going to get into traffic here except that here are a few ways to create traffic:
A. Write good content and make sure it is at least 1500 words in each post and page and that it is correct and details an original. Never re-spin your content. If you pay people to write for you, don’t let them race that your content either.
B. Tell your friends and associates and strangers about your site. Have business cards made up for your site. I use to run one line ads with only my URL in the ad. Send out news releases. Write articles in off-line publications that are in your niche. Put a sign on your car door or on your bumper. You need to be very proud of your site so that you will tell everybody about it.
C. When you create a post or page, have it listed on the social networks. (I use the sociable plug-in for WordPress.) If you look at the bottom of this document, you will see the social networks that I submit to.
D. Request webmasters, who are in your area of interest, if they would like to exchange links with you. Like I said, never, ever pay for links to your site. The search engines will hate you and downgrade you.
E. By advertising that points to your site. Ads on Twitter and Facebook can work for you. Once you have received training on pay per click, PPC, you can optimize traffic to your site and fairly low cost. Just don’t start with Google Adwords. Go over to Bing / Yahoo or AOL.
If you can’t find your own products or create your own products, then work with your affiliate manager to optimize affiliate marketing. You may seek special training on affiliate marketing before you start. Remember that you are not selling, just recommending that folks go to the vendors site and take a look at a video and his offers.
If you go to an affiliate network such as CJ or Clickbank, read their instructions for affiliates. Ask the vendors for free copies of their programs so that you can recommend them. They may sell them to you at low cost. If they won’t do this, then just buy the program and read it. If you find it useful, then keep it. If you don’t find it useful, return it to Clickbank and they will give you a complete refund, no questions asked.
Go to CJ or other affiliate network to find affiliate programs. Amazon is the oldest and largest. You also can put the name of your product plus affiliate program in your browser window and you will come up with an affiliate program or two or 10 for that product.
There is Special Training for Affiliate Marketers.
How to Find Real Products
One way to find a new product is to create it yourself. But many companies will produce products for your under your direction. It might be simply their product with a slip in that saying that it is your product. If you have a supplier, then Amazon may stock the product for you. You can also talk to local companies or go to the Thomas Registry were just search the net for companies that will drop ship products for you. You sell a product, they ship it.You will have to sell such products
A Negative About Affiliate Marketing
Years ago, I sold flagpoles on the Internet. The company that drop ship the flagpoles for me had my customers name and contact information, but so did I. I could stay in contact with my customers.
I also sold books on the Internet, many of my own that I gathered here and there, and others from my friend in New York who drop shipped them for me. I had the contact information on my customers but so did my supplier. He only paid me commission on the first sell, then he could bombard his new (my) customers with new offers for which I got no commission. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to pay make such commissions, he just had no way of keeping a record saying that the customer was mine.
That is exactly what happens with affiliate marketing. You don’t even know the name of the customer that purchase the product. The affiliate product owner contact these people by email and sells them over and over again and you get no resale commissions.
Most of the money in the Internet is made in follow-up sales. For that reason, your vendor will offer you a high commission and sometimes that will be 100% of the price of the first item. But that is it for you! That is the end of the road!
That is one reason I advise that you to do like my granddaughters do and my son’s does, create your own products.
I hope this was helpful.
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