Affiliate marketing for beginners

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How to start with affiliate marketing

Small definition of affiliate marketing: as affiliate you are promoting products or services of other people/merchants, earning part of sale commission, called affiliate commission.

I hope that you are not "wannabe" affiliate, since you need some fundamental knowledge, at least for understand what is affiliate website and affiliate link. That is neccessary for a long term success. And, learn from experience, whatever it was.

Target and plan

Guess, your main target is to earn money from your effort. Set target for beginning, some amount, say that your target is to earn $300 (monthly) per website. It could be less or more, just set it and don't give up until that amount is reached.

Just one detail about this above. $300 is looking like small amount when you can read about 1000s earned from some people. Don't forget that if they are earning 1000s with their tactic, they will not sell you just that tactic. Build your tactic. Just start slowly and first get those $300, even that sum is not that easy to earn. Greed is the worst enemy, don't forget that, never. Don't set target too high. Don't go ahead too fast.

Say that your plan is how to get that money using effort and investing some amount of money.

Simple general plan could look like this:

1. Find theme for website (you know about)
2. Build website around that theme
3. Get traffic, attract it with useful content
4. Analyze that traffic, find what kind of product you can sell
5. Find and test products on that website
6. Start again with another site using the same tactic

Another approach is to build website to advertize specific product. In that case, be sure that are enough similar products for replacing.

Make a few interesting sites with different themes and try to get steady traffic to them. Do not make experiments on those sites, build them with care and by the rules. Those sites are your backup. If they are earning only $300 per month, but steady, that is not important, maybe those $300 can save you later.
What is the most important, while you are trying to reach that target, you are - learning.

Can you earn money without website? Yes, why not. Find good keywords, use SEM and do PPC with direct linking. If you don't know (now) what is SEM, or PPC or direct linking, don't do that yet. Free blog services are all around, you can start with blogs for practice. To be serious, get domain name and webhosting account.

7 websites in 7 days

No, you don't need to build seven websites in seven days. This is for maintenance. Every day different website for the breakfast. Analyze trafic, add fresh content, promote, add matching product or test different affiliate link, etc. You can go with 7 days - 7 niches, updating more similar niche websites at the same day, including niche research.

Internet Marketing Trends

Most popular internet marketing game today is spamming search engines with unuseful content, trying to get more visitors.

Directory sites (scraped search engine results), article sites (articles about everything with very little or no value), made to get money displaying AdSense ads are now popular. They are popular now, what doesn't means that they will be popular tomorrow. Clever marketer knows when is time to change tactic.
This above was added in 2007, in 2010 tactic is little different. "Review" style mini websites, recognized by keyworded domains (keep an eye on this, this is growing trend, next Gogle slap will be interesting), copied content from article directories, software and scripts directories with long time expired or even without links, spam blogs are not that efective now, etc...

How do I know this? Look at the first results at Gogle. Every day, more and more websites built on the same platform, same tactic and the same kind of content. Until next cleaning...

Join to new trends only if they are on beginning stage. When something becomes popular, that is the end of beginning. It will not last long. Everything new and effective is abused from spammers very fast.

Many affiliates are following trends, (adwords and adsense, blogging, article marketing social networks etc) to get more traffic and sales. You can too, but do not use some popular spammy tactic on those few sites above. It is not problem to make a few new sites where you can test newest tactics. And do that, just don't spam search engines.

Do not put all eggs in one basket, anyway. Try other ways, but be carefull. There is no easy money.

How to use trendy stuff

For example: Article marketing is the way to get backlinks from article directories. That is still "hot" and effective tactic. Now, even "SEO" directories are receiving article submissions. Soon, that will reach critical point when this kind of marketing will not be that effective.

You are using this popular kind of marketing only to boost website traffic, are you? Cash is on another side of fence, do you know that?

Another side of fence means that you can, beside using that popular method above for promotion, you can earn providing service. Is it writing articles, or making some useful software (e.g. article submitter), or you can setup your own article directory...

Information is gold

Without information you are lost in space. Marketing Forums, Blogs, newsletters, in that order, are the sources of invaluable information. Read and learn. But, first decide what to do.
And, take all info from blogs and forums with care. There are many false posts in blogs, many blogs owners don't have enough knowledge to write about theme, they are simple recycling some forum post with many "IFs".
Do not read posts "as is". Pull ideas from there, and do your own research. Avoid crowd, if you don't have something to sell them.
While we are talking about gold, don't forget something: if something is shining, it doesn't mean that is the real gold. Scratch (research).

Family support

This part is shortened, just small advice. If ranting is present, show them your account balance or sum on checks. Ranting will stop soon. Don't try to explain in details what you are doing, use example from the real life. Do same with your friends. Don't go into details. They will want to do what you are doing, and they will ask you for a (free) help. You don't have time for that.

Working environment and tools

Choose a good table and a good chair, you can spend hours and hours
working. Sheets of paper and pencil. You don't want to switch PC on every time when you need to see plan for tomorrow or record new idea. Depending of what is written on those sheets, later you can destroy them or keep in safe place. Usernames and passwords keep in safe place too, don't look later for them everywhere.

One good and fast printer, so you don't need to be at your working place all the time. Good information can be printed and studied even on the beach (bring pencil too).

Laptop/notebook/netbook with phone cable or (and) cell phone, so you can travel and keep your business going.

Cell phone with camera and voice recording. You can be in situations where some interesting pictures for website can be taken, or you can simply record new idea. Can be, and should be used for check email too.

You can simple write ideas using piece of paper. Just write, do not try to remember, you will forget. And don't forget to take that paper with you.

Good software can save your time. Text processor with spelling checker, HTML editors, web site log analyzers... There is a free alternative for almost every professional software. Free software is good for learning, but don't wait a moment to buy professional version if additional features can save you a time. Time is money.

Web site

Although you can find affiliate network or program where it is not required that you have a web site, most of them are asking that you submit site for review. That is normal business practice, they want to be sure that their program will not be promoted on some illegal content site.

So, make one family friendly site for those reviews.

And, don't expect too much from the first site. Experience and knowledge gained is worth more than a few bucks of commission. Be prepared for the hard work, 8-16 hours at day. No, not all the time. When you get some experience, a few hours at day will be enough. :-)

The Best Internet Marketing Secret

The best internet marketing secret for you is the YOUR marketing tactic. Keep your mouth shut about your tactic and your websites.
For example, try to leave message in any marketing forum, that you are earning only $1000 from from your website (don't forget to leave link), and ask for suggestion how to earn more.
Your site will be copied and duplicated to the death, along with your sponsors, and soon your income from that site will be $0, zero, nada. Leave link on marketing forums only to website where you are promoting marketing product.

Fly under radar, think outside of the box, watch, learn...

Super affiliates

To confirm this paragraph above, how many super affiliates you know? Say, Rosalind Gardner? Did you heard for her before Super Affiliate Handbook Yes, if you are her friend. The fact is there are many affiliates earning close to million/year or over, but sometimes even their friends don't know tactic and websites there are using. There is reason for that. Million reasons. Or, better explained - competition.

There are many copycats outhere, and all what they can do, is to ruin your business, trying to imitate your tactic and websites. Without success, sure, copy is always what that word says - copy. But, damage could be done.

Anyway, you can find some super affiliates in marketing forums, but on their signature is link to some marketing product, not to their Web sites where they are promoting another kind of product.

Common mistakes

Patience is required, but we want everything now and here. So, buying expensive marketing course just to see there is no any magic what will make us rich overnight, is not investment. Taking ACTION, following that course, or better, pulling only info useful for you, not only reading or listening, that is an investment.

One more common mistake is information overloading, instead that we are following some good tactic, we are just looking for something what can make us rich without effort. And ebooks worth thousands of dollars (for you) are just forgotten.

Take all those old ebooks you bought, open them again, print them out and read with pencil in your hand. With gained knowledge in meantime, you will see all those ebooks under different light. Not important how they are old. Some forgotten marketing tactic can be useful again.

So, you made your first website, no traffic or no sales, O.K., maybe second site will be better. STOP. Back to the first site, if you are not sick of it yet. Why you don't have a traffic or why there is no sales?
Analyze where is a problem, take an ACTION. That site must pay, at least, hosting expenses.

That is another one common mistake, starting another project, without finishing first one. Yes, there are more mistakes. You will probably find some of them.
Don't worry, *it happens. Learn something from that experience.

Three magic words are: PLAN, FOCUS and ACTION
Everything you need is these-three-words. So, make a plan, focus on that plan, and take an action. Or, easier if you want. Read that ebook or marketing course, write down most important stuff (focus), and use that (action). Let be patience with you :-)

And, please, do not and don't carry your laptop everywhere. That is not real life. Believe me, you will start looking for clickable links in magazines or newspapers.

What is your plan for tomorrow? Collecting info about new niche?

Next: Affiliate web site building - site basics

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