Affiliate Marketing – Tips for Success and Pitfalls to Avoid

If you want to start your own internet marketing business there are probably 100,000 different products that you can promote online to earn commissions.

If your initial idea is to create your own products, understand that this can be very expensive and eat up a lot of time. If you really want to create eBooks that teach people how to do things, leave them until you have already established your site and concentrate on other things first such as building traffic.

Small Niches can make Big Money

Research is a vital part of starting an internet marketing business and the best way is to start out with a small niche you know a lot about. By small we mean choosing a specialist niche that has a lot of interest but low competition.

For example, a site about gardening will be too broad. Building a website about organic gardening will also bring you up against a large of established competition. Now you’ll have to drill down even further while bearing in mind that you will have to write regularly about the products you’re promoting and the general theme of your site.

Think how much can you say about an organic compost bin and is there a company that sells them through an affiliate program? Are they a well-known company, are their products competitively priced and is the commission attractive?

It’s no good finding a product that pays a huge commission if nobody wants it.

Affiliate Programs

There are dozens of companies who combine hundreds of different companies’ affiliate programs and combine them under one roof, so to speak. Take a look at what companies such as Commission Junction has to offer as a start. You don’t have to join to browse their extensive list of products.

The wonderful thing about being an affiliate is you never have to touch the product or deal with shipping, packing or anything else like that. Every company has a selection of ready-made banners and links you just cut and paste into your site. Be sure to read each company’s Terms before you do anything and comply with them. Even if you choose to promote ten different products from ten different companies, combines all accrued commissions and pays regularly without fail. The affiliate manager you are assigned to deals with any problems that may occur with that advertiser.

ClickBank is one of the world’s largest affiliate sites for digital products and they pay very generous commissions but also bear in mind that there are thousands of established internet marketers already promoting their most popular products.

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find dozens of choices of affiliate companies and products.

Many people do well by promoting products or being an eBay affiliate. If you want to combine a mixture of Amazon, Clickbank, eBay or anybody else’s products you can, and throw in some Google Adsense advertising for good luck. You just don’t want too many ads and banners on your web pages. Stick with three or four to start with, monitor how well they do and if something isn’t paying its rent, you have every right to get rid of it and try something else.

Choose Products Tailored to your Target Market

Knowing who your target market will be and understanding their needs is going to be vital to your internet marketing success. You will also have to find out where this target market hangs out online. Very often this will be on other relevant blogs, in forums and within social media. Take the time to find out what problems people are having and what they need. Help them.

A successful affiliate marketing business is as much about you as it is the product, you need to establish yourself as being knowledgeable and know what you’re talking about. This will be extremely difficult if you choose a niche that is limited, just like the compost bin example above, or something you know nothing about.

In this case it would be advisable to write about all composting methods and also the best tools to use. I have no doubt there are many tool companies that have affiliate programs.

The trick is to find a small niche with many related aspects. Tailor what you write and the products you promote to satisfying your target market’s needs.

Creating your Own Products

We chose organic composting on-the-fly but sticking with that niche idea once you have a regular flow of traffic to your site and have established yourself on social media sites and become a regular contributor to blogs and forums, now is the time to create your own products. A small eBook about growing organic vegetables should be a good fit for your target market. One of the best ways to attract even more traffic (and sales) is to give your eBook away for free.

Now is the time to capture a visitors email address, and start building a list. This doubles your marketing efforts because each email you send out will keep bringing visitors back to your site and keep them engaged. Just don’t make every email a hyped up sales talk in the hope of getting your subscriber to buy something. In this particular niche you can definitely send out seasonal emails or even a monthly newsletter covering organic gardening through the year.

So this started out looking like a small niche but there is a huge range of things you can write about and promote.

Know Your Products

You will have to be passionate about organic gardening in this instance, but whatever you choose to promote it’s a good idea that you actually own the product, like it and use it regularly.

This is where many marketers fall down; they promote expensive products hoping to make large commissions when they don’t know a thing about what they’re selling. Sooner or later somebody is going to figure it out and all your credibility will, to put it politely, go down the toilet.

Promoting a product that you know and love means you can answer questions honestly and write reviews, which don’t have to be on your site. Leaving a comment on someone else’s blog usually enables you to place a link back to your own site.  If you have helped the reader and answered her questions she will naturally click-through to your site and is more likely to buy a product from you.

When she sees your free eBook on organic container gardening, she may sign up. That way you have gained a backlink and a very warm prospective customer. If she doesn’t make a purchase this time she may do so after receiving a number of helpful emails from you and possibly buy other related products in the future.

Basically you’ll have to:

  • Find the most suitable affiliate programs
  • Appropriate products
  • See if you can make good commissions
  • Locate your target market and find out what those people need
  • Build relationships
  • Purchase a good domain name that includes your keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes (that’s another entire article)
  • Write a regular optimized articles (SEO again!) and create content in the form of videos and photos
  • Participate on social media sites with your target market
  • Build an email list
  • Monitor to see which affiliate products are bringing you the most clicks/commissions

This is by no means a fully comprehensive primer on affiliate marketing but it should offer you some tips.

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