There’s no doubt about it. One of the most profitable means of earning money from an online venture is through affiliate marketing.
Two of the keys to the popularity – and profitability – of affiliate marketing stem from the fact that you aren’t the manufacturer of the product you’re marketing; nor are you dealing with customer issues.
These two basic facts of running a normal business are two of the biggest Achilles’ heels for any venture – and you avoid these hassles completely with affiliate marketing, as you’ll see in a moment. Manufacturing a product requires obtaining a patent, contracting with a factory to produce the item, renting a warehouse to store your inventory, and on and on. The amount of money it takes to simply open shop is astronomical, and it’s one of the main reasons people never start their own business.
Customer service is just as important. You could have the slickest, most intuitive gadget on the market, but if you don’t treat your customers right, your product will shrivel and die. And honestly it’s hard to provide that level of customer service. It takes a lot of work, even for a small-scale business. Try and think of the last time you received genuinely helpful customer service. It shouldn’t be too hard because when you do deal with a company’s customer service rep that is genuinely helpful and seems to care about your issue, those moments tend to stick in the mind.
Of course, affiliate marketing online bypasses these two business minefields and allows you to deal with only the fun part: marketing and making money. In a nutshell, you promote the products on your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Each “ad” or product mention has a trackable link from your affiliate partner. When a visitor to your site clicks on that ad and buys something, you get a commission. The percentage varies widely.
The affiliate partner takes the orders, handles customer service and refunds… everything.
For that reason, your start-up costs are close to nothing – just what it costs to buy a domain name and set up a web hosting account. And you can have your business up and running in just days, even hours.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can maximize your affiliate marketing campaigns. And if you follow the advice given, you will see the profits in your new business soar.
One thing. Affiliate marketing is launching your very own business. So you should treat it like one: have a budget, schedules, deadlines, etc. But unlike a regular business, the vast majority of the tedious administrative duties are done for you. Again, this cuts down on both the time and money you’ll have to spend to get your business going.
Your First Step: Identify and Study Your Target Demographic Relentlessly
Before you start any business, you want to know that there are customers out there ready to buy what you’re selling. This goes for affiliate marketing ventures as well.
When starting an affiliate marketing business, you have to get specific. And that means you have to find a viable market.
This may seem like a no brainer but studying your target audience in true detail requires much more than a few Google searches. You have to play amateur sleuth. Without targeting the appropriate consumer effectively, you won’t make a nickel. Not only do you have to learn what your consumers desire, you know what they don’t want.
Let me give you an example: Say your passion in life is furniture. You love the designs. And you think you could translate that interest and knowledge into an online business.
After a little research you find that there are a lot of blogs and websites out there dedicated to furniture. That’s a good gauge of the size of your target market.
You decide to partner with Amazon.com as an affiliate. Amazon is the single most visible and trusted online retailer on the internet. And to sweeten the pot even more, Amazon offers comparatively generous payouts to its affiliate marketers.
Amazon sells almost every consumer product available on the market today. So you could offer books on furniture, and even furniture itself. I would suggest narrowing the field of products that you’re marketing even further.
You could focus on books that cover the art of furniture making and tools that help people make their own furniture. To learn how to market to this crowd, search the forums on furniture building blogs; get to know the community; pinpoint their needs and wants and address that with the content on your site and the products you offer.
Amazon is a great place to start, but there are a lot of other companies with affiliate programs out there. Perhaps there’s a furniture making company that manufactures a specific type of furniture. That’s when the second step of your detective work begins: finding companies that are willing to work with you as partners in affiliate marketing. There are the big dogs like Commission Junction, which run affiliate programs for hundreds of companies.
But there are also individual companies that offer affiliate programs through their websites. You won’t approach any companies in person, you’ll apply online and when you’re accepted, they’ll email you specific links for ads that will get your affiliate marketing up and running.
I also suggest spending time in affiliate forums. This is where you’ll pick up great tips on which companies and affiliate networks pay the best percentages, pay on time, are reliable, and also which companies you should avoid. Joining a forum and asking questions is probably the single greatest tool you’ll have to learn about a company’s affiliate program – more so than the company itself.
The basic take-away here is that you should find a profitable niche to work in, a market that is sustainable and offers room for growth. But also, you should try to match the niche you are marketing with something you are genuinely interested or even passionate about. Some people love cookware; I don’t, but there are people who can tell the good saucepans from the bad ones and would love to tell you all about it. If that’s your interest, go for it. Because if you have a genuine love for something, you’re less likely to get bored with it and the more likely your sales will improve over time.
Affiliate Marketing: Not Only a Means to an End
Remember, all this effort you’ll put into researching and identifying your target demographic and a good affiliate program(s) equals more money in your pocket. But you just might discover a new interest, a new hobby, and a few new friends. At its best, marketing is social; it tells a story, exemplifies an ideal, promises a better life. The Internet, as well, is inherently social. Information can be distributed more efficiently and with greater precision than at any other time in human history.
Not to sound to grandiose, but affiliate marketing – when it’s done right – is part of the fabric of the human experience. Welcome to the club.
The League of Power is finishing up a new program that combines the power of affiliate marketing and email marketing. One of the easiest ways to make affiliate sales is with your very own email list that you control. That’s why we’re very excited about this new turnkey solution. We believe this new opportunity will make our subscribers a lot of money… at least those who are fortunate enough to get in.
Be sure to check your email next week for all the details on this unique opportunity.
I wish you the best of luck!
P.S. This is just the first part of a series in maximizing your affiliate marketing campaigns. But here are a few resources to help you be the best affiliate marketer you can be.
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