12 Affiliate Marketing Secrets Experts Don’t Want You to Know
Affiliate marketing is not easy and anyone who thinks otherwise is in for an unpleasant surprise. Likewise, it isn’t a ‘get rich quick scheme’ and it does involve a lot of work. That said though, once you’re set up with your affiliate marketing business model, you can earn a steady stream of passive income – potentially indefinitely.
Passive income simply means that you’ll be earning money while you sleep and while you go on holiday. While the initial set-up may have involved a fair amount of work then, it eventually becomes self-perpetuating to the point where you can stop working and continue to sow the seeds of your labour for years to come.
And while affiliate marketing isn’t easy, it certainly is easier than a lot of other business models. That is to say it is easier to understand, easy to get started with and easier to execute. While it might involve some trial and error, the initial stages often actually amount to little more than copying and pasting existing businesses!
Affiliate marketing can be the answer that you’re looking for then. The only caveat is that you need to go into it with realistic expectations and you need to be smart about how you approach it. With the right know-how and with access to the best marketing ‘secrets’, you can hack this setup and start earning a lot of money very quickly.
That’s where this article comes in: read on and we’ll examine the 12 powerful strategies you can use to get the most from affiliate marketing.
The Basics of Affiliate Marketing
Before we go any further, let’s quickly recap on what affiliate marketing is. There a good chance that those reading this article will already have a good understanding of the concept but for those who don’t, this basic explanation of the business model will tell you everything you need to know.
The Set-Up Being an affiliate marketer is like being a salesman on commission. In other words, you get paid some of the profit from a product as an incentive to help the product creator to sell it. This is the same method that a door-to-door salesman would use but the main difference is that you’ll be selling your products over the web. This essentially gives you the potential to reach a far greater audience of buyers and to sell a far bigger amount of products. So instead of selling Sky TV to three people a day, you’re now able to sell an eBook to 10, 20, 100 or 1,000 people daily depending on how good you are.
At the same time, selling digital products like eBooks (which affiliate marketing often revolves around) means that there are no overheads for the product creator. There are no associated manufacturing costs, no storage requirements, no packaging, no delivery… and that means that you’re getting almost 100% profit from the sale price to split between you.
Better yet, because digital product manufacturers are able to scale their operations so easily, they’re often willing to offer 40, 60 or even 75 percent of their profits for each sale. Sometimes they even offer their marketers to use the marketing materials they’ve already created: things like e-mails, blog posts, landing pages and more. They’re happy to do this because any win for you is also a win for them. This is how it’s possible to create an online business by simply ‘copying and pasting’ someone else’s business!
As an affiliate marketer then, your job will be to find products you can sell – probably these will be found on affiliate networks such as JVZoo and Clickbank. After that, you’ll then be given a referral link that you can use to recommend the product to people. If someone buys the product through that link, they’ll go through a redirect that will store cookies on their computer and the sale will be logged as having come from you. You can then withdraw your cash at your leisure.
The skill of an affiliate marketer then and what ultimately will allow you to thrive, is the ability to reach the right audience and to make the product sound desirable. This will ultimately be achieved through a combination of PPC (pay per click advertising), SEO (search engine optimization), email marketing, social media marketing and other similar techniques.
What to Expect From Affiliate Marketing
The first and most important consideration before you get started with affiliate marketing is to know what you want to get out of it. This may sound like the ‘boring stuff’ and perhaps you just want to get stuck in as quickly as possible; in fact though, not knowing your goals or having the wrong expectations can be a huge setback if you don’t take the time to think this through.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this is a big part of why a lot of people fail at affiliate marketing. Largely responsible for this issue, are all the adverts that flood Facebook telling you that you can earn thousands of dollars a day by just posting a few ads. Then there are people like Tai Lopez, telling you that you can earn millions like them and be a genius billionaire by following their course. This sets up unrealistic expectations and leads to people going into affiliate marketing underprepared and with a lot of false hope. It also leads to some serious mistakes.
In theory, you can make money as an affiliate marketer by following four very easy steps:
- Find an affiliate product to market on JVZoo or Clickbank
- Create a landing page flaunting the benefits of said product and including your link
- Pay for highly targeted PPC ads through Facebook
Easy right? Facebook ads are PPC which means that you only pay if someone clicks them. So if you set-up an advertising campaign that’s entirely ineffective and everyone ignores… it won’t cost you anything!
If your landing page is very good then you can expect to convert a fair amount of visitors into buyers and with a decent digital product, you should be able to earn about $30-$50 per purchase. Considering that you’ll only be paying a few cents for each customer – who has already shown an interest in your product – that means that you can almost guarantee a decent ROI from those advertising campaigns. The longer the ad runs, the more you can earn and the more you can reinvest to scale your products.
What’s more, you can target the ads to show to precisely the right people using the information available on Facebook. Got a book on how to plan a cheap wedding? Great: just target your book toward people who are engaged on Facebook! Meanwhile, you can build up your own direct audience through a website and through a mailing list so that eventually you won’t even need to pay from advertising and you can sell over and over again to your list that puts their trust in everything you say and recommend.
This is the promise of affiliate marketing and it sounds like a simple, fool-proof way to make money. But there are some catches that very often get overlooked by the people selling the online courses and the eBooks for $1,000. One of these catches is that there are hundreds of other people trying to sell eBooks on making money. And there are hundreds of other people competing for the advertising space on Facebook.
Facebook ads show based on who has the larger advertising budget and the result is determined by an automated ‘bidding process’. In other words, you need a fairly large budget in order for your ads to be seen, meaning that you can actually end up spending 50cents to several dollars for your ads to get clicked. This now means that you can still profit, but in order to do so, you need the perfect landing page and the perfect product for the ideal audience.
These are a lot of factors that you’re frankly unlikely to get right the very first time. As a result, it’s not uncommon to end up sinking huge amounts of money into PPC before you land on a good set-up with the right targeting, the right ad text, the right product etc.
As for building your own audience, this can often take years before you’re at a point where you don’t need PPC. If you thought you’d be the top blogger in your niche within months, then you unfortunately need a reality check. Rather, you can expect it to take you a year or more to get to this point. And far from doing nothing, this will have to involve writing regular content and doing lots of promotion – almost to the extent of it being a full time job.
And while you’re doing this, you won’t be getting paid for the work you’re doing. A lot of us just can’t afford to put such a big investment into something that isn’t paying out yet. And when you had gone into this, expecting that you would be a millionaire by month two, it’s very easy to get disheartened and to just give up.
1. The Right Strategy
So what can you do about all this? Is it a lost cause? Not at all – there genuinely are thousands of people who have made affiliate marketing work for them and who have earned millions of dollars doing it.
JVZoo’s elite program requires you to be making at least $10,000 a month and there are no shortage of members. The trick is to be realistic and to set up a plan for how you can manage your current lifestyle with your affiliate marketing aims.
The first key to doing this is to set yourself up to win: stack the deck in your favor by understanding how affiliate marketing works and what you can do to ensure that it works for you. In this eBook, you’ll learn how to avoid common mistakes and how to find products that sell much more easily and cost you less to advertise.
The second key – and this is important – is to have moderate aims to begin with. Don’t set out to be a billionaire. Instead, set out to supplement your current income with an extra $50 a week. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s very easy to achieve and once you’re at that point, you’ll actually be making $200 a month and $2,400 a year.
That’s a rather big raise, especially seeing as you won’t be taking on any extra responsibilities. You’ll be able to go on an extra holiday every year, or to dine out every month with your family without any guilt. How about getting that slick new computer you’ve had your eye on? And once you’re at that stage, you’ll be able to start investing more time and money in order to grow your business further.
We’ll look at how to scale a successful affiliate marketing business model later and you’ll see that you can very easily go from this to internet domination!
Finally: choose a niche that you enjoy and that you know. If you can sell products in a niche that you enjoy and understand, then you’ll be able to turn writing about those subjects into a hobby and something you enjoy. This makes a big difference to your eventual success and means that you can take your eye off the goal and not only think of these activities as a means to an end.
2. Product Selection
The most important key to your success before you set out is product selection. This is what will help you to make sure there’s an audience for your product and what will dictate what you write about, who your target demographic is, how much profit you make and more.
So to start out, you need to make a list of all the niches you would enjoy writing about and that you have some experience in. This isn’t going to come into play right at the start but it will make a big difference when it comes to promoting a blog and creating your own audience somewhere down the line.
What we’re interested in right now is finding a niche that isn’t over-saturated with digital products and with affiliate offers. We’re going to start out with a digital product because this will give you the most profit per sale which means you can get more revenue from a smaller number of buyers.
Later down the line, you might become interested in selling physical products which have a much broader appeal – you can read the full Affiliate Marketing Secrets eBook for an in-depth treatise on that subject.
When you take a look at the digital products on a network like Clickbank or JVZoo, something might jump out at you right from the start: they’re almost exclusively in the ‘make money online’ niche. In fact, if you take a look at the network ‘WSO’ (Warrior Special Offers) then you’ll notice that this one is actually 100% products in that niche.
I want you to resist the urge to choose this as your first niche. Why? Because as you can see, it is already a highly competitive area to get into. If you try to sell a product in this area, then you’ll be going up against pretty much every other affiliate marketer and product creator on the net. As such, you’ll be paying considerably more for each of your ads to appear on Facebook, Google AdWords or wherever else you choose to put them.
What’s more, you’ll find that you struggle to stand out to that audience. This particular audience is very web savvy, they probably know exactly how the affiliate marketing business model works and they’ve probably encountered some real duff products in this niche.
Even if you’ve chosen a product that is genuinely very high quality, your offer will still be looked upon cynically and they will assume that you’re just out to make money. They’ve been burned before, they’re inundated with such offers and it takes a lot more marketing to sell to them.
On the other hand though, selling something to a much smaller niche means that you can pay considerably less for your ads and find an audience that hasn’t seen offers like yours before. Potentially, you can offer them something that solves a real problem they’ve been facing and promises to make their lives easier: which is exactly how you make money.
A great example of this is to choose a career. This is a very specific niche that you can target directly through Facebook and indirectly through Google AdWords (AdWords ads are ads that appear on Google searches).
Pat Flynn is the owner of ‘Smart Passive Income.com’ and he demonstrates how this can work with his ‘foodtruck’ niche. He has a website that is aimed specifically at food truck drivers and he uses it to sell a digital product that can help them to make more money from what they do.
This is ideal because there are millions of English-speaking food truck drivers around the world and yet they’re not highly targeted with these kinds of products all the time.
Earlier we discussed the wedding planning niche. An eBook on how to save money on planning a wedding is a perfect niche for a few reasons:
It’s not over saturated with similar digital products
The book promises to save money, thus making it an investment
It’s easy to target – people place their relationship status on Facebook and use a lot of predictable searches when they’re planning weddings.
The audience is young and thus likely tech-savvy enough to be interested in digital products as a whole.
The demographic is constantly changing: in other words, people are getting engaged all the time meaning that you’ll never saturate the market and run out of people to sell to.
Another great option is to sell a product to a small section of a larger audience. Right behind making money online, the fitness niche is another very over-saturated area for digital products. There are no shortage of books on how to get abs or build muscle or lose weight. But you can still make this work if you pick a specific area within fitness to target.
How about training for the marathon? How about teenage bodybuilding? How about fitness for the over 50s? These are once again specific niches that are constantly replenishing and that give you a huge number of potential customers. What’s more, these areas allow you to subsequently branch out with future products which means that you can make more money from your market in future.
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