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How To Start An Affiliate Online Business (The Basics)

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How To Start An Affiliate Online Business (The Basics)

Starting an affiliate online business is one of the simplest ways to make a living from your computer and most importantly, since you’re interested in working from home, you can work at your leisure.

What does this mean? Well, it means you can keep your day job and start it on the side. It also means you don’t need to eat, breath and live your business in order to make it work. And, because it requires very minimal experience, you can set it up quickly and begin to reap the benefits of growing your business, at your pace, while you learn the ins and outs of expanding and growing your internet home business.

Hate selling? Well, that’s what being in business is all about but one of the great things about modern entrepreneurship is that the old school methods of going door-to-door or making annoying cold calls are no longer required to qualify you as an efficient sales person.

It’s all about how you master your thinking and making some mental shifts about seeing yourself as an entrepreneur. It’s also about changing the way you think about money. If you think you are broke, then you will stay broke until you change your viewpoint. One of the big things I advocate for  is the idea of starting and growing your internet home based business from the inside out. Meaning, you’ll have to sort through your junk (your internal chatter) in order to be able to see the opportunities in front of you. Otherwise, you will miss great chances to make something big from something small and blame your “lack” to external factors. This is my philosophy and how I roll in my life and because I firmly believe in it. As you engage throughout the website, you will see that reflected in a lot of my work. Sounds good? Okay, let’s begin.

An Affiliate Business Online Takes Work

It takes hard work, especially when you are new to the business online space. However, it can been thoroughly engaging and if you do it right, you can continue earn money from your work for months and even years to come.

If you are looking to do the bare minimum for huge benefits, this information will not benefit you. However, if your  goal is to start a business from home that is flexible and enjoyable, then an affiliate business online may be your thing. Nowadays you can easily start a business that is aligned with your passions, skills, and purpose AND will also meet the needs of your future customers.

You can start your business on the side for now and in time, you may want to expand it into a full-time endeavor. It all depends on how much you put into it.

Affiliate Marketing 101

As a newcomer, you basically have to know that it comes down to this. You set up a website (which is very easy to do  these days). You find products you like and through promotional techniques (there are hundreds of ways) you will attract visitors to your website, sales pages, ads and/or social media accounts. Some of those visitors will buy the products you promote and then share the profits with the merchant (usually 35% to 50%) – some programs offer more or less.Then you get your money deposited into your account. That’s the gist of it.

There are a multitude of opportunities for you to jump on when you decide to start you affiliate home based business. The biggest areas that people are willing to pay for are Health & Wellness (in particular losing weight), Personal DevelopmentDating, and All Things Money (making more, saving, crushing debt).

But don’t be fooled. When I started to research business ideas I can start online, I began with an idea of starting a sock company. Through that research I discovered that there are many companies such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart and GearBest that have affiliate programs. Meaning, you set up a way to drive visitors to where you promote specific products from that store via a banner or a link on your web page or through advertising and when people click, it takes them to the sales page of the merchant. In this case it would be Amazon, Walmart or Target. If they buy, you earn a commission.

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I also created WordPress plugins to automate affiliate posting process for these affiliate networks: Amazomatic, Ebayomatic, Walmartomatic or Gearomatic.

Digital products such as e-books, online courses or anything of the like are virtual programs that can be downloaded online. These have a higher payout because there is really no inventory to carry by the merchant. Some of the most popular are Clickbank and CJ. Some of these also have physical products you can promote.

I also have plugins for these: CBomatic and CJomatic.

You can also promote my plugins, from CodeCanyon or from my own marketplace – for details, please check this info page.

Now, there are dozens of other companies that offer affiliate programs. These are just examples I put out there because they are big known companies. The choice is yours and you will fine-tune your decision once you embark on your own research.

Affiliate Marketing is One Of The Easiest Home Internet Businesses to Start

Becoming an affiliate marketer has a lot of opportunities and layers so for that reason I couldn’t possibly post the entire contents of what I’ve learned because you’ll be reading this page forever. What I can tell you is that I will give you my best summary as a step-off that will lead you into deciding if this online business idea is good for you. Hopefully it will push you to expand your horizons and earnings as you explore more.

So let me break it down on how this business works.

Make a decision you are going to start an affiliate based side business

And devotedly decide to stay focused. In the beginning of this post, I talked about the idea of doing this business at your own pace. This is true and it’s one of the great things about this type of business. However, you need to also be productive while you are working on it.

One of the bad habits that afflicts many would be internet business owners is that when they start to lose confidence or are missing a piece of information, they go on these information seeking sprees and jump into another thing that promises the world. Or, they let go of the dream altogether. Make a commitment that you will make this work and stick with it.

Decide on the niche

 A niche is an area in the marketplace that targets a specific group of people with shared interest. For example, on CodeRevolution, the focus is on aspiring and growing internet based home entrepreneurs. Everything on this site is somehow related to starting and running an online or freelance business and how that intermingles with life.

You don’t want a topic that is too broad or too narrow. Leave the big niches to big companies who could afford to pay for marketing to win in those markets. For example, setting up a website on a general theme of “personal development” might be too broad for you to compete with. However, picking a central theme under that umbrella like “increasing personal confidence for dating over 40” might hit the nail on the head because it’s specific enough to a group in the market.

Get your website up and running

You will set up a website through WordPress.com or WordPress.org where you could start publishing content. I use WordPress.org and pay for a domain name and hosting.

Although not recommended, you could put up a simple website using a free platform just to get your feet wet. Please know that these free platforms can be pulled from under you because you don’t own them. Plus, there are certain stipulations you may have to follow so get yourself familiarized with their terms and conditions.

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Find products to promote

Once you decide on your niche, start visiting companies and searching on their web pages to see if they offer affiliate programs. Many times you will find links to their affiliate programs on the footer of their website. Get on their emailing list and start familiarizing yourself with their business to see if it’s a good fit with what you stand for and would feel comfortable promoting.

Companies with affiliate programs give you a personalized affiliate link with your own “affiliate ID” that you place on your sales pages, blogs, ads or social media content that will give you credit should that visitor make a purchase through your link. If you don’t have a website or a place to send potential customers to, you can pay for advertising to drive sales via your affiliate link.

The cool thing is that many of these companies have what they call long term “cookies” which will give you a payout even when the visitor makes a purchase at a different time. Cookies are just pieces of tracking software that track referred sales for a period of time. That way, if the company offers 90 day cookies, the visitor that you first referred can go back and make a purchase within that 90 day mark and you earn a percentage of that sale. Some companies offer lifetime cookies (my favorite) because you can make money from that customer for the duration of the time that that customer remains a customer and makes purchases – even though you referred that customer only once.

An awesome potential here is when a customer purchases a membership, let’s say, for a year (or more), you make a commission every month that person pays for their membership. Cool right? Plus, it doesn’t cost the person who clicks on your link any more money than if he had gone to the merchant directly to make the purchase.

Publish Content Consistently

You’ll have to publish content on your website that is enticing yet extremely informative. If you decide to put up a blog or a website of some kind, not only should you keep it fresh and updated for your visitors but also for search engines like Google and Bing who love fresh and new content.

In addition, you should get your visitors excited and wanting more from you. This develops trust and eases the way to purchasing products you promote. The more loyal your following is, the more sales you will make.

Content is a term that is used to refer to not only the information you put up on your site but also the emails you send to your customer list, your social media updates, e-books and courses, videos, podcasts and a whole world of things that will get your name out there and help your brand grow.

Your aim is to become the  “go to” or authority person or website for a particular niche.

Learn the Art of Copywriting

When I first started learning about the internet marketing space, I thought the term “copywriting” meant the intellectual property that basically stipulated that you have not right to steal that property in any way shape of form. In the simplest terms, it basically means that you are going to publish information in a way that pre-sells and persuades people to want more.

This could mean as simple as publishing a very informative blog post, a review of a product or building a landing page with snippets that make the readers feel like they’ve found what they’ve been looking for.

Copywriting is a skill that has to be learned but with practice, most people get the hang of it and begin to test what works and doesn’t work for their own business.

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Start promoting

The are an multitude of methods for getting traffic to your promotions. One of the quickest and least expensive methods is blogging. When you start to publish blog posts, you’ll promote your posts all over social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and hundreds of other sites. Not only will that spread your message but it will also build relationships with other key players online who can give you more exposure.

Other methods include, video marketing, podcasting, article marketing (which doesn’t pull the weight it once did but some people still swear by it), email marketing, and social bookmarking sites. You can also participate in forums, leave comments on other blogs and write press releases.

I’ve just listed a few traffic building strategies, as you expand your knowledge base, you’ll learn other methods of getting visitors to your promotions and you’ll learn and tweak according to what works well for your business.

Build a List of Subscribers

You’ll want to use an email marketing service or what they call an auto-responder provider like Aweber or Mailchimp that will allow you to put up sign-up forms like the one you see on the right side bar so that you can collect emails and keep in touch with your subscribers. This establishes rapport with them and you can send them promotions, along with other valuable information, directly to their inbox. Do not, however, get into the habit of just sending promotions. People want valuable information they can use. The promotions you send should add to the valuable information you’ve already sent.

Track and Test Your Promotions

There is software you can install on your website such as Google Analytics or other paid services where you can track, not only your website visitors but also the clicks. That way you can test your promotions and your marketing to ensure you are making the best income from your efforts and you continue to increase your affiliate sales.

An Online Affiliate Business As an Income Stream

Even though you don’t necessarily need a website to start with affiliate marketing as you can promote your affiliate products through other means, it is a highly recommended avenue for growing your affiliate based business.

  • First of all, you’ll learn how to be an entrepreneur and grow exponentially even outgrowing affiliate marketing as your main source of income and it will make way for you to explore other business models.

As you build credibility and expert status on a particular subject, you can even write a book and get invited to speaking events if you wanted to. Many online business owners make a nice living doing keynote presentations at networking events. Some speakers make $500 to $20K a pop depending on their expertise and demand. Plus, you can add other income streams such as coaching, consulting, or even sell advertising space on your website and newsletter.

Having an affiliate online business can earn you enough to work from home but it takes time to make it into a full-time endeavor. For me, right now, it’s a nice little side business.

It’s nice to check my inbox and find an email that says something like this “You’ve made an affiliate sale today!” And the best part is that it happens round the clock, whether I’m working on my website, attending to a client, sleeping or just relaxing. You can’t beat that.

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    Szabi Kisded

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