Anyone can be an affiliate marketer. However, most affiliate marketers don’t have an affiliate business. I define an affiliate business as a venture which does 2 things:
- generates regular sales.
- generates a net profit.
Most affiliates are hobby marketers, they don’t approach their promotions like a business and either get little to no sales or spend more on advertising than they earn in sales.
I’m Peter Turner and have been a full-time affiliate marketer for about 8 years.
My 8-Step Affiliate Launch Formula is a simple, step-by-step guide to launching an affiliate business that makes regular sales and generates a net profit.
You might be used to seeing promotions from other affiliates which claim that you can earn 5-6 figures a month or a specific amount like $200 a day simply by applying the strategies contained in a webinar, e-book or video course.
The truth is that nearly all webinars are simply long-winded sales pitches and anyone who claims they can show you a way to achieve a specific level of income is not being honest with you as they don’t know you any better than I do. As such, they cannot predict what you’ll do with the information they give you or whether you will understand and apply it correctly.
This is a blog post that you’ll be able to get through in a few minutes and, if you understand and apply the information it contains, I am confident you will be able to create your own affiliate business – a venture which regularly makes you sales and costs less than it makes.
OK, so here is the 8-step formula. These are all things that successful affiliates do that most affiliates don’t do:
Create – Promoting a raw affiliate link to a product sales page sets you up to lose money straight off the bat. You need to create an automated digital sales funnel which builds your email contact list on the front end so that you can grow your contact base while you promote. After your visitors subscribe to your email list to get your free offer, your funnel needs to automatically present the product you’re promoting to them. Most people don’t buy a product on their first exposure to that product, which means that building a list so that you can give your prospects further opportunities to buy your product massively increases your affiliate campaign profit. If you’re promoting with paid advertising, a good digital sales funnel can mean the difference between a huge roi (return on investment) and a huge loss from promoting raw affiliate links. If you’re promoting with free traffic, using a digital sales funnel means you work less hard for more profit. If you don’t know how to create an automated digital sales funnel, click here to see a done-for-you funnel you can use which works well at building your list and churning out commissions. If you’re just starting out with affiliate marketing and not yet ready to build a contact list of your own, 4StreamIncome is a great solution for making money easily by giving away free money-making websites. The advantage of this system is that your visitors don’t have to buy anything to get their free website and the page you promote does the selling for you after they sign-up for the free 4si offer. There is another alternative for people who aren’t yet ready to build a list, Covert Commissions is a service you can use to sell affiliate products by giving away free reports. People who sign up for the free report receive follow-ups from the Covert Commissions team with your affiliate links in them. This is another great shortcut for beginners.
Promote – There’s a lot of misconceptions about traffic and it’s important to understand the difference between targeted visitors and ‘clicks’. There are a lot of sites around that will sell you a 100000 clicks for 5 bucks or whatever. This type of traffic won’t make you any money because the clicks, if they’re even made by human visitors, aren’t targeted. In other words, your website isn’t getting visited by people who are interested in your offers. Many affiliates think that any clicks will eventually convert into sales. The truth is that clicks must be targeted to convert into leads and sales. If you don’t get targeted traffic, you won’t make any money – it’s that simple. There are only 2 basic ways to send visitors to a webpage: with paid advertising and with free traffic methods. The fastest way is with paid advertising although some free traffic methods can also be very effective. One type of paid advertising that has worked better for me than any other is solo advertising. In my experience, the best place to get cost effective solo ads is at Udimi, a marketplace where you can buy solo emails to established marketers’ lists. Advertisers leave ratings for solo ad vendors so that you can see what sort of results other people are getting with each vendor. Two more awesome ad sources, which have generated many times more revenue than they cost me to acquire are Referral Frenzy and Truckload Of Ads, although these sites are unsuitable for promoting offers which are not related to making money online and internet marketing. There are a few free traffic methods that have yielded good results for me. For example, if you’re promoting products related to making money online, you can get lots of free targeted visitors by using ad exchanges. These include mailers, safelists, text ad exchanges and traffic exchanges. Whilst these sources won’t work as well as real solo ads, they’re free and most of the people using these sites have an online business to promote, so your sites are being visited by people who want to make money on the net. Personally, I’ve never had any success with trying to gamify search engine algorithms with seo, so I don’t really do any search engine optimization. On the other hand, social media sites have worked quite well for me, although no free traffic source I have tried has worked anywhere near as well as paid advertising and if you want to get your affiliate business launched quickly, paid advertising is by far the best solution.
Track – All successful affiliates track both clicks and conversions. Tracking clicks enables you to determine whether your advertising is getting you any visitors. Tracking conversions enables you to determine whether the visitors are real and interested in your offer. Unfortunately, there are a lot of advertising sellers online that get you a ton of clicks but the clicks they get you never convert to leads or sales. When tracking conversions, it’s easiest just to track whether your clicks convert to free offer sign-ups as this will give you more data than tracking sales. All genuine leads can convert to sales if they’re shown the right offer at the right price. However, it is worth mentioning that buying incentivized leads is not a good strategy for affiliates, as people who sign-up to offers just to receive a few cents or whatever are very unlikely to buy anything from you.
Tweak – Adjusting your affiliate campaigns in response to your conversion tracking statistics is something else that successful affiliates do. Put simply, this just means testing whether making changes to various components of your affiliate campaign such as your lead capture page (a.k.a. a squeeze page), solo email copy, banner ad design or email follow-up copy increases or decreases sign-up conversions and/or overall profit for the same traffic source. You can also ‘split-test’ 2 different versions of a lead capture page to see which gets the most sign-ups with the same traffic source. Although this sounds a bit complicated if you’re just starting out as an affiliate, split-testing it’s a great way to boost your return on investment. An easy way to launch split-test campaigns if you’re not technically inclined is with a software tool called Split Test Monkey which you can use to easily run split-tests and automatically send your visitors to the higher-converting version of your landing page after the software has measured which landing page is better at converting visitors into leads. Don’t worry if tweaking campaigns sounds a bit complicated – just get a campaign launched and promoted and then worry about tweaking after you’ve got some results.
Engage – People buy stuff from other people. Once you have some email leads it’s important to try to connect with them so that they know who you are, trust you and care what you have to say and what products you recommend. If you connect with your leads, you’ll be building the most valuable asset an affiliate can have – a responsive following. There is a huge difference between a list of opt-in email addresses and a responsive following. You can have 100000 email addresses and not make any significant income from your list but if you have a small list of targeted, responsive followers, it can make you very wealthy. You can connect with your leads by telling them about yourself – some of what you tell them is very likely to resonate with them as most affiliates start out for the same reasons, like wanting to make money from home so they can spend more time with their families and wanting greater control over their lives than can be achieved by having a 9-5 job.
Help – If you want to really connect with your leads and build a long-term loyal customer base, it’s important that the free content you give to your new prospects really helps them. If your giveaway product is a free report, your leads will base their opinion of you on that report, so giving them a shoddy, poorly written and uninformative report will not help you at all. It’s also essential that any premium product you recommend genuinely provides your buyers with a solution to whatever problem the product claims to solve. For instance, I mostly promote digital products related to affiliate marketing, I am therefore particularly careful when looking for products to promote as I don’t want my leads to buy a crappy blind offer which makes big income claims and then disappoints when the product behind the sales page turns out to be a massive dud. Sometimes you can find poor quality products which sell very well. They have huge EPCs, fancy videos, big promises and loads of (misleading) testimonials on the sales page and lots of affiliates promote them just to make a fast buck. Promoting offers like this is NOT a good strategy for building an affiliate business because it is unethical, it damages your brand and it disappoints your lead base, making them very unlikely to buy from you again. Obviously, the good products make big claims too and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to compete in today’s digital product marketplace. It’s therefore important to buy and test products yourself before you promote them so that you can separate the hypey offers which are worthwhile from those that are just 100% hype. There are no ‘non-hypey’ offers in the digital product marketplace so testing products to make sure they work is an important step for every ethical affiliate who promotes digital products.
Sell – Whilst you can still create a profitable affiliate business without doing any hard selling, if you want to grow your business as quickly as possible, you need to pitch products to people now and again. Some people are natural sellers, and some aren’t. Personally, I’m not a natural seller, and wouldn’t be able to persuade people to buy things over the phone. Fortunately, you don’t need to talk to people to sell affiliate products these days, you just need to be able to write a good sales email and press ‘send’ to broadcast it to your subscribers. In fact, if there’s an amazing offer which would really help your lead base, you owe it to them to try to get them to buy it. For example, Viral Lightning and Covert Commissions are both game-changers for beginners, as they remove a lot of the work which would normally be required to build a good automated digital sales funnel. Most new affiliates don’t have the knowledge or skills to create a funnel and without a funnel, you’re not going to get anywhere.
Rinse & Repeat – Once you’ve successfully launched a funnel, got some visitors through it and achieved some results, you need to take that same successful campaign model and apply it to more affiliate products. Each time you do this, you will get a little bit better at ‘plugging leaks’ in your funnel which could reduce your overall profit by improving your advertising copy, lead capture pages, lead magnets and follow-up sequences.