Many people start affiliate marketing with high hopes, but unfortunately very few are able to make it work as a successful affiliate marketer.
In theory affiliate marketing sounds great. You don't need to buy, create, deliver or store any products – all you have to refer products to people.
But in practice most people get it wrong, and in the worst case scenario, some end up being blatant spammers that just put people off.
It is definitely possible to make a lot of money promoting affiliate products, providing you are doing it right.
It should be obvious that you need to very fussy with the products that you promote. If people discover you are promoting crap, they will never read any of your content ever again and some will write negative publicity about yourself – and no one wants that.
Only promote products that you have used yourself and are certain that they are fantastic products that will help your readers. This is common sense really.
Here are my seven crucial principles to become a successful affiliate marketer:
1. Don't bother with advertising banner ads on your blog (no one clicks on them)
This point is debatable and many people will disagree with me, but I see no point in cluttering up your blog with advertising banners. The brutal facts are that hardly anybody clicks on them because they know the banners are only there to sell them something. People love to buy, but hate to be sold to.
Unless your blog is getting at least 100 clicks a day, you will basically make no money from advertising banners what so ever. And even if you are getting a lot of traffic, people find a lot of advertising banners annoying on a website. I would limit it to a maximum of two banners only on your blog.
If you do want to use banner advertising to promote affiliate products, you should be looking for the top websites or blogs in your industry that receive truck loads of traffic and advertise on those.
2. Write informative "How To" blog posts, and recommend relevant products that you know are definitely high quality and work.
The point here is to solve people's problems by recommending proven solutions that will help them.
In this day and age if people have problems or want to do research on a topic they turn to the internet and search engines.
For a start here you want to doing clever keyword research to make sure that people can find your articles on the search engines. By going for keywords that are getting hundreds of searches per month and also have low competition, it is not that difficult to get your articles ranked highly.
And as well as getting your articles ranked, you want to be writing quality content that people want to read. If you are able to write a well constructed piece that the reader can relate to, and then offer them a solution you will definitely make sales.
Another way of looking at it is to think more about how you help people, rather than just how you can make more sales, and you will make sales by default without trying.
3. Submit these blog posts to social bookmarking sites.
Now that you have written your quality content that is keyword rich, you need to be submitting it to as many social bookmarking sites as possible.
This will help your content to go viral and gain a lot more exposure, which in turn will also help you rank higher in the search engines.
You should install share buttons on your blog, such as the Digg Digg plugin – which you can see on the left side of this blog.
To make this process a lot easier I highly recommend using an automated tool called OnlyWire. This will submit your content automatically to as many social bookmarking sites as you have connected to your account – and is very powerful.
4. Use the "Tweet Old Post" plugin to retweet your blog posts.
This works better if you have a lot of followers and a lot of content, but is still feasible if you don't have either.
Most people write a blog post and maybe share on Twitter once, and then it is forgotten about. Providing your blog is not based on news or current events, and the blog post is timeless, there is no reason why you can't be retweeting your posts time and time again.
The Tweet Old Post plugin picks out an old post randomly and posts it every few hours to your account. You are able to choose how often you are retweeting posts, and also the age of the posts that are you want retweeted.
5. Use the WP Auto Links plugin to automatically create anchor text links for certain keyword right through out your blog.
WP Auto Links allows you only have to type in your affilate links once for desired keywords. After you have filled in your link and keyword, the plugin will populate your entire blog to create anchor text linking to your affiliate links.
This saves a lot of time doing it manually and you will find that people become curious about the products you are recommending and will click on your links.
6. Send promotional emails out to your email list of subscribers.
Some people are scared of sending out emails to their subscribers recommending products. But if you are promoting high quality products that will help them, you have nothing to worry about.
Everybody should be looking to build a massive email list and to strive to serve these people as best as possible. If you come across a great product that you want to promote, then why not send out an email to your list telling them how good the product is and what benefits they will get from it.
The key here is to get the right balance between promotional emails and content emails. I would recommend that 80% of your emails to your subscribers should be content based, and the other 20% should be promotional emails.
7. Include special bonuses with your affiliate links to motivate people to buy the product with your link.
A great way to motivate people to buy from your affiliate links is to offer them special bonuses. You may have created some information products yourself which you can offer as a bonus to increase the value that your readers get.
Everybody loves to get something for free and the more you can offer the more interested people are going to get. You can get creative with these special bonuses and basically offer anything that you want.
When it comes down to it, if two people are offering the same product but Person A offers an amazing special bonus, compared to Person B offering no bonuses, then Person A will make a lot more sales.
This is obvious, but often overlooked.
These seven tips are what I have learnt from the most successful affiliate marketers in the industry, and they work. Stop the blatant pitching and focus on promoting products that solve common problems.
My last tip would be to opt into the lists of the biggest names in the industry and study what they are doing. Without doubt this is the best way to learn how to become a successful affiliate marketer yourself.
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