The affilliate marketers beginners guide - how to become an effective and profitable affiliate marketer the first time around.


Learn all about making more money through affiliate programs - the beginners guide!

     Affiliate knowledge is the foundation of your long term affiliate marketing success.  






Affiliate Marketing Beginners Guide

Note: For the definition of all affiliate terms, be sure to visit the affiliate glossary!

David's short version:

Focus on content, join affiliate companies, focus on building your site traffic. Also, make it easy for your visitor to navigate your site, diversify the product/services available on your site to increase sales, and finally don't compete with the biggie companies, simply send traffic to their sites through your affiliate links and let "them" make the sale while YOU earn the commissions!

And if you have more time...

David's more detailed long version:

With the aid of the Internet, everything is now right at our fingertips. With just a few clicks you can have access to thousands and even millions of pieces of information and data on virtually any area of interest. The experts say that the Internet also know as the "Worldwide Web" grows by over one and a half million pages each day as more and more people use the Internet for information, education, entertainment, business and other personal reasons.

It doesnít take a business savvy person to realize that running a business, even if affiliate program related can bring about substantial financial gains. Many think of the Internet and business as a place for the big dogs like Microsoft, Wal-Mart and GE, not so. It's not just these big businesses that are making money online as you too can earn a nice income through the Internet even if you donít have products to sell, a high-profile and established company or really anything beyond a website or blog.

You can do this through affiliate marketing. You might have come across these words over the net while surfing. Affiliate marketing is revenue sharing between a merchant and an affiliate who gets paid for referring or promoting the merchantsí products and services. It is one of the most profitable marketing methods today because it's already been proven to be cost-efficient means of attaining high profits both for the merchant and the affiliate and other players in the affiliate program such as the affiliate network or affiliate company.

Affiliate marketing works well for the merchant and the affiliate. To the first the merchant or advertiser has the opportunity to get the word out about his products to a much larger market through affiliate marketers and this increases his exposure and sales. The more affiliate websites or hard working affiliates he has, the more sales he can naturally expect.

By getting affiliates to market his products and services, he is saving himself time, effort and money in looking for possible markets and customers. When a client clicks on the link in the affiliate website, purchases the product, recommends it to others who look for the same item or buys it again, the merchant multiplies his chances of earning. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer benefits from each customer who clicks on the link in his website and who actually purchases the product or avails of the service provided by the merchant. In most cases, the affiliate receives a commission per sale (CPS), which can be fixed percentage or fixed amount or a commission (cost) per sale (CPA) when we're talking generating leads or subscribers for a merchant or advertiser.

If you want to be a successful (profitable) affiliate marketer and earn a nice income online I'd recommend you follow three main rules that will ensure your long term financial success with affiliate programs and marketing:

1. First you'll need to identify and area of interest that you are passionate about to base the content of your site around. This could be really anything that you are interested in. Focusing on a specific area you know well and like will help you bring out your best without much risks and effort. You can add a personal touch to your site while giving your visitors (and customers/buyers) the impression that you are an expert in your field, and you should be if you like the subject, understand it and have built your knowledge of it over the years. With a personal touch and a content rich website you gain the trust of your visitors, and it's this trust that will eventually encourage them to buy the products you endorse, or sign up for the affiliate and advertiser offers you have available on your site or blog.

2. Next is to locate merchants and advertisers that closely match the content of your site and your area of interest. This website (Affiliate Company List) of course provides a listing of many free to join affiliate companies  and affiliate programs that we've had great success with over the years, however there are even more out there on the Internet, it's just a matter of searching for them. Once you join your selected affiliate companies it's a matter of choosing the individual affiliate programs that you want to market on your site. The important part of everything is to match your affiliate programs to the content of your site... if a dog site, then you'll want pet related products and services, if your site or blog is about computer programming then include affiliate links to computer hardware, software and other related products.

3. Now that you have decided what area of interest you want to concentrate on, have joined your selected affiliate companies or affiliate programs, chosen the products you want to endorse and have created your own web site with top level domain name and reliable hosting (whew)... you are now ready to promote. This is a critically import part of your overall affiliate business since without traffic and visitors you basically have a store (your website) and the doors might be open but no customers are walking in! It's your visitors, your sales and your profit that make affiliate marketing worth your time and effort. Promoting does not necessarily mean you need to go out there and spend all your money on Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaigns. Making sure your content is relevant, unique and interesting is the most important as the search engines will like this and when they locate and like your site, you get higher search result listings. To you that of course means free visitors and there's nothing better then that. I won't cover all the aspects of traffic generation in this article, however for the details please visit our free traffic area # 2 where you can learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other ways to improve and increase your site visitors.

Beyond the three main rules for your affiliate success, these are the four most common mistakes a new affiliate marketer makes as it relates to rule 1 above "content". Don't do these when it comes to your website and its content and you'll be better off in the long term.

1. The first common mistake is some affiliates want to make the quick buck and in the short term (by the end of the week?), and because of this they focus on a "sales" site. It's main goal is to literally "push" the visitor into making a purchase. I don't know about you but Margie and I do not liked to be pushed into anything to include buying anything. You've probably seen these type of pages, flashy, hyped, many calls to action, buy now, and usually a page or two if that much with very little content unless you count all the boasts of the product or service benefits to you. So, if you're in it for the long term and want to make small sales over the years which all add up, then focus on real and unique content and do not force feed a sale on your visitor. Let the sale happen naturally from their surfing your site... content, content, content.

2. The second common mistake is overcomplicated navigation or a lack of an effective site navigation system which causes visitor confusion, frustration and eventually your lost affiliate sales. Overcomplicated navigation revolves around those navigation buttons or bars that tier into additional menus beyond the original tier and the sub tier. This is the type of navigation where you hover over it and the menu opens further for another menu selection which is fine as long as it does not go on beyond the second tier. Lack of effective navigation revolves around site navigation system that are too basic, in the wrong areas, or are not clear on their function. A too basic menu would contain Home, content and maybe an about page and the visitor would be expected to use additional navigation buttons or links once they arrive at one of the site pages. A menu in the wrong area? In the right side column since it is not expected (or comfortable), and because we read left to right so our eyes naturally start off on the left (where the menu should be) side of the page. Top menus are fine, and regardless of whether left menu navigation or top, it's always a good idea to include a bottom menu if you can so your visitor can go to the next section of your site without scrolling to the top of that page or clicking on your "top of page" button. You want your visitor to get from point "A" to point "B" with little to no thinking on their part. Click, go, read.

3. The third common mistake is joining an affiliate company or program and then promoting only one product or one affiliate company's products throughout your site. Most will do this because of a lack of content on their site where the idea is since there aren't very many pages yet, then I don't need more then a product or two. This isn't normally a good idea since if your visitor is not interested in "Toy R Us" products on your children's themed site Home Page, then it does you no good to use the same ad or same product line on all of the other pages on your site. Mix it up, give your visitors a variety of products and services to click on, visit and buy from. Once you have a variety of goodies for your visitors "then" having duplicate ads or banners throughout your site is fine. It is always better to give your visitors/customer a few different alternatives of things they might be interested in then to give them only one product or service.

4. The fourth common mistake is that there are affiliates who provide too much information on a particular product or they simply have too many products on their site. Remember your site is about the "content" first, with the affiliate links and sales as a secondary visitor action. You cannot compete with Amazon, so if you ever think it would be a great idea to have a page full of Amazon product banners, product details and buy now buttons - stop, they don't need to see that on your site, if they want to buy Amazon stuff, they'll go to Amazon, they sure don't need your site for that. The best thing to do would be to write an article about the Amazon affiliate program, then include your affiliate link and send them to Amazon to check it out. This way you let Amazon sell the products (that you'll earn a commission on) and you can focus on what's important which is your site content. The time when you can and should provide more then the usual amount of information on a particular product or service is when you're doing a review on it. Including a photo of the product, your star rating, mini editorial etc, in this case is perfectly fine. Otherwise, focus on your content and within your content you can mention and link to what is relevant.

Credit: This article written by Whitney Jacqueline, V.P. of Jasco Network. For questions please contact her at: Whitney Jaqueline, main team core website: Lotto Magic Network

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