Affiliate Marketing FAQ(#5): What Are The General Steps?

"I have read your previous FAQs. I know what is affiliate marketing and there are big earning potential in it. So If I want to make money from affiliate marketing, where can I start? I am not afraid of hard work, but please show me what Should I do and how can I become successful in affiliate marketing, OK?"

Well, if I answer your question in details, that can be written into a whole book as most of ebooks teaching you how to make money online. So let's cut to the phase and tell you the general steps of affiliate marketing.

1. Find the proper products or services to promote

What is so called proper product? It must meet 3 requirements. Firstly, it must be in a profitable niche market and in great demand, therefore you have chance to sell it to your customer. Secondly, you know the product very well and have strong interesting in it. This will enable you write good product introduction and reviews to presell the product effectively. And the last one, the merchant who sell the products must have an affiliate program for you to join, regardless of an in house affiliate program or third-party affiliate program.

There are many way for you to find the proper products. The most common way used by other affiliate markers is to use the keyword suggest tools, for example, Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker free keyword suggestion tool and the powerful great Keyword Elite Software. And you can also check the hot products listed on Ebay and Yahoo! shopping and find what products interest you most.

2. Set up your marketing channels.

To sell the products to your customers, you need to let your potential customers know your products first. So how? Here I list several marketing channels for your reference:

1.) Build a website/blog. A website or blog is the most fundamental tool for affiliate marketing. You can build a blog or content website to promote the products by writing product reviews, or you can build an affiliate store or a comparison shopping website list relevant products together.The more visitors come to your website/blog, the more chances that they are persuaded to make a purchase. Not only is it a good channel to contact thousands of your potential customers, but also a platform for the other marketing channels.

You can build your website all by yourself, or get other web designers build it for you, and you also can buy a ready-made website packages with everything done for you. The cost will range from no more than $100 to thousands of dollars.

2.) Build your newsletter/Opt-in Email list

Opt in e-mail is a term used when someone is given the option to receive "bulk" e-mail, that is, e-mail that is sent to many people at the same time. Typically, this is some sort of mailing list, newsletter, or advertising. Opt-in Mail list or newsletter is a great marketing channel to promote your products or services. If used properly, Opt-in mails have a higher conversion rate. Building a big list can take years of hard work and effort but the rewards are worth it, because an Opt-in Email list with a large quantity of targeted subscribers will make a lot of money for you.

Email marketing is good marketing channel but don't send spams without permission. It does not works and you will be banned quickly by those mail servers. You need your potential customers to subscribe to your Opt-in mailing list first and then confirmed by them again. This is called confirmed subscription or closed-loop opt-in.

The most powerful way nowadays for you to get your Opt-in mail subscribers is giving out a free report/ebook/gift to your subscribers as a bonus, and the most often used email marketing software by affiliates is Aweber and GetResponse.

3.) PPC advertising Campaigns.

Per Per Click advertising is a quick way to get traffic to your website or your merchant's website. But you need to choose both the products and the keywords carefully and monitor your ad campaigns frequently, because you may spend a lot of money on PPC advertisements before you can make money from it. The most used PPC programs is Google Adwords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter.

3. Join in Affiliate programs and get your affiliate links

Well, now you can find and apply affiliate programs. There are many affiliate networks(CJ, linkshare, etc) or in house affiliate programs to choose from. Read their affiliate terms or Publisher Service Agreement carefully and then fill out their application form if you want to join in. Once you application is accepted, you can login your account and get your affiliate links. Then you need to place the affiliate links on your blog/website, insert them in you email content and create PPC campaigns with your affiliate links.

4. Promote your products, monitor your marketing status and get commissions.

Now you need to get your products known by as many as potential customers. You need to work hard to get more traffic to your blog/website, send useful emails with your affiliate links to your Opt-in mail subscribers and adjust your PPC campaigns from time to time. Doing all above 4 steps, You will start to make money from your hard work in affiliate marketing.

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