Learning how to start an online affiliate business can be a real challenge for anyone who’s new to the industry. There’s a lot to learn and if you aren’t careful there are some major mistakes you can make—but for the most part starting an affiliate business is a very simple and great passive way to earn an income online.
For anyone who has wondered how to start an online affiliate business there can be a lot of people who will try to answer the question—and at least half of them are charging money for the solution.
The best way to learn how to start an online affiliate business is through trial and error and seeing what works best for you. Naturally many people who want to get into internet marketing don’t have the luxury of making huge mistakes along the road to success, so what’s the alternative to just diving in and learning it all yourself? To learn how to get started with your own affiliate marketing business online, read on.
Firstly, what exactly is an affiliate business? Building a business online as an affiliate is the practice of promoting other peoples’ products or services and making a commission off each sale. Through marketing online as an affiliate you can earn money promoting high quality, high priced products that will earn you big commissions.
The catch is that you need to turn this into an actual business to remain profitable and live off of the wealth that can be accumulated with online internet marketing. Treat your online affiliate business as a real business and not just as a hobby or experimental stream of income. Let’s take a look at the basic steps required for starting a successful affiliate business.
Step #1.) Identify what you want to promote and how large you want to grow your business. Try to find out what you want to promote and decide how serious you are about building the business. Is this something you’re doing for extra income while you’re going through college or is this your new sole source of income? Outlining how large you want to shoot for will help set your goals and give you a better chance at succeeding.
Since you’re reading this I’m going to assume you agree with the phrase “the sky’s the limit.” Once you establish how your business will work and profit there’s really no limit on how large you can grow it. Do you want to promote weight loss products, internet marketing products, real estate courses or programs? Try to find out what you’re interested in selling and make sure there’s a market for it as well as decent commissions to be earned.
Step #2.) Consider how you plan to promote the affiliate products or services. Do you want to simply send traffic to a small blog or do you want a large authority website that will eventually have thousands of pages? The advantages of going small with a blog or static HTML site will be that you can rank easier and target less competitive keywords. An authority site is a lot more like a long term internet marketing business plan. If you want to start off with an authority site you’ll have a significantly more difficult uphill battle but the reward is often well worth it. That being said you can also go the safe route and build more modest sites that can fund future projects like authority sites.
Step #3.) Learn how to drive traffic. Traffic generation is literally the blood of your business. If you can’t get new traffic to your sites you won’t make sales and you stand no chance at growing your business into a successful one. This being said, try to learn everything you can on traffic generation. Learn about search engine optimization (SEO), video marketing, article marketing, email marketing and other ways to generate traffic.
It’s always important to remember to never put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to traffic. Try to diversify where your traffic comes from so in the event of an emergency you don’t lose all your traffic at once. Additionally you can always drive paid traffic through Google Adwords or Yahoo’s Small Business Network but this requires a bit more knowledge and experience.
Step #4.) Identify what works, repeat, reinvest. Once you begin making sales from your website and marketing efforts you’ll be well on your way to building a “true” business. The only step left is to identify exactly what is making you sales, repeat that method and then reinvest the profits to either ramp up your efforts or to create new sites. You can reinvest by outsourcing the workload of traffic generation and marketing your sites.
Over time the more you do this the more you’ll be able to easily start up a new website, make it profitable and then move onto the next one. Depending on your growth goals you can eventually have several sites (or one main “authority” site) that generates all your income needed. Reinvesting and monitoring your results is extremely important though so always keep tabs on what exactly is creating the sales. Split test landing pages and begin to track your traffic through programs like Tracking202 when you feel comfortable with it.
Step #5.) Remember you are a business. Businesses pay taxes, often have employees and sometimes have offices where they work from. If this is where you aim to go with your affiliate business make sure you keep in mind that you need to function like a true brick & mortar business. Keep track of financial records, keep tax records for any employees and make sure you write off appropriate expenses like an office or transportation.
Once you grow your affiliate business to your desired size and profitability you have a lot of options to expand even further to make more money. If you find one product you’re promoting does extremely well you can research that product, purchase it and make a similar product that fixes the same problem and targets the same niche. Now you have your own product where you can keep 100% of the commissions and actually recruit your own affiliates to do the legwork of promoting it.
This is often what “super affiliates” do after a certain period of time profiting from a niche and it’s a great way to scale the business quickly. However this isn’t necessary at all and you can still make more than enough money through promoting other peoples’ products as an affiliate.
This guest post was written by Jason Acidre, a Marketing Consultant for Affilorama, an affiliate marketing portal. They provide affiliate marketing education and advanced affiliate marketing tools for beginning and advance affiliates.