In the previous Chapter 1, we went over what affiliate marketing actually is.
Now we’re going to drive deep on the steps to get started in affiliate marketing
You as the affiliate will promote a product to someone who will trust your recommendation and buy from you. Very soon, I will break down the entire process into a solid blueprint.
However, I want to review something I talked about previously that will make or break your affiliate business. And this is the cause of failure for most beginners. It’s the trust factor between you and your customer.
Affiliate marketing is a multi-million dollar industry. It’s huge. I have generated a 5-figure a month income from it and sometimes a bit more.
I believe anyone with proper mindset and training can do it just as I have and I could point to two major keystones:
Know The Product Personally Whether it was some wart removal product or a device that helped me get better sleep by improving my snoring, these were products I had personally used myself.
As a younger guy, I loved martial arts and this physical activity sometimes produced warts on my finger that required a solution.
Also, being the world’s laziest deadbeat, I take lots of naps and I snore a lot. Naturally, the products I recommended over the years on my websites were some that I tried and believed in because they gave me results.
Giving your review of a product based on this kind of personal experience works best.
Don’t Be A Salesman Adding to what I said above, I don’t just outright tell someone “here, buy this!”
A visitor to my site will usually read a story or explanation of what I was doing in my life that suddenly required me to seek out a product that fixed my issue.
I will tell this story and then go into the product I bought and tested. If it worked for me, I tell them the details of what I liked about it and based on that, I make the recommendation to my reader.
This is generally the approach I take.
The reason I point out these two things is because having both tried the product and made a recommendation based on experience shifts the focus away from the sale.
People are listening to your story and recommendation, not a sales pitch. And this is the kind of website and overall experience people prefer to have: a useful piece of info that gives them guidance and insight, not a site full of advertising and banners and salesy content.
When you approach marketing this way, your visitors naturally start to build trust with you. And trust, my fellow deadbeat, is your key to success as you move forward.
The main difference between a hobby blog and an affiliate marketing website is the marketing process.
If I only wrote a collection of experiences, it would come across as a messy online journal or diary.
However, because there is an underlying process or framework to how I arrange my content, this is what creates the kind of visitor experience that leads to generating sales.
I’m not telling fun personal stories with no end in sight. The road eventually must lead somewhere, right? That’s why we become affiliate marketers.
On my site pages, the individual sections have a purpose and they all string together in a coherent way to lead the attention of the visitor as smoothly as possible.
All big companies follow a similar pattern and this forms the overall experience that you associate with their brand.
We all do it a little differently, but essentially these sections that you must learn to assemble together into a successful affiliate marketing process are:
You’ve heard by now that people don’t like to be sold to but enjoy buying stuff. That’s the reason behind my process.
It gives one of my readers or subscribers an overall experience where it’s on them to make a purchase decision.
In general, people don’t buy on the first try because they don’t know me. But given enough time, they warm up to anyone who is genuinely giving good helpful tips.
That’s what I like to do and it has worked very well for me.
Whether on one of my YouTube channels or websites, the content I offer is nothing but good useful tips designed to invite the person to come back and read some more, or watch another good video of mine.
I am cultivating an ongoing connection. Again, because most people won’t buy on the first try. After this ongoing connection is set in motion, the rest of the steps in the process tend to naturally guide the visitor into a high chance of buying from me.
Let’s get into the details of how I make it work.
This ongoing connection is so important that I would have to devote a whole series on the topic.
As a matter of fact, I would go as far to claim that you can’t be considered an affiliate marketer unless you make use of the very tool that allows marketers to form this ongoing connection: an email autoresponder service.
But I’m putting the cart before the horse. We’ll get into that in a different article.
What exactly does it take to form a good connection with someone so that they’ll want to watch another one of your videos or read another blog post?
Well, it’s all wired into us as humans. Simply put, be a good person who shares good stories and practice random acts of kindness.
This cocktail of generosity is the best way to go.
In the early internet days, it was like the wild west. If you took a single step in any direction, some scammy person working out of a dark basement was trying to bombard you with ads to make you part ways with your hard-earned money.
This is annoying and clearly has no one’s best interests in mind. Being a friendly and helpful person is much better.
And if you can inject a bit of tasteful humor, I think this is the kind of world I would prefer to do business in.
If you watch any of my YouTube videos, I have always provided the best tips I could in every video, while also keeping a light-heartedness to my presentation.
“Just be cool with people”, is my mantra.
And the universe will repay you handsomely. In your own videos or articles, be the best version of yourself.
You don’t have to become a clown full of antics or be a buttoned-up business person either.
I guess you can, if you want to. Anything but the creepy, pushy, salesy personality type will work.
Whatever angle you choose, aim to be the good guy. Just… you know… be cool.
By now your computer harddrive is likely full of free e-books and downloaded files you got after you opted into someone’s newsletter, right?
I follow that tip, as well. It works. People like free stuff. It doesn’t matter what product you are promoting, people will always have tons of questions about it and this gives you an opportunity to create some form of packaged set of answers.
Along your marketing process, find opportunities to give away a little useful gift or extra video that isn’t available to the public, anything that feels like a random act of kindness.
However, make the gift relevant. It should enhance the product you are recommending to them. For example, if you recommend a weight lifting set, a freebie e-book about dieting for weight gain would pair up nicely with that.
Doing random acts of kindness endears people to you – builds up good will – so be as helpful when you can and overdeliver.
The karma points stack up in your favor.
The doctor analogy works best here. Ever notice how a visit to the doctor starts by being asked “what’s wrong?” The doctor patiently listens first.
This is how you should select a product. It should be something you know matches up perfectly to what someone needs.
The wrong approach is to randomly pick the most expensive product and tell everyone they should buy it. This makes you look like you’re just looking for a quick buck.
Know your audience and listen to their needs. If you run a blog, this means read your comments section. If you run a YouTube channel, read the comments.
Your audience will always tell you in plain sight what problems they have and you take that information to find the best product that serves them.
If it’s something you’ve had success with and can tell your story, you have found the right product.
When we talk with people, it tends to be in the form of a story. What we did yesterday, what happened at work, etc. People talk in stories.
This doesn’t mean take a writing class to write novels or that your content has to be full of random personal stories of what you ate for dinner for the past few days.
In just a short article or brief 2-minute video, you can talk about whatever product you happened to be using, while explaining the situation you were in.
That’s a story.
“I like to do karate. In class, we practice a lot and there’s physical contact involved. With the constant sweating and rubbing against clothing and whatnot, I started noticing these ugly warts on my fingers…”
See what I mean? It’s an anecdote. A very short story of what situation you found yourself in, which then leads naturally into what you did to fix the problem.
Gracefuly and maybe even with a bit of light humor, you transition into talking about the product.
When you tell people your story in connection with the product, it handles so many possible objections that might come up.
Example, if you recommend a complicated piece of software, and people ask you about your opinion on one of the plugins or how you got it to do XYZ, if you haven’t really used it, people won’t want to listen to your recommendation.
But when you have extensive first-hand experience, your knowledge will reveal itself as you tell your story.
And because you seem very knowledgable, people tend to come back to ask you for more advice.
Even better, they recommend you to their friends through word-of-mouth.
But the most powerful reason behind telling people your story with regards to using a product, is so you can show them about it.
Showcase for a moment some of the features and how it works. People want to know what they’re getting if they’re going to spend good money on something.
Wrap all this into your marketing story, and the sale takes care of itself!
While there might be cases when you can promote something you haven’t used yourself, it might be pretty hard to convince someone to trust you.
It’s best to step up to the plate and be upfront about your actual results. The #1 reason people would buy something is because it actually delivers on its promise.
If you show them proof, there isn’t much more that can be said. It’s right there in front of them – the thing works! I like to call this ‘walking my talk’.
Whatever you say in your blog article or youtube video or any marketing media, show them proof that you got the desired results…
…and watch the Benjamins roll in!
The call to action is the very last point in your process (well, before it loops again).
This is where you ask the visitor to do something: click a button, click a link, make a decision of some sort.
This is a good time to remind you to always offer full disclosure of who you are and what you are doing. You are required by law to tell visitors that you earn a commission from your recommendation and that you are an affiliate.
This is because not everyone knows what an affiliate is or that you are actually promoting something.
You want to play fair and let people know that you hope they found your info useful and that by purchasing through your link, you earn a percentage of the final sale.
Something along those lines, so you actually earn the sale.
Also, they might have questions prior buying, so as an affiliate marketer be prepared to take emails regularly that offer support and extra guidance.
For this, you might want to refer people to a Frequently Asked Questions section. You can also refer them to another YouTube video that covers the topic.
Taking questions from your followers opens up many more opportunities.
You can also recommend an article you wrote or send them a free guide. And if you haven’t done any of these things yet, start turing all your visitor emails into content you can pass around.
The FAQ section of any business is a frequently overlooked goldmine of content ideas!
Now you have an idea of how to get started in affiliate marketing! It’s about recommending products to people and doing so through earning their trust, telling them your story and being an overall good guy/gal.
This includes offering extra help with questions they might have. All this creates, from the inital steps to the final call to action, creates opportunities for you to provide useful content or create even more of it.
It’s all about helping people find solutions. Do that right, and the sales take care of themselves. Welcome to affiliate marketing! Read the next chapter to learn some of my best tips!