What Is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing is a form of referral marketing where the person gets paid a commission for successfully referring a customer to a business.

We provided a great explanation for affiliate marketing in one of our previous articles but I wanted to go into more detail about what affiliate marketing is and exactly how it works as a business model.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online today.

Thousands of bloggers use affiliate marketing to generate an income from their blog.

Why Do So Many People Use It?

Affiliate marketing has a number of benefits that make it very attractive to all kinds of people looking to generate an income online:

Flexibility – Affiliate marketing offers a level of flexibility that is almost unmatched by any other type of business. You’re able to promote almost any kind of product or service, meaning you’re able to monetise almost any kind of website.

Location independence – Another great benefit is having the ability to work from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a laptop and internet connection. This kind of freedom isn’t exclusive to affiliate marketing, it’s something that almost any type of online business offers but it is definitely worth mentioning.

No boss – With affiliate marketing, you’re completely in charge of yourself. You won’t have any strict deadlines to meet or annoying bosses nagging on you. This can both be a positive or negative thing, depending on the person. Some people absolutely thrive when they work independently, while others really need that extra push from an authority figure to get the work done. Either way, being your own boss is something that many people want to achieve and affiliate marketing allows this to happen.

No income cap – When it comes to running your own business, especially with affiliate marketing, the income potential is almost unlimited. Your income will depend on a variety of factors including but not limited to what you’re promoting, the commissions they’re paying, the amount of traffic you generate and the amount of work you actually put into it. There are affiliates out there earnings six figures a month while some struggle to make a few hundred dollars extra a month.

What Is An Affiliate Program?

An affiliate marketing program is the thing you join if you want to promote a particular product or service. For example, if you wanted to promote Amazon products, you’ll have to join the Amazon Associates affiliate program. In a nutshell, it’s the thing that companies setup that allows them to take on affiliates and develop a framework and structure around how they work with marketers.

Why Isn’t Everyone Doing This?

The same reason most people don’t follow their dreams. People are too scared of failure or too stuck in a scarcity mindset.

People think that everything is a scam and that they’re going to get ripped off by everyone who’s actually genuinely trying to help them.

There are those who dabble in things like affiliate marketing but most people end up spreading themselves way too thin but trying to master too many things at the same time.

Another things people lack is the right system and training platform. People tend to find bits and pieces of training from different parts of the internet and then try to piece it all together. Not only is this much more difficult but you can come across conflicting advice from people who don’t really know what they’re talking about.

So there are a number of reasons people don’t start affiliate marketing (or any other kind of business) but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t!

More On Affiliate Marketing

If you’d like to find out more about affiliate marketing, check out some of these useful resources:

5 Super Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites

How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business

Earn $100 A Day With Affiliate Marketing

Learn Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

 

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Online Businesses You Can Start For Next To Nothing

start an online business

Online business is the way forward nowadays. Thousands of people are building “lifestyle” businesses that allow them to travel the world and be full independent, whilst running their business at the same time!

The whole concept of a lifestyle business is so fascinating to me. The fact that we have the opportunity to build a business that gives us the freedom to do what we want, when we want has got to be something really special. I think this is something that we should all strive for in our lives. To have the freedom and choice to spend our time doing the things that we love.

I really do believe that the days of the office are coming to an end soon. The rise of the solopreneur is here and I think it’s only going to become something that more people aspire and take action towards.

With all that being said, I thought I would come up with a little list of businesses that can be started on a shoestring budget. These businesses have low investment requirements and can often be up and running within a few days.

We’re all looking to achieve financial freedom. And most people don’t realise that it’s not actually that hard to get there. Online business is the beautiful vehicle that enables us to create passive income assets that pay us for years to come. Technology has moved forward at such a fast pace, creating opportunities, business models and lifestyles that weren’t possible only ten years ago.

Starting an online business doesn’t have the be the most stressful thing in the world. If you follow a proven system and get all the right training, your journey will have much less obstacles for you to overcome.

Consulting

Anyone can start a consulting business. You don’t have to be a super-genius like the movies will have you believe. A consultant is a someone who specialises in helping someone get from a current situation to a desired situation. That’s all there is to it.

Everyone has problems that need to be solved, whether that is more inbound leads for a business or a lack of self-confidence, consulting is an industry that is booming at the moment.

You can become a consultant in any industry and charge high-ticket monthly retainers to your clients.

Don’t I need to be an expert?

Well, yes. You can become an expert. To become an expert in a particular niche, you don’t need to study it for years and years. You can empower yourself with knowledge and learn more than what 90% of other people know within a few weeks. You might not be the best in the world at it but you’ll still be an expert in the eyes of a prospective client. As long as you’re confident that you can get the client results, that’s really all that matters.

Freelancing

freelancing

Freelancing is great for anyone who wants the flexibility of self-employment coupled with the ability to work from anywhere (in most niches). Freelancing is huge now. It is estimated that over 35% of the working American population is now freelancing. This isn’t just something that a few people are doing anymore, it’s mainstream now. This number is expected to grow to over 50% over the next few years!

As a freelancer you can do almost any job that is done in an office. Take a look at the freelance job section of Upwork to get an idea of the kind of things people are doing with freelancing. Many people are turning over six figure incomes from freelancing alone. Pretty crazy stuff!

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate-marketing

This has to be my favourite business model. Something that you can start for next to nothing and grow into something that provides passive income for years to come. Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started online. Simply put, it allows you to leverage the cool products that other people have created. Which means that you don’t need to spend tons of time and money coming up with a product yourself.

Affiliate marketing is the epitome of a lifestyle business because it provides location freedom, client independence (you don’t need to get results for anyone because you’re promoting products yourself), low startup costs and the list goes on.

The one thing I love about affiliate marketing more than anything else is that the earning potential is truly unlimited. There are plenty of big brands out there that are essentially affiliates. They don’t offer a service themselves but the key thing is that they add value for the consumer. These businesses are INSANELY profitable because they have such low overheads. All they are doing is promoting products and providing value (usually) in the form of content.

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Fundamentals Of Affiliate Marketing

According to a recent survey completed by Forrester, $370 billion is expected to be made in the US online in 2017. This is a staggering number and it is only set to grow further.

Check out this US online business forecast chart:

The reason I’m showing you this is to endorse the fact that affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to start an online business. If you own a website that has a following, you can monetise that website through affiliate marketing.

This infographic describes affiliate marketing in a short and sweet way:

So what secrets do you need to know before you can become a successful affiliate?

Before starting affiliate marketing you need to know what kind of audience you want to target.

Here are four steps we recommend following before starting your affiliate marketing venture:

Choose your type of promotion

As an affiliate, there are many ways you can promote products and services:

Blogs

Blogs can be one of the most lucrative ways to generate leads and sales for products you’re promoting through affiliate marketing. Blogs are by far the most popular way for affiliate marketers to make money.

A blog is what you make of it. You can create a fantastic resource for people in your niche if you choose to. It really helps to pick something that you’re passionate about when it comes to blogging. You’ll be able to produce awesome content if you love the topic you’re writing about. Your content needs to be original and if you want to get those precious rankings, outstanding!

Review Websites

Review sites are exactly what they say on the tin. They are websites that specialise in reviewing products in a particular niche. The key here is to provide genuine, unbiased information and don’t only post reviews on products that you’re going to make money from. Provide reliable, up-to-date information that captivates the visitor and compels them to click through to the merchant website.

Download Sites

Download affiliate sites provide free-trial software for users to try before they buy. This type of website is quite popular in the affiliate marketing world. The jist of it is that people download the software and if they like it they purchase the full version – if they do this, the affiliate gets paid a commission for the referral.

After you decide on the niche you want to target and the type of product you want to promote. You need to decide on a domain (if you haven’t already).

Picking Your Domain

Your domain name is an important part of your website. It doesn’t HAVE to relate to your niche but you want it to be something brand-able. It might take you a while to settle on a domain name you want because so many domains are already taken nowadays. Having said that, many domain extensions that didn’t exist a few years ago are now available so this gives you a lot more freedom over the name you want.

Your best bet is to purchase your domain from a well known domain registrar site like Godaddy or Namecheap. These registrars have domain names on sale for next to nothing. Typically you can pickup a domain and register it for a year for less than 10 dollars.

Once you’ve picked your domain you’ll need to purchase hosting for the domain. Domain hosting is the thing that allows you to install frameworks like WordPress & Drupal onto your site. Hosting is relatively cheap and can be purchased as a package with your domain from the registrars.

After purchasing your domain and hosting you should be all set to start your affiliate marketing venture!

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Finding Success Through Top Affiliate Programs

top affiliate programs

Success in affiliate marketing requires a number of approaches. First you need to ensure that your mind is in the right place. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Cultivating a success mindset is essential to win in any venture.

When getting started online, it can be easy to jump from one opportunity to the next in the hope of finding success. This is the approach of an opportunity seeker. Someone who is looking for a quick solution that will get them the results they desire. Unfortunately this results in many people failing with their business ventures. You can be exposed to some of the best affiliate programs but if you’re constantly shuffling between different opportunities, you won’t find success.

People fail to realise that the mindset of an entrepreneur is what is required for success. Becoming an entrepreneur is something many people are scared to do because it involves pushing your comfort zones and doing things that really scare you. The reason why over 90% of businesses fail within their first year is because of mindset.

Once you’ve got your head in the right place, there are plenty of online business opportunities that you can take advantage of.

If you’re trying to find out how to start an online business, where better to start than with affiliate marketing. A business model that allows you to get started within hours and literally at a cost of a cup of coffee in some cases. Affiliate marketing doesn’t have many of the traditional drawbacks that other business models do.

Drawbacks of Traditional Business

Take franchising businesses or example, you need to invest a significant some of money to get started and you won’t see profits for at least a year. Plus you aren’t free to do your own thing.

You must strictly follow the brand guidelines and do what the bosses tell you to do!

With affiliate marketing you are your own boss. You only answer to yourself. You don’t need to invest huge amounts of money to get started and you don’t need to hire an office. In addition to this, you’re able to run your affiliate marketing business on your own without an members of staff.

Success in affiliate marketing largely depends on the products you’re promoting. It is essential that you find great products to promote. Do you research and find something that you have a genuine interest in. Many of the top affiliate programs offer great training and mentorship that will put you in the best position to promote products and services online. If you learn about marketing and the psychology behind selling, you’re creating a recipe for success!

The best affiliate programs and ones that offer high-end products and services. These products are high-priced items which means that you will net large commissions from your affiliate referrals.

How To Create Compelling Content That Ranks

how to create compelling content

To create compelling content you need to hone your copywriting skills and understand the psychology of what makes people tick. A good copywriter, creates with a flair that invites social shares and links. A good copywriter also needs to know how to write content that will convert people into subscribers, buyers and raving fans.

Pretty tall order huh?

The copywriter is the cornerstone of any marketing team.

So does SEO still really matter?

Definitely. SEO is still vitally important. Black hate SEO where people employ shady tactics such as blog networks, keyword-stuffing and content farm link building is being wiped out and rightly so. Who wants to have thin crappy content ranking at the top of Google?

Backlinks still form the backbone of rankings in all the major search engines. This won’t change for a very long time so SEO definitely isn’t dead. It’s just that the approach to ranking in Google is now very different to what it was ten or even five years ago.

Here’s what actually works with SEO: 

Creating awesome, valuable content that makes people want to cite and share.

Using the power of social media to gain exposure for that content, which results in natural links from relevant websites in your niche.

Performing clever on-page SEO using the terms that your audience searches for in Google to put you in position for those relevant keywords.

Google loves this approach because it makes the search results awesome. It also pushes companies to provide outstanding content  for their readers, which is a win for all parties that are involved!

Search traffic is by far the most powerful nad here’s the reason why.. it boils down to intent. When people are specifically searching for something in Google, there’s a reason why. They aren’t just randomly clicking on things. The thought space of the prospect really makes all the difference.

People searching for something specific in Google or Bing are in a very different frame of mind to people that are just searching things on Facebook.

A report conducted by a new Forrester revealed that fewer than 1% of transactions could be traced back to social links.

This is absolutely huge. It shows us that people coming from social media don’t have buying intent. When compared to organic traffic from the search engines, there really is no competition. Organic traffic is the holy grail for any content-based online business.

Achieving those first page rankings can be very challenging at first, but once you get there, you’ve basically got free traffic rolling through to your website.

If someone is looking for information about a product or service and your site provides amazing information about that product or service, there is a high chance that the person will purchase that product through you. It’s actually really simple.

Targeted search traffic is the most important element to a successful content marketing campaign.

In our next article, we will learn all about how search engines work, providing you with a better understanding of how they work will enable you to optimise your processes for increased rankings. See you on the next post!

5 Elements For Building Authority Websites

how to build an authority site

Authority is one of the most powerful elements to your online marketing strategy. People blindly put their trust in authority, something that is actually quite startling.

Google’s algorithm works on the basis of authority. If you create a website so good that people can’t help but link to it, Google will assume your site must be important. This is the key to success through content marketing. If you produce content that overflows with value for your audience then you will naturally become an authority in your chosen niche.

Here are five rules for building highly authoritative websites:

Rule Number One – The Winning Difference.

This is a concept that has been around before the dawn of the beautiful internet most of us take for granted today. It has been called many things in the past and is basically the thing that sets you out from your competition. It’s the thing that makes you unique, you special stamp, if you will.

When building an authority website, it is essential that you differentiate yourself from your competition. This makes all the difference when it comes to becoming a “go to” person in your niche. This rule forms the backbone of the five essential rules you must follow to win with content marketing.

Rule Number Two – Don’t Hard Sell, Teach Instead. 

Most people assume that the main barrier to success online is traffic. This is obviously true to a certain extent but what if you’re already getting tons of traffic but still no sales?

This usually boils down to a lack of trust. People love to buy things but hate feeling sold. Concentrate on providing value that builds authority for you.

Educational style content works very well. It attracts backlinks, builds trust and ranks for relevant keywords in the SERP’s. It also builds a relationship with your audience because you’re simply educating people about the benefits of doing business with you.

Rule Number Three – Flagship Content.

On your website, it is vitally important that you have foundational content. Content that people need to see to learn more about your and your business. In addition to this, your foundational content should rank for the most important keyword phrases. After all, it’s what your site is all about! To attract the links that you need, your foundational content needs to be strategically created and provide instant value.

Rule Number Four – Headlines & Hooks

Building authority is like being in a constant battle for attention. When nobody knows you and you’re just starting out, it can be really hard. On the flip side, when you’re really well known, you may still find yourself competing for the attention of your loyal readers. Competition is crazy out here!

The headline of your post is what sells your content. A killer headline can work wonders for your click-through rates. A hook is the the thing that gets people excited about your content. It’s the thing that reels them in, just like a fishing hook haha!

Rule Number Five – Influencing People

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best selling self-help books of all time. As the internet becomes more social, winning friends over can be super influential for you.

What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself

Make friends in your niche who can vouch for your authority and expertise. Once you start doing this, you’ll really start reaping the benefits of being an authority in your niche and being able to leverage that influence to build a profitable online business

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines have become an essential part of the our digital lives but most of us have absolutely no idea about how they actually work.

Let’s not dive into complex maths here. I don’t want to put you guys to sleep!

You need a fundamental understanding of the basics so we’ll be looking at the three major components that power the search engines of today. Understanding how they work will put you in a better position to rank your sites in the SERP’s for the keywords you want to rank for.

Search Crawling

You’ve most likely heard of the “spiders” the crawl around the web, searching for content. These are computer algorithms that scan for information on websites and read it, they also follow all the links from your pages to other pages. Search engine spiders are constantly crawling the web to find new content, links and more.

The spider returns every so often to see if you’ve made any changes to your original page so you always have an opportunity to change and repurpose your content in the future.

Indexing

The search spider stores you content in huge indexing database. The spiders mission is to save every piece of content for the people that search for it in the future. The spider also looks at keyword relevancy to match the content to relevant search terms.

Ranking

The most crucial aspect in the search engine function recipe is the ranking. This is how the search engine decides to deliver most relevant results to people who are searching for stuff. Google has a complex algorithm that works all this out. There are a variety of factors that will determine where you rank for the keywords you’re targeting.

Summary

Search engines aren’t the most complex things in the world. Don’t get me wrong, they have come a hell of a long way since the dawn of the internet but they still need to be shown information in a way that works for them. Otherwise you’ll end up with an amazing piece of content that doesn’t rank for your target keywords.

For example, you might write an article about “fire-breathing dragons” using simile’s and synonyms that relate to your target keyword. But if you don’t use the word “fire-breahing dragons” in certain places and a certain amount of times you won’t rank for your target keyword.

The key is to create a fantastic piece of content that is highly valuable and one that Google understands fully. A piece of content that engages you readers and tells Google exactly what they need to know about your article.