The art of selling other peoples' stuff and earning a commission in return is the basic description of what affiliate marketing is all about.
Any product or service can be used in affiliate marketing. Go online and visit any of the affiliate marketing programs and you will see products ranging from digital information in the form of ebooks, articles, reports and video downloads to physical products such as CDs, DVDS, consoles, books, fashion wear, healthcare goods, even trucks and cars. You will be the affiliate promoting the aformentioned goods on behalf of the vendor (the owner of the product/service) who will pay you a commission for selling his goods.
So what do you need to do to be a successful affiliate? Follow 4 Key Steps is the answer, and I discuss them in order below.
The 4 Steps to Online Success:
1. Find a hungry niche.
2. Find a product or service the hungry niche wants
3. Create a great sales process and
4. Create good back-end products
One question that is always asked in response to number 1 above is, 'how do I find a hungry niche market?'
First of all I would tell you to consider what you are interested in, what sets your fires burning, in other words, tell me what are you passionate about. Think; is there a subject you have a lot of knowledge about, a subject that you can write on with some authority?
Once you have a general idea about an area that interests you carry out a little research to find out if people are searching for the product/service you intend to supply.
How do you find this information? By carrying out research using the Google keyword tool or wordtracker. Simply type in the keywords of your product/service into these search engine term suggestion tools, and you will receive data on the popularity of the keyword, and how many times it has been searched for. Sorting through this data will give you an idea as to whether your product/service is one the hungry niche wants. For example, if the keyword term is searched for by more than 500 people consistently, then it may be worth promoting, anything less implies that it is not necessarily a hungry niche market.
But say you find that there is not a hungry niche for your product/service, what should you do? More research to find out what the top niche sites are selling. Check online marketplaces, classifieds, affiliate directories and networks to see what is selling, and keep an eye on trends and news worthy stories they can give you an insight into what is popular.
When you have found your hungry niche market you need to choose a product that meets their needs. Once again search the affiliate marketplaces and networks, such as Clickbank, Amazon, Commission Junction etc to find a suitable product.
The next step is probably the most important, as it is the main link between you and turning a visitor into a purchasing customer. & that step is the creation of your sales page. Many vendors provide sales pages, banners, email and blog text when you join their program, but in some instances you will have to create a squeeze page (a page a visitor sees before going to the main vendor sales page) because certain search engines do not accept affiliate sale pages on their paid advertising sites.
Now, you could hire a professional copywriter to create your sales page but this can be expensive. Alternatively you could write it yourself, a cheaper proposition! Just remember when you are writing your sales page that you must cater to the visitor's needs. So when reviewing the sales page ask yourself the question, is it giving the visitor what he/she wants? This is crucial because when a visitor visits your site he/she wants to know what's in it for me. If this is the only point you remember you will write a great sales page!
Another tip to writing a great sales page is to add value. By this I mean give your visitor an extra reason to purchase. Give aways, freebies, buy one get another free, are all methods you can incorporate into your sales page. Everyone loves to get more for what they are paying for!
Finally, once you have promoted and sold your product/service ensure that you have other products you can sell to the niche market. These other products are known as back-end products. Products you can offer to your niche audience. Do you see? You have a niche market to whom you have already sold a product to, so you know that they have an interest in the niche market you are promoting, therefore it is more than likely they will purchase related products from you, and produce more sales!
I trust that the above will be of assistance to you in setting up and running an affiliate marketing business.