How Affiliate Marketing Works – A Step By Step Guide For Beginners

Looking to make an income online? Got a computer / laptop and an Internet connection? Then Affiliate Marketing could be the simplest and quickest path to fulfilling your dream.

Here, you’ll discover the 6 simple steps that will take you from complete beginner to Affiliate Marketer in as little as 48 hours.

WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing system where a product vendor pays an “affiliate” a commission when someone buys their product. That “someone” having been referred to the vendor by the “affiliate.”

And it all happens online: You have a web presence, usually a website, that you attract like-minded visitors to, where you “warm them up” to the idea that the product you’re promoting (as an affiliate) is the perfect answer to their pressing problem or need.

That “product” could be physical (books, CDs, DVDs, clothing, jewelry, natural medicines, etc.) or digital (e-books, e-reports, software, online courses / trainings, etc.).

When your visitor clicks on your affiliate link (on your site) they are redirected to the vendor’s site, where the vendor will close the sale; a lot easier after you’ve warmed them up! When your site visitor buys the vendor’s product you get paid a commission.

For example, if the product cost $100 and you get, say, 50% commission, you’ll get paid $50! And all for, basically, introducing someone with a pressing problem or need to someone who can fix that problem.

Affiliate marketing is ideal for beginners starting out online as it has a very low barrier to entry: it’s a very simple process that doesn’t need any particular technical skills, you don’t have to have your own product, and it doesn’t cost the earth to get started. In fact, you can get going for less than $20!

And, you don’t have to do selling, or fulfillment, or keep stock, or deal with payment systems, and you don’t have to deal with customers; the vendor does that.

All YOU need is an Internet connection and a computer / laptop and you’re good to go.

AFFILIATE NETWORKS

Because affiliate marketing is so profitable for both affiliate and vendor, over the years many “affiliate networks” have sprung up to help both affiliates and vendors manage their affairs much more efficiently and easily.

Vendors can attract affiliates by advertising their products on these networks and affiliates can easily find products to promote. Once an affiliate decides to promote a certain product the network assigns an affiliate link / ID so that sales of that product can be linked back to the affiliate.

The affiliate network also takes on responsibility for managing the flow of money between vendor and affiliate either by electronic transfer or check. It also charges a small fee to both vendor and affiliate for the service.

There are many affiliate networks to choose from, but a beginner to affiliate marketing can easily get started with “ClickBank” and / or “Amazon.”

GETTING STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

The first step is to decide which niche you wish to operate in. A “niche” is a group of people with very similar interests, e.g. gout sufferers, broken relationships, looking for car insurance, how to make money online, etc. But, of course, it also has to have proven “buyers” in it in order to make money.

So how do you find a profitable niche with lots of profitable products you can promote?

A very quick way to do this is to search affiliate networks for niches that have several products that their stats tell you are selling well. If there are lots of products that are selling well, you now know that the niche is a profitable one, and, the buyers in that niche like those products.

In other words, there’s no second guessing; you know for a fact that you can make money in that niche and you know for a fact which products are successful, unlike if you had to develop your own product!

Once you’re happy with a product, you sign-up as an affiliate for it and are given a unique link that you place on your website. When a visitor clicks on that link they go to the vendor’s sales page where, if they buy, you get paid the commission assigned to that product.

2. Get Your Domain Name

Before you setup your website you need to get a domain name based around your niche. For example, fastgoutcure.com, weightlossforseniors.com. Get the idea? This will become your website “address.”

Two of the most popular domain registrars are “GoDaddy” and “NameCheap.”

3. Get Hosting

Next, you need to get hosting for your website. This is where all your website files will be stored and secured. When someone enters your domain name in their browser they will be directed to your website.

There are very many web hosting companies out there, but you can’t go far wrong as a newbie by going with “HostGator.”

4. Set-Up Your Website

You then need to set-up your website. This needs to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your chosen niche and product. For example, having a website about “arthritis” and trying to promote a product that cures “gout” will neither rank well in the search engines nor make sales.

Although gout and arthritis are linked medically, most people don’t know that, so they’ll be searching for “arthritis” solutions or “gout” solutions and Google will present webpages on their search results that reflect that. So always stay laser-focused!

You need a platform or specialist software to build your website. The most popular platform today by far is “WordPress” which is free. Most good hosting companies like HostGator allow you to select WordPress directly from within your hosting control panel in just a couple of clicks.

5. Add Great Content

There’s a saying in marketing that “content is king!” I like to say that “GREAT content is king!” So the content on your website has to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your niche, such that your site visitors get great value (and know they great value) from it.

For example, if your site is about “gout” you write content about what causes it, its symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, how it’s treated, any natural remedies, any specific diets, lifestyle changes, and so on. Give top tips, some recipes, the latest studies, news, etc. That is, keep adding “value.”

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

Now, you can have the best website in the world, the best product(s) to promote that will definitely, absolutely, help your target audience; but, if nobody ever lands on your site, you might as well not have bothered!

So getting visitors (called “traffic” in Internet marketing) to your website is absolutely critical to your success and to helping all those people who are desperately searching for a solution to their problem.

There’s basically two ways to get traffic; “pay for it” or “get it free.”

Paid traffic is things like advertising on other niche websites, Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. You can also pay people who have large email lists in the same niche as you to send out a promotional email of yours to their list.

But paying for traffic may not be the best option when starting out because you really need to know what you are doing because it’s very easy to get “burnt” when you don’t.

Free traffic comes from things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the art of getting your website on page 1 of Google, Bing, and other search engines.

You can also get tons of free traffic from posting great content (with links back to your site) on Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. When people click on your link they end up on your website.

You can produce simple, short, YouTube videos that can drive traffic to your site via your site link in the video description.

One very popular way to drive free traffic to your site is to post comments on blogs and forums in the same or similar niche to you.

Another very simple way to get free traffic is by publishing short articles in Article Directories such as EzineArticles. The article you’re reading right now is an example of this technique.

This also has the added benefit that other website owners in your niche are allowed to copy and publish your article on their sites, but they must leave your website link intact so that you can get free traffic from THEIR site too!

So, here’s your affiliate marketing checklist:

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

2. Get Your Domain Name

3. Get Hosting

4. Set-Up Your Website

5. Add Great Content

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

If you’re a beginner to affiliate marketing don’t be overawed by all this; it really is very easy to get going. Anybody, and I mean anybody, who has an Internet connection and a computer or laptop can be up and running, ready to start taking commissions, in as little as 48 hours. And all without any previous experience.

A Craft Industry Analysis

The Craft and Hobby Association in 2011, released results of research into the U.S. Craft and Hobby Industry. You may be surprised to learn that the craft and hobbyist’s contribution towards this industries net worth is approximately $29 billion, double the $14 billion first reported by Craft Organization Directors Association (CODA) in 2001. A surprising figure to emerge from this research (even to us avid craft enthusiasts) is that over half of U.S. households acknowledged engaging in a craft activity at least once per year.

When we unpack that $29 billion net worth figure we get a clearer picture of who it is that loves their hobby. Woodworking was the front runners in the top 10 craft sectors by spend, coming in at $3.32 billion with 16.8 million individuals engaging in this activity. I myself have some lovely bookends purchased at a local Sunday market that have clearly been lovingly produced by one such woodworker.

Since the internet revolution every industry engages in analytics and who wouldn’t want to have a picture of their client base so savvy marketing campaigns can bring a little more of that dollar value into the business. And what an impressive dollar value it is. The artists among us, thought to be 21.1 million households, spent $2.6 billion on our passion. The jewelry making and beading craft accounted for $2.3 billion with 14.7 million people crafting earrings, necklaces, bracelets and broaches etc. Over 18 million households engaged in Scrapbooking and other paper crafts spending $3.3 billion preserving family memories and turning photos into family heirlooms. The crocheting hobby injected $1.062 billion into the industry via 17.4 million strong crochet fans. That’s a lot of towels getting topped.

Crafting wreaths, historically a symbol of strength, and in Christianity a celebration of the festive season, made it into one of the top 10 favorite craft activities with 11.6 million engaging in this activity. This is not a once a year only at Christmas craft as wreaths are also used as wedding headdress in many different cultures. Incidentally, wedding crafts injected $803 million into the U.S. craft economy.

With speculation that the global financial crisis is responsible for providing this boost for the craft industry Hobby Lobby’s Eileen Liffick attributed an increase of people attending craft shops or online craft sites looking for ways to create craft for their families without spending a lot of money due to the current economic conditions. Ms Liffick says that “not only are people saving money, they’re making it. We have many people selling these items making extra money”.

What was previously a much loved hobby is now a means of saving the family money. “People are looking to create something special, something homemade. They want to help others save money, while making a little extra for themself”. The fabric department’s business has at least doubled in the last three years because of the economy with people trending back to earlier times, making homemade items for themselves, as a gift, or for a fun family activity. Industry concentration has increased over the five years to 2011, as large national retailers take market share from small independent operators.

Despite the impact of large scale business successful craft businesses are popping up everywhere seeking to share in the crafting industries net worth of $29 million. Crafting is a convenient work from home business and respected cottage industry. Approximately 81.2% of total craft industry operators in Canada are estimated to be businesses without paid-employees (non-employers) in 2011.

It’s now easier than ever to publicize your business and get recognition without spending a fortune doing so using a variety of free and low cost tools and resources from marketing on the internet to craft shows and everything in between.

Craft shows bring resources and new techniques to the end user providing an unequalled opportunity to present craft and hobby ideas and products and services to this cashed up audience. The hobby and craft association reported attendee registration at one particular craft show up 40%. In the “buyer” category alone registration was up 48% for this same show planned for 2012 in Anaheim.

Craft Pavilions showcase what’s new in crafts reaching craft and hobby enthusiasts far and wide. Stall holders sell products in a popular, vibrant market place that attracts tens of thousands over the course of the event. The bonus to the community is far reaching as these tens of thousands of attendees require accommodation and spend money on food and drinks in the vicinity of the event.

Peartree Solutions produced a report on the profile of the Canadian craft industry (2003) highlighting that Canadian craft, recognized internationally for its quality and distinctive character, was at the time considered to be a growing and vibrant collection of individual craft persons, studios, enterprises, media guilds, public and private galleries, retail and wholesale shows, and organizations. The industry in 2001 had generated $727 million in economic activity which including over $100 million in exports.

At the time of this research there were approximately 14,048 craft studios operating in Canada, where 22,597 people were employed. Ten per cent of those surveyed had craft revenues in excess of $120,000. The net craft income (or earnings) of full time craft professionals averaged $17,300 in 2001, while the top ten per cent earned net income of $49,000 or more.

Southern hemisphere crafters are every bit as enthusiastic about their hobby. Australia has less than one fifth of the population of U.S. however managed to spend an estimated $250 million on art and craft materials in 2009-2010. These figures are not a true representation of the Australian craft industry however as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) define a hobby as an activity that was undertaken only for oneself or for family or friends, that is, the output was not for general consumption. If the item produced was to sell, then this would be considered a work involvement and not measured in the hobby category. The ABS survey showed that in 2007 there were 2.1 million people aged 15 years and over in Australia who were involved in Art and craft as a hobby activity.

Craft exhibitions, craft festivals, craft shows are an unequalled opportunity for crafters and retailers alike to show case their wares. “Handarbeit & Hobby” Exhibition (Cologne, Germany) was held in 2009. Thought to be the largest European exhibition of manufacturers of the goods for needlework and creativity, the exhibition attracted more than 200 craft product companies. Many companies from Mexico, Japan, Australia, the USA and other countries saw the financial benefits of crossing the globe to present their products and shore up a slice of the lucrative European craft market.

Prize money from craft competitions can be quite lucrative for the hobbyist. A winner of an award for embroidery in 2009 beat the pool of 24 finalists from 24 countries selected from 330 applicants to take home $10 000. Craft enthusiasts can compete with the best by entering craft competitions. A European quilting championship has been held annually, since competition commenced in 2002. Masters and designers of ceramics and porcelain from Canada, Russia, Spain and other countries were among the last biennale visitors to the British Ceramic biennale festival in 2009. A mosaic technique summit was organized by the Society of the American Mosaic Artists and coincided with 10th anniversary of this Society.

In a news release issued on April 14 2011, CHA Member Northridge Publishing (PROVO, Utah) announced the launch of a new craft industry trade publication “Creative Retailer,” The publication aims to provide retailers the very best in industry information and product awareness and canvas a wide variety of topics, provide project ideas and discuss solutions for common retail problems for craft retailers. The craft industry hopes that the introduction of a new trade publication is a signal that the industry has a positive future for retailers and craft enthusiast alike.

As former partners of Scrapbook Premier, Inc. and Scrapbook Business Magazine, Torrie and Kevin of Northridge Publishing will provide leading-edge programs and media support that will strengthen business practices for both vendor, manufacturers and retailers. Brian Kunz, founder and president of Northridge Publishing stated ‘”they are striving to expand the industry by building greater awareness to their many subscribers” (hundreds of new readers every month).

Craft industry statistics clearly show that with over half of U.S. households engaging in a craft activity, many, many people experience that unequaled feeling of satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful. Nothing is as self-soothing as those stolen hours immersed in the craft you adore.

How to Turn $50 Into $5,000 in 30 Days

A critical first step in making more money is to determine your reason(s) for making the extra money. It could be that you want to make enough money for a down payment on a new car. I heard that Mercedes has a new offer on the stylish S-Class series. Maybe you want to take a well deserved vacation. The average vacation cost is $4,580 according to cnsnews.com. Perhaps you want to save up for a wedding. Weddings, by the way, are going for a whopping $28,400 on average according to money.ccn.com. It might be that your children are bugging you to create or add money to their education fund. Education costs are skyrocketing. College costs have surged 500% in the U.S. since 1985 according to Bloomberg.com. The reason could be debt related. The average credit card debt per adult in the U.S. is $4,878. The money you make could be used to pay off your credit card debt, or pay off medical bills. Medical bills incidentally, are the biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. according to cnbc.com.

It’s critical to write down your reason(s) now. Please get a pen and paper and do so before continuing.

Next Steps -

  • Establish your goal. A goal is a desired result a person, plans and commits to achieve a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. A goal is something you put in writing with a specific amount our outcome and a specific time frame or deadline. Your goal could be to earn $5,000 within 30 days as an example. Or it could be to earn $50,000 within 3 months. It’s your goal.
  • Define the objective. Objectives are closely related to goals. And the two terms are often used synonymously. But goals and objectives are different. Objectives are specific and measureable milestones that must be achieved in order to reach a goal. In this example, your objective is to find people who are interested in buying products and/or services and sell them those products and/or services at a price they can afford.
  • Create a strategy. With your goal and objective established and in writing, you can now proceed to the strategy. A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve your objective and goal. The strategy is a high-level written statement of the methods you will use to reach your goal. In this example, your strategy will be to use affiliate marketing opportunities to and a blog to bring buyers and sellers together. When a sale is made, you will earn a commission.
  • Develop your tactics. Tactics are specific actions required to deliver on a strategy. Tactics are what you do, and for every strategy, there are a number of tactics. You will be using several marketing techniques in order to attract buyers to your blog. Social media marketing, article marketing, video marketing and other techniques will be utilized.

What is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts according to Wikipedia. It’s a function of e-commerce. By the way, total e-commerce spending in the United States will hit approximately $262 billion this year, up 13.4% from $231 billion last year, according to a new projection from Forrester Research Inc. Affiliate marketing is a low-risk, high-return strategy for online marketers. U.S. affiliate marketing spending will reach $4 billion by 2014 and will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from 2009 through 2014 according to Forrester Research Inc. By becoming an affiliate marketer, you are plugging into this exchange of buyers and sellers and you are giving yourself an opportunity to make a lot of money.

Some of the top affiliate marketers are pocketing over $2 million a year. There’s plenty of money to go around but no promises that you’ll make $2 million a year right out of the gate. However, if you are committed to the process, you can make a full time income working part time hours.

Okay, so the next step is to identify the industries you want to help. You may be inclined to decide based on your personal interests. Maybe you’ve read that a particular industry is about to surge. There are many industries that offer affiliate marketing opportunities.

The renewable energy industry may be of interest to you. There are many products that are available online such as solar-powered flash lights. By the way, when is the last time you saw a solar-powered flash light in Wal-Mart or your local sporting goods store? They are incredibly hard to find. Many people who enjoy the outdoors would save a great deal of money on batteries and lantern fuel if they had solar-powered flash lights and lanterns. This is just one example of items that people will gladly buy from your blog.

Another example is personal financial services. Millions of people are struggling with personal debt and need solutions to help them get back on their feet financially. By offering people credit card debt reduction services or mortgage refinance services that they can’t get locally, you are helping them regain control of their life and you will get paid in the process!

Maybe you love to travel or wish you could travel more. Providing travel packages to exotic places may float your boat so to speak.

Provide health-related products/and or services to millions of people who are searching for ways to lose weight and live a more active lifestyle. There are many options to choose from and many ways to make money as an affiliate marketer in most industries.

The next step is to create a blog so you can inform people of the products and/or services that will improve their lives. There are many companies that offer free blog space or you can purchase blog space. It depends on your budget and your technical skills. Spend a day or two learning how to create a blog and how to add blog posts to your blog.

Write a few posts detailing information about your industry and the products and/or services that will soon be available on your blog. Make sure your content is informative and interesting. The last thing your visitors will want to read are blatant advertisements.

Next, apply to become an affiliate marketer for the companies in your industry. Use Google to locate the providers for the types of products and/or services you have selected to sell and complete their affiliate marketer application. You will get an answer within 48 hours in most cases. Be sure to keep track of which affiliate programs you have applied for and what the outcome is for each application.

You can then begin adding affiliate links to your blog for the products and/or services you wish to sell. Try to balance your blog with content and advertisements. A rule of thumb is to load up your blog with 70% content and 30% advertising. Another piece of advice is to offer products and/or services that will give you a good range of commissions. In other words, include high, medium, and low commissionable items on your blog to give yourself a good mix. You may sell several of each during the course of a day and having the right mix will enable you to reach your income goal.

Now it’s time to market your blog. People will learn about your blog through your marketing efforts. Your marketing plan should include social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others). It should also include articles and e-books as well as SEO (Search Engine Optimized) blog posts.

Write down a list of keywords your niche market will most likely use to search online for the information and items you’re publishing on your blog.

Spend at least an hour each day marketing your blog. Be sure to include the list of keywords you just wrote down for your Twitter searches. Follow people who are industry leaders as well as people who appear to be novices in the industry. By the way, the industry leaders typically have many more followers than novices have.

There are many Twitter tools available which you can use to reduce the time required to build, maintain, and communicate with your Twitter following. Search for Twitter lists related to your industry and create a list for your account.

Use online automation tools for the delivery of your blog posts to your target audience to reduce the amount of time and effort required for tweets.

Include a Facebook Fan page in your marketing plan. Create a Facebook Fan page and add relevant content and photos. Post snippets of your posts on the Fan page to pique the Facebook visitors’ curiosity and encourage them to visit your blog.

Articles and videos should also be used to promote your blog. Ideally, you should write one or two articles each week. You can convert the article to an e-book and even a video after the article has been published. Establish goals for your marketing plan and adjust your efforts until your goals have been reached. I have written other articles as well as blog posts with thorough instructions on writing articles, setting social media marketing plan, conversion goals, and creating an overall online marketing plan as well as other tips and tricks.

Replace low-performing affiliate programs with other programs until the conversion rates are at acceptable levels.

Continue to market, measure, and adjust until you have reached your traffic, conversion, and income goals.

In summary, when you identify the reasons for making more money and you have clearly established a written goal, you can then proceed to creating objectives, strategies, and tactics for reaching your goal. Monitoring your progress on a daily basis and making adjustments, will keep you on track. E-commerce is here to stay and there is a growth surge just before the holiday season but anytime is a great time to get started. Your start-up costs should be around $50 or less depending on the blog service you use and other blog-related items you choose.

The two most important things to remember is you need to align yourself with the people and resources which will provide assistance to you at any point in the process and you need to get started now.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” — Helen Keller

“You may delay, but time will not.” –Benjamin Franklin

Pest Control Services Are Important To Your Business

Clearly homeowners will want to keep their homes free from pests for hygienic reasons. But when it is a business that has an infestation, it is a legal requirement as well. Once a rumour starts that there have been bugs and pests seen in a business, it will start to affect business and this will be even worse if the organisation is involved in food preparation. It is not only when pests are seen at the premises that problems arise, but also if anything gets sent out in a parcel.

Customers do not want to open a can or packet of food and find a carcass in it, nor do they want to open any package and find droppings or body parts. Not only will there be the need to refund and maybe compensate, but could also mean loss of repeat orders and the end of a great reputation. When a license is issued there are lots of commitments that have to be made and if they are not kept the license can be removed. In the worst cases there can also be large fines and even prison sentences.

It also has to be born in mind that many people will be afraid if pests. And it can mean hours of lost working time if people are not able to carry on with their job. Pests will be a major reason for licenses being revoked, and as a result it will be best to get rid of them as soon as possible and normally with the help of pest control experts. Irritating bites can be the least of the worries in some cases depending upon the type of pest that is involved. Serious illness is possible from some, and it is both humans and animals that can be affected.

Some people will think the best thing to do will be to wipe out the pests, but this could cause more problems than it solves. Most of them will play a part in the food chain and nature in general, so control is the best option. It is here that the expertise of pest controllers comes into play, as they will know what to do to solve the problem but not wipe out a species. Once the infestation has been dealt with there is still a role for the pest controller. They will be able to give advice regarding the best way to prevent the problem starting up again.

This will tend to be related to keeping the place clean and tidy, and not providing anything that the pests could survive on. They will take their services a step further and make routine inspections to see if they can find areas were standards have slipped or pests have breached the practices put in place. From time to time there will need to be the repeat of the actions that have prevented access to the pests. There will be no attempt to condemn a client by the company, but simply an attempt to help solve the problem and make sure it does not return.