Every day I get emails from new readers of the blog and people from all around the world that want to start making money online. The funny thing about affiliate marketing is that 99% of people will have no idea what you are talking about if you mention it in everyday life, yet it’s a completely legitimate business model and not a shady MLM or fly-by-night scam that you will see all over the internet.
Affiliate marketing is real and while it may have gotten more shady in the past few years, it’s still a great way to make a few dollars on the side and if you have the time and dedication to make it work — it can definitely become a full time source of income.
Getting back to the emails that I receive on a daily basis, everyone wants to know how to make money online but many don’t know where to start.
Here’s what you need to know right off the bat.
- Affiliate marketing isn’t going to make you rich over night, and you will likely lose money in your first several campaigns
- Don’t fall in love with the online success stories, for everyone you hear there are 100 failures no one talks about
- You need a real business plan and just because we are on the internet you shouldn’t treat this as anything else
- The secret to success in the world of online marketing is eating, sleeping and living it… nothing short will work
Now that we’ve shattered your dreams of becoming a millionaire in the next few weeks, we can get down to business. Below I’ve listed some of the best ways for someone to first get started in affiliate marketing. You can join any of my recommended networks and use them to find offers to promote, but the most important thing is that you master your traffic source and how to improve conversions and profits during the course of your ad campaigns.
When it comes to recommending traffic sources and new methods for people to start making money online, I like to start with Facebook Ads for many reasons. The first is that so many people are already members of Facebook, so it’s likely something they can relate to.
Once you sign up for Facebook Ads and start to realize the power that lies within their self-serve advertising platform, there is no reason why you shouldn’t find success. Using this platform you will immediately have access to over a billion FB users, which can all be targeted based on your specified interested, demographics and locations. You also have the ability to upload a ton of different images and ad copy to see which performs best.
There is definitely a learning curve for Facebook Ads and you can blow through a ton of money if you aren’t care. Start with a low daily spend limit in the $5-$10 range, this will allow you to get a feel for how the system works as your build out your first campaigns.
Pay Per Click
Everyone uses Google, but what’s more important is what people are searching for. Millions of searches happen every day in the search results and you get your web site, blog or landing page to appear right at the top of the search results by creating pay per click ad campaigns. All of the major search engines bring in the majority of their content through ppc marketing and you can create ad campaigns that appear in Google, Yahoo, Bing and a few other smaller search engines such as 7Search.
Pay per click marketing is all about delivering the best results for search users and giving them exactly what they want. If someone is searching for “how to jump higher” and you have a web site or guide on this topic, there is a good chance the user will click on your ad and might even make a purchase through your site.
When you sign up for an advertiser account with any of the top search engines you will be able to create ad campaigns based on the keywords you want your ads to appear for. You can create text or imaged based ad campaign, along with targeting your traffic on geographic location and other setting.
The more competitive the keyword you are paying to rank for, the more expensive the cost. So keywords such as “home mortgage” or “new york city lawyer” could cost several dollars per click, some in the $20+ range per click. Google also puts values and considerations on your site or landing page which may also affect your ad pricing.
There is quite a learning curve for pay per click marketing, but it can also be a fun and very rewarding process if you put in the time and effort.
I often talk about the value that a good blog can do for your personal brand or even starting up a new business of your own — heck, I even just wrote a complete 7 day startup series on the topic. Besides the extremely low startup costs ($10/yr for a domain + $7/mth for hosting), a blog will allow you to focus on what you know, are good at and allow you to work at your own pace while also building up content over time.
In terms of making money with blogging, you will also need to build out a business plan before you just start writing. The concept of a “blog” isn’t just about writing on what you like, it’s more about creating content that will relate with your audience and get them to engage. A blog can be anything from a hobby, an e-commerce store, a resource or review site and so much more. Some of the largest sites in the world, such as TechCrunch and HuffingtonPost are running off the free WordPress blogging platform and have sold for mega millions of dollars.
As you progress with your blog you can start to implement banner advertising, affiliate marketing, in-content links that lead to affiliate sales, creating your own products/services and so much more. It’s also important to note that blogging can be one of the slowest methods for making money online, but it’s also considered one of the lowest startup costs as well.
Choosing Your Affiliate Marketing Plan of Attack
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how you should make money online, it’s more about preference and what you are best at. I’ve been making money online for 18 years and I’ve used all three of the methods above for several years, while jumping from one to another. Affiliate marketing is here to stay and you need to create a business that can adapt with it. The good news is that social networks (Facebook Ads), search engines (Pay Per Click) and content generation (Blogging) are all also here to stay.
If you are just starting your online marketing journey, be sure to pick one of the methods above and don’t blow through your budget (create daily spending limits). Creating campaigns and making them profitable takes time. Try the three methods listed and see which works best for you. You are almost guaranteed to lose money in the beginning, but consider it an investment in your future and business experience. Don’t buy training products or guides, just get started and learn from your hands on experience.