We've already established that becoming an affiliate is one of the best methods for making money online.
And since seasoned marketers have already established a winning and highly lucrative formula for online financial success, it's the perfect method to follow. Even for beginners.
That's assuming you can implement all the steps involved. They're not extremely difficult, but you do have to learn how to properly perform each one in order to generate substantial income.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start by simply covering each of the five steps.
Step 1 - A Profitable Niche
There's actually two parts to this particular step. Here's the first one...
Every successful affiliate campaign begins with a profitable niche. Basically, you need to find a very specific topic of interest that has the potential to bring in unlimited sales.
While there are countless possibilities, it's always a good idea to start with top selling industries.
money and business
health and wellness
sports and fitness
dating and relationships
There's no question billions of dollars are generated by any one of these. So they're definitely prime candidates when it comes to finding a profitable niche.
Start by choosing one where you have a solid interest. That alone makes it easier to maintain a higher level of commitment and value.
Next, drill down into that category and locate a more specialized area of interest. For example, let's go with sports and fitness.
A more targeted niche would be golf. But that's still much too generalized. So you need to go even farther.
For this example, our final niche is going to be golf swings and how to improve them.
Which leads us to the second part of this step. Choosing a product to sell within that particular niche.
Since we're talking affiliate income, there are two choices. Physical products or digital products.
The best way to determine which product is right is by looking at your chosen niche. In our example, we feel the best product would be an ebook or set of videos that can help a golfer improve their swing.
Open a free account with each of them and then refer to their respective marketplace to find the best product.
Step 2 - Creating A Free Report
Once you've chosen a niche and a product to sell, you need to create a free report.
What you want this report to include is valuable information that solves a problem directly related to the product you're selling.
Let's say you're promoting an ebook that shows golfers how to correct bad swings (like hooks and slices). You could create a report entitled "Top 10 Reasons Golfers Never Improve Their Handicap".
It's information that would certainly be valuable to any golfer. And more importantly, it's directly related to the product you're selling.
Most likely, creating this type of report is going to be the most difficult part of being a highly successful affiliate.
Some will lead you to believe there are viable shortcuts like using PLR content and then revising it to meet your needs.
Obviously, none of those people have ever tried to rewrite something. It's ten times harder than starting from scratch.
So here's the deal...
Either take the time to write a quality report yourself. Or hire someone else to do it for you.
That's it. Those are the only two options you should consider.
Why? Because you're guaranteed to wind up with a report that's totally unique. No one else - no other affiliate - can offer the same report or the same value.
When it comes to being creative, this is by far at the very top of the list. Offer people something they can't get anywhere else.
Now the question is, why the heck should you even do this? Well, it's simply because you need something of quality to offer people as an incentive.
Again, something that no other affiliate can offer.
Although some affiliates would simply offer it as a bonus for purchasing the product they're promoting, that doesn't give you the most bang for your effort.
Instead, you should give prospective buyers the report for free in exchange for their name and email address.
Now you have the opportunity to follow up with these individuals. Not only to make a sale, but to cultivate a list of hungry buyers that you can promote to over and over again.
Which brings us to the next step. Getting those names and email addresses.
Step 3 - Create A Squeeze Page
A squeeze page is simply the place you send people to get them to perform a specific action.
In this money-making formula, the action you want them to take is to sign up for your mailing list.
The reason we're doing that instead of sending them to your affiliate link is simple. People most often need to be coaxed into buying something.
By getting their name and email address, you have the opportunity to build a relationship that will ultimately convert to making a sale.
And in order to get them to turn over their personal information, you have to be highly creative.
The truth is, some squeeze pages convert well and others don't. But the only thing we're going to concentrate on is how to make them convert.
That requires the following components...
an attractive form where they can input their name and email address
a short but powerful headline that instantly grabs their attention
a compelling sub-headline that makes them want to read the rest of the copy
an engaging image that represents the free offer they get for signing up
one or two paragraphs of extremely compelling copy that shows them what they get
a strong call to action ("Get this report and start making money online within 24 hours!")
an alternative choice ("No thanks, I'd rather be stuck in a lousy job the rest of my life.")
Although you're not using the squeeze page to directly promote your affiliate product, you can introduce them to that product using a more subtle approach.
Once viewers click the submit button, they'll be taken to a page that thanks them for signing up for your mailing list.
While you could just leave it at that, you would be missing out on a great opportunity. And that would be introducing the viewer to your actual product offer.
Keep in mind, however, that any mention of the product you're promoting at this point needs to be subtle. Kind of an "Oh, by the way..." sort of thing.
If you get all up in their face at this stage of the process, you could very well loose them as a customer altogether.
So you should definitely include mention of the product you're promoting, just don't do it from any sales position.
The important thing is to simply give them a quick introduction to the product. And of course, make sure it's tagged with your affiliate link.
People who sign up for your mailing list are already pre-qualified as prospective buyers (they requested a report directly related to that product). That means there's a good possibility they'll also make a purchase at that time.
But even if they don't, it's still a good opportunity to casually show them the product. Then, when they receive follow-up messages, they'll already be familiar with the offer.
Of course, the follow-up messages should always be based on helping them with whatever topic was included in the free report.
You could do things like...
expand on information included in the report
provide new tips, suggestions, and resources
encourage them to contact you with any questions they might have
As long as you focus on providing help and information, you can mention your product without sounding like it's a blatant sales attempt.
Naturally, selling your affiliate product is your primary objective. But you need to concentrate on providing assistance first and make your sales pitch secondary.
The main purpose of a mailing list should always be to establish a relationship of trust and authority. Once you've accomplished that, you'll have a solid source of income.
Step 4 - Set Up An Autoresponder
Now that you have names and email addresses, you need to actually follow up with these individuals.
You can do that manually one email at a time but that's definitely not very time efficient. Especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of names on your list.
An autoresponder, which can be set up to send scheduled messages at timed intervals (daily, weekly, monthly) is always the best route to take.
This capability comes in two forms...
an online service for which you'll pay a monthly fee
an autoresponder script which you purchase outright and then install on your own web server (where your website is hosted)
There are pros and cons to each choice so you'll need to check both of them out and see which one works best for you.
But regardless of which autoresponder route you take, the process is the same...
Create a series of messages that can be automatically sent to individuals after they sign up for your mailing list.
For example, they would naturally receive a message immediately following the signup. After that, they could receive a message each day for a week or two.
And even though you've already introduced them to your product on the thank-you page, there's no reason not to mention it in the emails they receive.
Mind you, this is not the time to do any hard-core selling. In fact, this series of messages should never have sales as it's first objective.
All of these messages should be related to the content of the free report and be helpful in nature. Mention of the product you're promoting should be secondary.
And that brings us to the most challenging step of all.
Step 5 - Drive Traffic To Your Squeeze Page
We've already established that driving traffic directly to your affiliate product URL is never the best option.
Although there are many reasons this doesn't work well, the primary reason is that it won't allow you to build a mailing list of prospective buyers.
And since that's what your squeeze page is set up to do, that's the page you should always send people to when marketing or promoting.
That being said, the only thing left to cover is exactly how you'll get traffic to that squeeze page.
You have three options.
pay for traffic
arrange free traffic
combine the two
Paying for traffic can be a really effective method. The only problem is, you really have to know what you're doing or it could cost you a lot more than what you can earn.
If you feel confident about going that route, you've got two primary choices.
Google AdWords isn't for the faint of heart but once you master the process, the reward can be quite good.
Same thing applies to paid solo ads. Find individuals who...
have a solid mailing list that's comprised of the same audience you're targeting
offer paid sponsor ads that can be sent to their mailing list subscribers
Promote the free report and send them to your squeeze page. This alone can result in gaining a large number of extremely valuable names and email addresses.
Of course, there are other paid methods you can use, but these are two that can get the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Arranging free traffic might seem like the best choice but it does require a good deal of time and effort in order to get good results.
The choices, however, are pretty much endless...
write keyword rich articles and publish them on your website, submit them to online directories, and offer them as free content to blog and newsletter owners with the same audience you're targeting
frequent forums for your chosen niche and then provide as much valuable information as possible to other forum members
take advantage of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other venues that allow you to interact with your target audience
post relevant and informative comments and offer to write guest posts to as many niche-related blogs that attract and cater to the same individuals you're targeting
create short YouTube videos on topics that are related to your niche and use those videos to promote your free report
Although most free traffic methods take a good deal of time to implement, their long-term benefit is second to none.
Whether it's forums, social media, videos, or keyword-rich articles and web page content, once your information is out there, it's there for an indefinite amount of time.
Basically, you do the work once and it continues to reap rewards well into the future.
Of course, if you can do both, pay for traffic and set up organic methods through SEO (search engine optimization), you'll have an unbeatable combination.
paying for traffic is perfect for getting things kick-started (that initial surge of traffic)
free methods will provide the constant flow that's necessary to sustain long-term results
Now that you know the 5 steps to make money online, all you need to do is implement them one at a time.