Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Before I talk about some of the methods for making money online, I wanted to address the role of pain versus pleasure. Every decision that we make in life is weighed on a pain-versus-pleasure scale. We will always do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure, plain and simple. However, this is also what holds us back from succeeding in any endeavor.
There absolutely is still room for new affiliates, because there are always new products to promote and new audiences to reach. The internet is a vast place with infinite verticals to work in, so instead of just focusing on the biggest affiliate programs in a specific industry I recommend using that one as well as others (and Amazon!) to round out your affiliate offers and thus your revenue.
Your customers, prospects, and partners are the lifeblood of of your business. You need to build your marketing strategy around them. Step 1 of marketing is understanding what your customers want, which can be challenging when you’re dealing with such a diverse audience. This chapter will walk you through (1) the process of building personal connections at scale and (2) crafting customer value propositions that funnel back to ROI for your company.
After your site has been built out, creating a social media presence is the best second step for most businesses. All businesses should have a Facebook Page that’s fully fleshed out with plenty of information about your business. Depending on your audience, you can also start a Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account. Social media is a long-term commitment that requires frequently updating and monitoring, but it’s one of the best ways to build an online community around your business.
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?
Under Armour came up with the hashtag “I Will What I Want” to encourage powerful athletic women to achieve their dreams despite any opposition they might face. The hashtag, first used by American Ballet Theatre ballerina soloist Misty Copeland, blew up on Facebook after supermodel Gisele Bündchen used it in one of her Facebook posts. Many other female athletes have also used the hashtag.
Starting a podcast, like making a YouTube channel or blog, comes down to telling interesting stories and building an engaged audience. I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but you need a niche that you’re interested in and there’s already a demand for. Come up with a list of topics you’d like to talk about and then search iTunes charts, Google Trends and other podcast research sites like cast.market to see what’s currently out there and popular.
An e-commerce merchant that wants to be able to reach a wider base of internet users and shoppers may hire an affiliate. An affiliate could be the owner of multiple websites or email marketing lists; therefore, the more websites or email lists that an affiliate has, the wider his network. The affiliate that has been hired would then communicate and promote the products offered on the ecommerce platform to his network. The affiliate does this by implementing banner ads, text ads and/or links on their multiple owned websites or via email to their clientele. Advertisement could be in the form of articles, videos, images, etc., which are used to draw an audience’s attention to a service or product.
Using an omni-channel strategy is becoming increasingly important for enterprises who must adapt to the changing expectations of consumers who want ever-more sophisticated offerings throughout the purchasing journey. Retailers are increasingly focusing on their online presence, including online shops that operate alongside existing store-based outlets. The "endless aisle" within the retail space can lead consumers to purchase products online that fit their needs while retailers do not have to carry the inventory within the physical location of the store. Solely Internet-based retailers are also entering the market; some are establishing corresponding store-based outlets to provide personal services, professional help, and tangible experiences with their products.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
Justine has managed affiliate programs for companies such as Shopify and Freshbooks. She is able to give this course a fresh prospective - from that of an affiliate manager! This is an amazing bonus that will show you how to always get approved to an affiliate program. She has assessed thousands of applications over the years and there's a lot that goes into the yes/no.
Retargeting is another way that we can close the conversion loop and capitalize on the traffic gained from the overall marketing campaign. Retargeting is a very powerful display advertising tool to keep your brand top of mind and keep them coming back. We track every single touch point up to the ultimate conversions and use that data to make actionable recommendations for further campaign optimization.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.
Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
The most important thing a newcomer to affiliate marketing needs to focus on and learn is *how to generate a large and engaged audience*. Without a large and engaged audience, or the skills to grow that, then affiliate marketing will be completely ineffective. Learn one top-level acquisition channel (partnerships, SEO, whatever) and then learn the middle of the funnel with marketing automation/email marketing to further convert people time and time again to different offers once they are within your network.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.
If you decide to go into affiliate marketing, understand that you will need a lot of very targeted traffic if you want to make any real money. Those affiliate offers also need to provide a high commission amount to you on each sale. You also need to ensure that the returns or chargebacks for those products or services are low. The last thing you want to do is to sell a product or service that provides very little value and gets returned often.
Once you have decided what type of product you are going to sell, you need to decide where to sell them. Selling merchandise on Amazon or eBay aren’t your only options. Creating your own eCommerce store is another way to promote your products and generate sales. Once you have decided what you are going to sell, whether it is white labeled products, your own designs, or other people’s merchandise, you can set up an eCommerce website to display these products.
On one hand, long and ugly affiliate tracking links are a straight giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "nicer" looking will it give a more professional appearance. One of my favorite plugins for making links look "pretty" is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin.
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another.
Here’s a good example of how lead sales can work in real life: My second website, Life Insurance by Jeff, brings in a ton of traffic from people who are searching the web to find answers to life insurance questions. While I used to have the website set up so I could sell these people life insurance myself, it was a lot of work to process all the different requests and clients. As a result, I started selling the leads I gathered instead.