Affiliate marketing has low entry costs, and as such it’s a natural for many people looking to start home based businesses. And while it’s true that the most effective way to start affiliate marketing, as I teach in my affiliate coaching program, is through setting up niche blogs, one can always start home based businesses for free and build to that point as revenue permits.
So how do you start affiliate marketing without a website or blog? Start by deciding which niche you want to target first. It’s best to start with a topic you know a lot about, but that isn’t strictly necessary. As long as it’s a subject that interests you you can find the info you need online, in books, in magazines, etc. Then do a quick search for those topics and related areas at the major search engines – is there evidence of it being a viable niche? Forget the generic search results – are there paid ads above the results? Plenty of pay-per-click ads down the right side of the first few pages? Pay-per-click is an expensive form of advertising online, so if there are plenty of people using it in those niches you know there’s money to be made in those niches. Don’t guess – check it out!
Once you’ve found good niches that interest you and have a good advertising base online, look for affiliate programs that target those niches. Start at the big directories like ClickBank and LinkShare, then search for your keyword and put ‘affiliate program’ after it, such as ‘waterskiing affiliate program’ or ‘scrapbooking affiliate program’. Find some you like and set up an account. Be aware that some programs require you to already have a web site, so those you’ll have to leave til later. But get your links from those who don’t have that requirement and save them in an easy to find folder on your computer.
Now you start writing articles on the topics of interest within your niche – what we in the biz call article marketing. The articles are written in the third person and are NOT salespitches or salescopy – they’re good, informative articles between 350 and 800 words long. The idea is to give such great info that the people reading your articles will want to click your links at the end of each article to get more information. And because these articles are part of your affiliate marketing process, those links will be YOUR affiliate links. Your article topics don’t have to be advanced – remember that in every niche you have beginners, those with some experience and experts, plus those just starting to enquire about that niche, those whose curiosity is just now leading them to research the field.
Don’t pretend to be an expert – you’ll be setting yourself up for ridicule and lose credibility in the niche if you aren’t really knowledgeable. No one minds an article by someone just sharing information, so there’s no need to pretend to be an expert if it’s not true. Besides, there are few true experts in any niche, so as an affiliate marketer those aren’t your targeted prospects anyway – you’re after the bulk of the market. For broad appeal, aim at the newbies, the middle ground and the fairly curious in your niche.
The idea is to write articles and put your link(s) in the final paragraph, such as: Click to find out more about building your own wine cellar. If that were the product you wanted to promote, your article might have been about how to build a wine cellar, why you should build a wine cellar, 10 things you need when you build a wine cellar, temperature control when building a wine cellar, planning to build your first wine cellar, etc. Notice that each article suggestion revolves around what the product covers – building that wine cellar. That way you attract a very targeted audience that have the greatest likelihood of buying the product. Simply writing about great wines wouldn’t suffice, because too many of your readers would be those in apartments, in condos, those who already have a wine cellar, etc. Plus, the tighter you target the sub-nice the product applies to, the better your chances of good search engine rankings, since you’re no longer competing with everyone in the whole broad niche.
Now you want to get those articles published and have them starting to draw attention from targeted prospects. Your first step is to find those article directories that will let you use affiliate links – many won’t, insisting you can only use links to your own sites or directly to other sites without an affiliate link. To be honest this makes no sense to me – it seems an article directory should be concerned with the content of your articles and ensuring they only link to legitimate sites, not what type of link you use to get people there. And yes, I DO put my money where my mouth is on this point – our own article directory has no issue with you using affiliate links as long as your article has strong, useful content and links to an appropriate site. So start by submitting your article to the Articles-and-Content.com article directory and then as many others as you can find willing to take them, especially any article directories specific to your niche.
But you’re not done yet – there are a LOT of articles on a LOT of directories, and you want yours to stand out. Fortunately most article marketers aren’t pros, and they think that submitting their articles is all they need to do. As both an article marketer AND an affiliate marketer you know that content is 10% of the job – the other 90% is driving traffic to your content – lots of good highly-targeted traffic. Announce each new article as it’s published in the directory, using Twitter, FaceBook, Google Buzz, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. The more you can use these free sites to promote your articles, the greater your following can build – and the greater the chance the search engines will find a link to your article and index it that much quicker for you.
And just as the icing on the cake, as it were, every so often promote your author account at those directories as well. There’s usually a page that lists and links to all of your articles, so that’s the page you want to promote aft6er every 5 or 10 articles you publish.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that article marketing seldom leads to massive, immediate traffic or even quick small sales. It’s an empirical process, with each article bring in another trickle of results, and as in nature trickles combine to streams, streams combine to rivers, etc. Over time you can develop a huge body of work online, all capable of adding to the targeted traffic and thereby to the affiliate marketing commissions stream you’ll receive.
It’s seems a huge task when starting out, but think of it this way… One article a day is over 350 per year, 2 articles a day is over 700 a year, and if your can keep your article marketing efforts to an average of just 3 articles a day you’ll have published over 1,000 articles by one year from today. As article marketing expert Willie Crawford would say, that’s over 1,000 signposts pointing to your links. And as a super-affiliate, I say that’s over 1,000 links pointing to your bank account! 😉
Go. Do. Profit. Prosper. – I’ll see you at http://www.articles-and-content.com!