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Every super-affiliate has a powerful opt-in list they can send their affiliate marketing promotions to. And every other affiliate wants to achieve that same level of affiliate marketing success. So it’s obvious that effective affiliate marketing has to include several successful list-building campaigns, preferably running simultaneously to ring forward the income horizon from your lists.

But full-time affiliate marketers are relatively rare – even most super-affiliates have their own products to market too, or are running membership sites or affiliate coaching and mentoring programs. Some of us are involved in all aspects of the above. And since affiliate marketing is the easiest and least expensive way of starting a business online, the bulk of all affiliate marketers are newbies – some of whom still aren’t even aware that building your targeted opt-in list is one of the cornerstones in the foundation of every successful affiliate marketing business. In an earlier post I refered to affiliates not building a list as The Biggest Affiliate Marketing Mistake Of All, and from the comments left by the affiliates who read the post you’ll see every one of the agrees.

There are a number of ways to build your opt-in list as an affiliate, and you should be using as many of them as your wallet and time availability will allow you to. That doesn’t mean go deep in debt to build your list – there’s no need to. Start with the free resources proven to build lists, then use the money as it comes in to try some of the more expensive methods – but keep your free list-building activities going on throughout, since there’s never a good reason to turn down free targeted traffic or free targeted opt-ins – even at the top of the affiliate marketing game, we still love them all! 🙂

Over the next few days the Captain is going to bring you a number of ways to build your affiliate lists, so be sure to bookmark this blog and return regularly, or better yet subscribe to the Captain Affiliate RSS feed if you have a feed reader you use. Some will be free methods, some will have a price attached – but all are tested and true methods of building your opt-in lists. Use as many of them as you can, and stay with them – you’ll see your lists growing daily and along with them, your affiliate marketing commissions.

For today, the Captain wants to point you to two necessary pieces of software – neither is free, but both are very reliable and powerful. First up is your professional autoresponders – the software that keeps track of the people on your list, and sends them your e-zine or e-course each time. Obviously you can’t send out 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 e-mails in a day manually, so professional autoresponders are a must.

Your choice of autoresponders is critical – avoid the free services like the plague! Either they tack other people’s ads on top of your mailings, like the big places do with their free accounts, or they are small-fry who will eventually go broke and your list will disappear right along with their system. I recommend, the service I use for over 80% of our daily mailing.

Why them? Because they’re the most reasonable of the pro services, and give the most bang for your buck. For about $20 a month you get hosting for up to a dozen small sites (You’ll see why you need this in future list-building posts), unlimited pro autoresponders, and even an affiliate program of your own should you decide to sell your own products later on. And your rate doesn’t rise as your list grows, like it does at the services that only give you the autoresponders.

The second piece of software you need is a way to capture subscribers when you send people to your affiliate links. This software is called the Power List Pro, and it lives up to it’s name… Not only does it give you a number of popups you can use on your own site, but you can use them on other people’s sites too, believe it or not.

Here, let me show you… Here’s a link to one of my friend Liz Tomey’s sites – don’t worry, it opens in a new window. See my opt-in form at the top-right of this blog? Now follow this link and wait a couple of seconds to see what happens – then close that window and c’mon back to read on. Here’s the link: Proof That It Works.

Pretty nifty, eh? So now you can be building your own list each time you promote an affiliate link – how sweet is that? So arm yourself with those two tools – your account and your copy of the Power List Pro software, and play around with both til you get the hang of them.

Tomorrow I’ll start showing you EXACTLY what strategies to use to build tightly-targeted, highly profitable affiliate marketing lists – see you then!

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It is true that as an affiliate marketer, you are not required to have your own website or domain name. You can choose, instead, to market the products and services using your affiliate links and/or replicated affiliate websites. However, you will find as you delve deeper into the world of affiliate marketing that having your own website and/or blog is essential to your success.

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With your own website, you can use your own domain name to promote the products and services, instead of affiliate links. People tend to avoid affiliate links when they see them in ezines and on forums. But they don’t seem to have an aversion to visiting a person’s website or blog.

When you promote affiliate products and services using affiliate links, you can only promote one product or service at a time. This means that in order to make the income you want or need to make, you will be spending all of your time marketing – every free minute you have will be marketing.

However, if you have a website, you can promote the website, and not the products. First, people like free information. Fill your site up with that, and along with the content, throw in banners and links to the related affiliate products and services. It is much easier to promote one website or blog than it is to promote ten or twenty affiliate products or services.

Having your own website and domain, for each niche that you are doing affiliate marketing in, makes you appear more professional, and helps to establish you as an expert. It also gives you the ability to write your own sales copy so that you don’t have to depend on the sales copy provided by the affiliate manager or merchant.

This, in turn, gives you the ability beat your competition – those affiliates who are selling the same products and services that you are selling. You can present the material and the product or service in a way that they can’t unless they have their own website or blog. For the best place we’ve found for hosting an affiliate marketing website or blog, visit Hosting For Marketers.

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Successful Affiliate Marketing Is Not Free!

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While it is true that it doesn’t have to cost anything to be an affiliate marketer, most successful marketers understand that in order to become successful, they must be willing to purchase the tools that are needed for that success. Don’t be alarmed! Affiliate marketing is the least expensive business you can possibly get into.

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There are certain tools that will allow success to come to you a bit easier. The first tool is a domain name. For each niche in which you will market products and services, you need a domain name that relates to that niche. If you are selling cat products, you need a domain name that suits a site about cats. If you are also selling skin care products, you need a domain name that suits skin care information.

You will also need website hosting for each domain name. You can choose to purchase a server that will allow multiple domain names to reside on the same server, which is your cheapest option if you will have a large number of domain names. You can also get webhosting for each individual domain, which may be the least expensive option for fewer domains.

The next most important tool that an affiliate marketer needs is an autoresponder. You need this tool to manage the email list or lists that you will build. It is best to have an autoresponder that will allow you to have multiple lists. There are free autoresponder services available, but you will find that they are not usually worth the price (free), and paying for an autoresponder service is your best bet.

All tolled, your overhead each month should not run over $100, and it should be even less. Domain names are paid for either yearly or every two years. Hosting can be paid for on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis, as can autoresponders. Choose the payment option that saves you the most money, which is usually a yearly payment.

The service that Captain Affiliate uses most, for example, gives you webhosting for up to a dozen sites, unlimited pro autoresponders and even your own affiliate program manager so others can sell your products as affiliates too, all for about $20 a month. Chek out their site if you’re looking for the best hosting for affiliate marketing!

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