When you just get started with affiliate marketing, everything seems too easy. You just throw out your affiliate link everywhere you can, and people start buying, right? After all, you are sending them to a great sales page with brilliant sales copy, which “does all the hard work”, right?
(well, that IS what it said on the affiliate signup page…)
It’s not quite as simple as that – and there are a few reasons for that:
1. The internet is becoming more and more crowded, with every guy and his dog, his cat and his pet mouse trying to be heard among all the noise.
2. Internet users have more offers in their faces, and more options to buy things in different places every day. In fact, it’s not a matter of “where do I buy this” any more – it’s now a question of “who do I buy this from?”
3. As a result of the noise and the abundance of choice, people have become picky abou who they do business with. They prefer to do business with people they can relate to, or with people who appear to hold the same values as they do.
Of course, the fact that there are so many scammers, and also many rubbish, useless products out there, doesn’t make it any easier…
So where does that leave YOU?
Firstly, it means that you are going to have to put in a bit more work before you start making sales. However, once you do, you’ll be way ahead of the pack (because most people just don’t go the extra mile), and it’ll be well worth the effort.
Secondly, it means that you’ll have to create a “visible” presence on the web. People buy from people. Yes, you can (and should) use automation to an extent, but if your audience doesn’t perceive you as a real person, they can’t relate to you – and won’t have any reason to buy from you.
Fortunately, it’s not rocket science. Yes, there are some things you may need to learn (depending on your existing level of online experience), and there will always be more you may want to learn in order to improve. However, getting to the point where you start seeing results isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
Here’s what you’ll need to establish an online presence:
1. You will need a website or a blog (you can build either or both on the same platform). You need this as a “base of operations” – if we may call it that. Wherever you go with your internet marketing career, and whatever you do to generate visitors, should ideally all lead back to your blog or website.
If you do that, all the promotion you do to get visitors to your blog/site will compound over time, regardless of what you choose to promote at any given time.
2. On that website or blog, you will need to offer people a reason to visit it – so ideally you should offer some information which will be of value to visitors. And don’t worry; it’s a lot easier than it sounds. In fact, there are a number of ways in which you can easily create quality content – but more about that in the future.
3. On your site or blog, be sure to present yourself as a real person, with a proper “about me” page. Don’t worry if you still lack experience and credibility at the start – just put yourself down as an internet marketing enthusiast. The information you put out will resonate with some people, and some of those will become your customers.
4. You will need to have a social presence. Many people make the mistake of “trying to be everywhere”, and eventually they find they lack the time to maintain social activity on all of the social platforms. Yes, by all means, try them all to see which one or two works best for you. When you start focusing on whichever one works best for you, simply put up a notification on the rest saying that you spend most of your time on “platform X” (whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr or whatever), and ask people to join you there instead.
However, wherever you create a profile, ad as much information to it as you can, and be sure to include a link back to your blog or website – even if it’s just a text (not a clickable) link.
Lastly, once you decided to run with one platform, make a point of studying the most recent promotional techniques relating to it. That will allow you to not only adapt to changes (in the platform and user behavior) as they occur, but also allow you to systematically improve your results.
5. You will need to be consistent. This is the deal breaker for most people (who fail to make money online). Whatever you decide to do online, try to do it consistently – both in terms of the time and effort, and in terms of the quality of what you put out there. Consistency builds trust. Consistent visibility builds trust – big corporations call it “branding”. If you continue to brand yourself online, it won’t matter what you are selling – people will be buying from YOU because it’s you making the offer.
Personally, I prefer to use a blog as my base of operations. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that it’s dynamic, Google loves blogs, it’s a conversational (and thus more personal) medium, plus I can do a boatload of different things to it using plugins for specific functionalities.
And yes, being consistent can be a pain if you work at a job with irregular hours, or frequent unexpected overtime demands. But then again, on a blog you can add a blog post in advance – and just set the publishing date for whenever you want it to go live. If you have two or more posts written in advance, you can (to an extent) absorb the disruption to your schedule.