In this episode, I give an overview of the critical steps in affiliate marketing:  finding a niche, building a website, creating content, getting traffic, and growing your business.

In the last three episodes of the Internet Marketing Minute we’ve talked about affiliate marketing. First we talked about what it is in Episode 5. Then we talked about why I almost always recommend that people start with affiliate marketing when they’re trying to start an online business. Then in Episode 7 we talked about the successful affiliate marketing mindset, about the fact that it can’t be all about the money and you really have to add value. We also talked about the need to be patient with affiliate marketing.

That has gotten us to the point where we might actually be ready to do something. The question people always have is, “What do I do? What does this business look like? What are the steps I need to take?” In this episode I’ll outline the five major steps of affiliate marketing in an overview fashion so you can get a big picture, a lay of the land. I call it the affiliate marketing overview.

Of course, if you are going to be an affiliate marketer and you’re going to market something, you need to decide what that something is. In affiliate marketing parlance we call that finding a niche. Typically what I recommend to people is, at least for their very first site, they pick something that they care enough about to stick to.

There are lots of other criteria. The thing that you decide to market needs to be something that you can make profitable, there needs to be affiliate offers in the space, there needs to be commercial viability. There are lots of things to consider, but the bottom line is you need to pick what it is that you’re going to try and market.

The second thing that we talk about is that you’re going to need a website to place your content on where you’re actually marketing this product. Sure, there are lots of other ways to do affiliate marketing. You can buy pay-per-click ads that go directly to the product. You can place your content on Facebook or Twitter, or on web 2.0 properties.

What I recommend is that you build a website and that you place helpful content on that website about this product that you’ve decided to market. If you do it on your own website then you control that content and there are lots of advantages of actually having your own website. So the first thing you have to do is build one.

Once you’ve built a website you have to add absolutely fantastic killer content that really helps people decide what products to buy and, as I mentioned before, in some cases what products not to buy because sometimes that’s even more valuable to your visitors.

After you’ve done that, you’re going to need to get traffic. We have to get people to this website. We do this by promoting the website, by working on search engine optimization. That is by optimizing the site so that Google will rank your site high in the search engines so that when people are searching for the topic that you talk about they’ll actually find your website, and when they land there they’ll find great information which will include product recommendations, and that will convert to sales.

Finally, once you have traffic we start working on ways of growing the business. Usually this means something like capturing leads, building an email list, and adding additional products and content to grow both the organic traffic and the retention rates that you enjoy. Sometimes we also add social media profiles at this point. It just depends on exactly where we want to go with the business.

Those are the fundamental pieces. It’s not that hard. You decide what you want to do, and there is some criteria for that, you build a website around that, including awesome content, you go get traffic, and usually that involves some sort of search engine optimization, and then you build on that and grow that business. Once you do that, you’ve built your first affiliate website, you’ll make your first dollar, and you’re off to the races.

Until next time, I hope you have a fantastic day.

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