What if you could make money online without selling any products or services, without having any inventory, without providing customer support, without worrying about shipping and handling, and credit card processing? That would be a dream right!? Actually, it can be a reality with Affiliate Marketing. I created this “Affiliate Marketing Training Guide for Online Entrepreneurs” to help you learn how to make a passive income online and while sharing helpful resources that your audience will thank you for.
People often ask me suggestions on how they can monetize their blog and website. I always coach them to look into affiliate products that they can promote and refer their audience to. Just in case you are not familiar with what Affiliate Marketing is let me explain…
Affiliate Marketing programs are set up by companies to offer incentives to people who promote or refer their products and services to others. Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance-based marketing.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs:
1. Pay Per Sale: The most common type of affiliate marketing program is known as the “PPS” which is pay-per sale. Every time someone purchases a product or service through your designated affiliate code or link you will get a commission from the sale. Some companies offer upwards to 75% off the commission of the sale.
2. Cost Per Action: Another type of affiliate marketing program offers incentives when a certain action has been taken or converted using your affiliate link. For example, many college websites offer a Cost Per Action incentive for their affiliates. They pay their affiliates anytime someone fills out a questionnaire requesting more information about the college. The company is willing to pay a few hundred dollars for the referral because they know that one student registration could lead to thousands of dollars of tuition that goes to the college.
3. Cost Per Mille: Another type of affiliate marketing program that is often forgotten is the Cost Per Mille method. Businesses pay affiliates commission for driving traffic to their website. For example, a company could offer you a compensation per every 1000 visitors you generate to their website.
As you can see their are many different ways you can make a passive income online with an affiliate marketing program. To help you learn more about affiliate marketing I have created some simple lessons within this article.
Lesson 1: Affiliate Marketing for Dummies “Dumb and Dumber” Version
In this lesson you will learn about some simple but effective affiliate marketing tips in conjunction with the Top 10 Dumb and Dumber movie quotes. This blog post is not only educational but hilarious at the same time. I also included some movie clips from the movie to bring back some good memories.
One of my all time favorite movies is Dumb and Dumber with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels! So I thought it would be appropriate to share this “Affiliate Marketing for Dummies” blog post, Dumb and Dumber style =)
Actually, I know you’re not dumb and you’re actually really smart, but hey we all love our for dummy guides because they bring things down into simple terms…. better yet I’m going to teach you about Affiliate Marketing using my favorite 10 Quotes from the movie Dumb and Dumber.
(What you haven’t seen the movie Dumb and Dumber! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING and watch it on Netflix right now. You’ll thank me later.)
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Okay before I begin to give you some tips about affiliate marketing… you may be wondering “What is Affiliate Marketing Anthony?”
The best way to explain it is like this… Let’s say you were a car sales person and you made an offer to your customers that if they referred any new customers to you that bought new cars, then you would give them a commission for their referral.
This commission could be a set dollar amount like $500 or a percentage like 5% of the sales price. Basically that is what Affiliate Marketing is. Here is the definition of Affiliate Marketing from Wikipedia.
“Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates fore each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts… Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drives sales to the retailer. However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.” – Wikipedia.org
Affiliate Marketing for Dummies with Quotes from Dumb and Dumber
1. “We Landed on the Moon!” – Affiliate marketing has actually been around since 1994 and it’s not something new. However, there are still a lot of people that are unaware that it exists. Affiliate marketing programs are available on most retail sites but most consumers don’t know how they work. You can usually find affiliate marketing program link at the bottom of footer links of most websites. Just look for the words “Affiliates” or “Affiliate Programs.” If that doesn’t work simply type in Google the retail website that you’re searching with the words Affiliate Program next to it. (i.e. Best Buy Affiliate Program)
2. “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this and totally redeem yourself!” – When promoting affiliate products you should offer additional bonuses or training when people use your affiliate link to help improve conversions. For example, if you’re promoting an affiliate service, offer an additional ebook guide on tips on how to use that product, or offer 1-on-1 training if they go through your affiliate link. Be creative and you’re audience will love you for it.
3. “So you’re telling me there’s a chance… YEAH!” – when I first started doing business online I thought it would be impossible to make passive income online. I’m here to tell you that it is definitely possible with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing products allows a person that has no existing product or service an opportunity to make money without selling a product of their own. So yes, you definitely have a chance of making money online today… Oh yeah!
4. “Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” – Don’t be that person that spams people constantly with affiliate marketing promotions and links. Definitely share an affiliate link if you’re adding value to that person. I recently did a webinar training session for my MAP members, where I gave tremendous value with tips and step-by-step training. As a result, I got an email from one of the Access Members and he mentioned that he enjoyed the training so much, and as a result he wanted to give me some credit by using one of my affiliate links. Don’t be annoying… offer value first.
5. “I like it a lot!” – One rule of thumb that I like to use is, I don’t promote an affiliate program unless I have personally used the product or service myself. This way I can speak from experience and ensure that the affiliate product that I am sharing will be of value and that my audience will enjoy using as well. If you promote an affiliate product that isn’t good, you could lose trust from the user and they will never take your recommendations again.
6. “I’ll bet you twenty bucks I can get you gambling before the end of the day.” – There is nothing better then a sure bet. When choosing an affiliate product to promote, make sure that there is a good customer service program and money back guarantee from the product provider. This way you know your audience will be in good hands when they purchase that product. If I don’t receive good customer service from a product, then I simply don’t recommend that product to my audience.
7. “Some people just weren’t cut out for life on the road.” – Can you make a living off of affiliate marketing and make enough passive income to travel? Yes, absolutely you can! I know some online marketers that make a six-figure income just from affiliate referrals alone. That is super powerful! The beauty of affiliate marketing is you don’t have to worry about any inventory, customer service, credit-card processing, and product creation. Promote affiliate programs the right way and you will be able to start making money even while you’re on vacation.
8. “You sold my dead bird to a blind kid!?” – Affiliate marketing sometimes has a bad wrap because of some people who do internet marketing the sleazy way. Don’t be a jerk and try to trick people to click on links and hide the fact that you’re an affiliate. I believe that you should be honest and transparent with your relationship as an affiliate. I let people know up front when I am sharing an affiliate link and provide an affiliate disclaimer on my website. If you’re completely honest and upfront people will respect you and your online business.
9. “How about you go over and introduce yourself, build me up, that way I don’t have to brag about myself later.” – There is nothing better than when someone promotes your products and services for you. If you really like a product go ahead and brag about the product and share it with your audience. For example, I really like using the product Leadpages [affiliate link] =). I liked using it so much that I signed up for their affiliate program and I share it on my resources page and created a Leadpages video tutorial to show people how awesome it is.
10. “Would you quit it? We’re not even through Connecticut yet and already you’re annoying me.” – I see a lot of internet marketers advise promoting affiliate products to their email list. There is a right way of doing this and there is a wrong way. When I subscribe to an email list and every single email I get is an affiliate product promotion I unsubscribe pretty quickly. I don’t want my inbox to be flooded with affiliate product promotions. Don’t annoy your email list with affiliate spam. Your email list shouldn’t be used for that purpose alone. Do I share some affiliate products in my email list? Of course I do, but I can tell you that for every 1 affiliate product recommendation I give about 7 emails or more of just pure valuable training and tips without selling anything.
To add some fun to your day I included a video of some funny clips from the movie Dumb and Dumber enjoy!
Lesson 2: Where to Find the Best Affiliate Marketing Programs on the Web
In this lesson you will learn the best resources on the web to find affiliate marketing products and programs. Not all affiliate marketing products are created equal so you want to make sure you promote the one’s that are going to offer value to your community and also converts well so you can make some money online.
I often get asked by online entrepreneurs how they can monetize their online business if they don’t have an existing product or service to sell. My best recommendation is to start with promoting affiliate marketing products. But, the common question after that is… “Where can I find the Best Affiliate Marketing Programs on the Web?” Thus, I decided to write this article to share with you the various places you can find affiliate programs to promote.
Best Affiliate Marketing Program Directories:
1. JVZOO – is a well-known affiliate marketing directory. As of the time of this blog post they had paid out $65,487,604.40 to their affiliates who are promoting the products and services in their directory. JVZOO handles all the affiliate tracking and payouts. You can find some great affiliate marketing products to promote to your audience here.
2. ClickBank – has been around since 1998 and is probably one of the most well-known affiliate marketing program directories. ClickBank handles your affiliate commission payouts, and affiliate sign-ups. They also have a payment processing system, thus when you sell affiliate programs from ClickBank you know that your audience will be well secured because they offer support for all global card brands and Paypal. They also have a great analytics tracking system so you can track your sales in one comprehensive place.
3. Amazon Associates – Amazon is a huge marketplace to find affiliate products to promote or sell. Amazon is well-known to be #1 visited shopping website for online purchases. Amazon is great because it offers a platform that people are familiar with and trust. Thus, if you promote an affiliate product here you have a good chance of converting the sale. The only downfall with Amazon is they only offer up to 10% commission of the sale which for most affiliate marketing products is considered low. The one good thing about Amazon is that if people use your affiliate tracking link to make a purchase any additional items they purchase within the same day also counts as your affiliate credit.
4. Commission Junction – has also been around since 1998 and has really combined forces with Conversant Inc. Commission Junction also has a robust tracking system that offers all the tools and resources an affiliate marketer needs to promote and sell affiliate marketing products. You can find a wide variety of affiliate marketing products in the Commission Junction marketplace.
5. Share-a-Sale – has over 3,900+ affiliate programs in almost every niche. Just like all of the other Affiliate Marketing directories they also offer tracking systems, a support team, and handle all your affiliate commissions. Share-a-sale is a great resource if you are looking for an affiliate marketing program to promote.
Affiliate Marketing Program Recommendations
One thing that I always recommend however is that you should promote affiliate products that you have personally used yourself that way you can speak from personal experience. When you try the affiliate products yourself you will know first hand how the product and services will benefit your customer. Sometimes your audience will expect you to be the customer service go to person in the event they have an issue with the affiliate product that you suggested to them.
What is also great about all of these sites are they have the ability to host your affiliate program for you. If you have a product and service to sell and you want to enjoy the benefits of promoting products using affiliates then I suggest you sign-up with one of these companies. They will be able to help you manage your affiliate commission payouts, provide training resources for your affiliates, and can often times help you with the payment processing as well.
This will save you lots of time and energy trying to manage your own affiliate marketing program. These companies of course don’t work for free and may require an sign-up fee and will require that they get a commission of the sale as well, but when you consider all of the great customer support that you will be receiving it will be well worth it.
Lesson 3: Top Affiliate Programs for Online Marketing Businesses
In this lesson I share with you some great affiliate marketing programs that have helped people generate thousands of dollars online. You will learn which affiliate programs convert well and also pay a good commission for online referrals too.
As an online entrepreneur you have to choose the right affiliate marketing programs that fits your customers needs. If you’re an online entrepreneur that wants to teach people how to start an online business, then there are definitely a couple top affiliate programs for online marketing businesses that you should be promoting. In this post I’m going to share with you some of my recommendations of affiliate products and services that every online entrepreneur needs.
Top Affiliate Programs for Online Marketing Businesses:
Web Hosting Account:
Every online business needs to have a website, thus they need to have a web hosting account to serve as their home base for their website. Just in case you didn’t know how a web hosting account worked, let me just explain it in simple terms. Think of your business in comparison to a brick-and-mortar business. Let’s say that you wanted to open up a Donut Store (MMmmmm…. DO-NUT!) In order to have a Donut shop you need to lease out a building to run your business. Thus, think of your web hosting as if you’re paying a landlord to rent out space on the web to host your online business. Since, this is an absolute necessity to get started I would definitely promote some kind of affiliate web hosting provider. Some of the best one’s that I suggest are Hostgator (affiliate link), BlueHost, and WP Engine.
Domain Name Registrar:
Another aspect of owning an online business is you need a website address, otherwise known as a domain name. Just like a web-hosting account, every online business needs to have one. Thus, people will need this type of service as well so you should provide them a suggestion of a provider that you highly recommend. There are a lot of different domain name providers like GoDaddy (affiliate link), NameCheap, Register.com, etc. Think of buying a domain as if you were buying a neon sign for your business.
Most online entrepreneurs use WordPress as their blog content management system. However, the themes that are provided for free are basic and do not provide a lot of room for customization. Thus, another great think to recommend to your audience is a Premium WordPress Theme provider. I like services like StudioPress (affiliate link), Elegant Themes, WooThemes, and ThemeForest.
Logo Design Service:
Now that people have a web host provider, domain name, and a professional WordPress theme, they will most likely want a custom designed logo. There are lot of ways people can find logo design services that also range from prices as low as $5 to a couple thousand dollars. People can outsource to a crowd-sourcing service provider like Fiverr. People can also get logos designed from freelance artists that can be found on Elance and Odesk. However, my favorite recommended resource is definitely 99 Designs (affiliate link). 99 Designs offers someone to create a logo design contest, thus they can get multiple designs created for one simple price.
Email Autoresponder Service:
If you have been listening to my podcast then you’ve probably heard from all my featured guests that they highly recommend everyone build an email list. Thus, every online business should be using some kind of email autoresponder service to capture emails and send emails to their lists. Some email autoresponder services that I recommend are Aweber (affiliate link), MailChimp, iContact, and Infusionsoft.
Landing Page Creation:
A follow-up question a lot of online entrepreneurs is how do they build their email list? Thus, you should always recommend a service that can help them build landing pages easily. There are a lot of plugins that are available or all-in-one service providers. Some landing page builders that I recommend are Leadpages (affiliate link), and OptimizePress.
When you are building your website I highly suggest that you sign-up to these top affiliate programs. All of these products and services are highly recommended by top online entrepreneurs because they have used them themselves, and their affiliate programs are very reliable. You can safely promote these services to your audience and feel rest-assured that you are promoting an affiliate product that has great customer service and will provide them solutions for their online business.
Lesson 4: The Best Affiliate Link Cloaking Plugin for WordPress Blogs
Affiliate links are usually long and very hard to remember, thus you should provide link cloaking for your affiliate links. In this lesson I share with you the best affiliate link cloaking plugin for WordPress bloggers. The best part about this plugin is it’s free…
Growing up I always liked to read comic books. It was always fun to read about super hero characters who lived as everyday human beings, but then would disguise themselves when they had to go fight crime in the streets. “Cloaking” is essentially hiding your true identity.
An affiliate link I will be honest is typically very long, complicated to remember and very ugly. Here is an example of one of my affiliate links:
Can you imagine trying to give someone this link and suggesting that they click on it? First off, the link is very long and complicated like something you would see out of the movie “Matrix.” Second, would you trust to click a link that looked like that? Probably not which is why you should definitely use affiliate link cloaking software.
An “affiliate link cloaking” software allows you the ability to shrink, cloak track and share your links easily. You could use 3rd party service providers like Google URL Shortener, but you risk having complete control of the link and may risk the ability for the link to still work in the future.
Best Affiliate Link Cloaking Plugin for WordPress Blogs is…
If you use WordPress, then I highly suggest you use Pretty Link Lite plugin. Not only is this a really great plugin to use, but the best part of it all is that it is FREE! The company does offer a pro version that offers more in-depth features which I will share below.
To help make things easy for you I have created a step-by-step video tutorial to show how you can use Pretty Link Lite plugin.
After installing Pretty Link plugin I have been able to create affiliate links that look like this http://marketingaccesspass.com/99designs
Learn More About Pretty Link Pro
Easy Setup: Pretty Link Pro is very easy to set up as demonstrated from the video above. All you have to do is download the ZIP file and upload it as a plugin and activate it. Afterwards, the ability to copy and paste your links and create unique URL’s is very easy.
Link Management: As an online marketer chances are you will have a ton of links that you need to modify. Pretty Link offers you the ability to manage all your affiliate links in one place. You can manage all of your affiliate links in your WordPress Dashboard, thus it saves you time and headache of trying to log into a 3rd party website just to manage your affiliate links. Here is a list of features Pretty Link Pro offers with Management: custom link slugs, automatic link titling, link groups, create nofollow links, forward parameters, simple click counting, detailed click reporting, export click database, robot filtering, pretty link bookmarklet, customizable pretty link bookmarklet, alternate base url, conversion reports, delayed redirection, Google analytics tracking, double redirection, automatically generate QR codes.
Link Automation: Another really cool feature that Pretty Link Pro offers is the ability for the software to automatically embed links in your blog posts and pages. Some of the automation features are, keyword replacement, URL replacement, automatically create links for pages and posts, URL rotations, import links, export links, and split testing. For example, I created an affiliate link for 99 Designs within Pretty Link. Anytime I type the words 99 Designs the software will automatically embed my affiliate link so that it will look like this 99 Designs.
Social Sharing: Pretty Link Pro also offers provides the ability to include a Twitter Social Sharing button on your blog posts. What makes this different from other social sharing plugins is that since it is connected with Pretty Link you can track it. Another really cool feature is that Pretty Link Pro can aggregate tweets about your post so others can retweet them. This puts your social sharing on steroids!
Updates and Support: Pretty Link Pro keeps up to date with the latest WordPress updates. Thus, they fix any bugs that are found so that you’re plugin is always compatible with the latest upgrades. They are always trying to find ways to optimize their performance and enhance their plugin for ease of use.
If you wanted to learn more about Pretty Link Pro you can visit http://prettylinkpro.com
Affiliate Link Cloaking is a necessity for any online entrepreneur who is doing affiliate marketing. I highly suggest you download the Pretty Link Lite Plugin and give it a try and trust me… you won’t be disappointed. I’m not an affiliate for Pretty Link Pro, I just wanted to share with you a great tool that I personally use myself for my business.
Lesson 5: The Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Tips for Bloggers #3 is My Favorite
In this lesson I share with you some tips to help you promote your affiliate products on your website blog. My number 3 tip is my favorite and you’ll understand why after reading this.
In the last affiliate marketing lesson we talked about using an affiliate link cloaking software to disguise your affiliate links with something more user friendly. So the next logical question that comes next is where do you place these affiliate links on your website. In this lesson I am going to share with you the “The Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Tips for Bloggers” to help you promote your affiliate products, and help you understand where to place your affiliate links.
Top 5 Affiliate Marketing Tips
1. Link Within Ebooks – Another great location to place your affiliate link is within your self-published Ebooks. Whether your ebook is a free giveaway or you’re selling it on Amazon you should add affiliate links within your book as long as it makes sense. People who read books are very interested in discovering actionable tips and resources to help them solve their problems. With the power of eBooks people can read them on their smartphones and on tablets, thus they will have the ability to access the internet if they click on your affiliate link.
2. Don’t Sell… EDUCATE – Nobody likes to be sold to, but people do like to buy when they are well-informed. A great suggestion that I have is to focus on educating your audience about the benefits of the affiliate products that you are promoting. Teach them how you use it and how it has helped you with your online business. When people can see the product in action and see how beneficial it is, then they will be more inclined to purchase using your affiliate link. You can educate your audience through blog posts, YouTube videos and emails.
3. Create a Resource Page – If you have read a lot of blogs about affiliate marketing, chances are you have seen a common trend with these websites. Most affiliate marketers will create a resource page or “Toolbox” page that lists all the products and services they use and recommend. Typically, this page is placed on the top navigation bar of their website so people can easily access it. This is the perfect place to insert your affiliate links because it is well organized and is not in your face sales. If people truly want to learn about what products you use to run your online business then they will want to check out your resource page. This is truly a win-win situation because you are helping your audience learn about the best tools and resources that you recommend.
4. Insert in Pictures – Displaying images on your website not only provides a visual appeal to your audience, but it is also a great way to insert affiliate links on your blog. When people see images they are inclined to click them. If your image relates to the affiliate product then you can insert your affiliate link to it. A lot of affiliate marketers use the power of Pinterest and insert their affiliate links embedded into the images displayed.
5. Training Courses – Another great place to insert your affiliate links is within your training courses. Most online training programs require you to purchase additional software, services, or products in order to properly implement the strategies or concepts. For example, in my WordPress training course I teach people how to build a website blog step-by-step, however in order for them to create a blog they need to purchase a web hosting account like Hostgator.
As you can see with all of these examples, I focus on providing value first before promoting an affiliate offer. Nobody likes to be tricked and feel duped, thus there is a way to promote affiliate programs without being sleazy. It’s unfortunate because there are some internet marketers who try to trick people to clicking affiliate links by doing shady-mc-shady stuff. Don’t be that person that is trying to make a quick buck. Focus on being an honest marketer and you will be a trusted and valued resource for many years to come.
As online marketing continues to become more popular so will affiliate marketing programs. Affiliate Marketing is such a great way to add extra income to your online business because as mentioned before you don’t have to create the product or worry about delivery of the product either. Other companies are providing the customer service that is required and handling all the credit card processing for you.
The key to affiliate marketing is to suggest products that are relevant to your niche. It is very difficult to offer all products and services that your customers are looking for from your business, thus you can always refer them to certain products and services when they inquire about them.
One rule of thumb that I highly suggest you stick by is to only promote affiliate products and services that you have used and enjoyed yourself. The worst thing you can do is refer someone to an affiliate product and service that doesn’t deliver as promised. As a result, you will lose all your credibility and the person who you referred will most likely not take your recommendation again.
The other tip that I definitely recommend is to not hide your affiliate relationship with the products and services that you are promoting. When you are completely transparent with your affiliate relationship it helps build trust with your audience. If you focus on adding value to people they will happily return the favor by purchasing through your affiliate links.
One thing that I have learned through my years of experience with online marketing is that your online business is a system and it requires you to implement other strategies to make it effective. Affiliate Marketing is one technique that requires the implementation of other online marketing strategies so you definitely should check out my other training guides.