I am often asked about affiliate marketing for beginners. How do you get started? Is it really possible to make money online, and potentially quit your job (i.e., fire your boss) at the same time?
I’m going to be completely honest with you on this one. It is absolutely possible to make dynamite amounts of money with affiliate marketing. But it is also important for you to understand that it takes…
- Hard work
- A desire to help your audience
- A few key skills (included in this blog post)
In this post, I am going to share 5 affiliate marketing methods that you can use to make money. But I’m also going to let you in on the number one secret to affiliate marketing success.
Stay tuned and keep reading to find out how to get off to a profitable, successful start… using the right tools the right way!
You cannot expect to crush it in the first week. That’s just not realistic, and it’s not the way it goes.
But… getting started can be relatively quick, easy, and painless, as long as you know what to do. And if you have aspirations of leveling up your life and creating your own destiny for yourself, affiliate marketing is for you.
After I wrote the complete how to make money affiliate marketing guide I was still asked, “How do I get started Miles?” That is what we are going to help you do today.
Here is my free, affiliate marketing fast start guide for 2019!
Why Affiliate Marketing is a Lucrative Way of Making Money Online
Affiliate marketing is most certainly a lucrative endeavor... because it works. Unfortunately though, doing affiliate marketing right is the difficult part for a lot of people.
Affiliate marketing is not something that you can just rush into and cash-in on without having some kind of a game plan. You have to choose the right niche, stay dedicated, and employ the right tools.
The first and most fundamental part of this entire process is to start creating content… whether it’s a blog post, video, or podcast - and part of this process includes delivering valuable information and helpful emails to your readers.
The good news is that affiliate marketing can be a lucrative and extremely profitable business… but the first, and most important key to this process is value.
If you want to make your affiliate marketing business a success, then you need to use your chosen platform (blog, YouTube channel, podcast, etc.) to give value to your readers/listeners and strengthen your relationship with your audience.
This is monumentally important, because successful affiliate marketing relies on your viewers coming back to your channel and promoting it to other people.
That is how you rack up views and gain an audience. But if you want to keep your audience and gain their trust, you need to start making their lives better by offering them huge amounts of value for free.
And of course, you use affiliate marketing to make money along the way. But remember… there is no successful affiliate marketing plan that works without first bringing incredible value to your audience. You must do this consistently to win!
You can’t just say ‘buy from me,’ and expect to make sales. You must actually solve problems for your readers and make their lives better through your content. This also means that you need to be creating content on a regular and consistent basis if you want to win in today’s affiliate marketing game.
Now, let’s talk for a minute about how NOT to get started.
Beware of Affiliate Marketing Scams - Is It a Fake Guru or The Real Deal?
There are literally hundreds of these scammers making money online. I don’t want you to fall prey to fake gurus or ‘false teachers’ in the affiliate marketing world… so before we get started on the ‘strategy’ part of things, I want to give you some information about how to spot shady affiliate marketing scams, and also teach you how to avoid them.
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I want you to thrive in affiliate marketing… not fall for shady tactics that will inevitably waste your time.
Here’s what you need to know.
How Affiliate Marketing Gurus Scam People
Fake gurus abound on the internet. But you can stay a step ahead by learning how to spot a scammer.
Fake affiliate marketing scammers will often promote ‘me too’ type affiliate programs. They may advertise with catchy click-bait, and want you to pay a certain amount of money to gain access to their ‘proven secrets.’
Make no mistake… there are some good affiliate marketing courses out there that will teach you how to build your own platform in your own niche.
But ‘me too’ programs are different. These programs will basically promise instant success, and will usually attempt to make you believe that you will be making thousands of dollars overnight.
1. Beware of “Me Too” affiliate marketing programs
Be really careful if an affiliate marketer tries to ‘sell’ you on their technique. There are several mistakes that you can make in affiliate marketing, but this is perhaps one of the costliest.
There are myths and realities to affiliate marketing, just like there are to any skill, craft, or opportunity… and it is important that you understand that affiliate marketing is truly like a skill in the sense that you have to dedicate yourself to it if you really want to succeed.
‘Me too’ affiliate marketers will often claim to give you the opportunity to bring in huge amounts of money very quickly. But since 2003, I’ve seen all kinds of these networks rise and fall… because they just aren’t sustainable.
You will know this type of program by the way it is built. ‘Me too’ affiliate marketers will often try to convince you to do the exact same thing that they did to earn THEIR fortune.
They won’t promote the idea of starting your own platform in your own specific, targeted niche, and and they won’t tell you that you can get everything you need to succeed, for free, online (I literally offer everything someone needs to get started for free on my website. Scammers won’t do this).
You’ll click on their funnel, and they will promise you ‘everything you need to get started’ as long as you pay for it. They will almost always say things like ‘for a small investment, you can be making thousands overnight,’ etc. They will sell you packages that include things like:
- Products to promote
These types of affiliate marketers basically charge you money to bring you into their own marketing network. Sure, you may make some money… but most of the goal is usually to try to sign other people up for the same network, who will then be trying to sign EVEN MORE people up for the same network, etc.
It is almost like a glorified, affiliate pyramid scheme… with the people at the top earning HUGE amounts of money from other people’s work.
But the major problem with ‘me too’ networks is that they are not sustainable in the long-term. There will only be so many interested people… and once there are no longer enough new people to sustain it, the money dries up… and the whole thing kind of collapses on itself.
The people at the top, who made out with the serious money that everyone else worked hard for, go on to design a similar scheme all over again, while those in the middle and at the bottom are just out of luck.
You are not encouraged to build your own email list. You are not creating your own channels for your own affiliate links or website. There is no equity in a system like this for someone who wants to make it in affiliate marketing.
MOBE Program’s Plan Got Foiled!
The Federal Trade Commission actually recently shut down the MOBE Program (My Online Business Empire) because it was a total scam! It charged you money to buy into the exact same things they were promoting, but then wanted you to bring in new people to promote the exact same things… and it created a situation where no one was bringing real value, and money was just trickling up to the top.
It was a total scam. So the morale of the story here is to stay away from affiliate programs that have a “Just do what I do and you will be successful too” pitch.
2. Creating Affiliate Training Forums Void of Value
Another type of affiliate marketing to stay away from is affiliate marketing that contains no value.
I see this a lot with affiliate training forums. You will basically be asked to pay a certain amount of money each month, and asked to bring traffic into an affiliate marketing forum where other people can learn how to make money online… by bringing even more traffic into that forum.
It’s like a wheel… but not the good kind! This creates a situation that doesn’t hold any real value. It is all empty promises, thin affiliate techniques, and content designed to prey upon people who are desperate to make some extra money.
But anyway… now that you know the two biggest affiliate marketing scams to avoid, I’m going to show you 5 platforms that you can start building to begin gathering followers and making money with your own affiliate marketing business.
As you go through these five platforms, think about which one may work the best for you. After we talk about each one, we will also discuss the true secret to successful affiliate marketing.
With this secret ingredient, you will be able to maximize all five affiliate offer methods and boost your success!
5 Best Ways to Get Affiliate Clicks!
There are basically 5 successful ways to get people to click your affiliate links.
- Paid Advertisement
- Direct Posts on Social Media
- Pre-Sale Pages, or Advertorials
- Bridge Pages or Thank You Pages
You may or may not choose to use all 5, but many of the most successful marketers in the world dabble in all of them at least a little bit.
I have used (and continue to use) all five… and while there are some that I like more than others, they all give you value for your time and effort if you use them correctly.
There is also one crucial element that you need to tie all of these in together… but we will get to that in a moment! First, let’s break these 5 different methods down and talk about them.
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1. Paid Advertisement
Paid advertisement is usually the first method I talk about, though it is not the method I would choose for you to use if you were just getting started.
Not all platforms allow this type of affiliate marketing, so you need to read the terms of service on the platform first before jumping on it. You don’t want for all of your hard work to go to waste by missing a rule, and then getting the ban-hammer brought down on you!
The idea behind this method is to use paid advertisements to direct-link people over to your affiliate product or landing page.
Now, there are a couple different reasons for why this method is not my favorite. For one, it only gives you one chance to make a sale. Two, you are not building an email list with it, which is a valuable asset to every successful digital marketer. (Unless you are sending your traffic to a pre-sales page, which we will discuss in a moment.)
You can make decent money with it if you know what you’re doing, but it is a little bit risky because you have to spend money to make money.
Paid Advertisement, also known as PPC (pay per click), can earn you some quick money. But it doesn’t have the long-term heavy hitting power of some of the other methods in this list.
2. Direct Posts on Social Media
Direct posting on Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms is another method that you can use to drive traffic to your affiliate links. No, I do not love this methodology either… but it deserves a spot in the lineup, and it does deserve a place in your affiliate arsenal.
Last year, Pinterest changed their terms of service to allow Amazon affiliate links directly inside rich pins, which is pretty cool… and only one example of how this technique can give you some interesting angles to work for new leads and click-throughs on Pinterest.
Social media direct-posting tends not to be quite as effective because most social media platforms is so information-light. You can’t really do a lot to convey information and make a sale with direct posting. You can do a lot more with blog posts, podcasting, or video.
Using social media to promote your major platform (blog, podcast, video channel) is awesome. But as a direct affiliate marketing method, it leaves a bit to be desired… though you can still earn with it. I’ve dabbled in it, tested it, and still use it for some things.
Social media has a definite role to play in your affiliate marketing business. But direct posting tends to not be quite as effective on its own.
3. Pre-Sale Page or Advertorial
This is essentially a landing page that functions as a pre-sale page. It usually conveys the idea of the product, and could also include a review page or an advertorial.
For those of you not familiar with what the term ‘advertorial’ means, it is basically an older term used to describe an ad that reads like an article. It is, essentially, a long-form ad that tells a story and promotes the product.
Advertorials used to be used in a lot of magazines.
This method can actually work really well in affiliate marketing today. In fact, if you want to run ads on social media or use paid advertising, then I would actually recommend that you link over to an advertorial page to pre-sell what you’re offering.
The great thing about this type of page is that it engages with the audience on a deeper level. It is giving them more than just an ad. It is giving them ideas, reasons, and compelling information about the product you’re offering.
As far as design is concerned, think of a pre-sale page as a basic landing page. But you can also control the retargeting pixel to re-target people who have read your advertorial, which is super-cool.
This gives you the potential to target potential buyers even after they have clicked away… which can be quite powerful if implemented correctly.
4. Bridge Page or Thank You Page
Number four on our list is the bridge page (or ‘thank you’ page). This is essentially the ‘thank you’ page of an affiliate funnel.
The short version of this type of affiliate method is to create a landing page that offers something for free in exchange for an email address.
You can run ads to it, run people through social media to it, or even use your content marketing to drive traffic to this page.
Once your viewers get here, they will be offered something of value (a PDF, a video course, an audio piece, etc.) in exchange for their email address.
If you are selling your own products, we actually call this a ‘one time offer’ page. But if you’re promoting an affiliate product, this page can serve as your first opportunity to promote that product to the visitor.
Of course, before you ever offer a product on this page, you need to adequately describe how this product is going to add value for the visitor and help them solve their problem. You have to sell it through content before you present the link.
I actually like this method because it helps you to build an email mailing list by offering true, real value to your audience. It doesn’t cost you anything to offer them a free PDF, and in return, you get an email address out of the deal.
And once they give you their email address, you legally have the right to market to them until they click the ‘unsubscribe’ button!
I love building email lists because this gives you more than one chance to offer them an affiliate product. It also gives you the tremendous opportunity to build a relationship and offer real, measurable value over time.
This is how you become a trusted advisor to your audience, which is extremely important to your success in affiliate marketing.
Speaking of Email marketing, this is actually the fifth (and in my mind, the best) method that you can use for affiliate marketing in 2019. And I love it!
A lot of people think that email is dead… which is completely false. If anything, it has seen a revival. As people spend more time using email on their smartphones, an entire new trend in digital marketing is shifting toward it.
And in 2019, you can certainly use this to your advantage!
Of course, you need to collect emails before you can employ this method.
But direct email is, by far, my favorite way to present affiliate offers.
Crafting these emails is an art-form. You have to communicate that you can help your visitor to solve the problem they’re experiencing. You can build up trust and share some information about yourself as well. You need to make them believe that you can actually help them to achieve their goals.
(This ties into the crucial element you need to make affiliate marketing work in 2019! We will get to it in just a moment!)
To put it simply, you need to provide real value in these emails, and you have to use their content to gain your reader’s trust.
But along with this, you also include a link to a presale page.
I have discovered that people are far more likely to respond to a well-crafted email than to a blog post or a social media post. But at the same time, you must treat this opportunity with respect. Don’t spam them. Don’t blast them.
Rather, you need to employ Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, right hook’ concept. Every jab is a bit of value that you give them for free, to reel them in. Then, when you’ve helped them, earned their trust, and given them actual proof that YOU are the solution to their problem, you come in with the right hook… the offer.
You can utilize email to send traffic to affiliate offers in a number of ways. You can link to a video review, send them to a pre-sale page or advertorial, link them to a webinar, etc.
The exact channel you use may depend on the context. But with direct email, you are going to have the highest potential for click-throughs.
So treat it with respect, and craft your emails well.
Attention Formula - How to Guarantee Your Success as an Affiliate
In the beginning of this article, I promised to tell you the number one secret to a successful affiliate marketing business. If you want to make serious money in affiliate marketing (and I mean 6-figure money), you need to know how to implement this secret.
Well, I’m going to give it to you right now.
Let me explain.
To put it very simply, storytelling is the new gold standard for making money with affiliate marketing in 2019. It is absolutely a key difference between people who are making money, and people who aren’t.
As we shift out of the information age, we are moving into an age where people are craving inter-connectedness. They want to feel true, real connection online… and proper storytelling can tap into this.
When I say ‘storytelling,’ I am not necessarily just talking about a good, one-off story, either.
Have you ever watched a hit show like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or Lost?
These types of shows are psychologically designed to tell stories that keep you engaged. Hollywood has mastered this formula, and it is actually an extremely subtle, yet effective form of marketing.
It is an attention formula.
They capture your attention, and then they hold onto it by feeding you small bits of the overall plot. They patiently, little by little, give you value and tell you the story, while also keeping you eager and anticipating the next part.
Think about your favorite movie. I loved Black Panther and Wonder Woman. These movies were advertised well enough to get me to sit down and start them. But they were also compelling enough and engaging enough to keep me hooked while I watched them through to the end.
Not only that, but I would also watch the sequels! That is how good they were!
But it is not just a simple storyline that keeps people engaged. There is a larger, interlocking narrative introduced in these stories that keeps people interested and coming back for more.
Game of Thrones didn’t have 7 super-successful seasons as a hit show by just telling a simple, isolated story every episode.
They tie everything together. They open loops in certain episodes and close them in others. They are constantly introducing new characters and concepts, expanding on them over time, and keeping their audiences on the edge... eager to learn what is coming next.
Regardless of what you choose to write about, you need to write engaging, well-structured content to not only draw your readers in and solve their problems, but also to compel them to continue following your narrative.
If you want to keep your readers engaged, you need to become a dynamic and engaging storyteller.
Boost your Affiliate Marketing Efforts with an Engaged List - Not the Biggest List or No List
It is really important to understand that your engaged list is where the money is.
Your engaged list is made up of your readers who actually open, read, and follow-through on your emails.
The biggest list does not always win. And on the flipside, you cannot earn any money with an email list that doesn’t exist! You have to constantly work toward building that list and bringing real value to your viewers.
It all hinges on value. You need to…
- Help them solve their problems
- Entertain them
- Tell a story
- Keep them engaged
- Offer them free tips and helpful advice
- Interact with them on social media, your websites, and wherever you have the opportunity to do so
- Make yourself available to maintain a dialogue
- Become an authority figure who can legitimately help them to solve their problems and achieve their goals
If you want your customers to continue engaging with you, you cannot just drop links and say ‘buy from me!’ You have to provide them with enough value that they actually look forward to every email you send them, and every piece of content you put out.
That is the key. That is what proper storytelling can help you to achieve.
Imagine being ‘in demand’ instead of trying to ‘compete’ for audience attention?
That changes the game… and storytelling is how you accomplish it.
Try A 90 Day Challenge to Create Better Affiliate Storytelling Skills
If you really want to connect with your audience, you need to learn how to become a better storyteller.
One method that I love to recommend is a 90-day challenge.
What platform are you using to engage with your audience? Hopefully, you are using a blog, a podcast, YouTube, or some combination of these to interact with viewers, build value, and establish your own personal brand.
During a 90 day challenge, you commit to posting every day, at least once per day, to your blog, video channel, or podcast… whichever medium is the predominant one.
And the results can be super-awesome for your platform.
Committing yourself to a 90 day challenge will…
- Help you to build your storytelling muscles
- Help you to narrow your niche and discover your core demographic
- Help you to get to know yourself better, which will enable you to tell better stories
- Get you used to creating a lot of content on a regular basis, which will make you a better content creator in-general
- Give you more creative tools to make your content more useful for your viewers
- Give you a huge jump-start in creating more value for your platform
- Attract more visitors to your website
- Help you to get some concrete numbers for affiliate market split testing
- Help you to establish credibility in the eyes of your audience
- Help you to solidify your position as an authority figure in your niche
Building Relationships with Your Email List is Super Valuable
My wife and I actually learned about storytelling pretty early-on in our affiliate marketing career. In fact, we were already email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing when we first learned about it.
But we had yet to incorporate the idea of storytelling into our posts.
Once we started doing it, however, and paying attention to how ‘story driven’ our content was… our income practically doubled overnight! It is incredible to see what happens when you start telling your story the right way.
One of my favorite ways to tell a story is through email marketing. By the time I learned how to use storytelling through email marketing, I got to a point where I was able to generate $30,000 in profit, in my bank account, with a list of only 3,500 subscribers, in a three or four day window!
Continue to send them meaningful content, and keep providing value through your platform. Do this, and your affiliate links will definitely gain traction and start earning money for you!
Weave Your Story to be Successful at Affiliate Marketing
If you want to get your audience’s attention and hold it for years, you will need to weave your story in such a way that your audience is both captivated and curious at the same time. Tell stories that get them hooked… true stories about your life and business that will inspire them to click your links and take action.
Use your stories for content marketing, to build credibility, and to show your audience that you can help them to solve their problem.
The crux of all of this is value. I keep saying it, but I cannot say it enough. You need to create real value for your audience.
So research your topics. Learn from the pros in your chosen niche. Consume quality content while also pulling from your years of experience, and create blog posts, podcasts, and/or videos that are filled with useful, relevant information.
Teach your viewers what you have learned. Show them that you know what you’re talking about.
Tell them ancient secrets that apply to them today. Use history, cool facts, quotes, and little blurbs from the pros to really hone in on the main point of your platform.
Inspire, entertain, and build. But most of all, tell a story and bring real, measurable value to your audience. Let them in on your life, and give them a first-hand look into the experiences that made you who you are today.
Why should they trust you? Show them... with well-crafted stories and compelling tales of your exploits!
Every story is exciting if told with enough skill and practice!
Once you start using some of these affiliate marketing methods and spreading your story to your followers, it will only be a matter of time before they’ll start reaching out to you.
And when they do, engage with them. Use an email follow-up sequence, return emails, re-Tweet posts that shout out to you… whatever you can do to make your audience feel appreciated and included.
Shout out to that loyal fan on Instagram, and share his photo. You’ll gain a follower for life!
It is essential for your followers to know that there is a human on the other side of that device. They need, and want, to know that you are a living, breathing person who legitimately cares about them and wants to help them.
I truly can’t say enough about this topic. This is a huge mistake that many beginners make. You have to respond to every comment. When people comment on your Insta post or your YouTube video, heart/like i,t and reply to it!
Social media is social! And if you want to be successful, you must make it so!
If you have a podcast, reply to comments on your show notes. If you start a blog, reply to comments that are left at the bottom of your posts.
Show them that you legitimately care about helping, and that you also know what has to be done to solve their specific problems, you will earn a huge amount of business… regardless of how you do it or what platform you choose.
Give an ‘Aha’ Moment
Weave your stories in such a way that you lead up to an ‘Aha’ moment for your readers, viewers, or listeners. Don’t give everything away all at once. Lead up to your climax by telling a story, building trust, hinting at a solution, and letting them know that you understand their problem.
In some cases, you may need to make them understand that you understand their problem to begin with.
But as you get toward the end, provide them with the ‘Aha’ moment that they’ve been looking for! Drive them to your pre-sale page through ads, through social media, or through links on your various sites. Get them to fill in their email address, and provide a ton of value in return.
Then, once you have their email address, start email marketing to them.
But as you do, build from one ‘Aha’ moment to the next. Keep moving on to new chapters. Level it up. Bring them into your world, and let them know, through small hints and subtle storytelling, that they have only barely scratched the surface of what you have to offer.
Compel them to believe that they NEED you, then prove it to them in every email with dynamite content that brings a ton of value.
Then, send them to your offer… and keep bringing new,awesome content through your email channels once you’ve signed them up. Value first, offer second. Remember, jab, jab, jab, right hook!
Get Started in Affiliate Marketing the Right Way
In the end, the truly successful affiliate marketer will be the one who delivers value through their content.
You need to…
- Create an awesome platform
- Start publishing content
- Start bringing value
- Start a 90 day challenge to kick your content creation into overdrive
- Get email addresses and start email marketing
- Build your network and start delivering even more content as you send emails and build your platform
- Engage with your audience and build trust
- Deliver that ‘Aha’ moment and send them to the offer
- Then, rinse and repeat
Keep it up. Don’t stop. Stay committed and focused. Choose the best affiliate networks and avoid the empty scams.
Create your own brand and build your own audience.
Choose one of the 5 affiliate offer methods, listed above, to present your affiliate offers and begin.
Have some cash? Build a bridge page with an affiliate marketing funnel.
Broke like me when you started?
Get free views on YouTube with the smartphone you already carry around in your pocket. Believe it or not, most humans in the developed world have access to a smartphone… and that phone gives you access to all the tools you need to get started on a great foot!
Bring lots of value, and respect your audience. Your efforts will begin to compound… and THAT is when the money will REALLY start rolling in!
Open and Close Loops through storytelling.
You can do it. All you have to do is set your mind to it and get started.
Hit me up with questions or comments. I am always interested in hearing what you have to say, and I love answering questions! Looking forward to big things for you! Here’s to winning!!!