For some, even the basics of getting started in a web-based business can be intimidating, and there is obviously much more to it than can be included here, but this series of articles on the subject can serve as a basic outline to help you to learn affiliate marketing a little quicker that you might otherwise.
In its simplest terms, affiliate marketing means selling (marketing) other people’s products or services online – either from your own website or one provided by the merchant. Bring a merchant and a buyer together and you’re paid a commission for your efforts.
Affiliate marketing online is similar to offline commission-based sales – except that all of your business is conducted online, and there are several different types of affiliate marketing programs which we will be covering in other articles.
Although affiliate marketing is considered to be the quickest and easiest way to start a business online – one that levels the playing field for everybody – it can still take quite a bit of time and effort, especially in the beginning.
Once you have built your affiliate marketing business – you must be patient and persistent. It takes time and effort to build trust and make sales.
Niche Affiliate Marketing
A ‘niche’ is actually a subset, or portion of a broader market, and your first priority, if you haven’t done so already – should be to find a market – or “niche” that you have a passion for – or that you’re at least willing to learn a lot about. You can read all over the ‘net about niche affiliate marketing. In fact, some of the biggest names on the net swear by it – and some don’t of course.
There are countless ways to find ideas for a profitable niche market. Look around your house, take note of things you see while traveling, brainstorm different ideas and see what you can come up with that you think would be a good idea for a website.
Two sites that can give you a lot of ideas are ehow.com and Google Trends. You can also do a search on “how to” and get an idea of what people are looking for information on. The list of places to find ideas goes on and on, but these should keep you busy for awhile.
Check The Competition…
Once you have come up with an idea for a niche market you feel comfortable with, you’ll need to check the competition for that market to make sure the area you’ve chosen isn’t so competitive that it would be next to impossible to get your site seen in the search engines.
For instance, there are almost as many affiliate marketing beginners websites and information products designed to give people the how-to’s of the business as there are affiliate marketers themselves – and much fewer affiliate marketing success stories, unfortunately. So, depending on what topic you choose – the competition can be tough. Choosing a very competitive niche – or topic – will be much more time and labor-intensive than one that is less saturated.
When you go up against the gurus who have been honing their websites over long periods of time, it can be a battle to rank for your keywords. In fact, you need to be aware that there is a possibility you will never rank near the top for very competitive keywords.
You can use the free tools listed below to check keywords and phrases associated with your chosen topic to get a feel for how many people are actually interested in – and searching for – your key phrases (your potential competition), as well as how many sites already offer it. It will also give you a list of good keywords to create your content around. The tools can also help you find some less competitive markets and will give you some ideas as to what might be a good area to target:
Both of these tools are very simple to use and understand, and although there are others that are fee-based and that are much more sophisticated than the free ones, these will get you started.
If there’s fairly low demand for your market – but high supply – you may need to look into another niche – or perhaps narrow down the one you’ve already chosen. For instance – if your chosen niche is Dogs – maybe you could narrow that down to German Shepherds (or whatever breed you choose).
Once you have established the topic you want to build your business around – your niche – then it’s time to start building your keyword/quality content-rich, theme-based website or blog, which we will be covering in the Affiliate Marketing Guide – Part 2. (Monetizing your site will come a little later).