Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

To break it down in its simplest form: The best way to begin affiliate marketing… is to just get started.

One of the most common obstacles, or what seems to stall most people, are those first few steps.

It could be as simple as you’re completely new and don’t know anything about it, or maybe you’re just clueless as to what “getting started” really is in actual steps. It doesn’t help that it can be a bit of a mystery when it comes to internet marketing and becoming a successful full-time affiliate, and the industry knows that and capitalizes on it often.

When you aren’t sure of what you’re supposed to do, I suppose it can be a bit difficult. When it really boils down to it though, that’s probably the exact thing that’s tripping you up. The mindset, “but I don’t know what to do.. how can I get started?” is one of the most damaging things a beginner can struggle with. As with anything in life, it’s a matter of breaking down what you want to achieve, and accomplishing these steps towards the greater goal.

Don’t worry about “problems” – find solutions!

I’ve always been more of a, “I don’t see a problem, I see a potential solution” sort of guy. Always have been, and probably always will be. I’m never content with just taking something at face value, and neither should you, if you want to be successful in online marketing.

As an entrepreneur with strong programming and development skills, but also a comfort with the design process, and a fair amount of sales, support, and managerial experience, I know that a manager thinks generally in concepts or ideas, programmers in strictly concise and verbose sets of instructions, designers with a lucid lack of structure, and end-users with a horrid distaste for having to think about anything beyond their monitor and mouse.

To be the most successful internet marketer you can be, you’ll want to take into consideration the many variables present when researching and setting up your campaigns.

Don’t assume… RESEARCH! Find out, and know the facts

Life is an endless pursuit of knowledge and as one timeless quote puts it, “Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” This is one of the main defining characteristics of a successful affiliate: the endless quest for more knowledge, more data, more metrics, more market-share, you name it. We’re a competitive bunch.

As sad as it is, I don’t think its just the out-of-touch politicians that think the internet is a series of tubes, I think there may be a few million end-users mixed into that demographic. As an affiliate, one of the best things you can do is equip yourself with a strong understanding of the web from both a user and technical standpoint. Knowledge is power, and to an affiliate, knowledge is another zero on the end of that check.

As a kid, between the various sports and childhood activities, one of my long-running hobbies was magic for fun and profit. I would sometimes literally make $50-200 bucks in tips (as a 6-10 year old kid) simply walking around performing card tricks and impromptu close-up magic to complete strangers for about an hour or two for different events. David Blaine ain’t got nothin’ on me.

Don’t just read about it, learn it & live it

Well, that same desire to decipher the secrets, and the hidden mechanisms of “magic and illusion” at a young age eventually turned into me tinkering with computers and wanting (/needing?) to learn as much about them as I could.

Being an avid reader all my life contributed to me learning at an early age how to teach myself, and productively investigate or research a topic, while stockpiling knowledge. It’s probably one of the main reasons I think people should be more proactive about their thinking, decisions, and path in life, especially with their careers or general finances.

The best way to learn something is to try it. If you read about it, learn about it, then forget about it… it seems like you’d be wasting an awful lot of time. So when you read something that gets you thinking, act on it!

Get out there and start making money!

So, after reading all of that… are you just going to sit there and stare at your screen for hours more, wishing you were making money? Or, are you going to actually get started?

The Basics of Internet Marketing

Many of the people in my personal life have no idea how I make money on the internet.

Most know I run a web hosting company and host thousands of websites. They figure, “that must obviously come with some level of residual income”, but beyond that they have no idea what my internet operations entail.

So, drum roll please….

BIG REVEAL: A growing chunk of my income comes mostly from my online marketing campaigns in profitable niches, and my various online marketing & affiliate efforts in general.

What this means is… I push traffic on several large mainstream networks, my own three networks, and several lucrative internal affiliate programs.

“Cool” you might say, what the HELL does that mean? Push? Traffic?

So, okay, let me try and break it down for you a bit. If it’s something you find interesting… it might just change your life!

Internet marketing is pretty simple at its core

Buzz terms aside, the core of the traditional “affiliate mindset” boils down to a simple “performance-based” model.

In other words, just like in the real world of “kick backs” and “finders fees” if you can refer an online visitor to make a sale, or get them to perform some action, you can get paid for it!

You put an offer in front of a visitor, they perform an action… you earn money. As a merchant, your ideal “action” is that the visitor converts into a paying customer and buys a product or service.

As an affiliate, it could simply be a person filling out their zip code for a search, or entering their email and pressing go. The exact action is specific to the campaign, and your role in it.

As an affiliate, an offer you might promote could literally be as simple as a web page with a text box asking for the visitor to enter their email to win a free iPad, or any popular prize.

Other common offers are debt and educational campaigns, which ask for someone’s contact details so that an organization can follow up with a phone call and further information.

When a person completes a form, or whatever the action required in the campaign terms, an affiliate receives a conversion, and gets paid by the network or advertiser.

As you can guess, these conversions can stack up pretty quickly when you have a good method of promotion, and ultimately put a lot of cash in your pocket.

The Modern Affiliate Lifestyle

The professional affiliates job is much like any other marketing career, but with much more freedom. The basic idea is to run campaigns that drive many targeted individuals to an offer you think they’ll be interested in, and likely to convert, which then earns you a large return.

Beyond that, it becomes a science (and art) of campaign optimization, efficiency, scale, cash-flow, and a bunch of other goodness you’ll only learn from hands-on experience. This is putting it stupidly simple, but that’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell.

If you’re serious about making large volumes of money on the internet, this is all obvious. Connect the dots, and your wallet gets fat overnight. For most newbies, they think this a load of crap. How can it possibly be that easy?

Basic… doesn’t always mean “Easy”

Just because the basic concept is easy to follow, doesn’t mean actually putting it into practice is always as easy as it sounds.

Any full-time affiliate will probably tell you life wasn’t always that carefree and lavish. They probably put numerous hours into researching, experimenting, reading, making money, losing money, learning lessons, discovering new methods, and so much more.

There’s a lot of time and effort that can go into learning a thorough understanding of internet marketing, and the mechanisms and industry behind it. It usually takes even longer to begin applying that knowledge, and making it tangibly profitable.

Most people like to assume affiliate marketing is a lazy job, since you can do it from your home, in your pajamas. While this can be true in some instances, most online workers know the affiliate industry for what it is, a lucrative and worthwhile career. Most people in the online affiliate marketing industry know life is all about working smarter, not harder.

So get started, it wont happen by itself

The biggest thing stopping you from making money online is simply the fact that you’re not doing anything to push yourself further towards your goals.

If you coast through life, wishing you had attained all these great things, it simply doesn’t happen.

So get motivated, get on the AllHatter internet marketing forums, start reading my blog, and search google for affiliate marketing. Or, if you’re confident you’re ready to start making some serious money online, apply at my two public advertising networks, ChaseClicks and CPA Dough and mention you heard about them from my blog!