The best online marketing strategies consist of 2 basic but complimentary techniques. When utilized properly and combined they are the ultimate secret in affiliate marketing. These techniques are content marketing and SEO. Once employed, these strategies create lasting, targeted and profitable traffic to your affiliate offers.
If you’re new to affiliate and content marketing, I outline the basic steps to getting started below. Anyone can start a business online using these methods and achieve wild success with time and effort. If this type of business interests you, keep reading, what you need to get off the ground is right here.
The Ultimate Combination For Affiliates
Getting eyeballs on your offers is a mighty task. Add the fact that these eyeballs have to be targeted and have some kind of trust in you before any sales can happen. SEO takes care of the targeted traffic and content marketing takes care of the trust, if it’s all done properly.
Below, we’ll cover both techniques and explain how they work together. Both techniques require a bit of time and energy, but if you put a little of both into this magic formula, you can sell almost anything. You will also need knowledge and the proper tools. So, lets get started…
You Must Have Content And A Website
You must have a website to pull off this type of marketing, preferably with your own domain name. They aren’t hard to acquire, or even run these days, there are CMS’s (Content Management Systems) that help with these tasks. One of the most popular, the one I also recommend, is WordPress. Many hosting companies have ready-made WordPress sites, all you have to do is add a theme.
Once you have a website, the foundation of your business, just fill it with quality content relevant to your market, sprinkle in affiliate links and you have a selling machine. I know, content is where the work comes in. You can write relevant articles to fill your site or you can outsource the writing , or a combination.
The Right Tools Speed Success
Aside from a website, you need certain tools to help avoid the time-wasting trial and error method. One good tool to have is keyword research. You don’t need to over stress about keywords if your content is good, but keyword research will give you a good idea if you have a chance of landing on the first page.
The best content and website does you no good if you target high competition keywords by accident. It pays to do some research and be sure you are heading in the right direction before putting in hours on content that will never rank. In most cases, quality content will rank somewhere and produce some traffic, so stressing too much about keywords isn’t usually necessary.
Content Driven Marketing
The concept of content driven marketing is simple. You provide quality content relevant to your market which gives value to the end user. You’re giving them what they want when they typed in your target keywords, quality information. You must also project reputation as an authority on the subject which serves to further build trust.
Few people go to search engines looking to buy. But, by the time they finish reading your article, they may realize they need what you’re selling. They’ll buy if you give them enough quality to establish trust. Your content can be crafted to both attract visitors, then convert those visitors into buyers.
Trust is the secret to content marketing. If your reader feels you gave enough quality and trusts your opinion, they will spend money on your affiliate offers. If they don’t trust you, you fail to convert visitors through reputation and quality, you will rarely sell anything to anyone.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
If you have good quality information, there isn’t much else you need to do for SEO. If you run a WordPress site, a SEO plugin will help to ensure the search engines are finding what they need to index your content.
Your content will do most of what is required to get good rank. Don’t get hung up on keyword targeting too much.
Establishing authority with search engines happens over time if you provide quality on a consistent basis. With this authority will come trust with the searching public. Being ranked well in the big 3 search engines creates trust with the public and your content will do the rest.
Social Media – The Wild Card
There is one last thing worth mentioning. Social Media has an influence on search engine rankings. If your content is getting attention on social media sites, the big 3 search engines will notice and assume what you have to say is worth talking about.
An endorsement from a trusted friend is very powerful and almost ensures a high level of trust upon landing on your content. From there, everything else will be easy. Some engagement is a good thing on social media but it can have a negative impact if overdone.
Never attempt to create an illusion of popularity on social media by buying likes, followers, or similar strategies. Search engines are onto these tactics and you will be punished in your rankings if you make such attempts. Keep any social engagement honest and only as a supplement to your overall strategy.
Getting Started With Content Marketing
If all of these concepts are new to you, it might be a bit overwhelming as to where to start. I will cover the major steps below, but, each major step involves several ‘sub-steps’. If you approach this one major step at a time, not biting off too much all at once, you can achieve everything necessary to get started as an elite affiliate marketer with time and effort.
- Just Get Started – This will be where most people fail. The single most important thing you will do next is to take the first step and commit to success. Anyone with the will and drive to succeed can become an elite affiliate marketer, nothing else special is needed, just your time and energy.
- Get Educated – I highly recommend you get educated in the details of affiliate marketing and content driven marketing before you spend a lot of time and money setting up a website. There are a lot of pitfalls and it’s very easy to get discouraged using the trial and error method.
- Choose A Market – Pick a specific market to promote. Try to select something you are passionate about. If you love what you are doing, the chance of burn out is greatly reduced and you are much more likely to press on with the work into the future. Nothing is too esoteric, there are thousands of affiliate programs aimed at whatever you choose, so don’t worry if you think you are interested in something too specific.
- Select A Domain Name – You will need your own domain name relevant to your market, preferably a .com TLD. The .com names tend to rank better and gain authority with search engines faster.
- Create A Website – Find a good hosting company with WordPress sites pre-installed. Start small, there is no need to buy expensive hosting until your site starts getting traffic from search engines. This will take time but that’s not necessarily bad. It will reduce the pressure to create enough content to be successful.
- Join Relevant Affiliate Programs – Research the products and services you want to promote. Be sure they meet your standards for quality so you aren’t pointing your readers to something that could tarnish your reputation. Also, the affiliate programs should pay a decent commission so you have a chance to make enough for your time and efforts.
- Create Quality Content – Your content will serve 2 purposes. The first is to educate and inform your readers so they feel like they got value by visiting your site. Second, the content should be crafted to very subtly convert your readers into buyers. The latter should be very subtle, never appear to be overtly selling, this will surely backfire.
- Get Indexed – Once you have good content it needs to be found. The big three search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo, need to index and like your content as valuable so you rank where you can be found. WordPress has a facility to alert the search engines when you publish new content.
- Add Content Regularly – Add content to your site in a steady and consistent basis. Generally, 3 new articles a week of around 1500 words should work nicely. If you have time to add more, even better. You can outsource some work if you can afford it, but early on, that won’t be required.
- Answer All Comments – When people visit your posts, they can leave comments on your content if you have that setup in WordPress and you should. Comments and your timely replies are very good for search engine rankings.
Now You Have The Basic Blueprint, The Next Step Is…
All that remains is taking action. If you commit yourself to being successful, you will be. One of the most important steps toward success is getting educated instead of going it alone. This one step will help to assure your success and drive to stick with it over time. The methods discussed in this article won’t happen overnight, so don’t give up, keep at it.
If affiliate marketing is an interest, rest assured you can easily make a full time income, or more, using the techniques in this article. It will take time and effort though. There are no get-rich-quick methods that are real, the endless ‘systems’ I am sure you have run into, just don’t work. Only your hard work and determination can guarantee success.
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This Post Has 24 Comments
I see you recommend using WordPress for building a website because it is easy and is the most popular. But I was wondering if it advisable for me to go for Blogger websites as the best alternative.
I have been using Blogger, or Joomla for a while now and it has been great for me. Would it still work for me? And what are the main differences between the two website building platform
Free sites like Blogger are fine but they can be difficult to get ranked well under on search engines. Also, your control of the site and its functionality is very limited. I recommend you get WordPress hosting and a domain name to maximize traffic potential.
My knowledge of Joomla is limited and probably outdated, haven’t looked into it for some time. Unless it has changed a lot, I remember Joomla wasn’t specifically designed for this kind of content, WordPress is though and it’s very easy to learn.
If you can afford it, get a WordPress site with your own domain name. Then, the site is yours and is a valuable asset you could even sell down the road, for more than 20 times its monthly income, if you wanted to.
This whole thing of keyword research has been a real challenge for me and has gotten my posts poorly ranked.
I would like to change this but I don’t know how to go about it. Can you please advise me about the best keyword tool out there and how well to use it to get the best quality keywords?
I just published an article about this very subject. Keyword research is important to help boost your traffic but isn’t something to stress about if you produce quality content on a regular basis. Your quality content will get indexed so it can be found as your site authority grows.
Thanks for the comment Dave!
Great information! Thanks for sharing!
I’m really interested especially in what you said about social media marketing. That’s the new frontier for me, and I hadn’t thought of the fact that it can be overdone… That’s something I would do.
Really it seems important to remember that the business needs to center around the readers, and providing valuable content.
Thanks Jordan. Social media has its place but concentrating on it too much usually turns out to be counterproductive and can end up doing damage to your rankings. It can also suck away a lot of time you could use creating good content. That’s what it’s all about, the reader!
Thanks for the reply Jordan!
I love how clearly you explain the combination of targeting & trust that is required. It is truly a strait to the point and easy to understand explanation. Your article is without a doubt a huge asset to anyone who want to get started with affiliate marketing. I also adore your header image. It really catches the eye! Keep up the great work!
Thanks Darcy. I’m glad you got something out of it!
I am 100% agree with you about getting a good keywords to write. It’s not a simple task. I always struggle with finding good keyword. It is a constant challenge. Just wonder if you have any recommendation on a few good keyword tools that I can test. Look to hear from you soon.
Check out this article for keyword tool suggestions.
Thanks for the comment!
Thanks for your post! I really enjoyed it and I liked the fact that you stressed several points: 1) we need to inform and educate our readers, so that they gain value and trust us to sell them something; 2) you insisted on subtlety of the approach; and 3) you didn’t say that someone could become rich quickly but you said that regularity and consistency was the key. I reconnected with my blog one month ago. I do write one post per week (I am promoting my content on the social media) and honestly, though my results were not great, I saw the difference. I really noticed that I earned more money with Google Adsense for example than when I was not regular. Nice post!
Thanks Angel. Unfortunately it takes time to build trust, it’s tough to be patient. You’re right on though, be consistent and publish on a regular basis and the rest will come with time.
Best wishes and thanks for the comment!
Thank you for a very insightful article.I think that you touched on most of the fundamentals of content marketing. Each of those headings is, of course, a whole science on its own. I do think that another point that is crucial to content marketing is the fact that one should update the content regularly. I take for myself if I read an article and the links are outdated or I get a 404 error it immediately gives me the impression that the content is also outdated.
It’s always wise to revisit your content regularly to keep it up to date. This is also good for SEO as long as the update is substantial enough.
Thanks for the input Hennie!
Thank you Steve for this very clear blueprint on how to build a business online. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and confused by all the bright shiny objects online and I am finding this really useful to get back to the basics.
This is a website I am definitely going to bookmark and return to when I am veering off the main path which you have laid out so well
Thanks Hilary, looking forward to hearing from you in the future. Let me know if you ever need help.
Thanks again for the kind words!
Great information! It really helped me to piece together some of the things I think I have been missing on my end. I have been trying to build out content but it can be very hard to figure out what to write about all the time.
I am most definitely going to start leveraging social media. This is something I have never though about using before, but totally makes sense. Everyone is on some sort of social media at some point of the day so why not leverage it to our advantage?!
Thanks for the info here, was a lot of help in overcoming the troubles I was having in growing out my site.
Glad the post helped you out.
Best of luck and thanks for the comment Leah!
I have been doing affiliate marketing for some time now but what I have never been fully interested in is the social media thing. I have tried a couple of times to share my content on Google Plus and Pinterest but that is as far as I’ve ever tried to go. And I wasn’t even consistent in that , I just ended up abandoning it after some time.
I guess the problem is, I’ve been contented with Seo ranking to drive traffic to my site but now from what you’re saying search engines could like my post because of social media engagement on my posts? Maybe it’s probably time I gave this a real shot.
More tips on how to go about it will highly be appreciated.
It’s true that social media exposure helps SEO. My best advice is to like, comment and engage on social media to get attention. It can be time consuming but if you set aside an hour a day to do this it will help in the long run.
Hope that helps and thanks for the input Emmy!
Great information in your article I can take a lot from it. I am building out my site now for a while and while it is a slow process I feel I’m getting there.
The trouble I have is social media, I was never big into it and now having to educate myself on the subject I find it difficult to know which ones I should join.
Can you give me some advice on what is the best social platform to get started on and how to build a following,
Hey Dave. I have never been much of a social media type either. I do suggest you at least join Google+. Since it is the major search engine’s social network, it will go a ways for your rankings. After posting something new, put it up on G+ as public.
You might get some traffic from G+’s network but not likely much.
Getting followers on social networks takes a little time and effort. Basically, use the network for what it was intended to gain a following. Just like, comment and engage. There are no shortcuts that I am aware of when it comes to social networks.
Hope this little bit helps, thanks for the comment!
Interesting reading I must say, you have outlined all the main points, just 2 questions for you if that is ok. Can you make any suggestions in terms of website hosting company – who are the best and most reliable? You mention join affiliate programs – again which ones are the best ones to join? Many thanks if you get the time to reply
I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate where the training and site hosting are included, check them out for really good hosting deals.
You need to research affiliate programs in your niche. Research them on Google, see what others are saying. Do they have a decent commission structure and pay on time?
Thanks for the input William!