What is Affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing represents a large spectrum of ways that you can make money on the internet. Basically, it is the idea of promoting products and services that are owned or provided by others while receiving a commission for the sales produced. Affiliate marketers are like the “middle man” in a business deal. It is through this route that many people begin to earn money online. There are many options if you decide to become an affiliate marketer.
The first choice you are likely to make when it comes to affiliate marketing is which products you want to advertise. You can choose digital products such as software or ebooks, or physical products like you would purchase from Amazon and other online retailers. Each have their own set of pro’s and con’s when it comes to promoting them on the internet. For most people, it’s a personal preference or a factor that depends on the niche they wish to venture into.
It is important to note that in most cases, affiliate marketers should not be selling anything. Many marketers make this mistake when they are first starting out online. Though you may feel like a salesperson, the truth is, you are merely leading buyers to the sales page of the products you are promoting. The product or service owner has likely spent hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of dollars on their sales copy, so you should always leave the selling to them. All you need to do is provide your site visitors with the perfect solution to the problem.
Affiliate marketing is perfect for beginners for a number of reasons. First of all, you don’t have to have a product or offer a service in order to make money with this method. Additionally, there is very little, if any, interaction between you and those that buy in the end. The product owners take care of the customer support so you don’t have to. Finally, affiliate marketing is a cost effective venture that many can get started in with little or no investment. In most cases, all you need is a domain name and web hosting, which can be purchased for less than $10, to begin.
If you have considered making money online, you may want to give affiliate marketing some serious thought. This is where many people make their first online dollar. It can provide you with a great deal of knowledge as to the buying, selling, and marketing processes that occur on the internet.
your smart business investments
I get it. You’re a solo-preneur.
You’re proud of the fact that you’ve bootstrapped your business from the ground up, tackling every task that comes your way. You built your first website, dove in and learned how to edit and upload videos to YouTube, figured out how to format your email newsletter, and even wrestled your shopping cart into submission.
But that feeling of pride that comes from doing the work yourself comes with a price. Too many small business owners are working too many hours, suffering from burnout and frustration—not because they’re not good at what they do, but simply because they’re unwilling to truly invest in their business.
They’re letting a scarcity mindset prevent them from taking the steps—and making the investments—that will have a massive impact on their business. And maybe you are, too.
By far the biggest objection to outsourcing you’ll hear is “I can’t afford it.” Perhaps you’ve heard—or even said it. But the fact is, if you’re a serious business owner, you can’t afford not to outsource.
The time you free up by not doing those mundane, everyday tasks is time you’ll spend more profitably, by:
• Creating new coaching programs.
• Upping your content marketing game.
• Recording video and audio content.
• Connecting with your audience through email and blogging.
• Working with clients either one on one or in a group setting.
• Or just enjoying your life!
Outsourcing should never be looked at as an expense. In fact, if you’re not getting a return on your outsourcing investment, take a hard look at what you’re outsourcing and to whom, because there is likely plenty of room for improvement.
Most online business owners start out using low-cost tools with limited features. For example, you might be using PayPal exclusively for product sales, and manually adding buyers to your mailing list each time you receive a payment. While that’s an acceptable solution when time is easier to come by than money, you’ll quickly outgrow it. The problem is, too many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the benefits of true automation.
Not only is trying to “make do” with a pieced-together system costing you sales, but it costs actual dollars, too. You (or your VA) will spend extra time simply getting it all to work, rather than letting the tools do the heavy lifting.
Recognize when it’s time to revise your marketing tools to include true funnel automation, and watch your income increase dramatically!
It is possible to build your business solely on your own. You can pay attention to what others are doing and reverse engineer their systems. You can read books and blogs and maybe invest in a few carefully chosen training programs.
“Show me a person who never made a mistake, and I will show you a person who never did anything.”
– William Rosenberg, founder Dunkin’ Donuts
But there will come a time when your growth will flat line, and you’ll struggle to reach that next level. That’s when it’s time to invest in coaching. And yes, even coaches have (and need) coaches. A coach can help you see past your own blind spots, work through the blocks that are holding you back, and build a business you love—on your own terms.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. Wise investments such as coaching, automation, and outsourcing will pay for themselves many times over.
Social Media Myths Busted
Social media is a powerful technology but it’s also misunderstood. In its simplest form, social media is a way to connect with old friends from childhood or college and a way to share snippets of your daily life. In its more complex form, social media is a unique way to market your business and products to the entire world in a short amount of time. While you can take months or years to study the intricacies of social media and craft business strategies, there are three common myths about social media that business owners can dispel today.
Myth #1: You must use every single social media platform.
Expanding your reach is certainly a goal for business owners and coaches as that yields more sales and personal clients, which equals increased income. However, the real question to ask before signing up for every platform is: where is my ideal client? Using Facebook just because it has over 1 billion users doesn’t mean those 1 billion users will find you and start purchasing. Identify your ideal client and find out where they hang out. Those are the platforms you should use.
Myth #2: Aim for every post to go viral.
It’s always fun to see a post go viral as they are usually entertaining or thought provoking but of the viral campaigns you’ve noticed recently, could you say what company sponsored them? I can’t either. Aim to provide value in your posts mixed in with some of your personality as opposed to aiming for shock or entertainment value. Your ideal client wants to learn from you so your valuable lesson will be heard and remembered long after the latest viral video fades away.
Myth #3: Having a large number of followers equals increased profits.
It sure is an ego boost to see a large number of social media followers but are these followers interacting with you? Are they liking or sharing your posts? Are they leaving comments? If not, then chances are they are not your ideal client and chances are they will never purchase one of your packages. Evaluate your own posts; it’s quite possible they’re boring and that’s the reason for no response. Be more creative with your posts and watch for audience interaction. This directs back to the need for niching down to your ideal customer. You’re not appealing to everyone; you’re appealing to a small fraction of the world’s population. Pay attention to finding that demographic and the number of engaged audience members will follow, as will the profits.
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”
–Dave Thomas, founder Wendy’s
Dig deeper into your business and develop your unique social media plan.
start small - aim big
What media outlet is on your “Big Hairy Goals” list?
Whatever it is, you probably realize that the odds of getting an out-of-the-blue invite to join Anderson Cooper in the Green Room are slim…at least right now.
That doesn’t mean your media dreams are always going to be out of reach, though. One snapshot of Marie Forleo hanging out with Oprah Winfrey is enough to prove that the national media is a goal worth pursuing. The only question is how do you get there?
No Outlet is Too Small
Just as you didn’t start out charging premium rates for a comprehensive 16-week coaching program, your pursuit of media attention won’t likely begin at the top either. Instead, concentrate on small, local publications. Weekly newspapers, regional magazines, local news channels are all looking for experts they can interview and quote.
Even better (for you, anyway) it’s tough for a local market to attract the attention of national celebrities. Is Dr. Phil going to appear on the morning show in Columbus, Indiana or Marquette, Michigan? Not likely. But you can.
Not only do these smaller outlets offer you an opportunity to share your message, but they also give you the chance to build your media chops. Here’s another critical reason to aim for these smaller markets: appearing in the media is a skill that must be nurtured. Just as you played endless scales to learn the piano, and wrote 1,000 blog posts before you penned a book, interviewing well takes practice, and there’s no better training than small, local outlets.
Big Markets Are Still Within Reach
Of course if your dream is the national stage, there is a more direct route. As Jonathon Fields says, anyone can get featured in national media, you “just need to make national-level news!”
“The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says ‘Go!’ – a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’.”
-E.M Kelly, U.S Army
Always be on the lookout for media outreach opportunities, whether it’s a chance at a regular column in your hometown newspaper, or a sound byte on the national news. The more media exposure you have, the more you will attract, and before you know it, you might just be sharing the stage with Oprah Winfrey.
The well-constructed and managed blog supports sales of your products and services. Remember how I talked about putting additional resources up on the website for your customers? Do the same on your blog. Make an email announcement about a large blog post going up.
Your blog can help you strategize on creating more products and services. Monitor what clients and customers are asking for and then build it. It’s no good to build a chrome widget if everyone wants turquoise widgets. Pay attention to what they are chatting about and be responsive.