“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’re reading a site like this one, I’m pretty sure you’re interesting in making money online.
There are many reasons you might want to start an online business.
Maybe you have a job you hate. You just can’t stand your boss, and everyday is just another session in the torture chamber. You dream every night of smiling as you tell your boss to, “Take this job and shove it.”
Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve already left the workforce. And you discover that although retirement is great, a person still needs something to do with themselves. Volunteering at the local food shelter is noble, but it isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’d rather make some extra money and donate it to charity.
A great many of the people looking for a chance to make money online just need more money in their lives.
Maybe you would like to have a few extras in life, but can’t afford them. Perhaps you’re looking to build your nest egg, money to fund investments, so you can afford to retire someday.
Or maybe your paycheck always runs out before the bills do. Maybe you could find another job to help out… maybe. But that’s not ideal, even if it is possible. Working an online business will give you a chance to be home with your family while you earn some extra cash.
You discover this shining beacon in the distance, called affiliate marketing.
What, you just have to recommend products to people? Products you don’t own or pay to produce? And you get a commission when your people buy from your recommendations?
That could be just the ticket to some financial sanity for you and your family!
You need to know, it takes time to make money online. Don’t believe a lot of the BS marketing you’ll see out there. If you’re about to lose your home or can’t afford food, affiliate marketing isn’t the place to turn. Another job may really be what you need at this point. Sorry for the tough love.
Another option you might want to check out is doing freelance work. That can offer you a chance to earn fast cash while staying at home.
So you dig a little deeper on affiliate marketing thing. You find you’ll need to purchase your own domain, pay for hosting, fork out more cash for autoresponder fees and so on.
You’ll need money to pay for different fixed and recurring costs in your business. That’s a given.
It’s like my dad used to tell me, “It takes money to make money.”
You’re already strapped for cash. You see your dream fading away, because your tight budget has no room for business startup costs.
While it’s true all that stuff is important, the webhosting, domain, autoresponder etc., and having them would be ideal. But…
They aren’t the only way to play this game.
You need a free business hub
There are several platforms that will allow you to have a free website. The catch here is that you’ll have no control over the advertising that appears on your site.
Another problem with using a free website is you’ll have to follow the rules of the platform however limiting and stupid they may seem to you. It’s their playground and they get to make the rules.
If they feel like you’re abusing their rules, they can shut you down, no warning, no notice and probably without giving you any reason or explanation.
Countless beginner marketers have lost their businesses overnight by ‘building their houses on rented land’.
So, your goal is to build a free website and once you’re generating sales, you should immediately buy your own domain and hosting so that you’re in control of your business.
Here are 3 free platforms you can use:
- WordPress.com – https://wordpress.com
- Medium – https://medium.com While Medium doesn’t allow you to build your own site, it allows you to post articles on their platform. That’s really all you need for now. The site gets a lot of traffic and has potential when it comes to ranking for low hanging keywords that you may wish to target. From there, it’s just a matter of publishing more targeted articles and getting affiliate sales.
- Pinterest – https://pinterest.com Pinterest is an often overlooked giant. You can set the links for your pins to go directly to the affiliate offer you’re promoting.
Getting your affiliate links
You can be an affiliate to promote just about any product you can think of. Start out by searching for the “product or brand of interest + affiliate”.
Many big retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Home Depot, now have affiliate programs. Go to the various store websites and look for info on joining their programs.
You can also find products to promote at several big network sites:
- ClickBank – https://www.clickbank.com/
- Amazon Associates – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
- CJ Affiliate – https://www.cj.com/publisher
- ShareASale – https://www.shareasale.com/info/
- Rakuten Marketing – https://rakutenadvertising.com/affiliate/
DO NOT PAY TO BE AN AFFILIATE!
Forget programs that require you to ‘pay to play’ – where you need to have a monthly paid subscription to the software/service/etc. before they give you the honor of making money for them.
There are tons of excellent affiliate products that you can promote for free without having to jump through hoops.
Since money is tight, paid ads are definitely not an option here.
The next best way to generate traffic to your pages will be to siphon it from high traffic social media sites and platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google.
It’s important to know that free traffic takes time. You’ll not generate massive traffic overnight. You’ll need to create content consistently and almost daily to get reach and traction.
If your content is valuable and top-notch, you’ll build a following and have people clicking on your affiliate links or article links. So, go ahead and create accounts in the different social media platforms and…
- Start making videos with your mobile phone and post them on YouTube
- Set up a Facebook group and a fan page and start posting content
- Write articles on your niche and post them on Medium
- Start tweeting your articles/videos/etc.
- Use Canva.com to come up with attractive creatives you can use. (It’s free!)
Once again, it’s important to remember that social media sites are not your web properties, so you’re never totally safe with them.
The goal is to generate sales until you have enough money to build your own website and list. These are YOUR assets.
Putting it all together
One way to start will be to write and start posting useful articles on Medium (you’ll embed your affiliate links in the posts). Just remember to disclose affiliate links and DO NOT overdo it. Moderation is key here.
Here’s the plan:
Publish a great, informative article, and at the end place some info about yourself and a link to your related affiliate offer.
Check out this page to see an advanced example of how this is done. This Medium article is by Connie Ragen Green. She’s been making a living online for a long time.
Near the end of her article she links to a free report, which is a 7 page PDF containing loads of links for business resources. I haven’t check them all, but I’ll bet many of them are affiliate links. Great place for them.
After a reader downloads her free report, they just might pass it on to a friend or family member. They spread her links for her – for free. That’s smart stuff there.
In the bio paragraph at the end of her page she links out to one of her training products. While this is her own product, you’ll do the same with an affiliate offer.
As long as your content is good, you’ll have curious readers clicking on your links and reaching the sales page of the product you’re promoting… which is your main objective.
Point your YouTube videos, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. to your Medium article so that you can pre-sell the reader by providing more information and value. Once you build trust with your audience, your chances of getting the sale will be much higher.
Your Medium account with all your content will act as a hub-site for your affiliate marketing business.
The free traffic methods you employ will siphon traffic from different platforms and point them all to your hub site’s content. Your hub site articles link out to your affiliate offers.
This is your sales funnel. Get used to sales funnels. They will be your friend.
Then it’s just a matter of time for the traffic to convert into sales (if your content is valuable and persuasive).
Keep making new content, as much as possible. Give yourself 6 to 12 months to see your efforts yield fruit. This is a slow process, but a rewarding one.
Once you see the commissions coming in, do invest in your business by getting your own domain, hosting and an autoresponder. Being able to build your own mailing list will help to elevate your marketing to the next level and skyrocket your commissions.
You’ll still be able to use the same basic funnel. You’ll just replace the free hub with one you control on your own webhosting. You’ll also be able to start building a list.
This is the best way to bootstrap your way from scratch to affiliate marketing success.