Tuesday, September 18, 2007

4 Affiliate Marketing Tips, the Only Ones You'll Ever Need

For many online marketers, affiliate marketing is a first step in their journeys to make money online. Often they progress on to purchasing resale rights or developing their own products to sell. Many times, their products are ebooks selling their own strategies and tools for succeeding.

Each generation of new affiliate marketers is then faced with an ever-increasing number of gurus, methods, ebooks, courses, manuals, programs, and so forth. The maze gets more complicated and confusing daily! How is an affiliate marketer to know where to start, what to do, and what strategy to follow.

I've assembled a short list of four tips and the reasons why you need to follow them. If you don't want to have your own website, you have no money to invest in your business, and you don't care about longevity in this business, these tips may not be for you.

My assumptions are these: you want free search engine traffic and are more comfortable with writing content than you are with advertising; and you either can do all the work necessary yourself, can hire someone to help you, and/or you can purchase software that will help you with whatever is left to do.

1. You need to find a profitable niche. Trying to market everything to everybody won't work - it's a sure recipe for failure. You have to know who your market is, what they need, what their problems are, and how your product can solve them. You can hire someone to do a few weeks of seo/sem research and niche development for you, you can do all the work yourself with the help of a free manual, "The Affiliate Masters Course", available at www.7affiliatecentral.com/, or you can buy software such as my current favorite, Niche Inspector.

2. You need to build a website around your niche. Choose an easy way: a Squidoo page is very simple; a Wordpress blog is also easy and is more customizeable in appearance; a web hosting service with built-in templates gives you a complete website package. With a website, you have a bit of internet real estate, somewhere people can find you and your products no matter where they live or what timezone they are in, 24/7/365.

3. You need quality, original, fresh, relevant content for your website. If you include content written by others, such as syndicated or private label rights articles, you should balance this with at least an equal amount of original content. Fresh content brings visitors back; enough content makes your visitors stick around for a while. You can either write content yourself, rewrite PLR articles so they are unique, use syndicated articles, pay someone to ghostwrite articles for you, and/or use RSS feeds to automate content updates.

4. You need backlinks. Links on other quality, original, relevant sites that send traffic to pages on your site. My favorite linking strategy is to use article marketing and carefully crafted and negotiated reciprocal links. Link directories are another option, but I suggest using only the ones that are not free. I've gotten tons of spam from directories, so I no longer use free ones.

I contact webmasters one at a time, after carefully studying their site and doing 2 things: finding the perfect page on their site for a link to mine, and vice versa. This could be the homepage, an article, whatever is mutually and equally beneficial to us. Sometimes a link fits only on my article directory page; this is fine, because limiting this page to only a few links gives them more validity than listing them with hundreds of others.

There's nothing new, flashy or glamorous about these basic steps, but they are sure to result in targeted traffic. There are other faster ways to build traffic, but these tips will build you a stable, honest site over time. Don't be overwhelmed, just do something every day, knowing that everything you do will last and grow organically.

There are always new, flashy and glamorous things you can do. As you find the time and inclination, you can add them to these 4 simple steps. There will come a time when suddenly your business will have grown enough that you can hire an assistant, or someone with expertise in one of the four areas. This will make your job easier and give you more time to explore different strategies, plus it's more fun to work with others. If you have faith, perseverance and determination and follow these simple steps every day, your affiliate marketing business will flourish.

Kathryn Beach is a freelance writer specializing in article marketing strategies that get targeted traffic to affiliate marketing websites. Read more about how website content and article marketing can boost your website's targeted traffic and sales.

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