When a foundation is put down for a building the deeper and wider the hole that is dug for it has a huge bearing on how high the structure can go. It is the same with the foundations of Affiliate Marketing. The deeper and wider you create your base of knowledge on which you build your business the higher your potential for earnings. If you skimp on any of the following concepts, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice.
Just as there are four concepts below there are also four ingredients cement, water, sand, and gravel that make up the concrete that is poured for a foundation. There are certain percentages of each and if the proper ratios aren’t observed the concrete won’t have the strength to carry the building. Likewise, if you don’t have a good mix of training, niche, content, and engagement the base for your affiliate marketing business will be weak.
Foundations of Affiliate Marketing #1 – Training
Training is the cement that holds all the other elements of Affiliate marketing together. Without training, we wouldn’t know how to bind these different aspects into a strong base.
This isn’t something you’d have learned in school. Sure, you can learn Marketing at a business school but to take that rudimentary knowledge and apply it to an Affiliate environment takes specialised knowledge. Where will you find training that specialised? Training with the depth and breadth to build the foundations of Affiliate Marketing?
The training platform at Wealthy Affiliate is probably the most comprehensive you will find. With their free starter membership you get a taster for what is required to build an affiliate marketing business. If you advance to the premium membership you’ll feel compelled to follow both their trainings – the Online Entrepreneur Certification and the WA Affiliate Bootcamp. When complete you become a seasoned professional. As a premium plus member you’ll have access to further training carrying you onward to Super Affiliate status.
What can you expect from the Wealthy Affiliate training?
In the Online Entrepreneur Certification are 5 Levels with 10 Lessons per Module. The five levels are: Getting Started; Building your own Traffic Producing Website; Making Money; Mastering Social Engagement and Achieving Maximum Success through Content Creation.
The WA Affiliate Bootcamp has the following phases of training: Getting your Business Rolling; Content, Keywords & Conversions; Giving your Site Social Value; Get Visual, Get Aesthetic, Get a Brand through Media;Knowing your Audiences and Catapulting your Referrals; Bing, Yahoo and the Power of PPC and finally How to Scale Successful PPC campaigns.
Foundations of Affiliate Marketing #2 – Niche
Discovering a niche is the second of the foundations of Affiliate Marketing. One of the meanings of niche is that it is a hollow space created to hold a statue, the other is that it is a product, service, or job that has a specific focus. Both of these are relevant. The hollow space creates a focus for something special to you whether it be an art work or something sacred.
Your niche should be sacred to you. When people arrive at your site they should be able to see that you care about whatever it is that you’ve chosen as a niche.
Perhaps you’ve landed here because you’ve searched affiliate marketing specifically but you’re not sure how it works. So, what do you have to do to find this narrow and specialized service or product? Maybe you were thinking this could be a new way of creating an income and it is, but what is a niche?
You May Already Be Doing It!
- You may already be doing it and have found your way here for a different avenue of putting your product or service out there.
- Do you have a passion – something that you’ll do for free without expectation of payment.
- Something you’ll help others with just because you can.
- Have you ever watched someone who has model trains? They’re totally in sync with what they’re doing and be occupied for hours without noticing the passage of time. It’s what is called a peak state or a state of flow. Is there anything that you’re involved in that you’ve noticed creates a similar experience in you? If there is, this holds the possibility of a niche.
- What challenges have you experienced?
- Are there problems you are in the process of solving or have solved in the past?
- Challenges and problems could specific to your passion or they could be associated with your current business. They could be affecting others who are looking for the solution you’ve already discovered.
- You may have dealt with a health challenge in a way that caused a remission or easing of the symptoms. Use the knowledge you gained in the process to create a service or product to help others.
- And there’s the million dollar question.
- What would you see yourself doing if money and time was no object to you?
If any of those things resonate with you, There is no better time to start than now.
Foundations of Affiliate Marketing #3 – Content
The third of the foundations of Affiliate Marketing is Creating Content. This is the engine that will drive traffic to your website and help you gain traction in the marketplace for your offer. Optimising the content for search engines and choosing relevant keywords will oil that that engine.
Going back to the concrete metaphor, one of the features of our content will be what is called pillar or cornerstone content. This is content that will serve to establish your authority as an expert in the field you’ve chosen. When a potential customer puts a search term into a search engine if you’ve done your SEO right your page or post may come up on the first page.
The more cornerstones or content pillars you have will be beneficial for your website. As I said before the deeper the foundation the higher you can build your business. Pillars and cornerstones sit on the foundations enabling a structure that can carry the weight of the building growth.
If you’re just starting out or perhaps you’ve been doing it for a while but have lost your way a bit your pillar content can bring you back to what is important.
Before you begin to create your content, plan it. Write down your ideas. I think it was Whitney Young who said, “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to be offered an opportunity and not be prepared for it.” Making a content strategy prepares you for that opportunity. To be ready when it arrives.
Have some goals for content creation. How many words will you write each day? How many posts will put out in a week. Will you create video for YouTube or Vimeo. Are podcasts going to feature in your strategy.
If it’s a passion you’re going to focus on, you’ll know how you first got into it, if you made some mistakes along the way, also remember and recount your successes. What are some of things you need in the undertaking of this passion? Are some better than others? Can you write about the comparisons of products you have used and perhaps didn’t use while in pursuit of your passion.
If you’re providing a solution to a challenge or health issue you have, again you can set the scene, tell readers about your accomplishments and share your defeats. Let them about the battles you lost on the way to winning the war.
Wealthy Affiliate has a dedicated platform for creating posts to be published in WordPress. Using the Site Content platform can enable to create and achieve goals around your subject matter on the way to building out your website. Once you have this process happening there are avenues to encourage engagement with your posts through comments also on the platform. This is also a boon for search engine optimisation and better rankings.
Engagement – Being Social
Engagement is the last of the foundations of Afffiliate marketing we will be covering here. I’ve just said engagement will help boost SEO for your site. The other thing that it does is increase your personal authority. When you’ve posted a review of a product and have received questions regarding the review, the way you answer it will demonstrate your knowledge of the subject.
Described as the World’s Greatest Marketer, one of the things Seth Godin says about marketing is that it is about telling your story. I tell the story of how I got to doing this in my About Me post. And what do people need to get from your story. They want to know, “Who are you?”, What do you have?”, and “Why they should care.” Based on your story your readers or the people watching your video content, or listening to your podcast will make a decision on whether they can trust you. Establishing the trust of a potential customer will give you traction in your particular niche.
Social Media gives us a great gift for being able to create a relationship with current and future customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora, YouTube and others are all ways to open up a channel to engage with your audience. Also if you’ve ever signed up to do an online training you’ll have accepted an invitation to join a private Facebook group or you’ll have the opportunity to engage with other participants within the platform itself.
Wealthy Affiliate has this function built into their platform. They have an avenue for you to post comments in other members sites and in doing so be able to receive comments on your site. A nested ability to create engagement. Anything you post with in the platform itself be it question or blog post can be commented on also giving plenty of opportunity to develop the skill in a friendly environment.
There’s a story I heard about a builder who was coming up to retirement. He’d grown a little tired of the industry and was starting to take short cuts in his work.
He received another commission to build a house from his employer. This job took him through to his retirement. Unfortunately his short cuts had become habitual. Doing the preliminaries before he started the build he ordered cheaper timber and cladding for the build and hired subcontractors whose rates were lower than what was an average price.
All the way through the build he had an indifferent attitude to the work. Consequently when it came to completion and he looked back at the finished product he felt less than satisfied. Twenty years ago when he was a in his prime the work he put in was immaculate. Now it showed the signs of tiredness that he was unconsciously experiencing within himself.
The day came for him to sign it back over to his employer. When he met with the company director and went to hand back the keys to the completed property, the director took the keys and placed them in the builder’s hand and closed his fingers around them. “These are yours now”, he said.
I think it’s easy to imagine what the builder was feeling as this happened. I know what I feel – If I’m the builder engaging contractors for specialised work, I’ll employ them for the quality of their craft. Instead of indifference, I want the pride in my work that I had at the peak of my career.
Bring your best you to the business of affiliate marketing. You’re building the house of your business here. You’re creating a virtual shop front. How do want customers to see you? Will they see a professional?
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”