There’s a number of questions you need to ask yourself. Who are your customers going to be, what need do they have, and what products are you going to offer?
The great thing about online business, or ecommerce as it’s sometimes called, is that it’s possible to get started selling online with very little capital.
In fact, you don’t even need to hold any stock yourself.
You can take advantage of a method known as affiliate marketing.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing involves having your own website or sites, attracting relevant visitor traffic via your site and then sending that traffic on to a merchant’s site where your visitors can buy their products or services.
For every sale made by a visitor from your site, you earn an affiliate sales commission.
The Web is a major source of visitor traffic and it’s a very low cost and efficient way of providing information to help people make their purchasing decisions.
People use the Web daily as a source of information and as a means of making purchases and this makes it an excellent sales medium.
E-commerce is now big business right across the world and affiliate marketing is a major part of e-commerce activity.
Online affiliate marketing programs are now established in practically all product and service sectors, and this makes it possible for you to select the niche products and services that interest you most.
Affiliate marketing is continuing to experience substantial growth world wide. Entry costs are minimal for newcomers starting up in the affiliate marketing sector and running costs and overheads are also very low.
All this means that it’s possible to get up and running with an online affiliate marketing business in a very short time and with minimal outlay.
Affiliate marketing also makes it possible for you to become active in selling in niches that would otherwise be difficult for you to enter.
WHICH NICHE interests you most?
You should choose a niche which really interests you.
There are plenty of niches out there, thousands upon thousands. Most of them do not interest me. Fortunately as there are so many it is easy to select the niches that I do have a passion for.
Don’t forget you will be creating content for that niche on a long term basis, you are going to be engaging with that product sector and the audience for that sector. So make sure it’s something that interests you personally.
It isn’t just about passion. I disagree with people who say that you should “just follow your passion”.
Your own personal interest definitely plays an important role and you have to take this into account. But passion without profit doesn’t make a business.
You have to consider the people you will be serving, ie your audience, as well as your own interest or passion.
And this is where we come to the next question…
What is the NEED that you will be serving?
This is a little different to the way some people approach affiliate marketing.
Many people think you should start with a product.
For example, they see a product that they like or which they have themselves purchased. And so they join the affiliate marketing program for that product and launch a website about that product.
Now this may have success. But it’s a high risk strategy that I don’t recommend. Setting up a website just to promote a single product from a single supplier puts your business on very shaky ground.
Instead you should approach the issue the other way round. Ask first what is the NEED that the product meets. And for WHOM? In other words, who are the audience and what is their need?
If you first ask these questions and work out the answers, then you will see that there are actually a whole range of products or services that can be useful to that audience and the need they have.
In fact, there are probably many more products that will interest your audience than you first thought,
So you don’t have to promote just one single product, or even just one product type.
WHO are you going to sell to?
You have to know who your customers are in terms of their characteristics.
Who are your customers in terms of demographics, income?
Where do they live, what are their buying habits, how do they decide to buy?
The more precisely you can define and describe your customers, the more chance of success you will have in selling to them.
WHY will people want to buy from you?
What makes your offer special – and preferably unique?
What value can you offer them? What is your USP or unique selling proposition? This is the one thing that sets your product or service offering apart from the competition.
You also need to take a look at your competition and see how you can do things better or differently to them.
If a niche has a lot of active competition, then this is usually a good indication of profitability. It means there’s money to be made.
If the niche does not have any competition, then this can mean there may be no money to be made.
Affiliate marketing is basically sales promotion.
But it’s also about adding value, providing information, providing a service. The better you can do this, the more success you will have.
So ask yourself: what sort of information is your audience looking for when thinking about making a purchase?
What additional information can you provide to help people make their choice? Can you provide a bonus offer alongside the main product or service to encourage people to want to purchase via your links?
Don’t forget you can use many different promotional strategies, such as video, mailing lists, newsletters, a blog or an online e-commerce store, or combinations of all these.
HOW PROFITABLE is your niche?
You also need to put some basic financial data together.
My advice: select affiliate products with high traffic conversion rates, high value commissions and high commission percentages.
It takes just as much marketing effort to sell a product with a high value, a high commission and a high conversion rate as it does to market a product with a low value, low commission rate and low conversion rate.
So look for products with the former and not the latter. Don’t waste your time on low value offers.
How many conversions will you be able to make each month? Your conversion rate is the proportion of visitors to your site, or subscribers to your mailing list, who then go on to purchase via your affiiliate links.
Conversion rates in general tend to be very low. Like between 5% and 10%. In fact, if you can manage even this, you are most probably doing pretty well.
Conversion rates also vary from niche to niche. But your own conversion rate should rise over time as you become more experienced in applying successful affiliate marketing techniques.
You can usually find this kind of information at the affiliate marketing networks.
There are now a large number of affiliate marketing networks out there. These provide the operating infrastructure and act as intermediaries between publishers ie website owners, and the advertisers and merchants who run affiliate marketing programs.
Some of the biggest affiliate marketing network operators right now are cj.com (the former Commission Junction), clickbank.com and shareasale.com.
Another large and well known operator, and one which tends to have much higher conversion rates than the others is Amazon Associates.
However sales commissions with Amazon tend to be poor and their cookie rules are deliberately designed to operate in Amazon’s favour and not yours.
How Can I Get Started in Affiliate Marketing?
But running a profitable business as an affiliate marketer can be difficult if you’re a newcomer to the field.
That’s where Affilorama can help.
Affilorama is an online training program that teaches you the know-how you need to be successful in running up your own affiliate marketing business.
Affilorama was founded in 2006 by New Zealander Mark Ling, one of the world’s best known and most reputable affiliate marketing professionals.
What do you get with Affilorama?
Affilorama comes in both free and premium paid-for versions.
The free program of Affilorama consists of over 100 videos and podcasts which teach you the basics of website building, content creation, keyword research, and SEO.
The support runs via the online forum. Mark Ling himself posts or answers questions only occasionally, but there is a staff of online moderators available to answer questions and assist.
Affilorama focuses specifically on the needs of affiliate marketers. So if your business isn’t affiliate marketing related then it may not be the best program for you. But many of the marketing techniques taught by Affilorama are relevant to many businesses online.
Affilorama does not asssume any previous knowledge of affiliate marketing or internet marketing. So this is a big plus if you are completely new to the field.
What Will Affilorama Premium Teach Me?
Affilorama Premium will teach you:
- how to Identify a market niche that interests you and which has commercial potential
- how to build an affiliate marketing website
- how to source suitable products to promote
- how to conduct market research
- how to use Search engine optimization to rank your website well with the search engines
- how to create content for your website
- how to utilize social networking and “web 2.0” strategies
- how to use Email marketing and Pay-Per-Click marketing
The material is professional and the know-how you will learn is solid and dependable.
If you’re completely new to affiilate marketing, and you are looking for a thorough grounding in techniques and strategy, then Affilorama Premium can be a good investment for you.
Affilorama is a solid dependable course which will teach you a lot of valuable know-how which you will be able to apply again and again in your affiliate marketing business, both now and in the future.
Affilorama offers you a number of different membership plans to choose between.
Affilorama offers a choice between Free and Premium Paid-For Membership
Affilorama Basic Membership
The basic membership of Affilorama is completely free.
Basic membership teaches you how to promote the products from merchants as an affiliate using the latest techniques and tools available.
It gives you free access to a selection of the training materials – both articles and instruction videos and podcasts, as well as various technical tools.
However, the basic membership is rather limited in scope. In order to get the most out of Affilorama you will need to upgrade to premium membership.
Affilorama Premium Membership
Affilorama Premium Membership costs $67 per month or alternatively $497 for three years.
Premium Membership gives you access to a much wider range of training material and tools that teach you how to become a successful affiliate marketer.
You will also have full access to the forum, plus hosting services, additional training videos and other materials, including PLR (private label rights) article content.
How Can I Join Affilorama?
You can try Affilorama Premium for 30 days for just $1.
Sign up for Affilorama Premium at www.affilorama.com