5 Steps to Becoming an Affiliate as a Micro-Entrepreneurial Business - dummies

5 Steps to Becoming an Affiliate as a Micro-Entrepreneurial Business

By Paul Mladjenovic

Through affiliate programs, your micro-entrepreneurial business can earn extra revenue. There are many products and services that you can market as a business affiliate, and thousands of merchants and affiliate programs to sift through. With affiliation, nothing happens without a strong commitment of time and effort by you, so you should get started.

Step 1 to becoming an affiliate: Discover your interest

First, ask yourself what topic interests you. Maybe you like fashion, education, electronic gadgets, gardening, automobiles, or furniture. The odds are good that your interested area has affiliate programs.

Any product sold on Amazon can earn you an affiliate commission, so Amazon is a good place to start, once you figure out what interests you.

Step 2 to becoming an affiliate: Identify your competence

Your next step is to identify your competence and strengths. If you have years of experience in a topic, get involved with affiliate programs related in that field. For instance, if you’re an automotive mechanic, then consider affiliate programs tied to the automotive field. Affiliating yourself with affiliates that you’re competent in is important for several reasons:

  • You’ll have an easier time seeing the value of the product or service, and showing that value to others.

  • People will respect your opinion more because they you’re credible about this offering.

  • You can offer regular, informed opinions on a blog, website, or on your Facebook page. Doing so can result in more sales for you and your affiliate programs.

Step 3 to becoming an affiliate: Investigate before deciding

You want to choose an affiliate program with the following features:

  • A reputable company

  • A quality product or service

  • An in-demand product or service

  • Acceptable compensation

  • Ample tools offered to help you succeed

To help you start your search for suitable affiliate programs, here are some popular and active sites that have comprehensive listings and descriptions of affiliate programs:

Although having a business website will help, you don’t need a website to be involved in affiliate marketing. You can just as easily do affiliate marketing through a blog, a Facebook presence, or even through email marketing.

You can promote multiple affiliate programs on your website or blog but don’t promote everything you see. Just choose the affiliate programs that are appropriate for your site and are a good match for your target market.

Step 4 to becoming an affiliate: Select your marketing approach

After you choose what to market, your next step is selecting your approach to marketing.

Reach out to folks and let them know you have a great product or service (available through your affiliate link). To do so, try these techniques:

  • Email folks you know. If you know that people you know would benefit from the product or service, you can email them the link. Of course, keep building a list so you don’t only rely on folks you know personally.

  • Post the link through your activities. Focus on places such as LinkedIn, Meetup, Yahoo! Groups, and other venues.

  • Set up a website. A website can help establish your business presence on the Internet, and make it easier for people to trust your opinions.

  • Set up a blog. A blog can be an easy way to post product reviews on what you are interested in (as an affiliate).

  • Write articles on your topic and include your affiliate link. Doing so can generate an audience of readers who have an interest in the topic related to your affiliate product.

  • Use solo ads. You can pay to have an advertisement about your offering (complete with link to the product) in an ezine that has many subscribers.

  • Market through advertising programs, such as Google’s AdWords and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Step 5 to becoming an affiliate: Focus and be persistent

This step may be the most important step of all. Too often, affiliate marketers (especially beginners with a new business) forget that real success doesn’t come easily. A good affiliate marketer sticks to a good product and plan and persists by learning along the way.

You can tweak your approach to affiliate marketing, but the bottom line is you to want to stay focused and stick to it, even when you face obstacles.

There is no fast and easy path toward success. You may be tempted to try affiliate marketing because of the numerous encouraging testimonies from merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, but it entails a great deal of hard work and persistence.

Likewise, you need to be creative and flexible, and willing to embrace new ideas to market your partners’ products until you find the perfect strategy that works for a specific market that you’re targeting. Signing up for an affiliate program or copying ads and leading others toward the merchants’ sites doesn’t guarantee success.

Many affiliate marketers fail to understand the importance of persistence and focus, so when they don’t make sales, they quit, look for other programs, and repeat the same mistake. In the end, they conclude that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams or dead ends on the Internet.

Make sure you don’t travel down that same road. These traits can teach you to carry on no matter how tough the job is. Check what’s working and what’s not and then make the necessary changes.