Affiliate marketing today is not as easy as it was just a few years ago. There is so much competition in every "niche" out there that there are fewer and fewer "niches" to get into, so it seems.
Since its human nature to look for the easy way to do things, if you have given thought to affiliate and Internet marketing as a business, you may very well want to reconsider if you are one of those who is just looking for easy money. Oh, there is still money to be made, but you will have to work a little harder for it.
Its a tough business now and now you have to get tougher if you want to succeed online. By tougher, I mean that you are going to have to continually keep up with what the competition is doing. Looking for more creative marketing ideas. Perhaps even having to increase the size of your business budget. Whether it be for advertising or for outsourcing your sales copy and ad writing.
Back in the good ole days, which were just a few years ago, all you had to do was join an affiliate program, get your referral link, open an AdWords account, and direct link to that website. Times have changed and changed dramatically. Google has made it so much more difficult for an affiliate to do this. It can still be done, but with their one ad per search query for advertisers sharing the same display URL, its almost useless to even try. There are methods and ways around this, but if you are a newbie, I do not recommend it and I certainly will not share what I know about it in this article. There comes in the be very creative part I mentioned earlier.
In order to become very creative, you must do research and find the information you need to get the edge in today's Internet marketing environment. If that means buying information products yourself and sorting out all of the junk information until you find what will actually help you become successful, then that's what you do.
I can, from personal experience, tell you that you will find a lot of junk out there. That's ok. You will still find parts of it useful. You will also come across very valuable information that will open your eyes and actually teach you how to be successful. This business is very competitive, but there are those who legitimately want to help you.
So lets take a look at some different ways that you can be creative right now as an affiliate marketer. Some of these you may have already heard of and if you have, are you using them? Most will cost you nothing. I will address each point individually.
* Blog: if you do not truly grasp just how powerful a blog can be as a useful marketing tool then you need to learn.
* Creating a lens at squidoo.com
* Using the power of social bookmarking and using social networking websites
* Writing articles and submitting them to article directories
* Commenting on blogs and forums related to what you are promoting using your affiliate link in your signature
* Paid advertising (PPC) and there are more networks that are just as good as Google
Create a blog. Its easy and you can do it for free if you do not have your own hosting account. Blogs are very powerful traffic generators because they automatically ping most of the blogging directories and search engines that are on the web. That ping will show your latest blog post or page to anyone who is subscribed to that directories RSS feed.
That can bring you an enormous amount of valuable traffic, if the subject is interesting enough, for free. Not only that, it will summon an army of spiders that will crawl your blog. For whatever reason, search engines love blogs and with a blog it is so much easier to get indexed than with traditional static web pages. Most all blogs are already SEO optimized. That's a topic in itself.
Create a lens at squidoo.com. Basically, its just another social networking site where you can create your own web page (lens) in a category that relates most to your topic, the product you are promoting, for free. If what you have to say is interesting, people will take a look.
There are many social networking communities online today that you can join for free. We all are familiar with myspace and facebook, but there are many others if you look for them. Just like with squidoo; build a page, make it interesting and people will come.
Bookmark your pages with the social bookmarking websites like delicious, stubleupon, and digg. There are tons more and if you have a blog there is a really cool little widget you can get for free from addthis.com that takes a lot of the manual work out of bookmarking.
Write informative articles on any subject you wish or are knowledgeable about and submit them to the article directories. In the about the author boxes you can leave a direct link to your website. Not only does this give you free traffic if your information is very interesting and useful, it also gives you valuable backlinks that will help improve your search engine ranking.
Note: Some, not all, article directories frown on the use of affiliate links in the author boxes. Its best to just provide a link to your website or blog where the information on the product you are promoting can be found. As with blogs, search engines love relevant articles. Your chances of having an article in the number one spot for a search greatly improves.
Leave relevant and informative comments on blogs and forums that have to do with the product you are promoting. Most will allow you to have a live link in your signature. If your comment is valuable or controversial, you can be sure that you will get traffic.
Paid advertising or (PPC) is probably the fastest way to get traffic to the product you are trying to get people to buy. Just like your prospective buyer, you too have to do some buying of your own in the form of bidding on keywords and phrases to get that stream of traffic to you. Googles not the only shop in town, there are many others. From yahoo, msn and any of the other search engines to your social networking websites like facebook.
Something to know about google. Competition there is fierce and in some cases, depending on the keyword, you will be charged a premium. In my own personal experience some keywords minimum bid has been as high as $28 per click, and no i did not use them. The lowest price I have ever been able to get was $.11. That's quite a range but you can see that depending upon how much competition there is, will determine the price you are asked to pay.
There are much better deals to be had in the PPC world and I suggest you shop around. There is also the quality score issue you have to deal with. That too will be factored in to your minimum bid prices. All I can say about that is, its a joke.
As you can see Affiliate marketing is a tough business these days and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It can still be done and there is still money to be made but just understand that to be successful you had better be tougher than the next guy and willing to do what it takes if you are serious about making affiliate marketing your business.
Web author, writer, and all around information junkie. Just ask me a question and I probably know the answer. No kidding. I've been publishing online since 2004 and there is still a lot to learn.