The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them.
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You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
I get so many followers with this pop-up that I wrote about here. Bloggers who want the same results sign up using my affiliate link and I get $20 per sign up AND I also get paid if someone clicks on the pop-up and makes a purchase even if they never read my article. I explain more in detail here but it is by far the EASIEST affiliate program to make money.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you.
Site Build It - Site Build It is my second choice for learning how to create an online business. The training is very good and you get one website with hosting included. There is no free option, which is one of the reasons that it is not my first choice. I started here back in 2007 and the education that I received was very valuable and helped me to achieve a great level of success.
Affiliate Marketplaces – ShareASale and ClickBank have thousands of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on each website. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I’m a big fan of ShareASale – there are so many companies and industries you can choose from.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Affiliate marketing is often touted as a "get rich quick scheme" by shady sites offering pyramid schemes that promise quick cash for little effort. Make no mistake—successful affiliate marketers like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income put in a lot of effort toward building an audience and creating quality content that will bring in sustainable passive income. Expect to do a lot of legwork up front—but if you play your cards right, you can build a solid source of revenue over time.