Seeking an affiliate marketing decoder ring
May 5, 2014 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Are you an affiliate marketer? How did you get started? What are good resources? Forums, newsletters, etc?

We have a goal and we have the start of a plan to meet that goal and that start includes entering the mysterious world of affiliate marketing. My partner understands the basics, but as I will be doing a lot of the work initially I want a better grasp of things from the start and we'd both love resources we can refer to as we go along.

So, are any of you affiliate marketer? Do you have any online resources, forums, newsletters, etc? that you can recommend, that aren't themselves an affiliate gimmick.
posted by Kitty Cornered to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
First you should decide how you are going to get the traffic you will be trying to convert into affiliate sales... Are you going to spend money on PPC ads? Build a content site? Buy advertising on existing sites?

My advice is to not focus on affiliate marketing right out of the gate. All money made on the internet is made from converting traffic into sales/adviews/actions/clicks/etc. First, figure out how you are going to get traffic, then monetize appropriately based on the traffic your are able to get. Test, test, test!

If you are doing PPC, compile a list of all of the ppc traffic sources you can find, then explore each one to see what it's about, and start experimenting. In this game, nobody will give (or even sell) you their secret sauce, because it is more profitable to exploit it themselves. Don't believe any hype or sales copy and please, please add value.

Don't jump right into the most profitable niches as they are the most competitive. Find some niches that have a steady demand without being flashy. No Mesothelioma Lawyer sites/ads :p Start with a less-competitive niche and build your system/strategies, then start branching out.

The most profitable method I've used so far is to build quality, well-researched and written content sites, and then use a combination of different advertising on them. I can take months off of work and come back to things chugging along as if I had never left.

Good luck!
posted by Th!nk at 12:48 PM on May 5, 2014

Oops, I forgot to answer the questions you had about resources. In my experience forums and such are only marginally useful. Good for getting some basics and seeing what other people are doing (that isn't working well) but not much more. Most forums (such as have forum libraries where they compile the best posts from each forum. Find those and read them, there can be some useful stuff in them.

Rather than just referencing forums, you would be much better served by networking and finding or starting a small, trustworthy, close-knit group of marketers that you can share strategies and results with. Then you can coordinate experiments, send each other traffic, and keep each other motivated. I did this by being active on forums. Answering technical questions when I could and asking questions when I was interested. You will find certain users keep popping up in your searches and discussions. When you find people that you think may synergize with you shoot them a PM and ask if they want to team up for something small, or offer them some traffic, etc.

Going to conferences such as DK's ThinkTank or WebmasterWorld's Pubcon are very useful for this too, especially the ones with a casual atmosphere as you can make friends and actually learn about some real golden opportunities. They're also great for finding people who are really good at what they do (coders, copywriters, etc) and getting their contact info for future questions, outsourcing work, etc.

The most useful reference materials I have found on the web aren't forums or communities. They're other people's sites. If you want to do affiliate marketing, start finding and dissecting affiliate sites. Find out how they're funneling traffic, where they are getting it from, what keywords they are bidding on, what search terms they rank for, what sales copy works for them, etc. Mimic their strategy and see if it works. Tweak. Repeat. the trick here is being able to tell whether an affiliate site is actually profitable or not before sinking time and money into dissection. Lots of ways to do this. Monitor a particular site that sells PPC ads over a period of a month or so and see which ads consistently show up for certain keywords. Chances are the buyer isn't going to keep throwing money at keywords that don't convert, so start there. It is of course more nuanced than this but I don't want to write a book. This should be enough to get you started if you're really motivated to figure it out. Rely on your own smarts and figure out these systems yourself so you can do new and unique stuff rather than just following everyone else's worn-out methods. You'll get it.
posted by Th!nk at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Awesome. Thanks for the info. Unique and value added!
posted by Kitty Cornered at 5:37 PM on May 5, 2014

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