A Few Keys to Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing

During Affiliate Summit last week I had the chance to speak with a few relatively new affiliate marketers.  One meeting was a part of the show’s Newcomer Program (which connects attendees heading to the show for the first time with people who have been to a number of past Summits) and a couple of other newer affiliates I met at lunch or at various times during the show.  If you haven’t participated in the Newcomer Program in the past, I recommend taking a look at it and signing up before you head off to your next Affiliate Summit show.  I’ve done this at the past couple of shows and it’s always interesting to talk to people who are just getting into the industry or are still early in their affiliate marketing careers.

In talking to these newer affiliates, it was interesting to talk about the show, how they made the jump into affiliate marketing and how they are building their business.  There were a few common themes that came up in those conversations.

Finding your Niche
When you first get into affiliate marketing, you are faced with a wide variety of offers in dozens of verticals (Dating, Finance, EDU, Diet/Health, Travel, Automotive, etc.) and also a number of ways to promote the offers (PPC, Media Buying, Email, Social Media, etc.).  All the options can be overwhelming and basically lead you to spread yourself too thin by working in numerous verticals and media or simply intimidate you into never really getting started.

During my conversations with newer affiliates in Las Vegas, we talked about the importance of not getting caught up in trying to learn the ins and outs of every marketing vehicle and type of offer all at once.  There is so much to learn that if you worry about the fact that you don’t know everything, you’ll never actually get anything going (since no one is an expert in every facet of affiliate marketing).  Each of the newer affiliates I met with is still working through this issue, but all seemed to have begun narrowing down their focus to just a few types of offers and only one or two ways to drive traffic.  While this certainly isn’t a guarantee that they will successful, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Avoiding the Scam Guru Products
I’ve written about guru products in the past and the Shawn Collins and Jim Kukral recently launched Unguru.me in response to the many lousy “Make Money Online” programs out there.  This has been a big business for a number of years, with many poor quality programs obscuring the good ones put together by truly successful affiliate marketers.

Like many newbies, a couple of the people I spoke with did purchase at least one of the guru products when they were first dipping their toes into the water.  Unfortunately, none of them ended up with one of the quality programs and they said they felt like they had wasted their money.  But, on the plus side each learned from the experience and didn’t go out and buy of bunch of other products, trying to find the one that was just right for him.

The best ways to avoid wasting money on a lousy training program are either doing your research and trying to find out as much about a guru or program before spending money on it or just avoiding these programs altogether.

Staying Focused and Consistent
One of the things that came up in pretty much every conversation at the show (even with affiliates who have been in the business a bit longer) is the need to stay focused on your goals and consistently put in the time and effort to be successful.  It is easy to get distracted or discouraged, especially when you are first starting out in affiliate marketing.  It isn’t too often that a new affiliate starts making money right off the bat.  There is a lot of trial and error in the beginning and this doesn’t typically lead to a lot of immediate profit.  But, the affiliates who stick with it, learn from every offer they promote and optimize their campaigns over time are setting themselves up to have more success down the road.

  • johnb3

    I’m new to internet marketing, you’re right a person can spend/waste a lot of money on all these so called guru programs/products each being always advertised as something never before seen. I enjoyed reading this article, this Newcomer Program is that available online?

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  • Liew

    I like it.


  • Richard Crook

    You’re so right Tom. So much information leads to procrastination and I wasted years before I got truly involved. I’ve been registered on every ‘guru’s’ mailing list and over time you see how they all work together launching the same product but rebranded. If I had a dollar for every product that was being ‘taken down’ forever, I would’nt need affiliate marketing to make money!!!

    • So true. There are plenty of gurus out there that are experts at making money from their own guru products, but not much else. Anyone can create an info product, throw up a website, and claim to be a multi-millionaire super-affiliate. The ones that can actually teach people how to many money online are few and far between.

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