Don’t get sucked into the hype, brah.
There’s a lot of it out there.
And there’s a lot of misinformation as a result. It’s usually found in emails and articles filled with links that promote questionable products (and the author receives a high commission on each sale… oh what a conscience).
You’ve probably seen some of the sludge out there, you might have even been tricked by it too.
But it’s designed to trick you.
The hype only exists to take your money.
For that reason you will not find a single affiliate link in this tutorial.
That’s because I value your trust more than commission.
So put your wallet away.
Here’s what you’ll learn today:
- Why you don’t need to spend money
- Learn to find the right niche
- The pros and cons of free web hosting
- The fast way to build an email list
- How to build a profitable relationship
- The best way to profit from helping your tribe
That’s a lot of stuff, right? There’s a reason why this is called the ultimate guide.
Table of Contents
Affiliate Marketing Without Investment?
Affiliate Marketing has become an extremely popular way to build an internet business – sometimes with absolutely zero initial investment.
So today’s article will accompany a training video I uploaded to the Profit Copilot YouTube channel, teaching you how to start and run your own affiliate marketing business, and walk you all the way through to making your very first sale.
This is a great business model for those who are new to marketing or running an online business in general, as well as those who are not completely sure if it is the route they want to take for the long run. Investing a significant amount of money into a business model you either do not know about or are unsure of, can be a surefire way to waste your funds.
However, it’s always useful to invest money in the correct tools and training courses when it comes to any business, so that’s a great option to help you succeed more quickly.
When you start an online business for free, you must be prepared to work harder and wait a little longer to reach the results you want.
So here, I’ll teach you how to find the right niche for you and start your own affiliate marketing business.
We will even look into free web hosting.
You can get web hosting for free, read on to find out more about this and how you can do this for yourself.
The Truth About Niche Research
The first starting point is of course niche research.
And we’ve all seen blog posts and videos that talk about which niches have the most potential for profit.
Forget everything you’ve been told about niche research.
Don’t even start worrying about long tail keywords, and exact match domains.
Here’s the truth.
There is money in almost every niche out there, if you market it correctly.
Think about it.
So, investigate the niches that interest you. If you’re unsure, look at the types of sites you visit the most, the types of books you read and videos you watch. Your goal here is to find the topic you feel at home with; the niche you know and feel comfortable with and most importantly, the one you’re passionate about.
One you’ve decided on the niche you’d like to begin working with, head over to Amazon and search for it.
That’s the big clue here; if it’s on Amazon then there’s a market for it.
For example, I am extremely passionate about music and although I am a terrible guitar player, it’s something I love to talk about, learn about and surround myself with.
So if you watch the training video, you’ll see that I used “guitars” as my niche example.
One of the first items that showed-up in the Amazon search results was a best-selling guitar book for beginners. It was a sponsored post, which shows that since someone paid to have their post advertised on Amazon, there is a good amount of money to be made in that area.
There are many guitar books for sale on Amazon, and people are buying them every day.
This looks like a good niche, if only I had the mad-skillz on guitar.
But what about your interests? Well since you’re reading this I’m going to assume that you’re interested in marketing, to some degree.
So I used marketing as my next example, (as this is also something I’m very passionate about) and it showed similar results to the guitar niche.
There were a lot of products and books on the topic (Kindle, audiobook, etc.) and quite a few sponsored adverts.
When you see books being written and/or released within your niche, it’s a good indication that it’s going to be a profitable area.
Once you’ve done your niche research, you can move on to the second stage; finding web hosting.
The Great Web Hosting Debate
Web hosting a massive area and it comes in two flavours; paid and free.
There are people on both sides of the debate who defend their position fiercely.
Now, before I continue, I can’t stress enough how valuable having paid web hosting it is. There are many reasons for this, from technical support to having total control over your business, but the most important is that it is much easier to monetize a paid, self-hosted website.
But if you intend on using free hosting, I suggest going to WordPress (.com not .org) and signing up there.
There is a big difference between the two sites, but when it comes to a brand-new Affiliate Marketing business, the free version of WordPress can be a great place to start.
Although if you read the website’s Terms of Service section, and I highly encourage you to do this, you will see that you cannot monetize it in the same way you would be able to with the self-hosted .org version. So, plan to switch over to a self-hosted site when you feel your business is growing.
When creating your free WordPress website, you’ll have the option to choose your niche and a hosting plan. My suggestion is to choose the free plan and steer clear of any paid hosting option, regardless of what stage your business is in. When you choose to let WordPress host your website for you, you are subjected to their Terms of Service, but when you are self-hosted, you have complete control of the site and what you can do with it.
When you’re done signing up, WordPress will give you your new domain name.
Paste this URL into your address bar, voila!
This is your new website.
Once you’ve done this, you can take some time to set up your website’s theme, content and information. Be sure to get familiar with creating and posting blogs, because you’ll need this skill when using an affiliate marketing business model.
One of the most important skills you’ll need to learn is how to build an email list. Most of your profits in affiliate marketing are tied directly to your email list and the relationship you create with your contacts. You’ll want to choose an email service and start building your list.
There are hundreds of services for email marketing, and many of them allow you to build a contact list for free. In my Affiliate Marketing video, I investigated a few including MailChimp and SendinBlue as well as Mailer Lite, but the first discourages affiliate marketing (although they do allow affiliate links) so I used the second for the tutorial.
Mailer Lite is currently in the stage of accepting applications for free use, so you can look into that as well.
Again, you’ll want to look at the Terms of Service sections for these email marketing platforms, as some do not allow or discourage all affiliate marketing, while others may discourage some niches and accept others.
I kept this in mind while designing this training course so that it is applicable with almost any platform.
Many of them discourage it simply since there are affiliate marketing businesses out there that buy or find individual’s contact information to build a random list and essentially spam people. We aren’t doing that here; this course and method is completely ethical and protects your clients’ information.
We will target specific audiences with specific products, as well as suggestions and service recommendations that will be valuable to them.
So, using SendinBlue, I first began by creating an email list. This is a very easy service to use. I do have more advanced training courses that can walk you through this process, but for now, just create a basic email list. SendinBlue is a great platform to use if you’re looking for a zero-investment business startup.
SendinBlue also offers you the ability to create forms that you connect to and embed on your website.
You’ll want to first create a sign-up form and/or a newsletter form and copy the link, so you can post it on your affiliated social media accounts and your affiliate marketing website. You may want to spend some time crafting a better-looking form, add the link to the form and save it. Test this link to make sure it takes you back to your site.
So now, we have the affiliate marketing niche, free web hosting and we’ve started to build an email list. Your next step will be to start developing a relationship with the individuals on your email list. A simple way to do this is to create an incentive for them to sign up on your page.
Build Your Email List Fast
To build your affiliate email list faster, you have to know what your visitors want.
Then you give something of value to them, that would incentivise them to subscribe (and eventually become a customer).
On my example sign up page, I offered “one simple trick to build an email list fast and free”.
You can do some research into email marketing and find content that you can share with these individuals. (Many email marketing services and platforms offer this content in the form of examples or fillable forms and downloads.)
As of this time, the Terms and Services for EzineArticles.com allow you to republish content from online articles for free, if you include links and credit the original authors, so this may be a great option as well.
Reading these conditions during the tutorial video, it showed that the service asks that you respect copyrights when sharing materials, agree to include a full resource box or signature line at the end of the article, and agree not to change the title or article content in anyway.
What I’m using for my “freebie” here is a relevant article that appeals to my specific audience.
This is easy to make; I just copied and pasted the article from Ezine.
I took its full title/headline, copyright information and all links included (remember, this is a part of their Terms and Conditions!) and pasted it all into a new email and set it to automatically send to new subscribers – by making a new email campaign.
Be sure to edit and test this campaign email to make sure you like how it looks and that all links work and take you to the right website. You can even give the email an engaging introduction, create some tension or drama to hook them and pull them into the content.
Once your campaign is ready to be sent, you can set a schedule with triggers, for this one you’ll want to make it your ‘welcome’ message and then save it.
So, by this point, you’ve set up your website and your sign-up form, you’ve provided something to incentivise potential leads to share their information with you, and now you’ll want to ask something in return.
You’ll do this by promoting products through affiliate links.
Money, Money, Money
Although many of you will think of Amazon first when it comes to affiliate marketing, I much prefer to use other companies; simply because, while Amazon has thousands of products and is a very popular e-commerce site, their commission rates are very low (about 4%).
It is very difficult to make any kind of profit from Amazon’s affiliate program (Amazon Associates) unless you can spend a lot of time and money from the get-go and are promoting many low-ticket products at a time, or are able to sell some very expensive, high-ticket items.
I have made more profit by using other programs and promoting different items.
Now you’ll want to really start to promote your products. Head over to Clickbank and visit their marketplace, where you can research these products within your niche and choose which ones you would like to promote.
You will want to narrow down your niche as much as you can if it is very wide to begin with. Through clickbank, you’ll be able to see the cost of these products, as well as the commission you’ll make, and it’s free to use for affiliate marketing.
In my video, I narrowed down my search to ‘email marketing’ and found that the average product cost was about $200 with a 50% to 75% commission rate. You get this commission once a customer purchases a product through your affiliate link.
There is also a rating-type system in Clickbank called gravity, which many less ethical or pay-to-play marketers will look for, but you want to ignore this and instead focus on items that will bring value. If you’re unsure about whether something is considered valuable, ask yourself if it is a product that connects with you and your audience, if it is something they would need and get use out of, and if it serves a purpose. If it does not move onto the next.
Clickbank will then allow you to create a tracking ID/link for different forms of sharing and promotion. For this specific step, you’ll want to choose an email link.
The product(s) you chose will be in the second email you send to your followers, so you’ll want this tracking ID to see how well the email is performing. Whenever someone clicks this link and purchases the product, you will receive a commission! Bear in mind though, that some products must be pre-approved for sale, so you’ll want to choose those that do not require a waiting period when you first start your affiliate marketing business.
It pays to keep in mind that the commission rates for digital products and physical products tend to differ quite a bit, so keep this in mind when promoting products through affiliate programs. I encourage people to go for the digital products as they have a much higher profit margin.
Would you rather make $200 by selling physical products, or thousands by promoting the digital ones?
Brining It All Together
Now that you’ve got your products picked out and your affiliate link ready, you can go back into the email campaigns and set up automation, so that the email marketing platform sends another email, just as we did previously, but this time with the affiliate link.
A great way to start this is to create that email and address the problem that your audience is having, and how your promoted project is going to solve that problem for them.
You can either write this out yourself or, like the last email, use pre-written content. Add this affiliate link at the top of your email so it is front and center! Then, share the article or relevant content with a message stating that you thought your clients would be interested in this information.
Affiliate marketing using these methods is not only ethical, but it works. Every time you contact the individuals on your email list, you are providing them with something useful that they enjoy engaging with. Those who feel that they truly have the problem you’re addressing will trust your advice and recommendations more and are more likely to click through and purchase these items.
Always make sure to be genuine, snappy, engaging, and excited when you share these products and content. Build trust and rapport with your audience and they’ll give the same to you!
Once you’ve got your affiliate machine built, how are you going to get traffic and leads?
I’ve got some free training that will show you organic traffic methods profitcopilot.com/traffic