Affiliate marketing is a tricky business: it can take years to learn the hacks and the shortcuts. Who has time for that, right? If there was a fast-track to affiliate marketing, I would want to know about it now, before I commit my time and energy!
It would be really frustrating to find out 1 year/ 3 years from now that what I have achieved, could have been achieved within months…
Fast Track To Affiliate Marketing
Here are 7 hacks that will fast track your success in affiliate marketing by saving you months of painful trial & error.
- Before You Start – Mindset
- Research Trending Keywords and Niches PROPERLY
- Minimize Technical Issues
- Create High Quality Content Quickly…and a LOT
- Driving Traffic – PPC, Pinterest & YouTube
- Building an Email List
- Monetize Smartly
Affiliate marketing is probably the easiest way to build an online business with the potential to make a significant amount of income in a short period of time. But even this ‘short’ period can seem awfully long when you need the business running and earning you money ALREADY – regardless if you are starting affiliate marketing as a side-project or a trying to turn it into a full-time income.
Is there a SECRET?
Well, there is, however it is not secret at all. Let me explain.
Many online ‘gurus’ are reluctant to tell you, how to actually be successful in affiliate marketing. Why?
Because the longer they keep you in a position where you rely on their advice, the more products they can recommend to you. If you fast-track your way climbing up the ladder of affiliate marketing, they – and their borderline shady techniques – would be exposed very soon.
Is there a QUICK Success in Affiliate Marketing?
Having said that, you should not expect overnight success. But the method I am going to show you will significantly REDUCE THE TIME until your first commission.
The first commission is a major milestone in the life of every online marketer. In fact, many affiliates never earn a dime and quit; while some who do, must wait a year or more to get those first couple of sales.
The method I am showing you can reduce the time to the first commission by months. Months, that convert to $$$ as you kick off and scale your business up notch by notch.
As I said it is not a SECRET.
It is actually a proven method that I have been following for almost a year now. I can vouch for it, it works perfectly for beginners starting from scratch, with no previous experience. No existing website. No social media followers. No idea whatsoever, just the need / urge to do something different. Something life-changing.
I am not going to take you through the process building out an affiliate marketing website step-by-step. There is a proper training courses (for free) that does exactly that, but I tell you what you need to do at each stage to progress as fast as you can. I urge you to follow the training (‘a’ training, any decent training). It should go without saying that it saves you a lot of time, effort and possibly a lot of money if you buy into a training right now and start implementing what you learn.
Related post: Where can you learn affiliate marketing for free?
If you need more support, I am happy to help, you can write me directly through the training platform, here (affiliate link).
And here are the shortcuts, that you can implement alongside what you learn in the training.
Before you start
You must lower your expectations right now.
I am not saying this to present you some useless ‘7 wishy-washy methods that no-one cares about…’ but to tell you that NO-ONE can guarantee that you’ll be a millionaire, especially overnight. You need to adjust your vocabulary.
Quick: as I said, many affiliate marketers don’t even get to the point of seeing ANY income in their first year, or even seeing any at all. You might think a month or two would be quick enough, but compared to those people, 6-8 months would be very quick success.
Success: again. Earning your first $5 in commission may sound ridiculous. You are starting affiliate marketing to earn $5000 and not $5. But you must understand that you are building a ‘system’ that generates money. If the system works, $5 is the PROOF (it can be $0.5, the principle is the same). From then on you’ll know it for sure that you have the means to earn $5000, all you need to do is to scale your business up, and tweak it on the way.
So don’t underestimate these nuances. If anyone told you NOW that you that you can build a ‘Money-making system’ that will earn you 1000s of dollars in just a couple of years, you’d be quite happy, right?
Well, I am telling you NOW, you are building a MONEY-MAKING SYSTEM in the shortest possible time.
Let’s see how!
Choosing niche in a trending or evergreen topic
Ideally, you must choose your niche according to your interests: it is easiest to create content about something you love and already know. And that’s perfectly fine if your primary focus is on ‘having fun’ and ‘why not get paid for it’ comes second.
Master Your Research Technique
To fast-track your progress, you need to master your research technique. Bad news, it really is a must. Good news: if you really master this, it gives you a huge advantage over your competition and you will be able to replicate your results again and again.
On top of liking and knowing something about the topic, your niche, you really need to find an aspect that is unique, there is an audience for it and the audience is likely growing.
Your best buddy is going to be Google, two tools to be precise. Namely: Google search box and Google Trends.
Many gurus would say that you need a keyword tool for your research but there is one big problem with keyword tools: they work off historical data. If you rely on keyword tools, they may (probably will) give you inaccurate data. And you don’t want to build your business upon inaccurate data.
Let’s say you are interested in many things, but you can’t decide which direction you should head, which one would be the best niche. I picked 3 different areas of interest, just for demonstrational purposes: Ketogenic diet, Vegan burgers and iPhone 7 reviews.
If you base your research on a keyword tool, you will get these results:
Which one would you investigate further?
All look pretty similar…
Let’s take a look at Google Trends. See a different picture?
You’d also think that vegan burgers is a trending topic, but in terms of search volume and the direction of trend, it is not there yet.
If you scroll down on the page a bit, Google Trends actually tells you what topics are about to break out.
So it is an extremely powerful tool to identify upcoming trends and target those niches.
Why? Because you’ll have much less competition.
The last thing you want to check is competition. Some topics such as vegan burgers are so mainstream right now that you’d probably end up competing with big authority sites. You don’t want that, if you want quick success.
For fast results you need to go for long tail keywords with less competition. Google already tells you, what people search for, you just start typing a search phrase in the search box and wait a bit before hitting enter. Then add letter ‘a’.
This is called the Alphabet Soup technique. For each letter of the alphabet Google will suggest search phrases that people search for. Start with broad keywords, and then add extra letters, then extra words off the suggested phrases one by one.
This method provides you with endless number of keywords within any topic that have proven search volume = people are interested in it, asking those questions, searching those topics. If you finally hit enter, you’ll see the actual search engine result page for that query.
Now hit enter, and using your judgement, have a look at the first page. What websites rank for that search-phrase? Do they seem like an authority site, or they are more like blogs and forum discussion (ie. Quora). If it is the latter then you are on the right path. Pick 50-60 of them – long tail keywords suggested by Google, with little competition – put them on a list.
It may seem to take longer than just finding a bunch of keywords in a keyword tool, but trust me: this will save you MONTHS in many ways, compared to targeting keywords that nobody searches or you have no chance to rank for.
- Rank faster
- Rank higher
- Bring more traffic in
Now you know what people are interested in, what sub-topics within your niche have an audience that is craving for answers, but there are not a lot of spot on answers they can find. You should have a very good idea of how you could serve them the best with content that you are interested in too.
It’s time to create a website that those people will find.
SIMPLICITY on the Technical Side
I bet that the reason for so many people giving up affiliate marketing is because the learning curve on the technical side is very steep.
Figuring out everything that you need to start, and not caring about anything else (for now) is where your focus should be. In fact, you don’t need to know a lot about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), linkbuilding, coding, CSS or PHP in order to make money. So, let’s skip those for now and find something that works right out of the box.
Right Out Of The Box – Creating a Website in 3 seconds
Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it won’t take longer than 30 minutes. If you don’t have a website yet, it is about time to create one.
You can use your own domain registrar and hosting provider, but what I am about to show you can save you weeks. As I said above, to really save time and speed up your progress, you need 1 thing when it comes to the technical aspect of your website: simplicity.
- Minimal number of technical issues
- impeccable IT Support
- SEO friendly platform (WordPress)
- One-click installation
- One-stop-shop for domain registration and DNS settings
On top of these it would be nice to have a video tutorial on the settings, and little hacks that can massively reduce the time between you having no website and you having a website that is properly set up and is ready to earn.
So, again, this is something that you could do via the domain registrar of your preference, with your favourite hosting provider, with a glass of your favourite with to accompany you on long nights spent Googling stuff and watching how-to videos.
What I recommend is free, everything is in one place. If you really want to fast-track, jump on this one right now.
Related post: How To Create A Website For Free From Scratch
Even if you already have a website, consider this…
Help at Hand
How many times have you had an issue with your website? Had a question that you did not know the answer to? How much time did it take for you to find the answer? Did you find the answer at all?
Honestly, I can’t even estimate how much time it saves if you have a community behind your back. A community of fellow affiliate marketers, who are likely facing or have faced the same issues.
Instead of wasting your time trying to find the answer, you could simply ask other marketers, and get a response within minutes. Would be great, huh?
Or have access to a library of these issues, type in your question and find 3-4-10 video tutorials made by affiliate marketers just like YOU, who had come across the same roadblocks as you, who have figured out how to overcome those roadblocks and are happy to help you with a video tutorial? Does not sound bad, right?
If you haven’t had any hiccups like this before, well, lucky you. If you think you are not going to have any glitches in the future, then – although it is unlikely – just jump onto the next section.
Otherwise, my tip for your fast-track affiliate marketing business is to join a community that can do this for you.
Seamless IT support
What about hosting issues? Have you ever waited for your hosting provider to assign you a support staff, so that you can at least tell them that your site is down (or whatever problem you had)? And spend hours (if not days) waiting for them to resolve the issue?
A hosting provider with OUTSTANDING IT SUPPORT is a must if you don’t want to waste your time and get successful as fast as you can.
And oh, have I mentioned the done-for-you document templates to cover the legal side of your affiliate marketing business?
High Quality Content Quickly…and a LOT
To gain traction with Google and other search engines, you must produce high quality content. I’d say a LOT but that really depends on what type of affiliate marketing website you are making.
If you are trying to establish authority and leverage organic searches as a primary source traffic, then you need to create and publish more. MORE. 40-50 articles is the minimum for a niche website. You can do less, but the less you create, the less likely Google will reward your website with high rankings and organic traffic.
The good news is, that you have already undertaken a great research of what people search for but couldn’t or hardly can find the answers for. Those will make brilliant posts.
Depending on the competition, sometimes it is enough to write a 1000-1200 words to rank on the first page. More often, you’ll need 1800-2200 or even more to outrank those websites who target the same search phrase (see, how important it is to find those low competition long tail keywords?).
Creating content takes up most of the time and effort of finding success in affiliate marketing.
As a beginner, you should learn how to write articles and you should also find ‘your own voice’. This voice should be consistent throughout your website. Bad news: the only way to do this is by doing it and practicing it. Starting now.
High-quality means that you must always aspire to be the best resource for that search phrase on the entire internet. So always remain focussed on the topic, don’t go off the tangent. Use language that is appropriate for those who are reading it. This may sound a bit daunting, but remember: you have researched the topics that don’t have good answers right now.
Use images and other forms of media
If you write product reviews, always try to test the product physically. It makes it so much easier to write about it. There are some things that you simply cannot find online, but it is so easy if you experience it first-hand.
I understand that you can’t always buy whatever you test. But do it, if you can. Hire it for the weekend. Buy it and return it within 30 days, if need be (and you don’t ruin the product during the test).
After 25-30 articles, when you have found you voice there are 3 hacks to speed up the process of creating content.
So how do you do that?
- Search your main long tail keyword in Google. Have a look at ‘People also ask’, and have a look a ‘Related Searches’ at the bottom of the page too.
- Find related questions and search phrases and use them as sub-headers within your article. If you find 4-5 related questions – and I am sure you could find much more – try to answer them one-by-one.
Three to four normal length paragraphs will do the job. A paragraph is around 150-200 words long, so you basically need to write 350-450 words under each sub-heading.
This should not take longer than 10 minutes each. If you break the process of writing an article down into smaller bites, it is much easier and much faster.
By answering 4-5 questions, with a little practice you should be able to finish an 1500-1600 words long article under an hour.
Tip #1: Use Google’s speech-to-text. With the same principles as above (ie answering relevant questions in 8-10 sentences) you can simply dictate the text into a document. The benefit of this method is that the flow of the text will be much smoother, and the reader will feel like you really ‘speak’ to them. It may not be faster as you’ll probably need to clear up and format the text a bit before publishing, but this is another great method to create content QUICKLY. It should not take longer than 45 minutes to finish a post.
Tip #2: If you have a bit of a budget, outsource your content-creating. It only works if you know what sort of content you expect, and what fits in style to the rest of the content on your website. You also need to know how to check the content for SEO. But if you can afford to do this, for $10-$15 per article you can find and teach freelance writers to create content for you.
It may take longer at first, but once you have 3-4 writers on board, you can quadruple the number of posts you create while your work will be much easier (=can do something else).
It only makes sense if you are trying to establish authority within you niche by publishing hundreds of high-quality posts. Otherwise, the time required to train up your freelance writers is probably better spent if you have just created the content yourself.
To fast-track it even more, you can create a video for your freelance writers on how to write content for you. This way you only need to send new creators the video you have made, rather than tutor them individually.
Alternatively, you can use Project 24’s made-for-you video on how to create content. The guys at Project 24 used this video to train their freelance writers, so you can rest assured it is high quality material that perfectly does the job for you. The video is part of the training platform that includes a complete blueprint to replace your day-job with a full-time online income within 24 months, but you must pay the yearly fee to gain access (link to Project 24 under Resources)
Driving Traffic – PPC, Pinterest, YouTube, Social Media
If you don’t have the time to wait until Google loves your site (or you did not create content for organic traffic), it is time to promote your website.
PPC is an acronym for pay per click: you basically pay for every click that lands on your website. It makes sense if you have a great landing page, with lots of information optimised for conversion, an opt-in form and a proper call to action that is not too spammy.
You can use ‘Keywords Everywhere’ or Google’s Keyword Planner to adapt your campaign to low competition (cheaper) but high search volume keywords.
Be careful, the volume numbers in Keyword Planner do not necessarily show the right volume of search traffic: they show the interest of the advertisers in one particular keyword or key-phrase. The long tail variants you already have a list of, won’t appear very promising from an advertising point of view. But if you understand the question what people ask, and more importantly you understand what they are looking for, then it will be easy to design your ad with their needs in mind.
By targeting those long-tail keywords you can dramatically reduce the competition (and the price with it). Showing empathy towards your potential buyers by understanding their needs you may already have won them over, even before they saw your landing page.
Depending on your niche, Pinterest may be a waste of time or an absolute goldmine. There are three things to emphasise here:
- 80% of the audience on Pinterest are female
- It is image based
- It does not like if you try to drive people away from Pinterest
So if you have a niche that is aiming a primarily male audience, don’t even bother with Pinterest.
If you can’t make (or get someone make) good images that drive attention, don’t even bother with Pinterest
If all you intend to do is pin some images with your affiliate links in the description, don’t even bother with Pinterest.
But if you are in the right niche, can use Photoshop or Canva (it is really easy) and know how to find great stock photos (under Resources here), and you are willing to spend time creating a community on Pinterest then you should upgrade to business account right now (it’s free).
Many people use Tailwind to automate pinning which is something that can save you a lot of time. You only need to set it up once, add plenty of pins and Tailwind will take care of the rest by making it look like if you were on Pinterest, pinning and re-pinning all day long. Pinterest loves that.
YouTube can be very powerful in almost any niche. Its power lies in the algorithm and the 3 different sources from where people can stumble upon your video:
Search is very similar to how you approach optimising keywords for Google: you target the long-tail format of popular keywords. You put them in the title and the description. You put it in the tags along with all the related, similar search phrases. That’s it.
But as opposed to Google, where if you are not ranking at the top third of the first page you won’t see much traffic (and if you are on page 2 or even worse, you can forget serious traffic), Youtube is much different. Even if your video does not show in Search, your video can show up in Suggested Videos.
Think about it: when you are on Youtube, how many times you go to the top of the page and run a new search, and how often you just glimpse to the videos on the right hand side, and pick the next one that seems to be relevant (and interesting)? So you don’t have to rank AT ALL on Youtube to get tons of traffic.
That’s why it is worth the effort to create an eye-catching thumbnail and put a video together with a voice-over (or however you like it). It takes an afternoon tops, but ranking on Youtube (ie people finding your channel) is light-speed fast compared to reaching the same amount of traffic on Google.
Other Social Media
I am going to be short on this. If you already have some following on social media, share your content, by all means. If you don’t, trying to build a following now does not worth the time and effort. So just forget about it for now and don’t waste your time on Facebook and Instagram.
Build an Email List
Whatever niche you are in, always try to build an email list. This will triple the effects that you have on your audience in terms of better engagement, more sales, returning audience to your website.
You can start building up your email following by offering something of value for free. Ideally it is something that you have created.
My tip: if you come across a keyword / question during your research that seems to hard to rank for, but you could write a great post on it, make a note.
Write that article, make it as detailed as you possibly can. Add pictures etc. Turn it into an eBook. A tutorial. Anything that has a front cover and your awesome content behind it. Although it would have been difficult to rank with an article for that search-phrase, you didn’t write it in vain: you already know that it is something people search for within your niche. A (not too) clickbait-y title, a fancy cover designed in Canva and you are good to go. People will love you for it.
To make use of those email addresses that you collect, you must think about how to ‘entertain’ them a regular basis. If you only notify them of the new posts you publish and nothing else, they will unsubscribe.
So think about a story. People love stories. Make it memorable. If it takes three or four emails to tell the story, that’s fine. But write with intent: the point of having a story is that people can relate to stories. If you tell them a story they resonate with, they recognise the same issues in the story that they have, they more likely become engaged.
You don’t need to build fancy sales funnels. You don’t need over-optimized landing pages. You don’t need expensive email marketing tools to do this.
You need a plugin to collect those addresses. You can use sender.net as a free email marketing tool. And that’s it.
After the 3rd email your subscribers will be dying to know how the story ends, what is the resolution, what is the answer.
If it is a product, they will buy it.
Which brings us to one of the biggest time-saver: monetization
It may sound surprising, but for a new blog or niche website with little traffic, early monetization can be damaging.
Let me explain…
I have seen so many websites that were obviously new, but were packed with ‘BUY THIS’ call-to-action buttons, ads in the sidebar, ads in the footer, ads in the text and pop-ups right away as I arrived to the site (and then on every page I clicked)…
And that’s on top of the affiliate links and affiliate banners…
And the posts were not longer than 1000 words (5-6 paragraphs).
I am sure you have come across sites like these, that were DESPERATE to sell you something or to make you click some ads so that it would earn them $0.32. And you probably have never returned to those sites, ever…
What I mean by this, that you should not be desperate to earn a few bucks just to lose much more on readers abandoning your site.
If readers don’t like your site, Google won’t like your site either.
Scaring your readers away with intrusive ads will impact your rankings: Google simply won’t rank you.
In fact, Google treats affiliate links as ads, so if Google sees to many affiliate links in a post, it may consider is spam and would exclude it from the SERP completely.
Time saved, if you don’t spoil your site with desperate attempts make a few bucks: months.
So, what is the right way to monetise your website?
Affiliate Links? Absolutely YES.
If you have reviewed a product, it is perfectly acceptable to have the affiliate link within the text. In my experience less is more: depending on the length of the post 3-4 strategically placed links that are organically embedded into the text will do just fine.
Affiliate Banners? It depends.
I am not a big fan of banners anyways, because they distract the reader. I want them to read the content, and not looking at colourful banners. They may be okay if you dedicate your website to promote one or two products only, but even then, I believe there are more subtle ways to do that…
Google AdWords? NO.
There are two reasons for that. First, they can be distracting for your readers. Secondly, you don’t earn nearly as much with Google adwords than you would if your readers clicked on your affiliate links.
Imagine that you promote a high paying travel package that would earn you $350 in commission if you made an affiliate sale. You review that travel package, but you allow Ads on the page. Google will likely display an ad based on the search history of your reader, so it will be something travel related. Maybe a good holiday deal. Would you earn the $5 for the click on the Ad, or would you earn $350 for making the affiliate sale yourself?
If you have massive amounts of traffic (75k+ clicks a month) then you can work with premium ad networks that pay $15-20 per 1000 clicks. Now that’s a considerate amount of money that you shouldn’t ignore. But as a newbie, you’d better avoid littering your website with ads.
When is the right time to monetize your website?
I am inclined to say that ‘as early as you can’ but for the reasons I detailed above, you probably better wait until you reach at least 100 unique visitors a day.
Which will be much quicker WITHOUT annoying ads and pop-ups.
Then you can place some affiliate links carefully. You don’t need to monetize every page on your website.
Then possibly months down the line you can think about AdWords or something similar. I’d say wait until 10,000 visitors a month at least – even then, we would talk about $30-40 a month depending on the niche you are in…So it’s up to you if it is worth the money to risk that you might lose rank in Google. 10k visitors a month should earn a decent amount in affiliate commissions anyways (in the region of $150-$200 on average).
There are plenty more little tricks that can fast-track your way to become a successful affiliate marketer (like finding the right wordpress theme for the first time). But even the ones I detailed above can dramatically reduce the time to earn the first few $$s.
And once you have received your first commission, believe me, you will double your efforts because you’ll see that this method works.
It is not quick, even with the shortcuts, but the difference between trial&error and following a proven method is simply amazing.
Just to wrap up, if you want a shortcut, follow this blueprint to fast track your affiliate marketing business:
- Get into the right mind-set. Invest time (&money if needed) in improving yourself, but always implement what you learn
- Practice and master your research technique. Get to know your audience and their needs
- Minimize Technical Issues. Pick a reliable provider with impeccable support. You’ll need moral support too. I recommend them
- Create high quality content quickly…and a LOT
- Drive traffic to your blog, force Google to recognise your website
- Build an email list
- Monetize smartly
When you feel that you are ready you can start your free training right here, that will give you all the resources that you need. Don’t forget to ALWAYS implement what you learn, otherwise you are not going to proceed at all!
Hope to see you within the community!