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Affiliate toolsA carpenter would be lost without his tool box; an affiliate marketer needs affiliate marketing tools too, just like a carpenter.  What are they and how do they help? In this article I will raise many more questions than I answer. Over the next several months all of these topics will be explored and clarified I hope you find the answers useful.

Is it more than simply a matter of signing up to a program, putting up a website that shows the products and waiting for the sales to come rolling in.  What do you need in order for that to happen?  How many areas of the internet should you have some expertise? What kind of expertise do you need?

Beyond the obvious, you will of course, need a website. It has to look appealing to your potential clients so you need to have a nice header, are you going to do the graphics?  Adobe Photo-shop is not cheap.  Should you use html and build a full fledged site or is it better to use a blog format.  Before you decide on the header you will need to know what you intend to sell.

Are you going to specialize in a niche on weight loss, if so are you prepared to compete with some of the bigger players who have deep pockets?  Have you done your keyword homework? Are there keywords that you can pursue and get your pages to the first page in the search engines? Will those keywords bring you traffic that will actually buy? Have you found some long-tailed keywords that will attract a buying client? Do you have keyword software to make that job easier?

Now you need a website with that keyword name, how do you find one when they are already taken?  Who are you going to use for hosting and how much traffic do you need to plan for?  What about graphics for your site, free themes don’t really get the job done.  What model of sales are you going to pursue?  Storefront style?  Blog Style? Review Site style? Email Marketing? PPC Marketing?  Now, how do you actually setup and use the software to get the job done.  Word press is a popular blog software and fairly easy to learn, but consider that there is still a learning curve and this is really only the front end of the engine built on php which requires code to change the header or put up a single column sales page with-out a sidebar for a name capture page. Or you can buy an Html editor and build it yourself, by the way you will need one to do anything significant with your blog as well.

Now you have a product or product line picked out.  You now know what keywords you are going to target and have enough of them that you will meet a goal of at least 100 visitors each day. You need at least a hundred each day to make sense out of the fact that your sales will average less than 3-5% of your total traffic, which is the statistic touted for an average web sites’ sales.  As you go along with your traffic plans you will need to familiarize yourself with analytics so you can test different approaches, wording, colors and everything else that may have a bearing on converting your visitors to buyers.

When the site is up amongst the other 8 billion sites out there with 12-15 more sites being added each minute.  How are you going to find visitors? Here is a partial list of the more important parts.  Directory Listings, RSS Feeds, Aggregators, Ping services, Forums, Social Networks, Twitter, Web 2.0 sites,  Facebook. Don’t forget article submission websites and back linking strategies, along  with blog commenting.  Each of these is a study in itself and each can suck up enormous amounts of time, but they are all necessary to a degree to gain recognition for your website.   I haven’t even mentioned SEO (search engine optimization), both on-site and off-site.

Now it is time to add some content to your site.  This has to be done on a fairly regular basis for the first 6 months to a year until your traffic builds up to a decent level.  Who is going to assemble that content, or video. How well is it presented, as a side study you should be exposing yourself to copy writing knowledge so you can write convincing articles and interesting content.

Speaking of interesting content, I neglected to mention an auto-responder. It is generally expected that you will give something away on your site that is valuable to your reader to “ethically” bribe them into giving you their email address so that you can continue the sales process if they are not convinced on their first visit. You will have to write that special report or newsletter. When they sign up for your list you need to communicate with them on a regular basis with more free content and an occasional pitch to look at your products.

Now, some or all of these things can be outsourced for a price, a few can be ignored, some of the software and programs are cheap or free, but it is going to cost somewhere in time or money regardless of who you pay.  To all of the marketers out there who have successfully navigated the straits and found the promised success.  Congratulations on a job well done! Schraubenschlüssel in groß To the other 95% who are still struggling with one aspect or another…There is no Silver Bullet you are going to have to go through the minefields. When you have answered most of these questions you will begin to see some success. If someone ever told you that affiliate marketing was easy and “free”…they lied! You need to fill your toolbox with affiliate marketing tools and learn how to use them.

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