Home-based Business

Five Key Elements of an Affiliate Marketing Framework

A Google Trends inquiry shows that Affiliate Marketing is on the rise. It makes complete sense that starting an online business, or creating a passive income in this particular climate, is on everyone’s mind. 

Further research shows that people who have used Affiliate Marketing in their online business plan have enjoyed a great deal of success. In some instances, they have replaced their “real” job with this not so new concept.

The real beauty behind Affiliate Marketing, though, is that unlike other start-up businesses, it doesn’t require a great deal of capital. In comparison, you can get started very quickly, and on at least half the budget you would need if you were trying to get another form of business off the ground.

Not so long ago, I didn’t even know or understand the concept of this marketing strategy. To me, it was as foreign as a language that I had never heard. Quickly though, I discovered the potential of the treasure trove that is being an affiliate marketer. 

If Affiliate Marketing is something you might be interested in, here are five key elements to get you on your way:

  1. Passion Drive Approach

Often you will find that online business owners design their own businesses around their passions and interests. Taking it a step further the product or service you offer, solves a problem, or answers a question that your ideal customer has. 

With Affiliate Marketing, you don’t need to have your own products. You, as an Affiliate Marketer promote other products. 

Ideally, it would be best if you were passionate or knowledgable on the products you are promoting. This has a twofold purpose. 

  • First of all, you are at ease of writing great content about the product you know or are passionate about.
  • Secondly, you are in a unique position to authentically and realistically advise your niche on which product might best serve their need.

It’s a good idea to provide a range of information on products so that your ideal customer comes to their own educated decision. It is a passion-driven approach from start to end. 

Research potential niche markets in Google Trends by inserting your particular passion as a keyword into the information generator. Draw comparisons on your top interests to see how each of the keywords stack up against each other.

Warning though: don’t get stuck playing with this information tool. I find it to be great fun!

2. Building your “list” — your audience

This aspect of Affiliate Marketing, as with any business is obviously the most important. Even when you have found some amazing products, you have to get those products in front of your customer avatar.

Here are some ideas from which you can build a list of your ideal customers:

  • Host an Event — topic talk, demonstrations, webinars around your interest. 
  • Create a club — FaceBook, Birthday Club, Book Club, as examples.
  • Giveaways
  • Blogging — ensuring that your posts have Opt-In options for future posts
  • Engaging through social media, for example
  • Author your own e-book

3. Sign up for Affiliate Programmes

Remember to choose products that you either already know, use, or can authentically promote through the research you have done on them or those you have an interest or passion about.

You might feel very strongly about some software you use, or perhaps those amazing hiking boots you walk in every weekend. It is most likely that you will find that those brands have their own affiliate programme or partner programme, as it is sometimes called.

Sign up, and the product owner will send you an affiliate link. That link is now ready to be promoted.

4. Create remarkable content that promotes your product links

There are a variety of platforms from which you can promote these links. 

Having a website is likely to be a prerequisite of the Affiliate Programme you have signed up to, but not always. Promoting your product on a social media platform, for example, is another way to drum up attention to your product. 

Be mindful to know where your customer avatar hangs out though before you spend any of your hard-earned cash on advertising. Affiliate Marketing is all about, for me at least, getting going on a very reasonable budget.

Whatever platform you have chosen, it is necessary to create some drop-dead gorgeous content! Remember that you have to stand out from the rest of the pack. 

You have to know how your competitors are placing their unique selling proposition and then find gaps in which to demonstrate your own uniqueness.

In writing product-based content, these few tips for framing your words are useful:

  • What is this product you are promoting?
  • Why is this product going to change your customers’ life? Why is it going to make their life easier, more enjoyable? Why can’t they be without it…
  • When is your customer going to get results? When will they receive this package of awesomeness? (Here, if you are promoting digital products its an immediate fix! It’s downloadable NOW! Here is your link…)
  • Framing your content around the value of the product and the dreadful alternative of not having it.
  • A guarantee and refund always go a long way to creating trust with your customers.

5. Assess your results — Change what needs changing — Get paid

Be flexible enough to change your strategy if it’s not working. 

Remember that your potential customers go through various phases on their purchasing journey. You must place your business in front of them, providing value first, and creating a lasting relationship. 

Change what needs to be changed and continue to assess your progress.

It’s not a quick and easy road to the “getting paid” part, but if you are committed to the long term status of your business, your tenacity and persistence will pay off.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Home-based Business

Ten Top Tips for Online Success For Beginners

If you pop onto your favorite search engine and check out how many online entrepreneurs are making it every day, it is undeniable that online success is within your grasp. We are all ordinary people, with all the typical challenges that life throws at us, but the common thread is that we all follow a proven recipe.

It is not an easy road, mind you, despite having a rule book at your disposal. Like your office career, it will take time and effort, and the buzz word for success online and being a lifestyle entrepreneur is “consistency.”

  • Being consistent at plugging at your individual strategy;
  • Being consistent with your daily habits;
  • Being consistent in your actioning your business strategy, and most of all; 
  • Being a consistent learner. 

Here are my Top Ten Tips for Online Success summarizing all my reading and listening (and learning) 

None of them will shock you. Most of them, if not all, are pretty obvious when you think about them. It shows that this can be done, and you can replace your salary with your online proceeds once you have momentum.

Here goes…

  1. Always be Building your List. So obvious, but it hit me like a ton of bricks when I was working with my mentors. I have a website, but a list of niche customers is your ultimate asset. Like any asset, be careful with it, love it, and nurture it. 
  2. Always be Building Your Relationship with your List. Your list, remember, are people just like you with hopes, fears, pain points, and burning questions. They are human beings, and like yourself, you are in this world together with them.
  3. Create Value. Just like you, your list of people is prudent about where they spend their hard-earned cash. Suppose you create value first by solving their problems, answering their questions, and providing solutions that they never knew were available to them. In that case, you are on the right track to building lifelong relationships.
  4. Sell what the Market Wants. So obvious, but often overlooked. It is the age-old adage of “supply and demand.” Know your niche and what your niche is looking for. Remember, while you are creating value, your relationships are growing, and people buy from people they know, like, and trust especially while you are creating value by responding to your market’s pains.
  5. Diversify your Traffic. Depending on a single source of traffic limits your reach. Consider Affiliate Programs, content distribution across platforms, online advertising, SEO, and the all-powerful social media.
  6. Sell your products or services, and sell other’s products or services too.
  7. Mastermind with mentors and people that have already walked the road. This is not a new journey, and so many before you have taken the road to online success. Learn as much as you can from others. Share your learning so that others, too, can share in this tremendous opportunity.
  8. Invest in yourself. Take courses. Subscribe to informative reading materials in your niche. Learn. Don’t stop learning.
  9. Look to the future of your business. I learned an essential aspect of managing your own business from my previous employer. This highly respected and competent commercial lawyer manages her team of lawyers and builds her practice within a large firm. While she is dependant on monthly fees, she was never afraid to give more than what she received. She was unafraid to reduce a bill, provide a discount, to do away with an account entirely because she had a long view of her practice. Her bottom line was providing value in all instances, and she never billed her time, or her team’s time, if that fundamental aspect of her business was unfulfilled. I will let you know that she ALWAYS added value. There was never a client who walked away without having a problem solved or a fixed plan to solve that problem.
  10. Get to your first milestone. I have read and heard often that once you make your first sale online, you can make your next, and your next and the next. Easy does it. Baby steps.

There you have it, Top Ten Tips to keep in mind on your entrepreneurial journey to online success. 

Knowing where to find help is right at your fingertips too.

Home-based Business

Establishing authority with your sales funnel

How often do you scroll through your social media feed and look at an advert and think twice, or thrice, about buying despite it being a product or service you might need?

For me, it’s all about trust.

As we are, so too are our potential customers, and accordingly getting a “buy” button to be pressed is only a matter of building trust and authority.

I say only, but building trust and authority might not be as easy as it sounds.

Ultimately though, the trust you build has the potential to create a lifelong relationship with your customers, which if nurtured, can be mutually beneficial.

Adding Value

  • Stop the sales talk and add value first, and when you have done that, don’t stop adding value.
  • Learning about your customer’s pain points, and their burning questions and providing solutions to those questions is paramount to understanding your customer avatar.
  • Spend time doing an exercise to understand your customer avatars’ goals and values, where they find information to their problems or needs, and also their challenges and pain-points in their current situation.
  • A useful resource for this customer avatar exercise is a website called “Answerthepublic” As the name suggests it provides details of questions being asked and based on those questions you can create content around those queries.
  • Quite often, you should be poised to give information away. Give out a useful checklist, or perhaps a basic training video, and maybe a library of your best templates. It all goes to creating a relationship of trust first.

Once you understand the questions being asked on a certain subject, you are well on your way to adding value, by solving a problem, relieving a pain point, and creating authority in the eyes of your customers.

So you have added value, and your customer has seen your authority offer. What’s next?

Add some more value! This might be a sales process, but it shouldn’t be a pressing issue. If you have done your homework, you are selling to your niche market, and so the sale process is far easier.

Write your posts or adverts as if you are speaking to your perfect customer. Since you are generally in the pool with your perfect customer you already know a little about who they are.

At this next step, as you have already solved a problem in your first interaction with your customer, asking for their contact details is likely to be met with a positive reaction.

Perhaps you have written a top-notch educational course, and you are presenting it over a period of time. Your customer would be happy to give you his email address for regular learning opportunities and if the customer continues to receive value, he or she is likely to continue to subscribe to your ongoing offer.

And the sales funnel is working for you!

…and your list is growing. You have happy customers. You are adding value and solving problems and answering questions, left, right, and center.

Reciprocity is the name. Mutual benefit is the game. At this point in establishing a trust relationship, you could sell your value add and ideally, the price should be once-off and small enough for your customer to feel that the bank has not been broken.

But beware, you must continue to solve their problems, answer those burning questions, and relieving their pain points. Adding value in the process of moving the client through the sales funnel is neverending.

This type of relationship is for the long haul. It is the best type of relationship too, because this customer will tell their friends, and if you change their life and deliver on your promises to your customer’s friend, you have another customer. And the process continues.

Your customer just purchased an item in your micro offer. Can this goodwill continue?

Yes, it most certainly can. Remember, you have been establishing yourself as a trustworthy authority in your niche. You’ve been solving problems and answering questions and all the while taking care of your customer relationships.

At this point, your customer might feel like he is on the other end of the reciprocity scale and now decides that he can start to really invest in his outcome, with your awesome product or service.

Perhaps he is willing to charge forward and commit to a monthly subscription of sorts. Here at the end of your sales funnel, your core and continuity offers are positioned perfectly for the mutual benefit of your business and your customer.

It starts with adding value and ends with adding value, and all the while in-between, it’s about adding value.

Home-based Business

So you want to start an online business?

Google Trends suggests that the search for “online business” has risen by some 20 points, between the period starting September 2019 to September 2020. Over the past five years, the trend has steadily risen. Not big news, and it’s appropriate when we think back to the beginning of 2020, and we were all asked to stay home.

Pandemic Aftermath

The reality of the aftermath of the pandemic is rearing its nasty head. Some corporations have for months now, transitioned their employees to periods of taking leave, instead of drawing their full monthly salaries. Some businesses have had to close their doors completely, while others have had to make very quick decisions to simply stay afloat. Countries are reeling from the additional costs on their health services, and many will need to raise taxes to fulfill their debt obligations to loans taken during the height of the pandemic. People are relooking at their hard-earned pensions in response to rising inflation, and talk of recession paints a bleak picture for many.

I have my own dreams

If you are anything like me, way before the pandemic hit us all, I was looking for a life of freedom. It sounds like such a cliche and it probably is, but all I ever wanted was to determine how I spent my time. I didn’t want to be working towards someone else’s dreams and goals, I had my own dreams and it was high time that I went out to find them. It was so scary to think that I wasn’t going to be in full employment, but nevertheless I pulled the plug on a life where I would simply trade my time for a salary.

Living purposefully

Now I understand that this step seems irresponsible for many, and most will go on to say that this cannot be me, although you might resonate with the longing of having the liberty to spend your day working on your own goals for your own business. But it’s about living purposefully and living authentically, and being able to show up for your loved ones when they need you to be there. It’s about not having to check with your boss to get permission to attend family events, and getting to a point where you don’t feel afraid that your career might come crashing down around you, as a result of circumstances that are out of your control.

I needed help

Initially I was so comfortable with my decision to leave the “9 to 5”. My entire future had changed and I was at last taking steps to determining that future. I had at last, got off the treadmill of daily activities that brought me no joy and little excitement for the days ahead.

Although filled with excitement and promise, I knew that if I was going to make a success of my decision into entrepreneurship that I needed help getting it right. I needed skills to learn a career in the online industry but most of all, I needed people to assist me and who understood my journey.

There are so many online resources

It didn’t take me long to be completely overwhelmed by the resources online because there are so many! It is hard to cut through all of the advice and messaging from online entrepreneurs and it quickly became apparent to me, that not all resources online are created equal.

It was difficult not to fall into the trap of the “get rich online quickly” rhetoric of some advertisers. I knew that I needed to make money to replace the steady income that I had given up. I also was fearful as to how I would even manage with my lack of technical skills in setting up this online space for myself. I had gone from excitement to fear in one fell swoop. What on earth had I done?

My overcoming of fear

I sat quietly one day, having just read and re-read a whole bunch of downloads. These downloads told me about the best way to market online, the most efficient way to start your sales funnel and gave me tips on how to overcome my fear. I was even more scared.

While sitting quietly with myself, I made a list of what I really needed. It was a short list. This is it:

  • I need support from people who are on the same journey as me;
  • I need to learn skills from people who have made this journey, and who have already learned the mistakes I will make;
  • I need to mastermind with people to develop myself out of this place of fear
  • Ideally, I need this is one space.

The fourth point was a wish and if I found all of the first three on the same platform, then I was winning!

Fast forward to where I am now

I am winning! I am not going to tell you that I have completely overcome my fear, which I have discovered is the fear of failure. I manage that fear every day, with a community of entrepreneurs that I am in synch with. I train every day and learn new skills to keep in touch with the ever-changing digital space. I take action and the most important thing that I have learnt, is that with action, my fear seems unreasonable, and I now know that my dreams of living with freedom are within my reach.

The free training that changed my fear into action can be accessed here:

Home-based Business

Why is Adding Value important?

It is mentioned so often in articles and learning modules around the subject of salesmanship. First add value. You hear it and read about it all the time.

So, what is adding value and how would you go about it from a business perspective? In our personal lives, we add value almost every day. We feed the dogs, clean hamster cages, at the moment help with the children’s homeschooling regime. We help ease a certain amount of pain and pressure, by doing these small daily tasks. From your business perspective though it can’t just be about selling your product or service if you are looking for economic longevity. Longevity in your business is the reason why adding value is important.

Consider the customer’s perspective

Every bit of money, whether it be large or small, spent by your customer in your business is money that would have gone towards his or her own or his family’s maintenance. While your customer is purchasing this item on his own volition, see this experience of purchase from his perspective and value the trust being placed in your product.

Build on and strive to improve customer satisfaction

We are satisfied when we buy something and that item constantly gives us value. When it doesn’t, respect and understand the customer’s perspective and treat your customer in a way that you would want to be treated, if the tables were reversed.

The customer’s experience should be memorable

Pleasantly memorable that is to say. A memorable experience leads to excellent word-of-mouth referrals. It is much easier to sell to other people, where proof exists from others who can stand up for you and your product or service.

It really does ring true that the ‘customer is king’

Marketing models

Including free resources in your marketing models, in exchange for small things from your customers adds immense value. Whether it be an e-book, articles, or newsletters with information to educate for example give these out to position your authority in your niche market.

Once your customers are in your sales funnel and you are nurturing your relationships with them, the principle of reciprocity rings true. Since you have added value first, without asking for any money in return it is human nature that they will reciprocate on this goodwill.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”

Albert Einstein