Creating a profitable online affiliate marketing business is a lot like making a cake.

Just as you need to use the right recipe for your cake to turn out as you intended, you also need to use the right system for your online business to grow and generate an increasing income for you.

In this post I'm going to describe the marketing system I use. This is the only system I have ever used that has worked for me.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not rich but I know what has worked for me and I know what hasn't.

There is so much total BS on the internet at the moment engineered simply to take money from people that I thought it would be refreshing to dispel 2 very popular MYTHS:

  1. Making money online as an affiliate is EASY. It is not easy because this is real life and the affiliate marketing industry is just like any other well established industy – highly competitive. Getting rich ‘almost overnight' might be possible but it is exceedingly unlikely and I would be very wary of anyone who tells you that you can experience ‘thousand dollar paydays' as a ‘beta tester' using their ‘push button software' that you found from their ‘secret webpage'. They're probably making it up to make some quick money rather than giving away their competitive advantage by selling ‘insider secrets' to strangers on the cheap. These kinds of websites are known as ‘Newbie Traps' as they are designed to take money from gullible and desperate people. They are basically selling hope – unfortunately it's always false hope that they are offering. Having said that, with the right system you can make money online a lot more EASILY. You will get nowhere without hard work though.
  2. There is such a thing as ‘FREE TRAFFIC'. Traffic COSTS either time or money. You either have to spend TIME making search engine optimized content in the hope that it will rank well in the search engines or attempt to make content people will be inspired to share on social media platforms. Alternatively you have to spend MONEY buying advertising from webmasters, email list owners or search networks. It's also important to remember that, whilst you can get visitors to your website cheaply, you cannot get tens of thousands of ‘real' visitors for a couple of dollars. There's a lot of people selling ‘clicks' for extremely low prices but I would be very surprised if those ‘clicks' were made by real people who were interested in seeing advertisers' websites.

The Essential ‘Ingredients' of My Affiliate Marketing System:

These are the things that make up my online affiliate marketing system. If I didn't have any one of these ‘components' in my business model I believe I would make little or no money online as an affiliate:

  1. HOSTING – If you're serious about having an online business you need your own domain name and email address otherwise you will be perceived as being amateur and possibly even untrustworty. People buy from other people that they trust so that they know that they can rely on getting what they purchased. For example, people buy McDonalds because they know exactly what they will get and this is why the McDonalds ‘brand' is worth MEGABUCKS. As an affiliate, you too need a brand – think of it as an ‘authenticity' that makes people more likely to trust your product recommendations. If you plan to build one or more large websites with a lot of content, I recommend using Bluehost to host your websites because of their market leading pricing and customer service. Having said that, Lifetime Hosting is a brilliant alternative that you can get for a one-time payment if you're not planning to post vast amounts of content and don't want to commit to a hosting plan.
  2. HIGH CONVERTING SALES FUNNELS – You cannot make money online sending traffic to a sales page because people only tend to buy after multiple exposures to a product recommendation. This means you need to capture leads with a high value free offer then show them an even higher value paid offer, preferably immediately after getting the lead and then every couple of days thereafter. This ‘sales funnel' system of lead capture and follow ups is the only affiliate system that I have ever used that has made me a significant income online. To use sales funnels you need an autoresponder. This isn't just a recommendation really, I genuinely don't think you can get a positive return on investment with paid ad campaigns that don't use this structure – however cheap your traffic source is. Personally I use Aweber for my email autoresponder provider. I use Aweber because their email marketing service is very efficient, they are truly dedicated to getting my emails into the inboxes of my prospects and they are a market leader for value to cost ratio.
  3. PRODUCTS – Your Sales Funnels need to include high quality free products which are given away to your leads AND high quality paid products which genuinely help your leads. Quality is important both because you want to get your leads to become REPEAT customers and because it is better to promote good products than useless ones. It is up to you whether you choose to promote your OWN products or other peoples' products that you are promoting as an affiliate. Personally I do both, I have advertising sites that I promote myself which have in house affiliate programs and I also promote things as an affiliate that I think benefit my subscribers. You can use PLR (Private Label Rights) products which are other peoples' products that you have a license and therefore a legal right to sell or give away as your own. These licenses are sometimes free but you usually have to pay for PLR to high quality products. If you like the idea of selling your own products then this link directs to a website which will provide you with a lifetime's supply of quality digital products for a relatively low one-time payment. However, PLR is only worth having if you use it but if you want to sell your own products then Automated List Profits is probably your best chance of being successful. If you want to promote as an affiliate, Clickbank and JVZoo are good places to find digital products to sell which pay you high affiliate commissions (typically around 50%). You can even use your own PLR products as bonuses to increase the conversions you achieve from your affiliate promotions. For example, if you were promoting a new release on the JVZoo marketplace and you wanted to gain an advantage on other affiliates promoting the same product, then it's a great strategy to offer a few PLR products as a bonus to people who buy the JVZoo product via your link. If you haven't got an autoresponder account and would prefer to advertise a funnel where someone else follows up your leads for you with messages recommending internet marketing based Clickbank product promotions containing your Clickbank affiliate links then CB Passive Income would be a good fit for you. If you want to see an example of the type of website you promote as a Clickbank Passive Income affiliate then click here and click on any of the banners on that webpage to see the funnels the system gives you to collect leads for Patric (the owner) to promote Clickbank products to on your behalf. Nonetheless, whichever kind of sales funnel you choose, your funnel needs to get traffic in order to make you money – and not just any traffic…
  4. COST EFFECTIVE TRAFFIC – No online business works without visitors. Getting visitors costs either time or money and in my experience, the quickest way you can get enough traffic to build a real income is by buying it, either by buying premium advertising or by paying to outsource quality content creation, social media marketing and search engine optimization services to attract organic traffic from search engines and social sites. The key to success with paid traffic is TESTING. If you are just starting out then click tracking will help. Tracking clicks shows you how many visitors your ads are getting but if you want to scale up an online business you need to track conversions. I use a WordPress plugin for conversion tracking but there is an easy to use, free, conversion tracking service available at LeadsLeap. Once you're able to track ‘conversions' as well as clicks you can identify high quality advertising sources that can provide you with a good return on investment.