5 Steps to Making Your First Sale as an Affiliate Marketer

Author: Beau Blackwell, ClickBank | January 13th, 2010

Written by: Steven Clayton, Guest Blogger

One of the things I get asked a lot is where to begin as an affiliate marketer.

It can all be so overwhelming. There are so many different ways to get traffic, build sites, and pick products to promote (these are the three components of any affiliate marketing effort). In addition, some of these traffic and site building options can be expensive and highly technical, requiring a lot of training and expertise.

My goal in this post is to highlight a way to get started as an affiliate that’s relatively easy, risk-free, zero cost, has a great chance to make your first money online, and doesn’t require any technical knowledge or experience.

We’re going to use ClickBank for our product, a BlogSpot blog for our website, and search engine optimization to get traffic. If you’re totally new to search engine optimization and want a very quick introduction, you may want to check out [Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide].

Step 1 – Find 10 products you’re interested in promoting

  • One of the best parts of being an affiliate for ClickBank is that it’s so easy to get started because there are thousands of unique products to promote. Once you have a ClickBank account, go to the Marketplace and browse it to find products that you have an interest in and/or that you or someone you know would buy.
  • Make a note of the products, including their Pitch Pages and the custom HopLinks you’ll use to promote them (you’ll get these by clicking the Promote button next to the Marketplace listing). It’s a good idea to save this information in a text file on your computer.

Step 2 – Find potential keywords using Google’s keyword tool

  • Go to Google’s external keyword tool.
  • For each product you picked in Step 1, enter the most generic keyword that applies to your product. For example, if you’re promoting a product on how to cure tinnitus, use the keyword “tinnitus” and click the Get Keyword Ideas button.
  • Go over to the Match Type drop down box and select Phrase Match.
  • Sort the list in descending order of global search volume by clicking on the column Title.
  • Make a list of any keyword that is between 10000 and 30000 global monthly searches, and that has something to do with your product.
  • At the end of this step, you’ll have 10 lists. Some of these lists may be empty, as it’s possible that there won’t be any keywords that meet our criteria. We’re being very careful about selecting only the ones that will work for us, so have patience and don’t get discouraged.

Step 3 – Evaluate the competition for SEO

  • Now we need to see if it would be possible for us to actually rank in Google for terms that would drive traffic to the product we’re going to market. For each keyword identified in Step 2, head over to Google and type the keyword in quotes. For example, if the keyword phrase was “cure tinnitus,” you’d type “cure tinnitus” into Google.
  • You’ll see the search results and the words “Results 1-10 of about xx,xxx” on the right hand side. If the xx,xxx number is less than 100,000, move on to the next step. Otherwise, discard this keyword.
  • Do another Google search by typing inurl:”keyword phrase”. For example, for our keyword above it would be inurl:”cure tinnitus”. Take a look at the number of results again. If that number is below 1,250, this keyword is a winner. Make a note of it.

Step 4 – Pick the keyword you want to start with and build a BlogSpot blog

  • We’ve picked a BlogSpot blog for 2 reasons: it’s easy to build a nice-looking site quickly, and blogs rank very well in Google.
  • In general, pick the keyword phrase that has the highest search volume, the lowest competition numbers from step 3, and seems to be the best fit for someone looking to actually buy your product. There are really no wrong answers here, just go with your instinct using these criteria as a guide.
  • Build your BlogSpot blog. Sign up and watch the tutorials on how to create content like posts. When setting up your blog, make sure that the blog title is your keyword phrase.
  • Make sure that the blog address (URL) also contains the keyword phrase you’ve picked in some way. So in our example, best-tinnitus-cure, my-tinnitus-cure, etc., all work just fine. Dashes are fine anywhere, so with a bit of creativity you should have no trouble coming up with a name that’s not been taken.
  • The goal of your blog is to inform and to sell. Provide valuable content from the Pitch Page of the product, as well as outside resources. Add your HopLink to the actual product using text and possibly images. You can often get images from an affiliate page for the product, which can be found in the product’s Vendor Spotlight in the ClickBank Marketplace.
  • Important: Never make up any information about the product! I encourage you to buy the product or have someone you know purchase the product, so you can give a truthful and accurate opinion of it.
  • The exact steps to build out the site are too extensive to go into here, but an example should do the trick.
    Check this page out. It will give you a great idea of what we’re after.

Step 5 – Do some link building

  • Link building is the key to search engine optimization, and the best way to quickly get included in search engine results for the keyword you’re targeting.
  • The process of getting a backlink is a bit different for each option listed below, but you can’t go wrong here. The idea is to do three things: get a link to your site, use your keyword phrase in the description or tag when you’re using a bookmarking site, use your keyword phrase as the “anchor text” (the text that’s clickable…that is the actual link to your site) whenever possible. Don’t worry about getting this perfect…any link is better than a perfect link, and you can do no harm!
  • Blog comment posting is a popular way of getting backlinks. Here’s a nice page that explains how to do it.
  • Social bookmarking can be a great way to build backlinks to your site. Here’s a huge list of them! Just set up an account with them and add your site.
  • Web 2.0 properties like Squidoo, Hubpages, etc. are great places to put up a small amount of content and then to add a backlink to your site. Here’s a nice list of these types of sites.
  • Also take a look at this guest blog post I did previously for other ideas.

Try to build at least 5-10 backlinks every single day! This will give you the quickest results.

Conclusion

The most important part of this process is the keyword research in steps 2 and 3. If you have trouble finding the right keyword phrases for the 10 products you selected, go get 10 more and try again. Have patience. If you stick it out and find the right keywords, the rest will usually take care of itself.

After a while… it could be days, could be weeks, you should show up in the Google search results and people will click on your links to the ClickBank product and you’ll make your first money online! Best of luck in your affiliate marketing efforts.

About the author

Steven Clayton and his partner Tim Godfrey are the creators of several best-selling Internet Marketing information products, including Commission Blueprint 2.0, Niche Blueprint, and SEM Business Blueprint. You can get more great advice and information on their blog.