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Plan your Affiliate through before starting

Many bloggers and affiliate marketers have learnt "bitter lessons" in their blogging business for failing to think through before starting or joining an affiliate program. It is a common truth to say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Starting an affiliate program with proper plans can lead to utter failure and disappointment. While there are other factors that can contribute to failure in this field of internet use, planning is very starting point.
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Well, consider yourself lucky to have come across this post. In it, you will discover why planning is very important, how to make proper plans and where you can get needed help to start up the right way.

Wikipedia defines planning (also called forethought) as the process of thinking about and organising the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills.
This implies that the essence of planning your affiliate program is to achieve whatever goal you have set. One thing is sure, as an affiliate marketer, your number one goal is to earn money. Secondary goals can come in the form of boosting a friend's or partner's business.

Now, let me take you through several stages and planning process you definitely need to be successful with your program.

Research and Information Hunting

"Ignorance, they say, is a disease", so why stay uninformed? Every planning process begins with gathering information. You need to know what you are about to delve into. Hunt for the right, specific and useful information that will give you confidence and boldness to get started. In this information age, there are several sources and places you can get the information you need. For example, you are obtaining information on affiliate marketing from this post right-away. That is it! The internet, social media, print media and even friends can provide useful tips and guidelines. Whenever you are in doubt, connect to the internet and with a search engine like Google, type in what you want to research on. You can read or even watch inciting videos on it.

Planning stage

This is where you convert the information you have gathered into useful models for achieving your goals. Remember that I stated that the primary object of an affiliate is to earn money. In this stage, you plan on how to earn money the right way and reasonably. I have stated out questions to serve as a guide in planning your way through.

What do you want to achieve?

Whether you are promoting a friends business or that of an advertiser, there is always something you want to achieve. Literally, one may say, to drive traffic and increase sales. A Smart plan will look beyond that. It will look at the volume of the traffic and not just to drive traffic. For example, I want to make 500 referrals each day. Now, you have started with a precise plan.

How am I going to achieve it?

Now that you know and have stated out what you want to achieve, next is to carve out how to make that mark. There are various ways to refer customers to advertisers. The method to use is highly dependent on which one you think is convenient for you. But I must advice that, while some of these methods yield greatly, others aren't.
The best approach is usually to incorporate several of these methods, say two or four of them to actually see greater impact.
I will briefly highlight some ways you can use to refer customers to your advertisers. The methods listed here are not the very last, you can use other methods you think are useful. Whatever method you use, be straight and no foul play.

The methods are:

1. Using a Website or Blog
To use this method, you have to create a blog or a website to get started. Creating websites or blogs will require that you purchase a domain name and a server space, though you can create a free blog with Blogger or WordPress. To, however make it unique, you need to purchase a domain name. Domain names are renewed every year, just like server space.

2. Using Social Media
Unlike a website or blog, you don't need to pay to create a social media account, and there are very many that you use as a start. The strategy here is for you to gather as many followers as possible with regular posts and requests. Facebook offers excellent features for achieving this. For instance, you can create a page and a community through group where useful tips are posted and customers referred. You can even do more by creating campaigns, boosting a post and promoting your page. Though you have to pay for this, it throws an influx of traffic to your disposal.
Other social media options include; Twitter, Google+, WhatApps, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

3. Using Forums and Communities
Forums and communities can be used as additional means of referring prospective buyers. Note that some of these forums are paid for, even though you may need to start free. They, however offer premium features you may want to explore. Either way, community will help you to reach customers whom you can refer. Just google search for related forums or communities and begin from there. Don't forget to connect with those that offer close topics. For example, if I decide to set up an affiliate program on fashion, I can google search Online Fashion Communities and Forums. This will return a great deal of forums from where to start.

4. Using Email Marketing
This is less preferred because not all target users read emails in their mailboxes. From experience as a user of the internet, some mails are deleted without opening them. So, if you are to use this, use it as a complementary method to an already established one like website, blog or social media.

For effective and better earnings, use a website or blog, if you can afford one, and ensure that users have access to subscribe to your newsletter which will give you email marketing opportunity. You should also integrate social media, especially Facebook, to drive traffic to your blog or website. In case your preferred choice is Social Media, use as many features as it offers to achieve your goal. You may or may not need to use communities, but build your own forums using social media. WhatApp can be a very good place to start since almost every user of smartphone has a WhatApp account.

What do I need?
What you need is not far-fetched from you. Take a look at a quick list below:

  • An internet ready computer or mobile device for creating posts, checking your links, creating referrals, viewing commissions and creating ad banners, where necessary. As for this, using a computer is most preferred. It will give you a wider interface and multi-tasking platform to work on. You can purchase your choice computer and modem from Jumia or Konga.
  • Time. Create a time when you will be attending to your plans. I you decide to do this on full-time, then set you duration. e.g. 8am - 4pm. 
  • Motivation: Starting an affiliate program can be frustrating at the beginning, especially when it appears as if your effort is not yielding any earning. In this case, you need to motivate yourself. If others are making such great earnings from it, I can do so, after all, it's like a business. You first need to invest and later pocket the yield. 
  • Creativity: Crating post, requires creativity, knowledge and understanding. Users of your website will keep returning to your posts and pages if you have quality content and equally demonstrate great experience on the topics you write. For this reason, blogs are created around topics the blogger has a wealth of knowledge and experience on. 

Start Affiliating

Now that you have understood the various ways to achieve your goal and what you actually need, it's time to start affiliating. At this point, I will assume you have developed a strategic plan.
Choose your affiliate Network or advertiser to get started. Select from any of the following


Earn money

Finally you are here, where every affiliate dreams of. You want to earn money and good enough you have started with the right step - proper planning. Create links, refer customers, track your earnings and have a cup of coffee as you watch you income rise.

Please don't always forget to refer to the support pages of your advertiser or affiliate network provider for more information on what to do and how to make the most out of it

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