Affiliate marketing sounds simple, right? You just sell other people’s stuff. You don’t have to create a product, and, in some cases, you don’t even need a website. So why would you need an affiliate marketing plan?
Simple. Because affiliate marketing is a business, and every business needs a plan to be successful. A lot of people go into affiliate marketing thinking they don’t need any special skills. While it’s true that you don’t need a lot of tech skills to get into this business, you do need, at the very least, to know where you’re going. That’s where a plan comes in.
Even if you’re just doing it as a hobby, it’s still important to figure out your goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Would you open a restaurant without a business plan? Would you start a service business without a plan? Well, maybe you would… but you shouldn’t.
Ideally, you’ll come up with short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals. Short-term could be what you plan to achieve in the next three months. Think of a mid-range goal as your twelve-month plan. For your long-term goal, think about where you want to be in five years. Of course, your three-month goal will be the most detailed, maybe with daily or weekly tasks. The twelve-month goal might have monthly benchmarks, and the five-year plan would have yearly benchmarks. You get the idea.
Just a few of the things you need to figure out:
How much money do you want to make? You might say: well duh, as much as I can! But seriously, unless you set a goal, it’s hard to achieve it. Do you just want a few hundred dollars a month to pay a couple of bills? Or do you want to make enough to be able to quit your job and support your family in style? What’s your timeline? Do you need to make $1,000 this month? Do you want to be earning $5,000 a month within 12 months? Answering these questions will affect how you proceed. What’s your training plan? In other words, how are you going to learn what you need in order to be successful? You may be able to get started without tech knowledge, but to make this business work, you’ll need to pick up certain skills. What’s your budget? It’s possible to begin an affiliate marketing career even if you don’t have money for promotion or tools, but this needs to be part of your plan. How are you going to promote? Are you going to build a website, advertise in ezines, do ppc (pay per click) ads, etc.? You can waste a lot of time and money by not being focused in this area.
Answer these questions and you’re on your way. Once you have a plan, there are many ways to get there.
Final note: Don’t be fooled by promises of easy money with no work. There’s a lot of bright shiny stuff out there, and a lot of hype. Stay focused, don’t get distracted, understand that affiliate marketing takes (gasp) WORK, and you’ll do well. It can be a fun and challenging career as long as you know which path you’re taking.