I have been an affiliate marketer for my entire online marketing career. In fact, it’s how I got started. The first website I ever built was monetized by affiliate links. At the time, I didn’t even know that what I was doing was called affiliate marketing. All I know is that every time I got someone to make a purchase using my link, I got paid.
Call it intuition, but I thought to myself “if I build a website around this topic and people come, they might click the link to find out more and some of them will buy using the link.” And guess what… I was right!
I built an online training community (that I later sold) and promoted online computer training from a company whose name I no longer remember (hey, this was 1999). The middleman was a company called Hand Technologies and it was started by some former Dell Exec’s and that is what gave me the confidence to move forward with them. They created an affiliate platform and I was one of the first to get on board.
Building a brand around the product or service you want to promote is strategy that I encourage the most as an affiliate marketer. Because if you build a brand, people will grow to trust your brand and if you make good recommendations they will purchase from you, not just once, but over and over again.
Building My First Website
I had never built a website before, but I was determined. I bought a book called “Teach Yourself HTML in 24 Hours” and I probably spent the next 24 hours in front of my computer. Granted, my first website was ugly, but I learned that having targeted visitors was more important than having a pretty website (at least back in 1999). Of course, the traffic didn’t come right away. I invested countless hours learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and eventually had my site ranking on page one of the many search engines back in the day (Excite, HotBot, Lycos, Alta Vista, etc.). For some of you, hearing those names is a trip down memory lane. Others (those who have been online for less than 10 years) will likely do a Google search, assuming that I am crazy. But yes, back in the day, those were the hot search engines (before Google was even on the scene).
A New Era (for Me)
It was building this website and learning SEO that launched me into my career as a professional Internet Marketer. Today, I own a full service digital marketing agency and I am a partner in another. And I still earn affiliate income from multiple sources and teach others to do the same. I have incorporated affiliate marketing in to my agency business and I believe that every business owner should do the same. More on that later!
What about you? How did you get your start in affiliate marketing?
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