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Do It Yourself projects are great!
I mean really, who doesn’t like a little DIY every now and again, right?
hmmmm…..but is that how you want to build your business??
Maybe yes. And maybe no
It’s doable – and you are smarter than the average bear – so why not?
Let’s take a look at what you need to do this – how to build your business using the right tools for affiliate marketing then you can decide if you are that ambitious 🙂
So in building your business all by yourself and from the ground up you first need to know HOW you are building your business
Not sure? Read this post first, then come back here again where we will chat about the different components that are needed and how they work together so you can actually build the systems and structure that your business will need
We chatted about different ways to drive traffic in this post – the people who you will need to actually see what you are offering. You can create opt ins and get people to opt in direct with you, use someone else’s opt in where you get to keep the lead, or you can buy leads. All of these methods work and the process to do each is completely different
Before you start to get traffic – you need the SYSTEM – the foundational pieces of the business in place. Otherwise once you have the contacts what would you do with them?
Let’s start the process of better understanding what is required to build your online business – the tools for affiliate marketing and how they work together.
We’ll start with a DIY approach so a complete understanding is had in how to do this if you choose to build it yourself OR so you can determine what you don’t want to do yourself and may prefer to do in either a Do It Yourself Lite (DIYL) or Done For You (DFY) manner
To build an affiliate marketing business you will need:
1 An opt in page / funnel – the web page where people put in their contact information in exchange for something free and then that person gets added to your email list
2 The actual opt in – the thing you will give away – this can be a pdf (like a checklist, a guide, a short how to etc), a video for them to watch, an eBook, a report – something of value, that is actually helpful or informative and that is enticing enough that the person is willing to give-up their emails address to get
3 The opt in/sales funnel (s) – the web page where the actual offer is hosted – this is where the potential client goes to see this thing you teased their curiosity about and got them to opt in actually takes them – and where they have the opportunity to buy, or not buy
After the first sales page – there will generally be a few other sales pages with different but related products – these are called up and down sales – up = price goes up and this additional product may be chosen in addition to the prior product, down = a usually lower priced offer to ‘save’ the sale when the first offer is declined
This is sometimes a coupon for the original item, or it may be a condensed version of the original item which then gives the vendor and additional chance to re-sell the ‘rest’ of the program to that person later, etc
Note – you will need multiple funnels – probably – because once people opt in to your list you can’t write about only 1 product or service every-single-day and expect people to magically keep going to the same-old-thing = you need to have multiple things to send people to = multiple funnels needed
4 Then you will need a check out function – a way for the client to pay – like PayPal, Stripe, or one of the other many payment processors
5 You will need an email processing software – an auto responder – this is where you compose and send out emails to your list
6 Domain name and email associated with that domain
That’s all you need to get started – you do not need a web site, etc – good to have one, but not needed to start. That being said since you are going to need sales funnels you may want to go ahead and do the web page in the same software too – more on that later
Remember….it just depends on HOW you want to build your business…..
Note: when I first started with affiliate marketing I did the whole enchilada right from the get go – all DIY style – I built a site, had multiple funnels, had several opt ins and corresponding email lists, did solo ads, paid ads on Social Media and…..
For me, it was a flipping nightmare and I was spread so thin trying to figure it all out and manage it – and it cost a LOT of money + time. After 2 years of struggling through this I pulled the plug on ALL of it and simplified mass-ive-ly
Over the next couple of years I ran successfully with just my email list and almost exclusively used other people’s offers – and that worked great
After doing that for a few years – and once other area’s of my life settled down, changed etc – I decided to add a blog (this one that you are on now) – because I was at a point where I had time, and mental space to do that – and because I wanted to focus on a different aspect of business to generate a different type of revenue to (add) to using the affiliate marketing tools that comes from my list specifically – more on this process another time….
Ok – so this is where you have to go back to HOW do you want to build your business. There are MANY many softwares / programs that you can subscribe to or buy (one time fee) that will handle all these things – just understand this – in the beginning it is VERY unlikely that you know or understand enough of what you are doing to really know what program will work best, or where you should put your money etc and if you are not careful you will end up spending a LOT of money on things that duplicate each other, or that seem great UNTIL you start using them and then realize they don’t really quite do what you want them to do or it’s not as easy as you thought and…..
Some of that there is no way around – it’s trial and error to find what works for YOU
I am always going to recommend that you choose the best quality that is available – not the cheapest thing just because it is cheapest – because sometimes cheap is expensive (and costs so much to change or move later that it isn’t worth the initial savings) – and – that you take the time to really understand and look at your options BEFORE you buy – so you can make a better decision
And one more thing – if there’s a free trial use it! Get on the phone or chat with the customer service and make sure you can communicate with them in an easy to understand way, that they are timely in responses, and that the thing WORKS for YOU before you pull out your credit card
And a LOT of that you can eliminate by just doing one thing at a time – don’t spend time or money on anything until you are actually ready for it
Trust me on this – it will still be there later if you don’t subscribe today
Let’s now look at each of those components – and remember this is a DIY version – we will discuss how to get these as DIYL and DFY in these posts
The Opt In – you can write this yourself, or you can use PLR (private label rights) – PLR is pre written content that you are legally able to use as your own (just check the license agreement before you buy it). You can get PLR from several sources that range from fantastic to you must be joking that’s awful and everything in between. The prices will reflect a huge spectrum – from free to thousands
A note on using PLR – this can either save you a lot of time or it can create a nightmare – that really depends on YOU. Yes, the content is already created for you BUT you wont want to use it straight out of the box so to speak. You will want to re write the content so it sounds like YOU wrote it, and to add in some things that are specific to you, what you do etc. And you will want to add your own branding, and probably change or at least re arrange the images etc
Think about it – do you want to offer or present anything that other people have the exact same thing of on their sites?
So if you can do those changes faster than you can create from scratch then PLR can be a big plus – if changing is harder than creating then just don’t go there
You can also hire someone to create pieces for you. This is really not as expensive as you think it is – it’s worth looking into if time is an issue or if this isn’t where your expertise lies
Needing an opt in or not goes back to HOW you want to drive traffic – if you need to collect emails to build your list (vs buying them w solo ads or a service like we talked about in this post on Traffic) then you need an opt in – and probably several to get different people with similar but different interests to opt in
Now that does not mean put 1 opt in out for recipes, and a different for dog training, and another for how to make money online and then combine all those people on ONE email list
If you were to put out different subject / niche opt ins then it would be best to segregate these opt ins onto different email lists – and then to offer them things that are relevant to what they opted in with
This is great to do – BUT – I would not do this when you start – you will spread yourself stupid thin and get to a level of frustration where you will quit – sure a few might do this well from the start but most will fail miserably
Choose one niche to focus on and choose offers that work together in that niche so that all your opt ins may be interested in the same products – even if they get to you (via your different opt ins) from a different source of traffic
For instance if you chose a niche of “dogs” – you might have an opt in for how to make dog food at home, tips on feeding raw vs cooked, the truth behind commercial dog food vs home made, puppy training, senior care, dog training tips, how to make dog toys etc = all related to dogs but somewhat different
When people opt in to any of those specific things it would not then seem weird to promote to them a related something that is different but still in a dog niche – ie your other offers
When someone opts in to one of those doggie things then you send them an offer on how to make money from home? That person is not likely to respond favorably unless you have a really good means of bridging that gap. Yes there are ways to do that but it takes time, and is best done with a web site and……it’s just not good practice in the beginning
Once you have the thing you will give away – your opt in – then you need the opt in funnel
This funnel will need several pages – opt in page – where you give them enough information that they give you their email in exchange for your freebie that you’re promising them, then a thank you page – and possibly a down load page
Now if you are smart you will also have a trip wire/one time offer with a landing / sales page, additional landing/sales pages for the ups and downs, a thank you page, and either a delivery page – the page where there is a link to the actual download or video etc – or this can be done via an email that gets triggered from your autoresponder
You may need additional sales funnels to send people to once they get onto your email list too. Again this depends on HOW you are building your business. Your own products, promoting other peoples products, adding bonuses, need up or down sells, combining multiple vendor’s products in a bundle or……
Choosing where and how you will do your sales funnels can be a bit of a challenge
There are 3 basic choices here:
1 a software that is a funnel builder and where the hosting is included
2 a software that is a funnel builder + has other functions – like autoresponder, etc (this can include hosting or you may need to provide the hosting)
3 hosting + software (the software may have other functions or there may be other softwares needed to)
I know this is confusing, hang in there – it will make sense in a few….we’ll chat about some specific types of companies in a little bit. For now let’s first chat about what types of softwares and services are needed
The next thing you need is an autoresponder service. This is where the email contacts you collect from the opt in go and where you then send out your email campaigns from
Just like the funnel building thing, there is a wide variety of what’s available in auto responders too. Some are just email. Some are email + funnel building. Some are email + funnel building + website + courses, and…..
Do you see why it’s so important to first determine HOW you want to build your business?
With these 3 things you essentially have the SYSTEM to start your business: OptIn + OptIn Funnel + Email Autoresponder + Sales Funnels
OK – so now let’s chat about hosted or self hosted – because – this brings up anther factor for you to decide before you decide on which way to go with the actual services
Hosted – means the company that provides the service/software is also HOSTING that software. Usually this also means there is Customer Service, help docs/training, and often templates too
With the autoresponder a hosted plan also means that the IP’s are already warmed up and ready to go = better and more reliable deliverability (the emails you send have a better chance of getting to the person you are sending them to and not getting hung up in spam traps)
Side note on this – I know a lot of this is a head scratcher – just go along for now because the techy stuff could be many, many pages of explanations – this is only meant to be an overview….
Ok, so a SELF hosted thing is where you subscribe to a hosting service, basically you are subscribing to use server space and where YOU are the tech person who installs updates and maintains everything (or you hire someone to do that for you)
This is not the same as the ‘hosting’ that you know you need for a website which is usually a hosted hosting plan – but it can be. Again stick with me here…..
When you do SELF hosting there is very little customer support that’s why it’s called SELF hosted. What you get instead of support is a MUCH lower price and often greater flexibility
Lol – IF you know what to do with it to begin with otherwise that flexibility can tie you up in knots
The other thing that you have to consider when determining which way to go is HOW you are going to build your list
Hosted autoresponders will generally NOT allow you to import purchased lists or lists that you get from swaps etc
If you are going to buy lists or participate in list swaps and shares then you will probably need to go with SELF hosted plans (or a combination of BOTH a hosted and self hosted plan – that’s what I do)
Now let me step back a minute here and clarify – in both hosted and self hosted email providers – we are still talking about legal, properly opted in contacts – we are not talking about un solicited emailing or spamming
The other way in which these two options are greatly different is in how they are priced
Hosted email programs charge by the number of subscribers / contacts you have (most don’t care how often you send email just how many you have on your lists) and the self hosted option limits you only by how many IP’s / storage space you have at the host
For instance a hosted plan may be something like $10 a month for up to 1000 subscribers and a self hosted plan may be more like $3.5 a month for unlimited subscribers
That may not sound like much but when you get a large list then the price difference is staggering
So, its a trade off. Import or no import, customer service or learn how to do it yourself, and a big difference in price
I do both and both work
I would suggest if you are not a techy person or if you are not wanting to learn a LOT about how to do things yourself (or hire someone to help you – that’s what I have done) than stick with hosted and steer clear of self hosted – that will also mean you do not buy a list or do swaps
You can always switch or add the other later too – nothing is set in stone as long as you have the time and money to pay for switching between whatever you choose
Are you still with me?
You’ll thank yourself later for getting a good understanding of what your options are – just for now give yourself the Grace to know that it’s ok to not understand it all or to be a bit confused
If when we are done here you know enough to know what questions to ask then you are WAY ahead of the game 🙂
OK, so now let’s look at some actually examples of what we’ve been talking about…….
Funnel Building Softwares – some are funnel only, some you could also build out a website or even a shop with, some have autoresponder, some don’t and…..
A new kid on the block and well worth looking at is Funnel Bundle. This is HOSTED. There are a lot of included features like A/B testing and pre built flows. You can also create a shop (but the items limit is 100 so not good if you want to do straight eCom) this is fine if you have a limited amount of things YOU will actually sell of your own. You can do a membership site and build out a full site with this and you can do unlimited funnels. FB also includes a good amount of free training. Another thing that sets FB apart from the other builders is TRAFFIC – a percentage of the subscription price each month is given back to you in the way of guaranteed traffic
ClickFunnels – This is HOSTED. CF has been around longer and was the best on the market for a long time – now there is a lot of competition and it’s not the only game in town any longer. With CF you have a few options. You can do a basic plan with funnel building only. Or you can do the add on with email autoresponder. The software is easy to use. In my opinion this is NOT where I would go because I think the entire functionality is not as good as the other options and the price is higher. However they do have good training and it is widely used by many – it should at least be looked at so you know what the differences are etc
GetResponse – this has both autoresponder and funnel building included. – The email is hosted, the funnel building is not. You need to add hosting (either hosted or self hosted works). Training and customer service are both good and the software is really easy to use
Side note – pretty much all of the programs out there work on similar structure – drag and drop, stackable pre formatted blocks, have templates etc – each are a little different but pretty much the same too
Another way to do the funnels is to create the funnel pages with a page building software like Elegant Theme’s Divi or Elementor on a site that you host yourself like a blog – but – you don’t actually have to create a blog (you can but don’t have to) because each page of the funnel is just a stand alone page and does not have to have navigation except to the next page in the funnel
This is a great option if you want to have multiple offers and opt ins because you can build as many as you want for the cost of your hosting and or the cost of the funnel building software
This will require hosting (either hosted or self hosted) + WordPress(.org) – where your funnels will live
For HOSTED things I use SiteGround. They have fantastic customer service, reasonable rates, you can start with the smallest plan and scale up when and if you need or want to
For SELF Hosted things I use OVH. This has proven to be reliable and works well. Their customer service has been good – it’s just limited to the actual hosting – they don’t support the softwares or the communication between the softwares because that’s all up to YOU to install
Then once you have your funnels set up you will need to integrate the email auto responder program so you have a way of actually sending email to your subscribers and a way to organize your campaigns, and at some point start to segment your lists and….
The next two things you will need are a domain name and a professional email address associated with that name
You’re a business and plan to make money right?
Then don’t even think of skipping out on these 2 things – who would take you seriously with a gmail, yahoo or other generic email and no real company / domain?
Next you add in your payment processing company – like PayPay, Stripe, Payeer etc. There are several and which is right depends on several factors. What integrates with whichever software you have decided to use, what country are you in, what countries will you be selling to and….
OK – so once you figure out HOW you want to build your business – and in HOW you want to get traffic – and you have chosen the programs – now you have to get the programs to connect and then you have to actually create the funnels, write the emails etc
That means you have to have copy writing, page building, and a basic understanding of how sales / psychology etc all work together
Yes there is training available to learn all that – some free, some paid, some fantastic and some a complete waste of money…..more on that in another post
In this post I wanted to show the basics of how these pieces integrate and start the process for you to understand what programs are needed, basically how they work and to give you some examples of companies so you can see for yourself, and so you can start to get a handle on HOW you might want to do this. All of these items are entire topics of their own and would require a few posts each for a complete understanding. I would encourage you to go chat with my friend Google and look up several companies so you can get a good understanding of what options you have and what the true cost will be in both time and money to use each.
Feel free to send me an email too – I am not a techy person but I am happy to answer any questions you have if I am able to 🙂
This may all sound overwhelming and hellish – it can be – it can also be easy peasy – just hang in there for now
Everything gets easier and easier – the hardest part of doing all this is first getting figured out WHAT and HOW you are going to do it
Things will start to fall into place once you make those decisions – then it’s just a matter of DOING the things to make it happen and you can – like everything – progress is best done one action step at a time
Let me know in the chat below what your first step is going to be 🙂