There are two main ways of making money online:

Affiliate Marketing: Promote other people’s products in return for commission.

Product Creation: Promote products that you own and have built yourself.

Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions about which path to choose so it’s well worthwhile giving the subject some attention here on the GHG blog.

First, let’s look at the advantages of each:

Advantages: Affiliate Marketing

  • You don’t have to spend time and effort creating a product or marketing materials (such as a sales page)
  • Very little customer support (the product creator will do this)
  • There is a massive variety of high converting affiliate offers in virtually every niche (It would be virtually impossible to create so many yourself)
  • You don’t risk creating a product that nobody wants to buy (MANY people have had this problem!)

Advantages: Product Creation

  • You keep 100% of the money from sales to your own subscribers
  • You can outsource your traffic by allowing affiliates to promote your product in return for a commission
  • You’re not building other marketer’s lists for them as you are with affiliate marketing – instead you get to keep all the names and emails yourself
  • You’re more in control – your business doesn’t rely on other people’s products which could be removed without notice or where customers could get a bad experience which reflects on you as the promoter

This gives us an overview but if you’re just starting out with internet marketing where exactly do you start?

There are 2 things that I have learnt that hold true:

1. Many people start out with product creation ideas and aspirations but often back off when they start investigating the detail. In short the get scared about the work involved and the prospect of failure. I’ve seen this many times.

2. Doing both affiliate marketing and product creation is the optimal and most profitable way forward in the medium to long term.

Remember, the number one priority to make money online is to build a list of subscribers in a niche which is proven to be profitable. Do this and it’s pretty difficult not to earn a residual income from the internet.

Now, there are 2 ways to get subscribers:

1. Sell your own product and recruit your own affiliates to send you the traffic. This is SO powerful as you can let the affiliates do all the work for you (effectively outsourcing your traffic as we mentioned above) and you put proven buyers onto your list.

2. Set up a squeeze page that offers a free gift (such as a short PDF report) in return for people signing up to your list. Usually, you’ll have to generate the traffic yourself using methods like forum marketing, social networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), blog comments, offering free content to other marketers, PPC, banner buys, solo ads, ad swaps, guest blogging and so on.

So here’s the plan for starting out:

If you are up for creating a product, then do this:

1. Research products that are already making money in your niche (look on or to see this)
2. Create an outline for a product of your own that is similar to the high selling products that you have researched.
3. Create your product. (If you don’t consider yourself an expert in your niche use the “lazy” model which has proven very profitable in multiple niches.)
4. Create a sales page (I use and recommend OptimizePress for this – my affiliate link)
5. List your product on an affiliate network (I personally use and recommend Clickbank, JVZoo and WarriorPlus but there are many others). These services will do all the leg work for you and allow affiliates to promote your products.
6. Offer affiliates a commission in return for making sales, they will drive the traffic for you.

If you aren’t up for creating a paid product right away, do this:

1. Create a short report (5-6 pages is fine) that will help your target audience get on the first rung of the ladder towards their end goal (e.g., “How to get started keeping bees in 7 easy steps” or “Avoid the common 3 mistakes people make when setting up your organic garden”)
2. Create a squeeze page to advertise your product (again I personally use and recommend OptimizePress).
3. Drive traffic using some of the methods we mentioned above.
4. Build trust with your subscribers by blogging, offering free content and make money by promoting affiliate products.

I should stress that I do both of these personally, exactly as I’ve described them and they are both profitable. This is why I highly recommend you do the same!

The affiliate marketing route is an excellent way to started earning online as:

1. You’ll learn the essential core skills of creating web pages quickly and easily
2. You’ll have a very gentle introduction to product creation when you create your free gift
3. You’ll learn the skill of how to get visitors to your website and more importantly which traffic methods suit you best
4. It’s fast to set up (in a week from now you can have your first few subscribers)
5. You will learn what your subscribers like and then be better placed and more confident about creating your own product later on

So in a nutshell: Start off and find your feet with affiliate marketing, then move into creating your own products. But long term, do both!

This post seems to have a lot of lists in it (!) but I hope this helps to give you the steps to follow? Please click LIKE or Tweet if your enjoyed this and drop comments/questions below. I’ll get back to you personally 🙂