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 cbengine.com or JVZoo.com 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 🙂
Rob, I like the clarity of your thinking. I am bookmarking this post because it sets out the options for product creation so well. Thank you.
Thanks Mark, glad you enjoyed this and found it useful. Great to see you here on the blog 🙂
Hi Rob, thanks for the info. I bought your product newbie to 350k so this is info goes hand in hand with that.
I have built a list (approx 350) from my visitors asking me passport related questions or from my forum. Where would be the best place to find an affiliate product (travel based) that I could offer to my list?
Thank you for your comment and glad to know this build on the Newbie teachings for you. 🙂
Well done on the list that’s a great start. For affiliate offers here are 3 resources for you:
1. cbengine.com is a good way to search and analyse the Clickbank marketplace
2. Google: Be creative but you can start by searching for: “affiliate program” travel
3. odigger.com will give you more options for other affiliate networks and CPA networks
Cheers – Rob.
Good post — No B.S., concise, helpful, and to the point, (or perhaps better said, “bullet points”). Creating a product seems a daunting task, and one I’ve avoided, but when I think of all the thousands of words I’ve written for my various niche websites, I could have easily have written a comprehensive report. Hmmm, maybe I can adapt/revise and compile some of my already researched and well-written content into a saleable product.
Hi Jesse, Great to see you here and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
You are right, creating a product can seem daunting but if you research and plan it out you’ll have the confidence to see it through. I’m a huge fan of reusing/repurposing content and you’ve hit the nail on the head there! Definitely gather the articles you’ve written already. There are probably several products there that you can create form them. This has been done several times before very successfully. It’s always worth remembering that customers pay for the *convenience* of the information (i.e., it’s all in one place and step by step) as much as they do for the information itself.
Good luck with your projects and do stop by again to let us know how you get on.
Cheers – Rob.
Hi Rob, this is an excellent post and very useful as ever. I have been thinking of affiliate marketing for sometime now but I want to test (track) my results with a small investment in Solo ads and if the testing is good then scale up. The problem I have is I don’t know how to test or what to test for. Do you have any videos on this or can recommend a tracking software and what I should be tracking and of course how to decipher what the info tells me.
Hi Mike, thanks for your kind comments. Tracking and testing is very important. I know you are a member of Internet Income Funnels so if you take a look at Week 5’s live training session recording you’ll see we talk about this very subject. As with most things there are free and paid services that you can use. Feel free to email me if you would like more assistance and I’ll be pleased to help 🙂 Rob.
Quality! I love it! Well done Rob again
Great article Rob. The most important thing anyone can take from this is that you don’t need to over complicate things. That’s the biggest stumbling block I feel. Product creation and promotion becomes so much easier if we just get out of our own way, follow a proven strategy like you just laid out, and get to work getting it done above all else.
thanks for the info.
Hey Declan, great to see you here on the blog 🙂 “Get out of our own way” is the best piece of advice I’ve heard this week – totally agree! Cheers – Rob.
Thanks for the info. I did have a few questions:
1. Under “If you aren’t up for creating a paid product…” – Is this the affiliate marketing way?
2. Under the same list above, #2. Creating a squeeze page. – Is the product the actual 5-6 page report?
1. Yes. If you don’t have a paid product of your own then basically you will focus on affiliate marketing, i.e., promoting other people’s products and services
2. Yes. So unless you choose to use Private Label Rights (i.e., purchase the rights to use somebody else product) then you’ll want to create your own report. This is really product creation so even with affiliate marketing you have to create! Just maybe on a much smaller scale than if you go into full blown paid product creation.
Hope this helps, feel free to come back with any more questions.
Thanks for that Rob.
Always good to be reminded of the steps involved!
Thanks Peter, not sure if I overdid the “steps” but glad you like it 🙂
Hey Rob, well lots of lists and bullet points are better than long paragraphs man! 😉
I just have one question for this one, did you start making the real money (I mean a decent amount) with affiliate marketing or with your first product?
And for an extra question, where did you launch your first product? (Clickbank, Warrior Forum, etc)
Thanks in advance!
Hi Sergio, Thanks for that – glad you like the structure! My first few dollars online was made in the “Collectible Metal Lunches Boxes” niche (see the products page on this site for more info) but definitely product creation was then biggest earner for me and has been ever since but as I mentioned you can’t make every possible product yourself which is why I do affiliate marketing as well. Affiliate marketing is probably actually an easier way to get started so I’d recommend that to begin with and then think about creating your own products. Everyone is different but the more time and effort you put in and the more “seeds you sow” the more you’ll get back – rather than just jumping from idea to idea which is what I did in my first few months. My first big product was in the stock market niche and that was marketed through joint ventures rather than Clickbank, JVZoo, WarriorForum etc. I only moved on to those systems later. But again, if I had to start again I probably would pick these networks first as they are much easier to make money with. Hope this helps and isn’t too confusing?! Let me know if you have further questions. Kind regards, Rob.
I’ve read your recent post and it seems to me very straightforward and useful. You say things in a simple way and that I really appreciate that. I wanted to ask you a question: Apart from the OptimizePress, are there other plugins that can be used to create squeeze pages? I’m asking because I’m going cheap at this moment.
Thanks in advance and regards.
Hi David, Thanks for your comment and welcome along to the blog – great to see you here. I REALLY do recommend OptimizePress and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever purchased because I’ve used it for squeeze pages, sales pages, membership sites and product download pages as well. Remember this is a business and all businesses require some investment of time and money. I have a friend who is setting up a restaurant with over £100,000 ($150,000) in borrowed money. In comparison the $97 I paid for OptimziePress has made me thousands (sometimes in just a few days too). I know you probably know this already but it’s worth mentioned for others that read this. But yes, there are other themes and plugins. If you search in Google for “wp sales theme” and “wp sales plugin” you’ll find many other options. Some will cost you some money or you can try “wp sales page templates free” too. I hope this helps 🙂 Kind regards, Rob.
Another great post from Rob!
I have to say he is one of the most straight forward people I have ever spoke with.
I really enjoy reading and applying his information.
Keep up the good work!
Hey Jude, Great to see you here on the blog – thanks very much for your kind words! Cheers – Rob.
Another useful post – thank you. I’m also (as someone mentioned in an earlier post) working through your ‘Newbie to 350K’ and am finding it very easy to follow (with some good reminders of what we covered in IIF!).
Hi Monica, Great stuff and glad you like Newbie too! Let me know when you need help with anything. Kind regards, Rob.
hi Rob thanks for the information do you have any video with step by step help like where to start in finding a niche market and what to look for in a profitable market and how to do free market research do you have any utube videos thanks Damian
Hi Damian, You’re very welcome glad you liked it 🙂 Yes, we cover profitable niches in detail inside the members area but also you’ll find some more info on these previous posts:
I hope this helps! Kind regards, Rob.
Great site rob. Curious on your trading product that market can be expensive to run ads in or very hard to rank. How did you get traffic for it and curious if you found other trading sites questionin if you actually traded with your system and showed proof.
I was looking on create products in that same niche.
Hi Brian, Thanks very much for your comment – great to see you here! I use lots of traffic strategies which you’ll see on my blog and in the GHG members area but for that particular product I used joint ventures. As for proof, be careful what you do there and be sure to check out the FTC rules. For trading products I think you have to have traded/invested and use the systems yourself. I was a professional investor for some years but many people do it in their spare time. If you aren’t trading yourself and still fancy this niche then remember you can always find an expert who does and JV with them on a product 🙂 Kind regards, rob.
I’m still just an affiliate at the moment but this comparison has got me thinking about product creation