Although affiliate marketing is the easiest business to get into because you don’t have to deal with customer service, and you don’t need a lot of money, it’s still a pretty competitive business. Affiliate marketing does have a lot of advantages though, like having thousands of products to choose from, and any product you try to sell that doesn’t sell well, you can always abandon it.
Whether you have a website or not, and whether you choose to market using free or paid techniques, you’ll get started quickly if you have the right tools. There are lots of tools you can purchase to help you get started, but if you’re willing to do a little research, you’ll find that most of the time, there’s a free version out there you can use that will work just as well.
Below are tools I recommend every affiliate have. It makes it easier to organize your information, build your business quickly, and start making money faster.
1. A good text editor
If you use a Windows based PC, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Wordpad is great for creating documents, but it’s not something you want to write HTML with. Notepad is fine as a basic editor, but again, you can’t really write HTML with it, and Notepad limits the number of characters you can have in a file.
What you need is a good text editor that will help you edit HTML files, write articles and sales materials, and any other tasks that require a text editor.
The best way to find a good text editor is to do a search in the search engines for free text editors. You want to search for text editors that are freeware, or open source, which are both free.
2. A good website builder
If you plan to send others through your subscription page prior to sending them to an affiliate program, or you want to create a website that showcases the affiliate programs you sell, you’ll need a good website builder.
A good website builder will have a WYSIWYG interface. This is What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. You can actually see what your site will look like as you build it. You also won’t need to know how to write HTML to build your site.
A website builder is also useful if you buy premade websites of any kind. This will make it easier for you to edit those sites.
3. Keyword research tools
Whether you plan to build a website or not, you will need good keyword research tools because these tools will help you find the right keywords to use in your articles, site content, and your sales materials.
By writing keyword rich content, regardless of what content you write, this content will rank higher on the search engines, especially if it’s posted on sites that rank high in the search engines. In fact, this content may even help your site rank higher if you have one.
You can find plenty of good keyword research tools online. Just search for “free keyword research tools” in your favorite search engine (with or without the quotes).
4. A PDF Creator
If you’re not selling your own products, why would you need this?
It’s really simple. Although a lot of affiliate program managers offer free ebooks and reports you can brand with your affiliate links (a pretty effective marketing technique for affiliates because it’s viral), not everyone does.
With a word processing program, you can write your own short reports, include your affiliate links, convert it to PDF, and then give it away.
You don’t need Adobe to do it either. There are plenty of free solutions available on the internet, including Open Office, which has one of the best PDF creators I’ve ever seen. Just do a search for “Free PDF creators”.
5. Accounting software
In addition to keeping track of your affiliate programs, which can be done with a spreadsheet, you’ll want to keep track of your income and expenses.
For those that live in the United States, you’ll want to use single entry accounting as this is what the IRS recommends.
Like your affiliate program list, where you’ll keep track of all the information related to your affiliate programs in a spreadsheet, maybe all you will need is spreadsheets for your accounting.
If you want something more comprehensive, then you should search the internet for free accounting software. Microsoft offers an “express” version of it’s accounting software, but there are plenty of others you can use.
Additionally, personal finance software can sometimes be used to keep track of your business expenses and income, and you can customize the accounts to track your spending if you need to lower business expenses. Search for “free accounting software” or “free single entry accounting software.” If you need software to manage your affiliate programs, then search for “personal affiliate manager”.
If you plan to build lists, whether you use minisites or content sites, you will definitely need an autoresponder. An autoresponder will save you hours and hours by taking care of all of the mundane tasks of maintaining lists, like allowing others to automatically subscribe and unsubscribe.
Although there are plenty of free, and reliable services available, these services rely on advertising to make their money. That’s advertising that goes into the headers and footers of your emails you send out. Although you can start off with free services, I would recommend that you upgrade to a paid service as soon as possible.
Even if you decide not to build a website, these resources will still help you build an effective business.
Jinger Jarrett is the author of “Internet Marketing for Free: The GUIDE”, available on Amazon.