If you are STILL struggling to put the pieces of the ‘affiliate marketing jigsaw’ together and are yet to make ANY sort of financial return online then make sure you read this blog post right to the end.

No matter what you’ve tried in the past, whether it be affiliate marketing, product creation, CPA, Amazon, eBay or any other of the thousands of ways to make money there may be 2 things you are lacking.

Strategy and Focus.

I can’t do anything about your focus but what I can give you is a proven strategy.

This affiliate marketing strategy I’m about to go through has worked, is working and will work in the future for countless other successful marketers.

First things first, where do you start?

Step 1) Pick a niche market

You have probably heard this countless times before but it’s the most important step by far. If you get this wrong you will never make much (if any) money in affiliate marketing.

When choosing your niche market you need to make sure

  1. There’s a large enough audience
  2. That audience has a propensity to spend money

Coming Up With Niche Ideas

Niches are all around us, everywhere you look, but you can come up with a whole load of ideas just off the top of your head.

Think about any pains of frustrations you have or have had in the past. have you ever been overweight? Did you have bad skin? Have you ever suffered from back pain?

Any pain or frustration you have had, it’s likely to have affected someone else as well. These are all potential niche markets.

These can be the best type of niches as they have a massive pain associated with them, if someone is kept awake at night due to crippling back pain or doesn’t want to leave the house because of bad acne these people will be desperate for a solution to their problem.

Now make a list of all your hobbies and interests.  These can make fantastic niche markets.

Whether it’s football, golf, kite-surfing, underwater knitting (believe it or not, that’s actually a thing) write them all down.

List all your previous jobs and places of employment. Are there any roles or responsibilities you had that could make a good niche market. It could be managing a team, giving presentations or dealing with difficult children. Write them all down.

Now do the same exercise for all your friends, family and neighbours. You have to be a bit careful with this. Don’t just go charging up to your neighbours and ask them ‘have you ever wanted to lose weight?’  but try and find out as much as you can without offending anyone.

For example one of my daughters is mad on horses, my parents are keen cyclists, my neighbour used to mend fire extinguishers… these are all potential niche markets.

By the time you have completed this exercise you should have quite an exhaustive list of potential niches.

Then we need to make sure your potential niche markets are actually profitable. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to see how many other products (if any) are already selling in that market.

Don’t be put off if your chosen market is very competitive, this is a good sign that market is profitable. Be wary of any market where there aren’t any products being sold. The chances of you finding an ‘untapped gold mine’ niche are slim to none, it’s more likely the niche doesn’t make any money

Don’t make life difficult for yourself, choose a niche where there’s a good level of competition and products already selling

Firstly go to JVzoo.com. JVzoo has a great way of organising their best-selling products. You can check out the ‘top sellers’ list for today, yesterday, the past 7 days and past 30 days. If you see a product showing up consistently then it’s selling very well, this will tell you what’s popular and what customers are willing to spend money on.

Next, you want to check out the largest marketplace of digital products, Clickbank.com.

Go to the ‘marketplace’ tab and check out the products that are available. Do a search for the keywords related to your niche and see what results come up. List the results in order of ‘gravity’ this is how Clickbank measures how many of these products are being sold. The higher the gravity the more copies of that product are selling.

Not only will this give you even more niche ideas but it will also tell you what products are selling well.

I would use JVzoo only for the make money online/internet marketing niches and Clickbank for everything else. It seems to work best that way round.

Check out magazines.com. This site is the largest distributor of online subscription magazines. Check out their homepage, this is where they place the ‘best-selling’ magazines going off their previous sales history also check out the ‘best-sellers’ tab. These are the most popular magazines that are customers are consistently spending money on.

Then I want you to get away from the computer for a while. Take a walk down to your local store and check out what magazines are on the shelf. They have such a variety of topics from boating to crochet, again this will give you more niche ideas but also solidify whether or not a niche is profitable.

Printing a physical magazine is expensive. If a publisher is managing to create a regular magazine then there has to be a profit there.

Narrow your list down to about 5 potential markets, now all you have to do is PICK ONE. Don’t spend too long on this, believe it or not this is the stage a lot of people never get past. They do all the research, gather all the data but never actually settle on one niche. See which one in your list you are either a) most knowledgeable about or b) most interested to learn about.

Don’t read too much into it. Set yourself a time limit and just PICK ONE.

Step 2) Build A List Of Subscribers

Now you’ve selected your market, we need to find some people to sell to. However, customers are not just going to magically appear and buy your recommendations, you need to get them onto an email list. To do this there are a few things you need

 Lead Magnet 

This is your free giveaway that will entice people to give you their contact information. Unfortunately, people will not just show up in droves and give you their name and email address for absolutely no reason. You have to offer them an ‘ethical bribe’.

Just to be clear, just because you are giving this away for free doesn’t mean you can dig out any crap product from your PLR dustbin. Your lead magnet needs to be highly valuable and highly actionable.

Having said that don’t also try and give away TOO MUCH.I try and stick to the rule of ‘one problem, one solution’. Don’t overwhelm your prospects with 250-page eBooks and try and solve ALL their problems with your lead magnet. Remember your prospect doesn’t know you ye, therefore, they are unlikely to give you that much time and won’t even open your lead magnet if it seems ‘too much like hard work’

Your lead magnet has two jobs 1) to get the contact information of your prospect and 2) get the relationship between you, off on the right foot. If you overwhelm them with a 30-day video series it’s likely they won’t even get started with it. They will go back to NOT knowing you, NOT liking you and NOT trusting you.

Whether it’s a PDF report, audio or video try and keep the length relatively short. Your prospect should be able to consume it in under 20 mins.

Squeeze Page (lead capture page)

This is your one -page website that your prospects will actually enter their name and email address into. Don’t be too daunted by this process if you’ve never created a website before, it’s not as complicated as it sounds (trust me I am the least ‘teckie’ person and even I managed it). Gone are the days where you need to learn HTML and other ‘rocket science’ type stuff, you can now access a ‘page builder’ for relatively low cost and these softwares are literally just ‘drag and drop’

Your squeeze page has ONE objective and that is to get the contact information. Your visitor should only be able to do ONE of TWO things, either opt-in or leave. You don’t want navigation bar buttons directing to your blog or your Youtube channel this will only give your visitors more chances to leave without opting in.

Having more outbound links on your squeeze page will dramatically decrease your conversions, remember they should be able to either 1) opt-in or 2) leave


Now you have your one-page website and free giveaway you need a place to store all the names and email addresses you will be collecting. This is called an auto-responder.

This is also the place where you will send your emails from, you can’t just store all your subscriber’s contact information on a spreadsheet and send emails via your Gmail account (sounds ridiculous but has been known to happen).

There are two ways to send emails to your subscribers from your autoresponder. You can write a bulk email called a broadcast or you can send pre-written emails to your subscribers and schedule them to go out at different intervals, this is called an auto-responder sequence.

There are numerous platforms you can use, if you are just getting started I would recommend Aweber or Getresponse, they seem to be the most ‘user-friendly’ and easiest to learn. However, there are lots of others to choose from but I will stress the importance of NEVER using a free one. I have heard horror stories of email lists being lost or deleted due to these free platforms, you can start with Aweber for around $19 a month, this is not somewhere you want to scrimp. Imagine building a list to a few thousand over a period of months only to have it lost overnight.

Step 3) Drive Traffic

Now you’re ready to ‘just add traffic’. Without traffic, you could have the most amazing squeeze page and free giveaway but you will NEVER make any money, traffic is the fuel that makes everything work.

Here is one quick strategy that is very effective and highly targeted.

Forum Marketing

Forums and online discussion groups are one of the best resources to use when driving highly targeted traffic to your squeeze page.

Do a google search for ‘your niche +forum’ or ‘your niche + discussion’ and check out the organic listings.

Make a note of the top 5 forums and sign up. I would recommend only focusing on a handful of forums rather than joining every-one you can find, you want to become a ‘person of authority’ in any forum you are targeting which does take time. If you’re a member of 20 forums you’ll spread yourself too thin.

When you become a member you then should go to the forum and introduce yourself. They usually have a dedicated section of you to do this.

Browse through the threads and see what questions are being asked, find some that you know the answer to and leave detailed, factually correct responses on as many threads as you can.

You need to approach forums with absolutely no other reason than to be helpful to others. If you go in with the ‘please come to my squeeze page’ mentality the moderators will smell this a mile away and you WILL eventually get banned.

Become a valued member of the forum, answer questions, participate and traffic will come naturally.

The way forum members will see your website is in your signature file. This is a box that is displayed underneath every post you make where you can add you URL in. If you add value to the community as I’ve suggested in this post forum members will become naturally curious and come and check you out. Leading to people opt-into email list and eventually buying your recommendations.

This is an overview of the strategy that I use and countless other marketers are using daily because it flat out works. Implement all the steps consistently and you will see results.

This is a guest post written by Daniel Craig. Daniel is a successful affiliate and creator of The 60-Minute Copy and Paste Affiliate Case Study which you can download for free here.

    3 replies to "How to Succeed as an Affiliate in 3 Simple Steps"

    • Edna Davidsen

      Dear John

      Thank you for sharing “How to Succeed as an Affiliate in 3 Simple Steps” with your audience.

      The ‘affiliate marketing jigsaw’ is challenging to solve as you say for newcomers.

      Your sentence “there may be two things you are lacking” stuck with me after reading because that’s the biggest obstacle for many.

      What I noticed about what you said about choosing a niche market was to make sure people in that market are willing to spend money.

      Good point, because many newcomers focus on what they have to sell instead of what the customer’s needs or wants to buy.

      I haven’t thought about the relationship between pain and choosing a niche, but you have a good point there.

      You say: “Don’t make life difficult for yourself, choose a niche where there’s a good level of competition and products already selling.”

      My add here could be, choose high volume keywords (so you pick something people are searching for).

      My favourite tip from this blog post was: “Don’t read too much into it. [ED: Which market to choose.] Set yourself a time limit and just PICK ONE.”

      Thank you for sharing your strategy with us.

      I enjoyed reading your blog post.

      With respect
      Edna Davidsen

    • Edna Davidsen

      Hi Daniel Craig

      I just read your blog post “How to Succeed as an Affiliate in 3 Simple Steps” here on John’s blog.
      Great post, by the way.

      Yes, strategy and focus are key.

      I’m with on the niche-picking idea, because as you say, the niche we pick will influence everything in the future.
      Because, as you also say, some niches don’t involve money and it’s too late to think of that after we’ve set up the website.

      My favourite part of this particular blog post was where you wrote:

      “Think about any pains of frustrations you have or have had in the past.” – because that’ll give us a tremendous advance in our niche later when we are about to establish our authority.

      At some point, it’s also important just to pick a niche as you say, because some people just never get started.

      Overthinking can also be an immense problem.

      Once again, thank you for this strategy overview.

      Edna Davidsen

    • Donna Merrill

      Hi John,

      It’s great to read your post. I was busy with my projects, that’s the reason I was inactive a bit, specially reading & commenting was completely off.

      But Anyways, Thanks for the interesting & informative read. Keep up the good work and enjoy the holidays.

      A Very Happy New Year John! Cheers

      ~ Donna

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