How I make affiliate money with a free guide

23 replies
I published CareerUnlock.com, a free career guide for marketing professionals (not internet marketers) about 3 months ago and I just broke $5K in affiliate sales. The guide offers advice and strategies on how to build a personal brand, master the job hunt, and position yourself as a niche expert within field of marketing. I'm here to share some tips and strategies about how to make money with a free guide.


1. Make sure your guide has credibility. Tell your story with personal experiences and highlight your struggles and how you overcame them. "I went from a dead-end entry level job to making over $100K and this is how you can too." Displaying credibility is how you ultimately build trust with a reader and customer.

2. The guide should be free to maximize your readership. Placing a price tag will certainly discourage people from purchasing your wisdom. You can offer upsells to more content along the way.

3. Speaking of upsells, you need to make sure your guide topic has affiliate products that you can promote as add-ons. Search Clickbank, Amazon, CJ, ShareaSale, etc. for products that closely resemble the advice you are providing. For instance, I link to guides on resume writing, tutorials on interview answers, resume portfollio folders, self-help books -- all items that relate to job hunting.

4. The guide should be in the form of linear steps where you direct the reader along a journey.

5. Create a "system" that incorporates the steps of your guide. The "system" can be branded and in effect will be easier to promote. I created something called the "Point C" Path which helps deflect a hiring manager away from the other candidates.

6. Create "shareable" images and graphics to encourage clicks and social sharing.

7. At the end of the guide, include a "Resources" page that lists all of your affiliate products that the reader encountered along the way. The Resources page is like the gift shop at the end of a museum.

8. Penetrate communities that focus on your topic and ask questions. Answer their questions within your guide and link back to the guide and repeat. Also, provide examples and case studies of your struggles along with a link back to the guide.

9. As the guide continues to gain readers, I will analyze the metrics to determine which elements are popular and I will create my own products (eBooks, video courses) that drill down deeper. I will sprinkle my own products throughout the guide, thus relying less on affiliate sales.
#affiliate #free #guide #make #money
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Mazza
    So are the only affiliate sales you make from the free guide is the affiliate links inside? What about promoting other offers to them afterword?
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    • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
      Yes, For now all of the affiliate links are within the guide. I am collecting emails but it's more of a passive income approach. Eventually, I will implement an auto-responder with my own products.


      So are the only affiliate sales you make from the free guide is the affiliate links inside? What about promoting other offers to them afterword?
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Mazza
    I find if you wait on sending people emails they forget about you and never open them. If you collect emails you need to consistently send them to make use of the list even when small. Just my experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Hi Allen,

      Kudos!

      I took a quick look at your guide and think you've done a very thorough and professional job creating it.

      It's also very refreshing to see someone attack a marketplace in this way. Rather than holding your "free ebook" hostage until getting an opt-in commitment, you've delivered it out in the open. In essence you have begun to make your market "know, like, and trust" you before asking for their email address. As a result, your opt-ins really want to know what else you can provide them and will be much more responsive to future mailings.

      I would just echo Mark's comments about not waiting to email that list. They want to hear from you - don't disappoint.
      Signature

      Sid Hale
      Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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      • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
        Thanks Sid. Do you have any suggestions on what the emails should look like?
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        • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
          Sure Allen...

          Originally Posted by Self Promotion View Post

          Thanks Sid. Do you have any suggestions on what the emails should look like?
          You already understand that eventually these email opt-ins can be way for you to promote your own products, so I think what you're asking is what do you do right now to make sure that you maintain (and continue to build) a trusting relationship with these readers.

          The first thing that pops out at me are the "Tips" that you have provided in the right margin of your free guide. A reader could easily miss those, or just forget about them because they're just sitting casually over there in the sidebar.

          While it might be somewhat repetitious, a number of those could be re-used to provide helpful information for your subscribers. Some will have totally missed the "Tip" in the first place. Others may have forgotten, so reminding them of the good ones can't hurt - and lastly... you can expand on many of those in a brief email to make them even more valuable.

          Keep it to only one tip per email, but expand the tip with more explanation, examples, etc.


          A second good topic category, could come from your "Resources" page. You're not ready to promote your own product yet - but that doesn't mean you can't begin monetizing your list by sending emails to promote the affiliate products that you currently promote in your guide.

          Again... give the reader a reason to read. You don't need to present a "case study", but telling a reader how YOU have used one of these resources, what benefit you derive from that use, etc. makes for a very good promotional email - without making you look like a slutty marketer

          Treat your readers with respect, and give them honest, helpful information (even when promoting) and you can begin to build a loyal following that will just be waiting for you to create your own product for them.
          Signature

          Sid Hale
          Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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          • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
            Originally Posted by Sid Hale View Post

            Sure Allen...



            You already understand that eventually these email opt-ins can be way for you to promote your own products, so I think what you're asking is what do you do right now to make sure that you maintain (and continue to build) a trusting relationship with these readers.

            The first thing that pops out at me are the "Tips" that you have provided in the right margin of your free guide. A reader could easily miss those, or just forget about them because they're just sitting casually over there in the sidebar.

            While it might be somewhat repetitious, a number of those could be re-used to provide helpful information for your subscribers. Some will have totally missed the "Tip" in the first place. Others may have forgotten, so reminding them of the good ones can't hurt - and lastly... you can expand on many of those in a brief email to make them even more valuable.

            Keep it to only one tip per email, but expand the tip with more explanation, examples, etc.


            A second good topic category, could come from your "Resources" page. You're not ready to promote your own product yet - but that doesn't mean you can't begin monetizing your list by sending emails to promote the affiliate products that you currently promote in your guide.

            Again... give the reader a reason to read. You don't need to present a "case study", but telling a reader how YOU have used one of these resources, what benefit you derive from that use, etc. makes for a very good promotional email - without making you look like a slutty marketer

            Treat your readers with respect, and give them honest, helpful information (even when promoting) and you can begin to build a loyal following that will just be waiting for you to create your own product for them.
            Thanks for the advice, Sid. Promoting the tips and resources in a drip campaign is a great idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author abilify182
    Hi,

    So you're not using an opt in, you just give them the direct link to your ebook?

    More importantly, how do you build the traffic?
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Hey abilify...

      Originally Posted by abilify182 View Post

      So you're not using an opt in, you just give them the direct link to your ebook?

      More importantly, how do you build the traffic?
      Click the link.

      It should become crystal clear.
      Signature

      Sid Hale
      Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Thanks for the share, very good tips

    Is this just a single ebook and list or do you have a full site to help monetize the people too?
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    • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
      Originally Posted by ChrisBa View Post

      Thanks for the share, very good tips

      Is this just a single ebook and list or do you have a full site to help monetize the people too?
      Hey ChrisBa -- This is just an e-book. I am having trouble figuring out what my next step will be. I want to stay away from 1 on 1 consulting/coaching because I don't have the time or energy to deal with clients individually. Do you have any thoughts?
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      • Profile picture of the author discrat
        Hey Self,
        Sounds and looks like you have a solid system in place. And are starting to see some good results.

        Thanks for contributing.

        I think you are taking a good route by taking your time.

        Most of the time, I recommend people have their Auto-responder follow ups ready to go from the git go.

        But your situation is a little unique and I like the approach.

        Keep up the good work


        - Robert Andrew
        Signature

        Nothing to see here including a Sig so just move on :)

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  • Profile picture of the author Knightsofusa
    Originally Posted by Self Promotion View Post

    I published CareerUnlock.com, a free career guide for marketing professionals (not internet marketers) about 3 months ago and I just broke $5K in affiliate sales. The guide offers advice and strategies on how to build a personal brand, master the job hunt, and position yourself as a niche expert within field of marketing. I'm here to share some tips and strategies about how to make money with a free guide.


    1. Make sure your guide has credibility. Tell your story with personal experiences and highlight your struggles and how you overcame them. "I went from a dead-end entry level job to making over $100K and this is how you can too." Displaying credibility is how you ultimately build trust with a reader and customer.

    2. The guide should be free to maximize your readership. Placing a price tag will certainly discourage people from purchasing your wisdom. You can offer upsells to more content along the way.

    3. Speaking of upsells, you need to make sure your guide topic has affiliate products that you can promote as add-ons. Search Clickbank, Amazon, CJ, ShareaSale, etc. for products that closely resemble the advice you are providing. For instance, I link to guides on resume writing, tutorials on interview answers, resume portfollio folders, self-help books -- all items that relate to job hunting.

    4. The guide should be in the form of linear steps where you direct the reader along a journey.

    5. Create a "system" that incorporates the steps of your guide. The "system" can be branded and in effect will be easier to promote. I created something called the "Point C" Path which helps deflect a hiring manager away from the other candidates.

    6. Create "shareable" images and graphics to encourage clicks and social sharing.

    7. At the end of the guide, include a "Resources" page that lists all of your affiliate products that the reader encountered along the way. The Resources page is like the gift shop at the end of a museum.

    8. Penetrate communities that focus on your topic and ask questions. Answer their questions within your guide and link back to the guide and repeat. Also, provide examples and case studies of your struggles along with a link back to the guide.

    9. As the guide continues to gain readers, I will analyze the metrics to determine which elements are popular and I will create my own products (eBooks, video courses) that drill down deeper. I will sprinkle my own products throughout the guide, thus relying less on affiliate sales.

    Very helpful and inspiring. How long did it take for you to build the site?
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  • Profile picture of the author Johann seez
    You need to create a blog and get more users or traffic over them. After that you can tie up with some affiliate programs and make money from Affiliate marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Leatherman
      Great job. How many visitors are you getting per day and what are your plans for future promotion?
      I think it's specially a good guide for younger people, because it's "free" you could offer the content to colleges or high schools. If you could get some links from them....Wow.
      Leatherman
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      • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
        Originally Posted by Leatherman View Post

        Great job. How many visitors are you getting per day and what are your plans for future promotion?
        I think it's specially a good guide for younger people, because it's "free" you could offer the content to colleges or high schools. If you could get some links from them....Wow.
        Leatherman
        Hey Leatherman, I am getting about 1.5K unique visitors per day but I've had a few major spikes that generated most of the sales. My immediate plan is to create a drip campaign with informational products, then connect with marketing and career influencers and ask them to review the book, and lastly advertise on LinkedIn and Facebook targeting young marketing professionals.

        Great tip on offering my content to schools. Something to seriously ponder.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketermatt
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
    This is very nice. I have a few things where I want to present a howto guide in a linear format, and I like this style you've shown us. The affiliate links are very tamed down, unlike a lot of guides where they are placed rather obnoxiously and "in your face". Thanks for showing us this.
    Signature

    :)

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  • Profile picture of the author lissylou
    I'm very impressed with your site and the guide as a whole.

    These days it seems that the only way to make a living online is with a list generated with opt-in squeeze pages, so its refreshing to read something that is making you money, but you have supplied the extremely valuable information for free.
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    • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
      Originally Posted by lissylou View Post

      I'm very impressed with your site and the guide as a whole.

      These days it seems that the only way to make a living online is with a list generated with opt-in squeeze pages, so its refreshing to read something that is making you money, but you have supplied the extremely valuable information for free.
      Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    This is some solid information, I'm surprised more people aren't doing it. I am just finishing up a guide, with related affiliate links in it to try and create passive income from it. I am also collecting emails, but trying to monetize the guide the best I can.

    It's good to see someone post some information that people can actually use.
    Signature
    " I knew that if I failed, I wouldn't regret that.
    But I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. "

    ~ Jeff Bezos

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    • Profile picture of the author Self Promotion
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      This is some solid information, I'm surprised more people aren't doing it. I am just finishing up a guide, with related affiliate links in it to try and create passive income from it. I am also collecting emails, but trying to monetize the guide the best I can.

      It's good to see someone post some information that people can actually use.
      Thanks Alex. Good luck on your guide and keep us posted on your progress.
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