I’ve been playing basketball since I was 6 years, as such, I enjoy playing it, talking about it, and teaching my kids about it. In this blog post, I will show you step-by-step how to make money with affiliate marketing and the great game of basketball.
Basketball is a great niche to start and grow a successful affiliate marketing business. Basketball is a global post played and watched by millions of people worldwide. In addition, the game is played by people of all ages and skill levels.
There are many different ways to make money with affiliate marketing, a few of which I’ll discuss in this video.
If I were to start an affiliate marketing business with the game of basketball, I would do it in the following order:
- Pick a niche
- Pick a platform
- Keyword research
- Create content
- Find affiliate programs
- Learn email marketing
- Learn analytics
- Repeat steps 3 – 7 until you’re successful
Let’s explore each of these steps more in-depth.
Step 1: Pick a (sub)niche
Our top-level niche is basketball, but you must niche down to make money with this sport. When I refer to niching down, I mean discussing topics that are less competitive and more targeted.
There are a few reasons why you’d want to niche down in this and any other niche as a beginner.
First, niching down allows you to create content that has a better chance of ranking organically. Second, regardless of the platform we choose (I’ll discuss platform selection later in this post), there will be heavy competition on popular keywords like “basketball,” “NBA,” “WNBA,” and the like.
However, if we spend a little more time niching down, we may be able to find areas that are far less competitive and will allow us to rank higher in search results. So, while there isn’t a hard and fast rule, I recommend niching down 3 or 4 levels if you’re starting with content creation and affiliate marketing.
Here is an example of niching down:
- Basketball (top-level keyword)
- Basketball for beginners
- Basketball for beginners with no experience
- Basketball for beginners
Here is another example of niching down in the basketball niche:
- Basketball plays
- Basketball plays for kids
- Basketball plays for youth offense
- Basketball plays for kids
- Basketball plays
As you can see, the more you niche down, the longer the keyword or keyword phrase will be. These are called “long-tail keywords.” They are called long-tail keywords, not because of the length of the phrase, but because they are less search and less competitive.
Usually, the next question that I receive is, “if fewer people are searching for it, does it mean nobody will want/ or need the content?”
Simple math says you will still be talking to a high number of people even if you’re niching down as far as possible. So let’s take a look at the math:
- 8 billion people live on this planet
- 4 billion people have access to the internet
- If you 1 piece of content for .001% of the population with an internet connection, you are still creating 40,000 people.
Can you make money with content made for 40,000 people? I hope so!
In addition, your content can overlay with other search terms that either receive higher search content or the algorithms can find quality content to serve. The final thing to remember is you’re going to create multiple pieces of content (which we’ll discuss later in this post), thus expanding the potential population that will see your content and purchases with your affiliate link.
Niching down is a critical component to your success early on. Then, once you start generating domain authority and brand recognition, you can niche up and start competing with those more competitive keywords.
If you don’t think this will work for you and found this page via a search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo, you’re proof that this works. Instead of just talking about affiliate marketing, I’ve incorporated basketball, thus niching down.
After we pick a niche, the next step is to pick a platform, which I’ll discuss next.
Step 2: Pick a Platform
A platform is simply the place (or places) you’re going to create content. This is the second step because it will have an impact on everything else from here on out.
Before deciding where you’re going to create content, ask yourself these questions:
- Where are my customers?
- Who is my target audience?
- Is my niche visual?
- Do I like creating content in this format?
- Are there enough questions to answer on this platform?
- What type of content am I going to make?
Creating content where your customers are can mean the difference between 100s and 1000s of dollars per day.
Primary Vs Secondary Platforms
In my opinion, there are two types of platforms: main and secondary. In this section, I will briefly explain the difference and how they can be used together to grow your business faster.
Main platforms are places where your long-form content will be stored. I believe there are 3 main platforms for you to use:
- Self-hosted blogging
- Video marketing
As I mentioned, I believe these are the main platforms because these platforms are evergreen (meaning content placed here has a longer shelf life), you can build trust much easier, and for the most part, you have greater control of what happens on the platform.
If you want the most control over what is said and done, I recommend looking into a self-hosted blog. It is possible that you can be silenced or deleted with video marketing and podcasting as you don’t actually own the platform.
Now that we know what the main platform is, let’s take a quick look at a secondary platform.
Secondary platforms are platforms that users update content frequently, and you have much less control over what happens on your site.
Here are a few examples of secondary platforms:
- Social media
- Forum Sites
These platforms share a few similarities. First, users can have a great impact on what they say and do to your account. Second, your account and all of its content can be removed without a moment’s notice. Third, the platform is being updated with so much content every minute of the day. Finally, your content can be lost in the sea of words and videos.
How Can I Use Primary And Secondary Platforms Together?
As a new affiliate marketer, you can find success faster if you find a way to marry the primary and secondary platforms together. To do that, I recommend creating long-form content (blog post, video marketing, podcast), then send traffic to your primary content via secondary methods.
Here are some ways you can marry the two together:
- Create a Twitter account and post tweets that link to your primary content
- Join Facebook Groups for your niche
- Become the subject matter expert on subreddits, Facebook Groups, and Quora
This method takes more time. If you’re starting, you need to do everything you can to grow and nurture your business. Once you start seeing consistent traffic to your primary platform, you can ease off the secondary platforms.
NOTE: I’m not saying you can’t do affiliate marketing with social media. Many people can and do make very good many from this. Just know that you’re playing a dangerous game, letting other people control your content and message.
If I were starting an affiliate marketing business today, and my niche was basketball, I would choose YouTube videos and a social media site that allows for videos and is geared to my target audience.
If my target audience were older, I would consider Facebook or Twitter. If my audience were younger, I would consider Tik Tok or Instagram.
Step 3: Keyword Research
Keyword research is the art of finding out what problems your customer has.
Keyword research is “key” to making money online with affiliate marketing. It would be best if you found a way to get in front of your customers, and the best way to do that is to find out what questions, comments, concerns they are asking online.
There are several ways to do keyword research (including free and paid), but the most consistent way that I’ve found is “alphabet soup.”
The alphabet soup is simply typing in your niche (or sub-niche) followed by each alphabet letter. Most search engines have an autosuggest or auto-fill feature to try and guess the next word you are typing. These “guesses” are based on what other users have searched recently.
This is a compelling way of finding out exactly what your customers want to know. Just think, instead of going door to door to find out what the most common problems are, you can let Google or YouTube do it for you.
Here is a screenshot of autosuggestion in action:
I recommend compiling a list of 50 keywords or keyword phrases for the next step in the process.
Step 4: Create Content
In this step, we are going to create content to solve the customer’s problems.
In this step, we will create long-form content to answer the question or solve a problem for the customer. For example, if we found that customers are searching for “best offensive plays for 5-year-olds,” we will create a list of the top five or 10 plays that 5-year-olds can run.
Here is where a lot of new affiliate marketers get confused, lost, or frustrated. I often receive questions like “how do I find out which plays 5 years old like,” or “where can I find reliable information on this question?”
The answer is simple: either use Google/ YouTube/ social media or draw upon your own experiences. For example, if you’ve coached 5 years to 7 state championships, then you can say, “based on my experience with winning at the state level, here are the best 5 offensive plays to run.”
The next step is to discuss why these are the best plays, and continue creating.
If you don’t have any direct experience, read 5 to 10 blog posts, and watch a few videos discussing the topic. Then, once you’ve done the research, create content in your own voice.
You will need to create 30 or more pieces of content to start to gain traction in your niche. The reason is the various platforms need time to compare your content to the content that’s already out, make sure you are giving accurate information, and that you’re willing to create multiple pieces of content.
Now, you should be asking, “if I answer the question, how do I make money with affiliate marketing?” The answer is again simple: you will use affiliate products to help solve the problem easier/ faster, or you’re going to ask and answer a question they didn’t know that they should ask.
In this example, if a person is searching for the best offenses for 5-year-olds, they are a coach or a parent who wants to develop a skill set. What better way to develop a skill set than offering them a product or service that will show them how to run the play step by step?
In addition, they want to develop other skills like footwork or shooting. So maybe the new coach needs a new clipboard or practice jerseys for the next practice.
The opportunities are limitless… as long as they are within your niche.
You might be tempted to offer them products or services that they don’t need or out of the niche. How many times have you seen a banner on a website that has nothing to do with why you came to the site?
If you do this, you will lose trust with the customer, and they will not buy anything from you.
As an affiliate marketer, customers are buying from you because they know, like, and trust you. If you start doing things like recommending random products and services, you will lose that trust.
Step 5: Find Affiliate Programs
In this step, you’re going to find affiliate programs based on the customer’s needs.
This is a personal preference, but I recommend finding affiliate programs at this point because it allows you to find programs based on the content and not create content based on the potential money you can make.
Your audience can tell when content is made to make money vs. when content is made to solve problems. So, because we are in the problem-solving business, let’s help the audience with great content, then we can always go back and add affiliate links.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is you aren’t limited to just one affiliate program. As long as you don’t sign an exclusivity deal of some sort, you can become an affiliate for as many products as you’d like.
Make sure that the affiliate programs that you choose meet the needs of your target audience.
Get those links, save them in a word or Google doc and move to the next step.
Step 6: Learn/ Apply Email Marketing (optional)
Email marketing can help explode your affiliate marketing business.
Email marketing is the process of following up with your audience frequently with value-based emails. Email marketing is the difference between successful and unsuccessful affiliate marketers.
Here are just a few reasons why you need to invest in email marketing:
- Converts twice the rate of other marketing types
- Most customers don’t buy immediately
- You can retarget them for multiple products
Email marketing consists of 4 parts:
- Landing page
- Lead magnet
- Thank you page
Let’s take a very quick look at each of these parts and their importance to your business.
Landing page: this is where you will collect the email address. It would be best to use short messaging to secure the email address and prepare them for what’s next.
Lead magnet: a lead magnet is a free guide that compels your audience to leave their email address. This magnet can be a 1-page guide or an email that you offer for free to secure the email address.
Thank you page: This page serves two purposes it confirms the email address was submitted successfully, and it provides them directions as to what comes next. You should add a button that takes them to the product or services you’re recommending because they are in the “buying mood.”
Autoresponder: This allows you to send an automated sequence of emails adding additional value and directing them to take action. The best part about the autoresponder is you just set it up once, and it will work for everyone on your email list.
If you can’t afford email marketing, one of the first purchases you should make is investing in an email marketing service. I use Clickfunnels (a two-week free trial here).
At this point, you’re either going to add links to your landing page or affiliate links to your content.
Step 7: Learn/ Apply Analytics
Analytics is the data behind all of your work and will tell you your successes and failures.
The numbers are your keys to growing your affiliate marketing business. These numbers will tell you everything that’s going right and wrong with your business. Here are a few key metrics you should be aware of:
- Click-through rate
- Average time on Page
- Watch time
- Session duration
- Open rate
These are just a few of the metrics you need to know and understand to grow a business. Remember, numbers never lie.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 3 – 7 Until You’re Successful
The final step is to repeat the process over and over again until you’ve achieved the level of success you’re looking for. Of course, you may have to complete 300 pieces of content before making your goal, but this is business.
Personally, I like to do keyword research frequently because consumer habits change. So after I post 30 pieces of content, I like to go back through and see if anything changed. I am looking to see if there are any new people in the marketplace, if I can niche up a level, or if people have left the platform for something else.
And that’s it. This is everything you need to know to start affiliate marketing in the basketball niche.