Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest way on how to start an online business and earn money. It can be started through a simple blog wherein part of the strategy is monetizing it by promoting other people's stuff.
In this Affiliate Marketing Guide For Beginners, we will cover the fundamental strategies, how it works and will walk you through step-by-step on how to start affiliate business that provides passive income.
What Is Affiliate Marketing Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a process of building a website , reviewing products and coming up with a referral arrangement with the product owners who pay you commission when users purchase their products from the links which are originating from your website.
The more visitors your website has, the more potential income you will have. Some effective ways of driving visitors to your website are through social media and the search engines.
Being an affiliate, you are performing similar to a salesperson of a company. Once , you close a deal the company will reward you in a form of a commission. It's simply a modern idea of getting a commission for a sale.
To be successful in this endeavor, you need to be more hands on in your approach. You need to find a product or service which of great value to your potential customers, and make them form part of your blog posts where they can purchase through your link.
The next strategy would be to learn how to get your website ranked on the first page of Search Engines such as; Google , Bing and Yahoo, for your targeted keywords. By doing so it would be possible that large number of visitors will end up at your website which means more potential income.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Assuming that you already have your blog website fully set up, the first thing to do is to find relevant product to promote.
It is necessary to select a product or service that is relevant to your blog’s niche and of great value to your audience. The company who owned the product that you are going to choose is referred to as ‘Merchant’.
Once you already choose the product you have to sign up for affiliate program of the merchant's company or network. When application is approved you are now called an affiliate to that company or network and will be given a unique affiliate ID or affiliate link which you can post in your website in promoting the product.
There are several manners in which you can promote the product. You can do it by doing product review in your website, making recommendation in your articles displaying it in your website through banner ads or through email marketing.
If the product is purchased through your affiliate link, you will be rewarded by the merchant in a form of a commission.
6 Steps To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Basically, you can start affiliate marketing online business following these six steps;
Step 1. Decide What Platform To Use
With the advent of social media , you can do affiliate marketing on many platforms, such as; Facebook, Instagram You Tube and Blog or Review Site.
While all those four platforms are popular for affiliate marketing, the easier, cheaper and more recommended specially for beginner is the last one, Blog or Review Site.
Nowadays, there are plenty of tutorials online that can guide you step-by-step how to start affiliate marketing for free. One which is very popular among affiliate marketers is Wealthy Affiliate. You just have to create a free account here to get started.
In blogging or review site, once it is up and running, you have optimize it for search engines to have it a better chance of ranking. This is where you can post your affiliate links in the product that you are promoting.
Being an affiliate marketer an important matter to keep in mind is to have always a separate page disclosing the fact that you are an affiliate to that product within your site.
Being transparent is requirement from Federal Trade Commissions ( FTC ) when an affiliate is earning from promoting products .
Step 2. Choose A Niche
A cliche " find your passion and write about it " which you often read as an advice from expert is not enough when finding a niche for a blog or review site. It should also be a profitable niche.
Finding the right niche is the most crucial part of building an affiliate site and yet it is often not taken much consideration.
When you choose a niche with too much competition, your affiliate site will be overtaken by most authority or popular websites. On the other hand when you choose a tighter niche with no demand, your affiliate site will not deliver the desired monetization aspect
What really matters is to find a niche that’s in between, a niche that can be easily monetized.
Here are practical tips on how to find a profitable niche that can generate traffic to your website and eventually monetized it.
1. Choose a topic you love talking about
Starting an affiliate site is really an exciting adventure. From choosing domain name and hosting , setting up the website, customizing the design as well as writing your first content is a fun experience. The problem is, most people quit after few months due to lack of interest and enthusiasm. This is where choosing a topic that you love comes into play.
It could be about a hobby, your work or even the product, event or shows that you like. It is not even important for you to be an expert on that particular topic, what matters is that it gets you excited and not get easily get bored.
2. Come up with a market research
Make sure that there’s a profitable and big enough market for your chosen topic. This can be done with a small market research. Here’s how you can get started.
For example, let's say your topic is about workout head phone , and you want to start an affiliate site about workout headphone. Now, you want to see if this topic has a big enough audience and see how much competition it has.
Start the search with Google Trends. Type “workout headphone” to see if this topic has any interest and how many people are searching for it.
This particular process is crucial as the graph will tell you as to whether or not the interest in your topic is stable, rising or declining over time. Avoid topics that are declining in interest to build an evergreen niche affiliate site.
As seen on the graph, workout headphone seems to be a great keywords for affiliate site content. For the last 5 years, the interest for this topic has been stable, and it’s continuing to rise. This means you’ll have a big enough audience to drive traffic to your affiliate site for years to come.
3. Choose a narrower niche.
Now let us test the workout headphone on the google search to see the competition and how many search results appear for this particular keywords.
As you can see, the keywords workout headphone is broad to target and there are many authority websites which are in close competition for same keywords, to avoid head on competition with giant websites it is more prudent to go for a narrower niche.
Scrolling down to the bottom on the Google search results page, you can see that some related search terms.
Choose any of the search term and test it again, this time at Adword Keyword Planner, to find out how many people are looking for this specific term every month. Then analyze the search term.
4. Make sure that your niche is profitable.
If your ultimate goal is to earn money through your content, make sure that your niche profitable for monetizing it and sustainable for generating income.
The best manner to check this is to look if there are brands or other competitors which are advertising your keywords. If there are other people spending money for AdWords in advertising products targeting a certain keywords related to your niche, it is a great indication that indeed you have choose the right niche.
It means you can easily monetize your site content with AdSense ads. There is however, a more profitable strategy and that is to sell affiliate products on your site.
You may opt to join Amazon Affiliate Program and promote its products. In this case when you be able to send potential customer and buy, you will be given a certain percentage as commission each product if such customer will buy.
Your job will be to write reviews about workout headphones and make lists of the best workout headphones while linking to these Amazon affiliate products to earn commission.
Step 3. Join Affiliate Programs
There are literally many ways wherein you can join affiliate program. You may opt to join in-house affiliate program or you may choose to join through market places such as; Amazon Associates, Clickbank, CJ, ImpactRadius and ShareASale etc.
Before joining any affiliate programs, make sure that the program you are joining is on time when it comes to payments.
Joining affiliate program is free, while promoting products needs extra effort as well as resources.
A chance that you might not get paid for your efforts is always a possibility in any affiliate program, to avoid such worst case scenario from happening , you should make sure to check for the following things before start promoting any product.
1. Method Of Payment
Just think of a possible scenario wherein you are promoting a product then you earned three thousand dollars, but you can’t claim your commission just because there’s no available method of payment for your country. This scenario happened to many other affiliates previously.
Make sure that you exerted your effort to check methods of payment supported by the affiliate network or program before joining the bandwagon.
The most popular ways to get paid in affiliate marketing:
2. Minimum Payout
The most common reasons some newbies in affiliate marketing give up are because of minimum payout.
Most affiliate programs have minimum threshold payout of $50. If you can't reach this threshold limit you will not get paid.
In other words , it is a waste of time and effort promoting products which you can't get paid simply because you did not reach the threshold for minimum payout, oftentimes this makes the affiliate marketers feel disappointed and cheated for not getting worth of their effort. In this scenario it's the fault of the affiliate marketer for not checking minimum payout before joining the program.
3. Reputation Of Affiliate Program
If you ask several people about their thoughts on affiliate marketing, you will get a lot of mixed reactions. The reason why is because some of them have made millions while others have been cheated. Well, it’s our mistake if we don’t check out the reputation of affiliate network/program before joining.
Most new independent affiliate programs offer big commissions, but at the end of the day, they don’t end up paying you. Since these companies/individuals have nothing to lose, they don’t really mind a few bad reviews.
If you want to play things safe, it’s better to join an affiliate program of a reputed company or via a reputed affiliate marketplace.
Here are a few of the reputable affiliate marketplaces from around the globe that you can consider joining and get approval quickly;
4. Length Of Cookie
One of the reasons I enjoy affiliate marketing so much is because of the freedom it offers. I just have to send some traffic and let the companies do the “sales” work. But sometimes, “sales” take a few days.
All I have to do is drive traffic to a website and if a user makes a purchase several days later, I still get a commission.
How cool is that?!
Well, this is possible because of a long cookie length. But all affiliates are different.
Standard practice is anywhere between 30-90 days after a user clicks on an affiliate link. What’s cool about most of these programs is that you will also get a commission if a user purchases another product (other than the one you recommend) from the company’s website.
However, a few affiliate programs take advantage of the innocence of newbie affiliate marketers. They don’t offer:
Ensure you check for these two important things before signing up. As I said above, most reputable networks incorporate this standard affiliate practice and you will have no problem.
5. More Things To Look For In Affiliate Programs
Well, there are many more things an affiliate marketer should check out before joining any new affiliate program. However, the above 4 listed points will ensure you don’t get scammed from your affiliate company and make sure you get paid and you get paid on time.
What other stuff do you usually check for when joining an affiliate program or marketplace? Have you ever gotten scammed or conned by an affiliate company? Which one? Let us know in the comments.
This will help other affiliate marketers not get fooled.
Step 4. Create Great Content
The phrase " Content is King " may sounds cliche, but it still holds true to this day, as for an affiliate site to be profitable it should have filled with valuable content. Most people searching online are looking for valuable information. If your website can't provide what people are looking for, then it would be hard to monetize your website as they people visiting your site are your potential customer. Without customer then you have no business.
Posting valuable content regularly in your website will monetize your site in the long run. It means it will not bring result as immediate as you might think, usually it takes time to grow, so it needs patience. With patience, your labor will generate passive income in the future.
You may say, well what will I do, as I'm a terrible writer. You should not be concerned about this matter at this point in time. You will learn all of the necessary skills in writing in one of the most recommended affiliate training platform. In this platform you will learn a lot of comprehensive training about writing articles as well as reviewing products .
I myself is not a good writer, considering that my country of origin is not English speaking county, I just improve my writing skills through this particular platform and with constant practice.
Step 5. Drive Traffic To Your Affiliate Site
Coming up with a good content in your site is not enough, of course you need to bring awareness of your potential customers the existence of your offer, they need to know what your business is all about. Your content and website should be visible everywhere online, such as social media, Search Engine Result. Meaning you have to effectively promote and market your website to generate good online income. This aspect is covered in one of the most recommended affiliate marketing training platform, to check it out,
The most important part of online business is promoting your website or driving potential customer to your offer, better known as traffic generation.
When it comes to traffic generation, we must always think that quality of traffic prevails over quantity. This means that your traffic should be targeted. Exerting too much effort to a wrong audience will bring you unfavorable result. The key here is that you should present your offer in front of interested people.
Our primary goal here is to generate targeted traffic, meaning visitors that are interested to your offer. We will start on traffic methods which will require us no monetary cost.
1. Search Engine Optimization
This method is the most lucrative way which almost all online business owners want. This is also known as organic traffic. The key things is keyword research. You have to be knowledge in selecting the right keyword for your content so that your offer will be found by potential customers typing the phrase or words of stuff they are typing in the search engines.
The goal here to rank your content in the top 10 of first page in the ( SERPs ) Search Engine Result Pages. To achieve this goal, you have to implement several kinds of strategies about ( SEO) Search Engine Optimization.
In SEO strategies, the most important key to consider is coming up with quality and relevant content and post them regularly in your website. Another factor that Google consider, is that your content should be linked to authority sites and vise versa, age of your site and domain name, mobile friendly and speed.
2. Social Media
You should be active in sharing your content at all social media platform such as; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and etc.
Constantly test this kind of strategy until you get used of implementing it, in the end you will reap favorable result. At this present trend social media is becoming more popular, so there is no reason why you won't benefit from it.
Continue educating yourself about social media marketing, there are lot of resources that your can obtain, First resources is Wealthy Affiliate, there are lot of training and related topics inside the members area.
3. Participating On Relevant Forums
Actively participate on forums relevant to your niche, provide relevant information to those members who are looking for the right information for their concern. In this way, you can recommend them clicking your link to your offer.
Let's see for example, you are an active member in a headphone forum and your are promoting best headphones for workout. Naturally, forum members would like to check your review about the product you are promoting.
4. Offer to Write Guest Posts
If you have a good writing skills , you may consider this method. This method is effective if done correctly.
To do guest blogging you have to find authority site in your niche and offer to write great content related to your common niche. In this case, you might obtain considerable amount of free traffic to your site. In this way you were be able to present your content to authority site's audience. If you gain trust of such audience they might end up visiting your site.
5. Online Visibility
Last but not the least, you must be everywhere online. Promote your offer anywhere online as hard as you can. Create You Tube Channel, actively participate in any business related activities , help other people in your niche, submit relevant articles to article directories and publish niche related e-books.
This strategy will bring exposure of your offer and at the same time gives you knowledge of other ideas that work and those that does not.
Aside from the free traffic that we just talked about, there are also paid traffic methods, these methods however, involve monetary risk. My advice is that before considering plunging to these methods you should invest yourself of comprehensive training about paid traffic generations. Just to give an idea about paid traffic generation strategy, here is a post about Pay Per Click.
To learn more about advance technique of Traffic Generation.
Step 6. Get Visitors Click through Your Affiliate Link
Having a great content is not a guarantee that your site's visitors will click through your affiliate links. There are many factors that need to be considered.
1. Awareness Of Your Visitors About The Product You Are Promoting
Customers don't purchase something that they are not aware of. Just putting a banner ad for your affiliate link and expect your visitor to click on it, you might be just disappointed . More often than not they won't click, putting details and information will do.
2. Your Affiliate Should Be In Your Content
The strategic place to put your affiliate link should be within your content, this is the area where you get the most Click Through for your affiliate link.
Relevant affiliate links within your content will bring more click than any banners or side bar links.
3. Post Reviews About The Product You Are Promoting
Example If you are promoting workout headphones , it would be a great help if you create reviews of different kinds of workout headphones its benefits and how it compares to other kinds of headphones. Creating relevant links will bring more click to your affiliate link.
4. The Strategic Placement Of Your Affiliate Link Should Be Above The Fold
One important thing to consider, is to ensure that your visitors can easily notice your affiliate link .
It is of best interest for you to put your affiliate link above the fold. Meaning your visitors don’t need to scroll till the bottom of your page to notice your affiliate link.
5. Cloak Your Affiliate Link
The best way to cloak your affiliate link is to use pretty link. It is a Plugin for WordPress that will enable you to shrink, cloak, track, organize, share and test all of your links on your own domain and server.
People can easily notice an affiliate link if it is not cloaked and they might probably avoid clicking it altogether.
The long, complicated links typically used by affiliates are not only a hassle to manage, but they can also make site visitors wary and discourage clicks. However, with Pretty Links, you no longer have to worry about your affiliate links scaring possible customers away.
6. Create Call To Action
Basically, it means you are asking your visitors to do something after consuming your content. You may request your visitors to click your affiliate link in order to know more about the product. Don’t just put your affiliate link towards the end of your content. You have to prompt your visitors to click on your affiliate link.
7. Offer Bonuses
Another effective way of enticing your visitors to click your affiliate link is to offer them special bonuses for clicking your affiliate link and purchase the product your are promoting.
8. Get Exclusive Deals For Your Visitors:
Ask your affiliate manager if they are running an exclusive discount for your visitors. Many affiliate marketers achieved success using this technique, and your visitors will surely love you about this approach.
Affiliate marketing is the best solution for those who hate to work with a boss, and want to gain control of their own financial progress. Your success in affiliate marketing is dependent to the effort you exerted beforehand,
In affiliate marketing you don't need to re-invent the wheels , you just have to apply the fundamentals and it will surely takes you to your desired result, it takes time though.
Once you gain traction, you are capable of achieving passive income at the comfort of your own home or any location in the world you wish to.
If you are determined to get started with free training today, you get 2 websites that comes with hosting at no cost to you, where you will be taught exactly how to build your new affiliate site.