Business of the 21st century has evolved multiple times and its no surprise that affiliate marketing has evolved as well into what it has become to this day. Many people sort ways to start affiliate marketing program (as affiliates/marketers) and earn passive income or promote their products (as merchants/vendors) to a greater consumers.
It seems a daunting task to start affiliate marketing, but in a bit, you will understand everything using this guide and discover that it is not really that difficult.
In the words of Bo Bennet “affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires”
Using the right methods and strategy, you can earn lots of money from affiliate marketing and as well skyrocket your earning potential. If you are an entrepreneur and looking to build an online business or a marketers looking to monetize your web traffic, affiliate marketing is often how to get started with generating income.
- 1 What exactly is affiliate marketing?
- 2 Does Affiliate Marketing Really Work?
- 3 How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – 10 Easy Steps
- 4 Easy steps to Start Affiliate Marketing using your blog
- 5 Different Affiliate Marketing Models
- 6 All you need to know before promoting an affiliate product (10 facts)
- 7 Types of affiliate marketing offers (Physical product, services and informational products)
- 8 Other Online businesses that can replace affiliate marketing
What exactly is affiliate marketing?
Think of affiliate marketing as a “friendly marketing” or a referral marketing system where the affiliate, also known as the promoter or publisher uses his/her platform to promote a merchant’s or advertisers product or services and earns a certain commission upon successful transaction.
Simply put, affiliate marketing involves earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale or action completed. The action completed could be a sign up to a newsletter or submitting a zip code information.
To start affiliate marketing, these four parties must be understood. The parties include:
- the merchant
- the affiliates
- the affiliate network
- the consumers
Lets discuss what these parties are and how they contribute to affiliate marketing. No party is more important than the other as far as affiliate marketing is concerned. Though the network can be subtracted from the party. As I explain further, you will get to see why and how.
The merchant: The merchant is the business owner (individual or company) that needs to reach out to new and more customers using affiliate marketing. The merchant/advertisers/vendors provides the product or services that needs to be shared with the public.
The affiliates: An affiliate or publisher is an individual or company that wishes to promote another companies’ products or services using their platform. The platform used can be social media, blogging or vlogging platforms. It doesn’t matter what platform the affiliate chooses. The end goal is to help the merchant drive sales or complete a task.
The Network: Network can be regarded as the intermediary between the affiliates and the merchants. For any transaction completed, the network will track and keep record of these transactions while making sure the affiliated are paid their commission after successful transaction.
The sole aim of a network is to remove trust barriers that may originate between the merchant and the affiliates.
The Consumers: Traffic sources from blog websites, vlogs and social media pages make up potential consumers of affiliate products. The consumers are you and I who visits blog websites and buys products that are somewhat advertised on these websites.
Does Affiliate Marketing Really Work?
The question should be “how much money can one make as an affiliate or promoter?”. Advertising online is becoming more complicated and capital intensive for advertisers now than ever. Advertisers or merchants are looking for better ways to get their products in front of the right customers.
With affiliate marketing, advertisers are certain they are not being ripped off since its a performance based marketing system.
The simple answer to the question above is YES, affiliate marketing really works. In fact, its projected that affiliate marketing spend will increase to $8.2 billion by 2022 — up from $5.4 billion in 2017. That is a huge market for both affiliates and advertisers.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – 10 Easy Steps
Step 1: Choose a niche:
The first step to consider if you want to start affiliate marketing is choosing the right niche. There are millions of niches to choose from. A niche is the topic of your website or blog. The main idea surrounding your affiliate business.
Your niche can be a product, service or a cause you are interested in and willing to promote. It could be your interests and passion. It could be a problem that you are willing to solve, in which you put up the solutions.
No matter what niche you select, there are products or services you can be affiliated with through affiliate marketing. But there are top niches you can profit from more provided affiliate marketing is concerned.
Step 2: Do search engine optimization:
Search Engine Optimization is the backbone of every marketing strategy. A website that is search engine optimized will appear on search engines and be able to rank on the top pages on relevant searches.
Ranking high on search engines like Google and Bing search means you can drive enough traffic to your website and convert your website visitors to loyal customers.
You can do search engine optimization using special tools like Ahrefs keyword research tool, Semrush and Rankmath. These tools and many others will make the process a little less daunting.
If you are not sure how to get started with your SEO, check our post on how to start personal blogs to get you started asap!
Step 3: Grow and track your traffic/audience:
One of the best ways to grow your traffic and audience is to keep dishing out quality content in your blog. Your audience are interested in what you have to say, therefore make their interest an exceptional experience.
Being able to know exactly what your audience wants is a sure way to growing loyal audience.
Use OptinMonster, SumoMe and other mail collection tools to get your audience mails on their permission. Send them newsletters and updates about your latest posts or events.
That way, you are sure they will visit your website from time to time. Do not be salesy when including affiliate links to your site, your audience are smart, rather, be helpful and honest as you guide them to solving their problems. This way they will remain loyal for a very long time.
Step 4: Decide which affiliate network to join:
Affiliate networks act as middlemen connecting the affiliates or publishers with merchants by offering affiliate programs set up by the merchants to the affiliates .
Companies or individuals use affiliate networks if they do not have the available resources to create a significant outbound sales effort, if they do not have a substantial advertising presence or if they want to tap into groups of potential customers in an unrelated industry.
There are many affiliate networks available to affiliate marketers disposal. There is ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Pepperjam, Clickbank, Amazon associates, etcetera.
These affiliate networks have their pros and cons. If you wish to join any affiliate network, do well to research how they work and earning potential before joining.
Step 5: Research and Choose a product you wish to promote:
In order to start affiliate marketing, joining a good affiliate program is a great step, but finding a good product to promote is even greater and more important. A sound product strategy is a must when you want to start affiliate marketing.
First off, selecting a niche products with lots of vendors will have a greater potential to make you money online. As you become more comfortable with the chosen product, you can diversify. As an example, you can consider both specialized (e.g. dirt bikes) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches.
You’ll want to continually monitor the marketplace for new products, review and test promoting those products to your audience to see which ones resonate and convert.
Choosing the right product to promote, working with the right company, fostering relationships, and updating content are all core essentials of excelling at affiliate marketing.
Step 6: Advertise and promote on social media platforms:
Social media platforms exposes your business to billions of people world over. As a newbie that wants to start affiliate marketing, consider spreading your product to a greater social media platforms. Youtube, instagram, reddit, facebook, twitter are some of the ways to let your product or services to the world.
Try using video marketing to spread your message in these platforms through advertising. Video marketing exploded in the past decade and continues to show an exponential increase in its conversion power.
Step 7: Learn the methods that work for you- Keep testing:
Another important step to consider if you want to start affiliate marketing is choosing method and pattern that works for you. No two website or blog should look exactly alike. You website should be your identity. Hence, if you find a particular writing method that works for you, continue using that method to drive traffic to your website.
Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. Tracking your metrics will allow you to see what is working and generating sales and what is not working (wastes time and/or money for you).
This way you’ll be able to know which products your audience are responding to and which ones aren’t generating any profits for your business. This is especially important if you are investing in paid advertising to drive traffic and promote products as an affiliate. You need to know which campaigns are profitable and which ones are not.
Step 8: Consider buying products or using a service before promoting:
Recommending products you are 70-100% certain of how it works gives you greater chances of converting your audience into loyal customers. That is why you should only recommend products that you’re extremely very familiar with.
If you are not confident in the product and do not feel it will help people, do not promote it.
Never tell anyone to directly buy a product. Always recommend products based on your experience and in the context of what you’ve done.
When it comes to choosing the right products when you want to start affiliate marketing website, consider your audience type, value the product possesses and profitability of the product.
Step 9: Be consistent with few product types when starting out:
Consistency has proven to yield more result than any instantaneous genius idea. If you are determined to start affiliate marketing, you must be willing to go through the huddle of consistency and belief in your product choices.
Start out with few products and thereafter you can expand to other related products. This way, you must have gained reputation and huge traffic in your original choice of products. So, its easier to recommend other products to your audience.
Step 10: Consider using url shortners or pretty links:
Shortening your url is another way to make your links pretty looking and non-spammy looking. Most affiliate links are long strands of url that may look suspicious to potential audience or client.
Using a url shortner or pretty link generator, you have greater chances to generate more traffic to your site and earn affiliate commissions.
Easy steps to Start Affiliate Marketing using your blog
As I mentioned earlier, one of the easiest ways to start your affiliate marketing journey is through your blog. A blog is a written information about a particular topic, several topics or cause which is stored on a website. Blogs can be written in a conversational or informational style.
If you are able to start a blog on any topic of your choice, you can use the blog to start affiliate marketing and earn money. To become a successful affiliate marketer, you must understand the dynamics of affiliate marketing. Follow these simple steps and monetize your blog through affiliate marketing.
If you have a budget you can drive traffic to your blog even faster with paid advertising methods such as paid ads on Facebook, running banner ads on other websites, and Google Adwords.
To start affiliate marketing using your blog, make sure you follow these easy but consistent steps;
Step 1: Define your target audience:
This is the bedrock of your affiliate marketing business. Know who you are selling the products to, so you can know how to communicate better with them through your blog.
Know the lexicons particular to your target demographic and use them properly to create a connection between you and your target audience. This will ensure they come back to learn more and if you have a product you recommend on your blog, they will resonate with it easily and be able to make purchases.
Step 2: Create high quality content in your blog:
High quality content are content your audience can understand and value. Be as original as possible and always put yourself in the readers perspective while you are creating your blog content. Creating high quality content is one of the key success criteria if you want to start affiliate marketing.
Step 3: Register for an affiliate network:
There are many affiliate network you can choose from depending on the product you are promoting. As defined earlier, affiliate networks provides a platform where affiliates can select multitude of products to promote on their platforms and earn commissions. Some affiliate networks include; Maxbounty, ShareASale, Clickbank, Commission Junction….Etc
Step 4: Choose products to promote and start promoting massively:
Keep writing about your chosen product on your blog and run ads as well on the products you are promoting. Send a ping to your dashboard and notification to alert you of every sale.
Step 5: Earn commission on every sale.
The main reason you want to start affiliate marketing is to earn money. Once you have completed the other four steps above, be sure to rake in profits from your blog.
Winners ever quit, and quitters never win. That is the psychology behind every success or failure in affiliate marketing. Constantly give it your shot.
Different Affiliate Marketing Models
When it comes to affiliate marketing, several models exists. The models you choose depends on the marketing type the vendor chooses.
Pay per action: The affiliate gets paid for every lead they generated. This could be an online form submission, trial creation, or any pre-purchase. This is a shared risk on both the merchant and the affiliate.
Pay per sale : If you want to start affiliate marketing, The affiliate gets paid for every sale they generated. This is the most common model since all the risk is on the affiliate.
Pay per click: The affiliate gets paid for all clicks that were generated, regardless of whether a lead or sale happened. This is fairly rare since all the risk is on the product creator.
All you need to know before promoting an affiliate product (10 facts)
In affiliate marketing, the rule of thumb is the same no matter what product or niche your blog or website discusses. The number one fact you must know before thinking of promoting other people’s product remains traffic generation.
The number of people that visits your website has everything to do with your success in affiliate marketing. There are several ways to get this traffic even if you don’t have money including guest posting, blogging and posting to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
So, here are certain conditions you must meet in your blog before promoting affiliate products. Here are the top 10 facts you should be aware of in 2021.
Fact 1: Start affiliate marketing with the sole aim of generating traffic and offering quality product or services to your audience. This way your credibility will increase, so is your earning potential.
Fact 2: Affiliate marketing spending is bound to grow by 10% in the next five years.
Fact 3: More than 94% of publishers use multiple affiliate marketing networks.
Fact 4: Almost 65% of affiliate traffic generated is done through blogging platforms.
Fact 5: 74% of users trust social media networks to guide them to a purchase decision.
Fact 6: 85% of online shoppers check Google for information before making a purchase.
Fact 7: More than 81% of brands rely on affiliate programs for their profits.
Fact 8: Almost a quarter of all affiliate marketing programs are in the fashion industry.
Fact 9: 54.4% of males and 42.6% of females make up for affiliate marketers globally
Fact 10: ShareASale is the most favorite affiliate marketing network.
Types of affiliate marketing offers (Physical product, services and informational products)
To start affiliate marketing, you must choose the kind of marketing offers to provide your audience. Usually, there are different products types and the niche of your blog will greatly determine the product to promote. This will make it easier for your audience to relate with whatever affiliate offers you have in there.
These are products you can touch and feel. They cover about 25% of all affiliate offers in the affiliate marketing space. Most physical affiliate products are in the health and fitness sector.
Services can be rendered through affiliate networks. Such services can include consultations, software subscription services and trainings.
Informational products available in affiliate offers provides customers with products they can consume digitally without having to touch them. These can include e-books, multimedia products etc.
Other Online businesses that can replace affiliate marketing
Though affiliate marketing forms the earning bedrock for most blog websites, there are other ways you can monetize your blog and earn income.
No matter what means you use to monetize your blog, be sure to always create high value content, be passionate about you content, relate with your audience, connect with other industry experts and always socialize and share.
Here are five (5) online businesses you can do if you don’t want to start affiliate marketing.
- Sell Ad Space: Signing up for Google Adsense is a great way to also monetize your website. You can also choose to go private and sell ad spaces privately. Most bloggers actually start with this when looking to monetize their blog for the first time.
- Write and Sell E-books: Once your website has lots of visitors and traffic, you can create an e-book or guide to help your visitors solve their problem or provide information. Before you can do this effectively, be certain you have a solid background in the niche you write about.
- Offer Coaching services: If your website can offer coaching services based on the niche and content, you can offer coaching services to your audience.
- Offer Consulting services: Just like coaching services, consulting is a great way to earn lots of income from your website. Similar to coaching which is more of a one-on-one service, consulting is generally provided to organizations or teams.
- Sell merchandise: Adding a shop page to your blog is easy (and free) with a plugin like Woocommerce. Whether you sell handmade goods, your own digital products (E-junkie is a great low-cost option for this), or other relevant products, this can be a great way to make some extra cash from your blog.