In this guide, you will learn how to start affiliate marketing as a beginner. You will find the exact steps and strategies used by the pros to make money online promoting products and services.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows for earning commissions by promoting the products of other companies. In fact, this is one of the most popular ways to generate passive income online. Affiliate marketing is used by advertisers and publishers to promote products and services.
When you visit a website that uses affiliate marketing, you are offered a product or service for which the owner gets paid if you buy the item. This can come in the form of something physical like a book, or digital items such as e-books, music tracks, and videos.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing is an agreement between two parties: the merchant (the owner of the product/services) and the affiliate (you, blogger, vlogger, etc).
The merchant agrees to compensate in commissions, the affiliate every time he/she sends a qualifying lead/sale to the merchant.
Now, for the affiliate to drive sales, he/she gets a unique link from the merchant (affiliate link). The affiliate then shares the link with his/her circle. And every time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a cut from the sale (earns commission).
How To Become an Affiliate Marketer
1. Choose a Niche
To get started as an affiliate marketer, you first must choose a niche.
Choosing the right niche is important. You should be sure that you are choosing a niche that is profitable enough for you to dedicate time and effort to it.
There are many ways to choose a niche, but the most common way is to start by asking yourself what kind of products or services do you want to sell?
If you want to sell something physical, then it would be easier for you to find a niche in the health and beauty industry. If you want something digital, then it would be easier for you to find a niche in the technology industry.
Start by asking questions like:
- What topics am I passionate about?
- Do people search for my chosen niche?
- Will demand for my niche stay consistent?
- Is there a lot of competition for my niche?
- Are there affiliate programs that work within my chosen niche?
Once you have chosen your niche, then just look around online for any similar niches that might already exist. You can also use Google Trends as an indicator of how much interest there is in your chosen market (more on this in the next step).
2. Determine the Market Demand
Once you have identified the right affiliate marketing niche, your next step is to evaluate the demand within that market.
Market demand is the number of people that are willing to buy a product or service. You should be able to answer these questions:
- What are the current trends in this niche?
- What are its current needs?
- What are its future needs?
- How many people will be interested in it?
- How much money will they spend on it?
- What are the barriers to entry?
- How much money does it cost to start a business in this niche?
Evaluating the market demand will not only unearth the right products to promote, it also saves you from wasting time going through product selection trial and error.
We mentioned Google Trends. This is a tool you can use to figure out what type of products are trending within a specific industry.
And when looking at the search analysis, only go with products showing consistent growth over a considerable period of time. The last thing you want is to promote a product that will go out of demand immediately.
3. Analyze the Competition
Now that you have picked the right product to promote as an affiliate, the next step is understanding the competition.
Understanding the competition can be done in a few different ways.
There are those who will simply search for the product on Google, check out the top ten results, and then count how many of them are affiliate links. If there is a much higher percentage of affiliate links in their results, they may want to promote that particular product as an affiliate.
There also exist tools such as Ahrefs that can be used to determine the top-ranking websites in a particular niche. It’s crucial to do your research beforehand so that you make a well-informed decision on whether or not this product is worth promoting.
As a rule of thumb, you should always avoid promoting products that attract big players within the affiliate marketing industry.
In my opinion, you want to start by promoting products that do not have the highest profit margins, because these are usually the products affiliate marketers tend to shy away from.
The reason for this is simple: Unless you’re promoting a product with a limited market (like a new product), it will be difficult and not ‘attractive enough‘ for big affiliates to sell such products. The higher the profit margins of your product, the larger the competition.
4. Pick the Right Affiliate Programs
Once you have an understanding of the market you are getting into, the next step to getting started as an affiliate marketer is picking the right affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing programs act as the middleman between merchants and affiliates, bridging the gap between the two parties. Since it can be difficult for both of these groups to find one another, they function as a gateway for them to start a relationship with each other.
In most cases, an affiliate will be given a commission for sending the merchant business their way.
In other words, if a company signs up with an affiliate marketing program they get to advertise their product on the company’s website and make money when people click on these ads and buy the product.
The company then gets to keep part of this profit as compensation for signing up with the affiliate marketing program.
With that said, before you join any affiliate program, here is a checklist to help you out:
- What merchants are using the affiliate program you’re looking at?
- How much commission are you likely to make from your program?
- Do you want to be associated with the program, and the brands selling through it?
- What kind of support does the program provide you with?
Remember, the success of your affiliate marketing career depends on the program you pick.
5. Decide on Ways To Promote Your Affiliate Products/Links
Yes, affiliate marketing is a lucrative and highly-saturated industry. It can be difficult to stand out.
There are many ways to promote your affiliate products/links, but some of the most popular ones are content marketing, paid advertising, and PR.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways of promoting your affiliate products/links. This form of promotion allows you to provide valuable content that people will want to read and share with their audience.
It is an effective marketing strategy that optimizes your time and resources. Content marketing allows you to use your blog, website, or company newsletter as a vehicle for the promotion of your affiliate products/links.
You can provide value-added content by offering tips and guides on how to make the most of certain products, how-tos on certain tasks, reviews of products, or news about the latest and greatest products.
Paid advertising is another effective way of promoting your affiliate products/links.
This form of promotion allows you to promote your affiliate products/links with paid advertising that you purchase from various ad networks like Google ads, Facebook ads, etc.
You can also use Pay Per Click (PPC) websites like Google Ads to promote your affiliate products/links.
Another effective way to promote your affiliate links is through social media. Posting them on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is a great way to get people’s attention and start conversations around your product.
In my opinion, this is a low-cost way to generate leads for your affiliate products/services.
The key to success with social media is making sure that you are tapping into the right audiences. Posting about your new product on LinkedIn will get little attention, but posting about how you can save money on your vacation plans might get more traction.
You should also make sure to post about your affiliate links on Facebook, as that is where people are more likely to share content with their friends. You also want to do this in a way that makes it clear that the link is an affiliate link and not just a simple post about your product.
Either way, blogging is the best and most scalable way to make money through affiliate marketing as a beginner.
6. Create and Publish Valuable Content
As an affiliate, you need to create and publish content that is valuable to your audience.
Here’s the truth:
The internet is filled with blogs that are not generating any money because they are not relevant or valuable enough for their audience. The blog needs to be interesting and provide value for the reader in order to generate income.
The type of content you choose will depend on the audience you want to target. If your target audience is consumers, then they might be interested in articles that talk about the benefits of a certain product or service.
If your target audience is business owners, then they might be interested in case studies that describe how specific businesses use a product or service.
Content must be easily digestible and accessible to the audience. If your target audience is busy parents, then write an article that talks about how to make time for family over-extended in the day’s hectic schedule. The tone of your content should be conversational and casual.
Follow these steps and you will be on your way to generating a decent income from your affiliate marketing efforts as a beginner.
Best Strategies To Make More Money as an Affiliate
There are many different strategies that can be used to generate sales. Some strategies are more effective than others, but all of them will help you increase your revenue and profits.
Here are some of the best strategies to include in your affiliate marketing strategy:
- Increase your traffic: Get more people to visit your website by using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This will allow you to get more sales without spending too much money on advertising or promotion.
- Use a blog or website: Create a blog or website that is focused on a niche topic related to what you do for work. This will allow you to focus on creating content for the blog or website without worrying about selling products.
- Create more content: Create more content that is related to your business so you can target your audience with the right type of information. This will allow for increased sales and a better chance of expanding your customer base.
- Do paid advertising: If you have the budget, it’s important to spend some money on paid advertising on these platforms. You can use social media platforms to get your message out to potential customers.
- Track your leads: Using tools like Google Analytics, you can see where people are going and how they’re interacting with your website. Along with using these tools, you should also have a call center set up for the customer service aspect that is central to running a business.