Here I’ve put together a beginners guide to affiliate marketing. It doesn’t go into all the minute details necessarily, but gives a good idea of the steps you need to take to start making sales.
One of the “easiest” and probably most well know ways to make money online is Affiliate Marketing I say “easiest” because although it is simple, it takes more work than a lot of people let on. It does take time to set up. It does take work to get everything running. But once it is, you can make a nice income, depending on the work you’re willing to put in to begin with. If you only put in hobby effort, you’ll get hobby results. If you build the foundation correctly, you can make some nice income for years with very little, if any input.
So incase you don’t know and are wondering “But what is Affiliate Marketing”. Short answer; you sell other peoples products and in return you’re paid a percentage of the sale as a commission, if the case that it is a membership of some sort you’ll often get a percentage of that each month. The best part of this is that it means you don’t have to create a product of your own, don’t need to deal with customer service or many of the other things that usually come with selling your own product, as the company you’re marketing for handles all of that. You just have to sell it.
Most large companies have Affiliate programs, even Amazon (Amazon affiliate program). Amazon pays a lower percentage than most (Usually only around 5%) But if somebody visits Amazon through your link, you get a commission on anything they purchase in the next 24 hours. So if, for example, you have a website with a large amount of traffic, this can add up.
But “Where do I find affiliate products other than Amazon?” you ask
Well, lucky for you there are entire networks set up just for this purpose, here are some of the bigger ones:
Some products on these networks can pay out up to 60% in some cases (Maybe even higher, I haven’t seen any I can think of) I’ve personally only used CJ and ClickBank and it’s not uncommon to see products with 40% commissions.
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.
1.Choose a Niche.
So first thing you’ll need to do is make an account with one of these networks. It’s simple, I don’t think it needs to be explained how this works.
So once you have your account. You need products to promote. Now you need to choose a niche.
You need to start here, because how are you going to build a website if you don’t even know what it’s about? Now choosing your niche doesn’t need to be something you yourself are an expert in, as long as you’re able to learn about it and then communicate that information effectively.
Surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult steps. Fitness and weight loss are always good niches, however there is a lot of competition in these. If you’re having trouble picking a niche, just ask “what am I passionate about?” You’ll find it much easier to create a site around something you actually are passionate about that something you’re just trying to sell.
In fact. I’d recommend you pick a niche and create your website around that FIRST. You can worry about monetizing your site later. It’s better to build a site that is actually helpful to your visitors and provides valuable information than it is to just pick a product, build an uninteresting, useless and dispassionate site around it, and just to try and sell something. You might get one or two sales here or there. But you won’t make any consistent income from it. People can tell when a site is built for profit and not passion.
What topic could you easily see yourself writing 25+ articles or blog posts about?
Make sure your niche has enough depth for you to even write 25+ articles about to begin with,because if you’re going the route of creating a blog around your niche, you’ll need on average 25-30 articles (and a few months) for google to notice your site and start to promote it.
Now if you are going to take the blog route, which I recommend, and you’ve chosen a topic you aren’t an expert in, don’t try to portray yourself as an authority on the topic. People will see through it and you’ll lose credibility.
Make sure your niche isn’t too competitive. You don’t want to be competing with major corporations. Make sure there is actually demand for the niche, as well as room for more. Most importantly, make sure there are actually affiliate programs within your chosen niche.
Side note. Don’t assume that I am by any means an authority on this. Many of the things I write about I am also learning about at the same time. Though a lot of them I do have experience with also.
2.Researching your niche.
Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to research your affiliate program options. You’ll likely have done a little of this whilst researching your niche, and if you did, great job! Time to dig deeper. This part will take time, so don’t think you’re taking too long if you spend a few hours or even a couple of days on this. This is where your income is going to come from so make sure you choose the right one.
Make sure you choose a program gives a decent commission and will be sustainable.
Then you want to make sure it has a high gravity rating (on Clickbank) this means its in demand.
But more importantly. Make sure it’s something you actually think is a good product and can write about effectively. Purchase the product first if you have to. You don’t want to sell something you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
You can even find CPA offers(Cost-per-action). This is whats known as usually these are lower commissions, maybe just $1. But the “action” could be as simple as getting somebody to sign up for something with a free trial.
Look into what kind of support is offered for the product or try to talk with other sellers. You don’t want to be waiting several days for a response if you’re having an issue.
Once you’ve decided on your niche and made sure there are products for that niche. It’s time to build your website.
3.Building your Website.
If you don’t have your website already. Then obviously you’ll need to do that. Luckily for you building a half-decent website is very easy nowadays.
WordPress is one of the easiest and most widely used (This blog uses WordPress) If you have any coding skills, you’ll be able to make your site look even better. But no skill is required.
Buying a domain.
You’ll need to buy a domain at some point. A domain is the address of your website (www.wordpress.com for example) This is the first thing you’ll need to do unless you start the site on wordpress and then purchase a domain and then migrate it later. Keep in mind there are a lot of websites, so the domain you reeaallly want might be taken. So keep several options in mind.
You can buy a domain directly through WordPress or you can use a service such as BlueHost (Click here to go to BlueHost) Site Ground (Click here to go to SiteGround) GoDaddy (Click here) and many more. In my experience BlueHost is one of the cheaper ones and their lowest cost plan is more than enough for your first website. We have a full tutorial on how to set up a domain with BlueHost by clicking here
- Lucrative, but more importantly, Evergreen Affiliate Niches.
- 10 Online business ideas you can start with little or no money.
- Affiliate Marketing Tools for 2019
- Local SEO and How it can transform your small business.
- Social Media Marketing and why its fantastic.
Most hosting platforms will also provide you with a domain, but if you did happen to purchase the two from different providers, don’t worry, linking them together is easy. (Maybe I’ll write another article on this. Update. I did! Click here to read it.)
Once you’ve got your domain, you’ll want to set up a content management system (CMS) That’s where WordPress comes (This is also in the tutorial mentioned above) in as it is one of the easiest to use as a beginner and is very intuitive so you’ll easily be able to able to figure most of it out by yourself. Even if you can’t. there are countless resources online on how to use WordPress and a lot of it is free .
Once you have WordPress installed you’ll need a theme. This is what determines the “style” of your site and how elements are organized. WordPress has thousands of these, some paid, some free. It’s best to go with something fairly simple that you feel you can customize easily to start off with. This can be changed at anytime so don’t worry if you decide you don’t like it later on.
Arguably the most important, time consuming, difficult but also, most rewarding part. You need to write engaging or useful content to keep people coming back to your site. It’s no good if people immediately click off of your site because it’s boring or they can’t find anything useful. My advice, would be to create useful content, answer peoples questions related to your niche. If you’ve done your research properly, you likely asked a lot of questions to google yourself. Go back through your history and answer these same questions with your newfound knowledge. Create good content before you worry about trying to sell anything. You want to build a strong foundation of content that people actually want to read before you worry about monetizing it.
Try and make sure your content is SEO friendly as well in order for it to get ranked in search engines.
If you’re going to be relying on SEO to get traffic, then it’s a good idea to write at least 25 – 30 articles over your first month. These can vary in length but I’d recommend around 10 long, in -depth articles that either very thoroughly answer a question, or several, or is a tutorial of some sort. (like this one) This sounds like a lot, and it can be a lot of work at the beginning. But think of it like this. If you put in 30 hours of work over up front to create something that can potentially generate income for years. This is the part that I’ve found most affiliate marketers leave out. They talk about passive income, give a brief overview such as but leave out all the work that needs to be put in up front.
Keep in mind that different types of content work better in different niches
Try to create what is known as Evergreen content. Usually this is informative content. Such as a tutorial. What makes it Evergreen is that it doesn’t “age” and will remain relevant and useful for your audience for years to come. Make sure to do some good keyword research on this part as this content can be a huge benefit.
How to Tune a Guitar.
NationalGuitarAcademy is a great example of this.
A guide on how to tune a guitar will be just as relevant today as it will 15 years from now, Unless guitars drastically change. As this content is informational, it will stay relevant for years to come, the site is also nicely organized with things easily split into categories so people can find what they’re looking for and get the information they need. Meaning they stay on the site longer rather than getting frustrated and leaving. This helps with SEO a lot.
A lot of affiliate marketers create and then give away informational products such as a short e-mail course or an e-book, often for free or at a very low price (Usually the cost is just giving them your e-mail) Giving away such a product means could get them interested in purchasing the actual product you’re trying to sell. Make sure what you’re giving away in exchange for their e-mail is actually of value to your users. Once you have their e-mail, you can then use your new list of e-mails. Your mailing list, if you will to potentially market to them in future. Ensure that you provide them with value and don’t just fill their inbox with e-mails they don’t care about. Your mailing list can potentially be your number one asset. So don’t piss off your potential customers. Often times once you exchange your e-mail for whatever the “free” product is. That’s where the real marketing begins as they try to upsell you their course.
It may seem easier to outsource some of this and purchase this content. However for the main content of your site you should do this yourself. No freelancer is going to care about your site as much as you do. This might be fine to do later on once your site is already established, but it wont help you early on.
The phrase, “If you build it, they will come” somewhat applies here. If you build your site, create some good content and give it time, the traffic will come. This is another part I often see left out. People tell you to go and promote your site. Well what if you don’t have an audience? a lot of people wont feel comfortable promoting it to their friends and family.
Well, social media is your best bet here.
One of the easiest ways to start to build your audience is through social media. You of course, have the big ones. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest. Some of these may be more useful than others, depending on your niche. With Facebook, for example you can create a fan page or a group, join other groups related to your niche etc. But don’t join a group and then spam it with your links. Engage with the community, be helpful, provide value to them. Once you’ve built relationships and trust, then you can promote your services or products to them.
Research basic SEO techniques.
Seo is still one of the best ways to get organic traffic to your site. It may take a little longer than going out and promoting it yourself or using paid ads (We’ll talk about that shortly) But SEO is important in getting search engines to pick up your content and promote it in search results. Keep SEO in mind when creating your content, but don’t go over board spamming keywords, this won’t work and will be a nightmare for your users. Always keep them as your priority. You could either hire somebody to do SEO for you, or you could learn some of it yourself. Alternatively, there are plenty of software programs out there that can help with this.
You can start with this, but keep in mind this will not guarantee sales, so you could end up spending money on ads that ultimately don’t convert to sales. Facebook ads, in particular can be considered a skill in and of itself. Advertising on large platforms, the two biggest being Facebook and Google Adwords. Personally I would go for free, organic traffic at first, and then you can reinvest into paid traffic. You can, by all means start off with this, if you’re willing to spend some time (and money) to learn it or you could hire somebody to create ads for you. Of course these aren’t the only two places you can advertise, but they have a combined market share of almost 60% when it comes to online advertising.
Now it’s time to promote your offers. There are numerous ways to do this. A lot of people skip straight to this step and just spam their links everywhere, that does not work. You need to build the platform on which to promote them. Don’t just jump into this trying to sell products for the sake of just making money. Provide value to your consumers. Provide value through the content you create, if people find value in it, they’ll be more likely to buy from you. Provide them with a product that will benefit and be of use to them. Worry about helping your audience first and foremost.
This could be either for physical or digital products. Write in-depth, honest, and helpful reviews for products. Even the negative. Nobody is going to take a review seriously if it is just nothing but positives and praise, especially if it’s something you’re trying to sell. Build trust with your audience. Show them that they can trust your opinion. Honesty is always appreciated. By all means, point out the things that are great about the product, any unique features, or even not so unique, maybe it’s a feature most similar software has but they do it better. add pictures, if its a software throw in some screenshots showing how easy it is to use a feature.
Many affiliate products will even give you material to help promote their products such as banner ads and other images, just put these on a high a high traffic page or better yet, a relevant one and you’re good to go.
Of course you need a mailing list for this one. But this is a very common, and profitable way to promote offers to consumers. Don’t just go in trying to sell. build a relationship first. Again. Provide value. Then go for the sale.
It’s not uncommon to see affiliate links within the content of a blog post (This post even has a couple) if a reader clicks on these and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These links blend in with the rest of the text, they’re unobtrusive and come off more like “Hey here’s a thing, check it out” than “BUY THIS”.
- Choose a Niche.
- Research said niche and the affiliate offers available.
- Build your Website.
- Create Good Content
- Bring Traffic. SEO, Paid, Social Media, doesn’t matter.
- Promote your products.
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