Affiliate Marketing is quickly becoming one of the best ways to make an income online, simply because once up and running, it offers you the opportunity to generate an income at your own pace and you could potentially even make it a form of passive income.
Now although affiliate marketing is not a get rich scheme and requires time and effort, it is a very profitable industry that pays in the long term.
A Quick Intro To Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is basically when you promote other company’s/individual”s products or services and earn a commission from every sale made through your affiliate link.
For those that are still a bit confused about what exactly affiliate marketing is and how it works, this article will help to catch you up to speed and hopefully put things into perspective for you.
Choose Your Niche
You may have noticed that choosing a niche (interest) is the base too almost anything related to affiliate marketing. This is because your niche is your foundation, and without a foundation, you will be building without direction (basically making very little to no progress).
As an affiliate marketer, your niche determains what direction your website will be heading in, who you will be targeting and most importantly, what products you will be able to advertise.
A big mistake that a lot of people tend to make is that they try to target a very broad niche, for example : football/soccer(in general) , because they feel that they will be able to reach a larger audience and generate more sales.
This is incorrect because all you are doing is throwing yourself into a sea of competition.
Think about it, if we were to break the ‘football/soccer’ niche down into smaller niches, we would get :
- Soccer boots
- Soccer gloves
- Soccer balls
- Soccer drills and training
- and the list goes on….
The thing is that even the above niches are still a bit broad, for example :you could break ‘soccer boots’ down into something more specific like “Nike soccer boots” or “Adidas Soccer boots.”
Now think about how much less competition you will have online if you chose “Adidas soccer boots” rather than just “soccer/football”.
However, you may be asking yourself,”What is online competition and how does it affect my sales?”
Let me break it down like this, if you were to search the term “Adidas football boots” in Google’s search engine, which sites would you be most likely to click on? the first few sites or maybe the ones on the first page, right? Online competition is basically when you and other websites compete to get your post ranked on the first page when someone searches for your product or something related to your product
In my opinion, the more specific and targeted your niche is the better chance you will have of gaining success in affiliate marketing
…oh and don’t worry about your niche being too specific, there are about 4 billion people that use the internet these days, so there should be a good number of people who are interested in your specific niche.
Learn From The Experienced
when starting out, it is crucial that you get the right training to help you actually progress and become profitable. Many courses on the market are advertised to help you to ‘start your own online business’ and in reality when you join the course, it seems like the instructor is speaking gibberish. This does 2 things to you:
- It demotivates you and makes you feel like you are just not cut out for the online industry (which in my opinion is about 95% of the time not true)
- It makes you feel like quitting on your dreams there and then and continuing with your previous life
All because of what? All because the instructor did not break down certain abbreviations or explain how certain systems work. I can relate, it’s pretty intimidating when you hear things like ‘SEO’ or even ‘web host’ for the first time
To be honest, I was bowled over by these term early on. While I didn’t take may courses, I watched a lot of YouTube videos and would have to randomly stop the video and search what a certain term meant (which eventually became very annoying as it would take terribly long for me to finish a single video)
the great thing is that once I found Wealthy Affiliate, I was amazed by how simple their course is and Kyle, the co-owner, simplifies the tutorials for beginners, which for me was big plus!
Check out my Wealthy Affiliate review to learn more about the company and why I recommend it for starter affiliates
Research Affiliate Products and Programmes
what you now need to do is see which companies within your niche have affiliate programmes.
A quick way to do this is to search phrases that apply to your niche on Google (so for example,”what are the best soccer boots to wears as a defender”) and then visit a few websites to see what products they are promoting. This will give you an idea of which companies have affiliate programmes and what are the best products to promote.
Alternatively, you can simply search a specific company to see if they have an affiliate programme, but I would suggest going with the first option because you could potentially come across products that you weren’t previously aware of which broadens your spectrum of products to promote.
When starting out, it is always good to associate yourself with affiliate networks. These are basically websites that host affiliate programs and you as an affiliate can promote the products directly from the affiliate network. Here are some advantages of signing up to affiliate networks :
- You only need to sign up once– you will only need too sign up to the network itself and not each individual programme that is on the network. This saves a lot of time and effort.
- Discovering new products– the affiliate network will potentially host many programmes under your niche, giving you the opportunity to find new products to promote.
Here are some key tips when choosing an affiliate network to join:
- See what type of affiliates use the network– It is always good to use a network that similar affiliates are using as this shows that that network is proving to be lucrative for your specific niche.
- Check how much of commission you will receive– (for a break down of how much of commissions you can potentially earn with affiliate marketing, check out this post.).I would however recommend higher paying networks (for obvious reasons).
It is Important to note that you should always promote products that you can stand behind or have majority positive reviews because customers are going to be making a decision based on the information that you feed them. If you feed them false information and they end up being unhappy with the product after buying it, they will lose trust in you and go to your competitors.
That’s why in my opinion it is better to promote fewer products of greater quality than more products of lesser quality!
Build Your Sales Rep…
The best sales representative to have online is your very own website. Now if you took my advice earlier and signed up to Wealthy Affiliate, you will be able to do this with ease and in a matter of a single afternoon or less.
Here’s a simple breakdown of how to build and set up your website in a matter of and hour or two:
- choose a domain name, type it into the allocated space, click ‘build my website’ and watch as your website gets created in under 30 seconds…try it out below for free!
- follow the step-by-step tutorials on how to set up and get your website ready to be populated by your amazing content. Check out this article to find out more about how to build your own website in a few simple steps…
Create Your Content
Let’s start with the cliche but true saying,”content is king”.
You see, as I’ve mentioned earlier, your website is your sales rep that never stops selling and the content you write is your sales rep’s tool to close potential clients. This means that you always need to produce high quality content in order to continuously convert your potential customer into buyers.
Another perk of constantly producing high quality content is that it will help you to gain authority within your specific niche. This means that you will be considered ‘knowledgeable’ within your niche and not some fly-by-night character trying to scam people. It makes reader’s trust your content which in turn leads to generating more sales.
So what’s the best content to produce?
let’s take a look at these 2 types of posts below:
Product reviews- In my opinion, product reviews are just about the most powerful way to produce high quality content while being able to sell you product upfront. What I mean by this is that you will provide value to someone’s life by giving them your honest opinion about a certain product, its pros and cons, and whether you recommend the product or not.
This builds trust between you and the reader which is imperative when trying to convert and make them buy the product.
For product reviews, you may want to try to buy the product / service first in order to provide the most value for your readers.
Blog Posts- Blog posts involve your typical articles that explain to people how to use the product or just general information about the product. The trick here is not to directly try to sell your product (people don’t like being sold),so what you need to try to do is pinpoint a scenario in which your product becomes a need and educate your reader’s on that.
Let’s take baking for this example. Now lets say that you are trying to promote a baking machine. What you will want to do is write a blog post on how to bake a cake, and within the blog post, mention that it is necessary to have this specific baking machine to get the right consistency of the dough etc.(you get the point).
Promote Your Product
After you have created you captivating content, you want to add your affiliate links within the content.
For those that are still a little confused about what an affiliate link is, it’s basically the link that the company gives you upon signing up for their affiliate program. It is used to track the people that buy through your content so that you can be accurately paid.
(Without an affiliate link, you are basically writing for charitable purposes)
As I’ve mentioned before, don’t try to directly sell your product, so with regard to affiliate links, you should never paste them all over the post, for 2 reasons:
- Your customer will lose trust in your review/post because they will realize that you are only trying to sell them the product and don’t care about adding value
- This messes with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings as Google will think that you are only out there to sell the product and will give you a low ranking. Note, Google has algorithm that can detect whether your post is actually of high value or whether you are just writing to make money….and they obviously rank better content higher
Side Note : SEO is basically a tool that helps you to get ranked on the various search engines an is further explained here
One or two affiliate links in strategic positions within the post should be enough to make your customer click and buy the product. The trick is to embed your link in the correct positions.
Personally, when writing a review, I would embed my link somewhere in the main body copy of the content and then also make an offer and embed the link in my conclusion.
Note:when embedding you link within the body copy of your post, try to use in-text links. These are normal words that have links attached to them and when you click on them, they redirect you to another page.
Another way of adding your affiliate link to your content is by using banner ads. Your affiliate program generally comes with banner ads that you can use. They also generally have your link pre-attached within the code of the banner. Otherwise, they should give you the option to paste your link into a search bar that will generate a new code with your link in it.
Banner ads are images that look something like this.(quick note, hover your cursor over the ad and you will see that you have the option to click it, indicating that it’s a banner ad)
Another place to add your link is within your email offers. Write an email, tell a story and then paste your link in between. The key is to build trust first before throwing your link around.
Lastly, when the company is doing a promotion on the product, this is a great opportunity to edit your post and offer them the product at the discounted price. People are more inclined to buy if the product is on sale so use this opportunity wisely. Add value, Build trust, and when you feel that the reader has been satisfied with your content, insert your discounted offer.
Build Your List of Followers
Over time, with constantly providing quality content, your list of followers will increase naturally. What these does is that it allows you to target a more specific group of people that you know for sure are interested in your content and will have a higher chance of buying the product.
Here is a list of marketing strategies you can use to increase your follower’s list:
In my opinion, what you should do is create content that is relevant to one of your recent posts on your website, and then within your social media content, link back to your web post. This generates more traffic to your website by leveraging your social media.
You could create a completely new account and build a following or you could use your current account and just try to grow it.
Although there are certain things to learn, Leveraging social media is not that complicated, and my guess is that you are already creating personal content on your social media accounts, so now, do what you have been doing before, but with a purpose…
Use SEO techniques to increase organic traffic to your site– Basically, what you want to try to do in order to rank higher on Google is to target low ‘QSR’ keyword phrases when writing content
…what these means is that you need to target and write content on keyword phrases that have low competition (Don’t stress too much about it right now, as it’s explained in depth in the step by step course at Wealthy Affiliate )
Build an email list-This will take time to develop but once you have your email list up and running, you will again be targeting a specific group of people that actually have an interest in your product/service.
So how does it work?
Have you ever noticed that when you visit some websites, before / while viewing the content, a pop-up will appear and it will ask you to enter your best email address to receive either a special offer or a notification every time that website posts new content?
Well that’s exactly how it works. When people visit your site, you ask them to enter their email address. If they are interested in your content they will enter their address and over time you build and email list of all the people that have subscribed.
Now, once they are subscribed, you can send them regular content informing them of your product or service. Again, it is best not to try to ‘sell’ your product directly as this will create disinterest in the product. Tell them a story (a personal experience is even better) and describe how the product helped you in that scenario.
After you provide value and create a need for your product through story telling, then you make the offer.
Note : don’t flood your subscribers with emails…people will get tired of seeing your email pop up every day when they wake up and they might unsubscribe
make use of paid advertising-while paid advertising takes many forms, I would recommend that you start to use it only when you have gained a proper understanding of affiliate marketing and had some solid experience in the field…why do I say this? It’s simple (and I speak from experience),when you are starting out, we are so eager to get our content out there and try to generate sales that we will pay the wrong people to advertise our content for us….and yes, I have personally done this, so take it from me and establish yourself first, then worry about paid advertising.
However, here’s an idea of what 2 forms of paid advertising looks like :
- Social media promotions – Basically paying certain social media influencers to receive a shout out on their social media accounts.
- Google AdWords (Google Ads) – this is basically where Google gives you the opportunity to pay for your advert to appear as part of the search results when someone types in a specific keyword phrase (so you pay for your ad to appear under a specific keyword phrase, which gives your advert more exposure and should generate more traffic too your site)
Shew!, that ended up being a bit longer than anticipated but that’s my complete take on how to become an affiliate marketer online.
That being said, you now have the theory behind becoming an affiliate marketer, and the hard part awaits you…actually converting the theory into action
Many people will read this article and not take action on it just because affiliate marketing requires some time and effort to set up and get running. If that’s you, it already indicates that you don’t want to become financially free.
Think about it this way, if you really crave for one specific snack but you don’t have it at home, you will make the effort to go out and get it, right? So if you really want to make a better financial future for yourself, then you will put the hours in and work hard now, so that you can relax later.
As an affiliate marketer, you will be constantly writing content, providing value and marketing yourself on social media…its a continuous cycle that requires hard work and dedication, but the reward of potentially making money while you sleep is worth the time and effort(in my opinion.)
As always, If you have any questions or queries, you can simply scroll down, type your comment/question in the text box and I will get back to you ASAP.