The Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing

If you’ve ever read an article online, for example, a product review, and came across a link on the article that led to the product page on another website, then you’ve experienced affiliate marketing first-hand. In affiliate marketing, the affiliate marketer markets for a merchant and drives traffic to their website for conversion. In return, the affiliate marketer earns a commission from the merchant, normally after a sale is made.

Affiliate marketing is one of the various passive income methods in existence today and the profitability can be very good. Some of the top affiliates has earned millions. You can often start this business with very little costs and earn largely from it. The only expenses you will have for affiliate marketing is the domain, web hosting and traffic generation costs. Affiliate marketing is definitely not easy and the hardest part is generating traffic to your website. There are a couple of things you must know and if you happen to be interested in this business but don’t know how to go about it, follow the steps in this article.

Choose a niche.

This bit cannot be overemphasized. The temptation to delve into every possible niche and “sell to everybody” is a real one, but you have to be careful not to fall into that trap. Apart from the fact that trying to create content for a thousand different niches at once can wear you out quickly and make it look like you’re doing nothing, your readers/viewers may be very confused as to where you stand, and this will drive them off. If you cover too many different topics it may give your audience the impression that you are not an expert in the area they are looking for and this may hinder your conversion rate.

Before creating your website or making your first blog post, you must choose a niche. Decide which area you want to be focused on. This is sometimes the hardest part, because you may be a very talented person who can do a lot at once, but for the same reasons above, it won’t work out. Though the end goal is to have a source of income, before you enter a niche make sure it is one in which even if you’re not getting paid for anything, you can write many articles on the topic and not feel fatigued.

Here are some useful questions to ask yourself when trying to determine your niche:

  • What topics am I passionate about?
  • How much do I know about this niche?
  • Can I write 100 blog posts/make 100 videos about this niche, without burning out?
  • Is there money in this niche?
  • How competitive is it? Is it overcrowded already?
  • Are people willing to buy the products in this niche?
  • Are there affiliate programs in this niche?

Clear answers to these questions can help position you for success in the affiliate marketing industry.

Do your research on affiliate programs.

Now that you have decided what niche you’ll go into, you must do your homework on what affiliate networks and programs are in existence for that niche. An affiliate network is the link between an affiliate and a merchant. There are several affiliate networks in existence where you can register to access an array of affiliate programs like Commission Junction, ClickBank, ShareASale, Madrivo and many others. Some merchants, like Amazon, offer their affiliate programs from their own website and don’t use affiliate networks.

This step is extremely important and that’s why you must find answers to questions like:

  • Is there a significant amount of merchants and affiliates using the network?
  • How much commission is each product offering?
  • Are the products good?
  • Are they legal?
  • Do they match your niche?
  • What is the support package that goes with the program like?

Create your platform.

Your platform could be anything, but usually, it is either a blog or a YouTube channel, where you give out valuable content on your chosen niche and build a following. Others could be a Facebook page or group, a mailing list etc.

If a website/blog is your chosen platform, with the user-friendliness of WordPress, you don’t need to worry about not having the correct technical knowledge as it is extremely easy to create a website with WordPress using an existing WordPress theme. You will need to buy a domain that is suggestive of what your site is about, purchase hosting, install WordPress on the host, choose a good mobile-friendly theme and begin to create content. If you decide to go for a YouTube channel you will need screen capture software or a video camera if you decide to film yourself doing something.

Create awesome content.

It is not enough to just create content and fill your blog with it, hoping that it will resonate with your audience. You need to spend time researching and even experimenting things so that your content stays robust and valuable every time. Your number one goal for the site, above earning a side income, should be to establish yourself as an authority in whatever niche you have chosen and only quality content will get you there.

There is a wide variety of content you can choose make, depending on how you want to be perceived, but here are a few.

  • Blog posts/videos that address issues faced by your audience.
  • Product reviews.
  • ‘How-to’ guides and tutorials.
  • Evergreen content.
  • Informational products.

Build your audience.

Now you know what niche you love to create content in, you have signed up with an affiliate program of your choice and you’ve already launched your platform. Great work! However, the work doesn’t end here.

People need to know you exist and what you have to offer via your platform. It is up to you to show the world what you have to offer them. You need to promote your work and generate traffic to your website. This is probably one of the hardest part of affiliate marketing and this is where people fail at. There are many people who are able to create a lot of quality content but they fail to generate enough traffic to profit from. There are several ways you can build you audience:

  • Promote your content on social media. Depending on your niche, create a Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter profiles, push links to your content out there and interact with the community. You don’t want to be mechanical in your approach, but rather engaging and interactive.
  • Guest post on related high-traffic blogs and/or feature on related vlogs. The keyword here is related.
  • Use SEO to your advantage. If you don’t know anything about it, employ the services of someone who does.
  • Use PPC advertisement. If you have very high quality content, you can advertise on social media or other websites related to your niche.

Promote affiliate offers.

This is the high-point of the entire guideline. This is the part that allows you to earn from your well-researched articles and videos. Without carrying out the first 5 steps, this step will produce little to no results for anyone. Once you can curate good content, you will get people interested in whatever it is you’re promoting. At this point, you can complete the entire cycle by pointing them to where they can get what you’re offering.

Do this using any of these ideas;

  • Banner ads.
  • Product reviews.
  • In-text content links.
  • Emails promotions.
  • Links in the video description.

The trick to making it big in affiliate marketing is consistency. Implement these steps and continuously repeat them. Your income will thank you for it.