Affiliate marketing had been one of the billion-dollar industries and is still growing. Business owners saw the huge opportunities for growing their businesses through affiliate marketing by tapping into others’ lists. But what is affiliate marketing and how to start affiliate marketing as a beginner?
What is affiliate marketing and How to Start Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a referral program in which you promote other companies’ products/services. When someone buys through your affiliate link, you get a commission. As an affiliate, you’re a salesperson for the company. You help to make a sale, the company rewards you with commissions. For some subscription-based products, you even get paid recurring commissions as long as the customer stays subscribed.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you can do it at scale. A typical salesperson only sells products from one company. As an affiliate marketer, you can promote products from many different companies and earn commissions from all of them.
How does affiliate marketing work?
For affiliate marketing, the merchant will provide you with a tracking affiliate link that looks like this: https://www.yourfirstfunnel.com/start-now-yff-1?aff=7e828f5a-85d3-4e64-87de-017da1c4efd1
It may look weird but it includes 2 things. One is your affiliate ID information so they can credit the sales to you. Another thing is a cookie. When someone clicks that link, a small file called a cookie gets stored on their device. An affiliate cookie does two things:
- It helps the merchant attribute the sale back to the right person;
- It (usually) holds an expiration date, so you get paid even if the buyer delays their purchase.
Here’s an example of how this works.
You have got a blog/review/videos or other content that you post about the product you’re promoting. When they click on your affiliate links and are directed to the product sales page, the cookie is stored in their device.
But they realized they have to pick up their daughter from school. So they leave their house, pick up their daughter, have dinner, and then finally go back to where they find the product again.
Since they’re already shopping on Amazon, they decide to purchase other products too.
Here’s the thing. Earlier, they clicked on your affiliate link and a cookie was stored on their device. Because Amazon has a 24-hour cookie duration, you get compensated for all purchases within 24 hours even if you didn’t promote it.
How much money can I make as an affiliate marketer?
It depends on how you work on this. How much effort do you put in and how much traffic you can direct and convert? There is virtually no limit to this. Professional affiliate marketers earn 6-7 figures a month with multiple products promoted.
But one thing, don’t get me wrong, you won’t be starting today and directly earning 6-7 figures. There are works and efforts to put in before you see the money. And, many people often leave before getting any success. So, How To Start Affiliate Marketing and Build a successful online business?
How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.
Step #1: Choose Your niche
Let’s be honest: if you’re starting a blog today, you’re facing a ton of competition. Thousands of blogs are created daily, and in fact, creating a blog only takes less than an hour. To break through, you need to niche down. To be very specific in a certain niche and be the authority in it.
Choose a topic that focuses on a specific category. For example, the topic of “health” is an enormous category. Rather than tackling that, try something more specific, like diet and keto diet. Keeping your topics tight can help you build a more focused audience and potentially help in your SEO ranking.
Now, if you’re going to be the main content creator, choose something you’re interested in. Many affiliate sites die due to a lack of consistency. So at the very least, if you’re passionate about a topic, you’ll find it much easier to press on when the going gets tough. You’ll need to have a new post at least every 2 days. If you’re not passionate about the topics, it is very hard to post consistently.
If you’re outsourcing the content, then it’s better to work with seasoned experts in the niche. Experts can help you create high-quality, trustworthy work, which can lead to more traffic, engaged visitors, and more affiliate sales.
Step #2: Find affiliate programs to join
I always look at 3 things when choosing an affiliate product.
- How is the product owner? Does the product owner commit to the affiliate program and provides resources for it? Not that I want their resources for launching my affiliate program, but to judge that the owner is serious and knows how to convert more customers in their sales process.
- Low ticket products or lead magnet products to guide my new audience down the sales process. This is also one thing to lower the entry barrier for high-ticket products. Getting someone to directly purchase a $1000 product might not be that easy especially if they know you. But to go from a series of Yes, starting from $47, then $97, and then $497, and then $997 is easier when you give more value to them and build trust.
- Recurring payment. This is the most important for passive income. And hence, I focus more on subscription-based products. A software platform is good to start. As you have a good tool, business owners will keep using that as long as it makes them money. And for you as an affiliate, when they pay, you get paid as well.
Step #3: Decide on a platform
Be it social media, YouTube, or other platforms, always focus on one platform and master it before moving to other platforms. One of the common mistakes beginners make is constantly jumping around between platforms and ending up unable to dominate. In fact, you should always dominate one platform and scale to others.
Step #4: Create great content
Your honest review and unique great content are the keys to success in affiliate marketing. One big mistake people make is they promote the product without even seeing the product before. If you had never used it before, how can you share your personal opinion on the product? You’re just sharing what others are saying, without your personal suggestions. Learn how to build a WordPress blog.
Step #5: Create your unique offers for the affiliate program
One secret most top affiliate marketers have is to provide extra value in terms of bundle offers with the affiliate product/service. This gives extra reason for the potential buyers to buy from you to claim you’re great to offer.
It can be a free cheat sheet, ebook, tutorial, training, or recording of a past event. Something that can provide instant value for your audience and they can’t resist. It shall be something actionable where it can benefit them instantly and get results. What you don’t want to do is to offer them a 200 pages ebook. Most people won’t be patient enough to read the entire book. Instead, a summarized cheat sheet will work better.
Step #6: Drive traffic to your affiliate site
Now your online storefront is ready with your “brochures” and “product display” already. We want to let people know that we’re starting a business and invite them into our shop. Just like a physical store, if you’re in a prime location where everyone walked past your shop.
Your traffic is high, but you need something to direct them into your shop. But if your shop is not in the prime location, you will need to promote your business on billboards, in newspapers, in newsletters, and so on to bring in more customers. For an online business, we call this organic traffic and paid traffic.
For paid traffic is straightforward, you create an ad campaign, select your target audience, set your budget, and put up your ad creative. As long as you start paying, the ad platform will send traffic to your ad. But bear in mind, you need to know your figures well when running pay ads. You want a profitable campaign but do not end up paying all your profits to the ad platforms. The goal will be for every $1 that you put into your ads, you will be getting back 1.x times the profit. This is how you can keep your ads running and your business growing.
Organic traffic, there are multiple ways. Remember me talking about the prime location for the store, the same goes for online. Imagine if your site ranks no.1 on Google or YouTube, what do you think is the amount of free traffic you’ll be getting? Ten thousand of free traffic per month. But then, if you’re trying to rank for general keywords, the chances to get ranked on the first page are almost zero when you’re fighting with the big brand. That’s why we rank for long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords mean instead of ranking on the exact keywords, we rank for something less competitive but with a huge search volume. For example, to rank for the keyword “affiliate marketing” vs “How to start affiliate marketing”, which is easier to rank. Which is having less competition. Of course the second one. This is where you can get creative and really research your keywords. If you’re targeting the local market, you can always add keywords like “for XXX city” so that when people search for local businesses, your site will be ranked top.
Another way of organic traffic would be building authority on YouTube or social media. You post your content there and insert your affiliate link into the description. When people clicked on the description, they will see your link and then click on it.
Step #7: Where To Post Your Affiliate Links
Normally, I don’t post my link directly or spam it around as that does not work. What you need to do is to give value first, before selling. People need to know you and trust you to buy from you. If they don’t like you, no matter how good is your product, they won’t buy from you. So, where to put your link on your page?
The affiliate links at the top of your page will help with the clickthrough rate as it is the most seen part of your content. If you have got all the links at the bottom of the page, chances are people will never see your links. Not to say click on it. Also, you want the link to be shown naturally as part of your content. During your content, having a certain link throughout the page when you talked about the product does help too.
The last one is the CTA button. You need to have the call to action on your page so people know what they need to know. Just click the button to get the bonuses or the best products in the universe.
Step #8: Create your landing page
A landing page works very to collect leads and warm the audience up. They might not know who are you and what you’re selling as they enter your page from your ads. You want to tell them what they can expect to get, in return for leaving their contacts here. Also, to brief them about your unique offers as well as the actual products. This works very well in building your list, increasing conversion rate, and following up.
For this, we use a funnel called lead funnel to direct new audiences to our sales process and convert them.
Step #9: Follow up
Now you have their contact details, it is the most valuable asset in your online business. Someone might not be buying from you the first time they saw your offer. They might go out to rush for something else. Or they might be still indecisive. Now, we can set an email sequence to build relationships with them and try to convert them to emails.
For this, I always use GetResponse for all my email marketing campaigns. Why? It is easy to use, and highly visualizable with the process flow. You can drag and drop to change the process flow and know how many people are in which stage. I had tried a few different email marketing platforms but ended up using GetResponse for its ease of use.
Final thoughts – How To Start Affiliate Marketing
I had shown you the best steps on How To Start Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is nothing new, the basic strategy is still the same. You just need to work hard and make it works. No shortcut here for beginners.
And if you’re expecting a life-changing income or the freedom to quit your 9–5 overnight. You’re at the wrong place. Affiliate marketing takes time.
Focus first on making your first affiliate sale. As your site grows, set new goals, and continue experimenting.
This is how you build your business up in the long run.