This article is a complete beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing.
You will learn what is affiliate marketing and the basic steps you will follow to succeed in it.
Without much ado, let’s get into this.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a process where you can promote a company’s product or service in return for a commission you can generate from sales.
This commission typically comes from the percentage cut you are able to make through sales or is sometimes based on a fixed amount.
Why you should consider doing affiliate marketing in 2022.
Below are two reasons why you should consider doing affiliate marketing:
- Less expensive and risky.
- Easy to diversify.
1. Less expensive and risky.
Starting a business will usually involve incurring upfront costs for renting a space, buying products, equipment, and so on.
And sometimes you can do all these but end up not making any profit or income to keep the business growing.
This then makes starting a business very expensive and risky.
But with affiliate marketing, all you need is a website; even if it’s a free blog, to showcase the products through several marketing methods.
And should the business refuse to work out, you can shut the website down without wasting so much time and money.
2. Easy to diversify.
As a typical salesperson, you will only have the opportunity to sell products for one company.
But as an affiliate marketer, you have the opportunity of promoting products from various companies and earning commissions from all of them.
How affiliate marketing works.
You have to start by signing up for an affiliate program from an online company that offers such.
After signing up, you will be given a unique affiliate link that will be used to track the customers you refer to their brand or business.
Now when someone clicks through that link and lands on the sales page, a small file which is called a cookie will be stored on their device.
An affiliate cookie will do the following two things:
- Helps the merchant attribute the sale back to the right person;
- Usually keeps a record of an expiry date, so that your commission can be paid even if the buyer delays making their purchase.
Beginner’s Guide To Affiliate Marketing (step-by-step guide).
Below are the steps you need to take when you are a beginner in affiliate marketing:
- Step #1: Choose a platform.
- Step #2: Choose a blog topic.
- Step #3: Look for affiliate programs you can join.
- Step #4: Create endless content.
- Step #5: Driving traffic to your affiliate site.
- Step #6: Get people to click on your affiliate links.
- Step #7: Convert your clicks to sales.
Step #1: Choose a platform.
The very first step to take in this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing is for you to choose a platform.
Basically, you can do affiliate marketing on any platform; however, the two platforms that work best for affiliate marketing are either a blog or a YouTube channel.
How to create a blog.
To create a blog today is very cheap and easy; and even if you can’t afford domain and hosting, you can start by building a free blog, and in no time make enough money to purchase one.
Starting a blog today is relatively easy and cheap. There are plenty of tutorials online that teach you how to get started. The best part? It’ll likely only cost you a few dollars per month.
From there, you can add affiliate links to your content so your readers can follow the links to do business with your affiliate; based on how your content will be good enough to convince them.
How to open a YouTube channel.
The second platform you can use for affiliate marketing is a YouTube channel.
And you can start by signing up to a free channel via your Gmail account, and from there upload the video contents you create.
Now when you upload those video contents, make sure you optimize them for SEO and include your affiliate links in the description section of your video.
One point you should note when including your affiliate links is to disclose the fact that you are including them in your content.
Because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires everyone to be transparent when they are receiving income from any endorsement.
Also, take note of the two points below:
- If you use a blog for affiliate marketing, make sure you create a standalone page or include the affiliate link in any widget area of your website.
- If you are using a YouTube channel, include your affiliate link in your description section.
Now, you’ll likely get more clicks from a blog than a YouTube video. For that reason, most of the examples going forward will be for a blog.
Step #2: Choose a blog topic.
If you are starting a blog today, you have to be mindful of the ton of competition as the number of bloggers in the world is increasing every day.
In order to stand out, you must choose and stick to a particular and profitable blog topic.
Now when choosing a blog topic, ensure you stick to a specific category.
For instance, the topic of “health” is very broad, so why not narrow it down to a category like “wellness” or “fitness”.
Sticking to a specific niche will help you to build a more focused audience as well as potentially help you to rank higher in search engines.
Later on, when you have built enough traffic to your pages, you can then expand to other areas of your niche.
Another important piece of advice I always like to give is, that if you are going to be the main content creator, make sure you choose a blog topic you are professional in.
For instance, if you are a doctor or nurse, then the health topic is best for you.
Many affiliate websites are unable to generate income because of inconsistency.
And as such, being a professional in a topic will help you to press on even when the pressure is unbearable.
As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, don’t worry if you’re not an expert in the field, “document, don’t create.”
If you document what you’ve learned, you will make great contents that will attract people who are interested in following your progress.
If on the other hand, you are outsourcing content, then it’s better to connect with and work with seasoned experts on the topic.
Experts can then help you to create high-quality, trustworthy work, which can lead to more traffic, engaged visitors, and more affiliate sales.
Step #3: Look for affiliate programs you can join
Now that you’ve got your platform to begin affiliate marketing, you need to look for an affiliate program to join.
Basically, there are 3 types of affiliate programs available and they are:
1. Affiliate programs. high-paying, low-volume.
These are affiliate programs for niche products that have high payouts when you are able to refer a particular number of customers.
But the disadvantage of this type of affiliate program is that they have a limited pool of buyers.
And they also tend to be more competitive because of their high commissions.
As a beginner in affiliate marketing, it will therefore be very hard to make a meaningful amount of money competing against long-time marketers who already have the followers, skills, and money.
B. Affiliate programs with low-paying and high-volume.
These are affiliate programs for products that have low payouts but massive appeal; and affiliate commissions here are usually in the single digits.
Another advantage is that you will get commissions on the whole value of the sales rather than just recommending the product.
To succeed in this kind of affiliate marketing, you must therefore have lots of traffic on your platform.
C. Affiliate programs with high-paying and high volume.
These are affiliate programs for products that have both mass appeal and pay high commissions.
An example is a credit card.
People always need credit cards, and so many people have stayed with the company for years or even decades.
The only disadvantage of these types of products is that they only attract affiliate marketers who already have the expertise and money.
And some of them also use spammy tactics that will bounce back at you if you dare try without being knowledgeable about those tactics.
Which is the best affiliate program to join?
It will all depend on your topic and skills.
If your target is consumers, then the second model of low commissions and higher sales volume is the best.
Going after a business audience will have you settling for the first model which is high-paying and low volume.
How to find these affiliate programs.
You can find these affiliate programs by simply using the Google search engine.
Step #4: Create endless content.
If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing, creating endless content is the key.
In fact, the overall key to succeeding on the internet is content.
But before you create those contents, make sure you purchase the product or service and use it first to ascertain its realness.
Don’t just blindly or randomly pick products from an affiliate site and begin to create content by way of research in the hope of people following to buy it.
But ensure you relate your own personal experience with using the product or service when creating the content.
Step #5: Driving traffic to your affiliate site.
Now that you’ve started creating content as a beginner, the biggest challenge you are going to face is bringing the right audience to read those content.
Here are three traffic strategies to consider in this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing.
A. Organic traffic through Search engine optimization (SEO).
Organic traffic can be gotten through SEO and involves optimizing your content to rank high in search engines like Google.
You do this by using specific terms or keywords that people are looking up on search engines.
Once you are able to rank high in search engines for your target keywords, you will get massive organic traffic coming to your blog.
To succeed on this point, you need to consider the following.
- Understand what your target audience is searching for on search engines.
- Create content around those topics: blog posts, product pages, etc.
- Take care of the “technical” stuff like link page speed, link building, etc. to push these pages higher in the search engines.
B. Paid traffic.
Paid traffic is a process where you have to pay for your pages to be displayed in places where your target audience will see and engage with them.
The advantage of paid traffic is that you start getting the traffic once you pay for it.
Unlike SEO where you will have to create more content and wait for a while for them to start ranking; after many optimizations.
The disadvantage of paid traffic is that it is usually expensive, and sometimes you won’t be able to get a quick return on your investment if more people are already selling a similar product.
Another point is that, once you stop paying for the Ads, your traffic will stop automatically.
C. Using email marketing.
Email marketing involves collecting your visitor’s email via subscription and using it to communicate your products or services to them.
You can use your email list to inform your subscribers about a new product or service and use a call-to-action to lead them to the sales page.
This then can help you get more affiliate clicks and sales.
You are even free to send affiliate email promotions directly to your mailing list.
To build your email list, you have to offer something of value and persuade your visitors to sign up to your mailing list.
Step #6: Get people to click on your affiliate links.
Just because your content is enticing does not mean that people will click on your affiliate links.
There are a few techniques you must learn and master to be able to get people to click on your affiliate links.
A. Where you place your links matters.
If you place all your affiliate links at the bottom of your page where people rarely scroll, you will get very few clicks.
Secondly, if you make every other word a link in your introduction, your content will pass for spam.
You need to balance your link placements with the other factors I am going to mention below.
Don’t be too direct when introducing the products or services you want to recommend in your content.
Rather, spot and review a problem, provide a solution, and direct people to where they can get the solution.
That way, your content will escape spam as well as convince people to follow through your affiliate link to purchase.
C. Use callouts.
If you use callouts like buttons, tables, boxes, etc. it will help to attract your reader’s attention and make the content look more skimmable.
Step #7: Convert your clicks to sales.
The last step on this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing is that you need to convert your clicks to sales.
In order to make money from affiliate marketing, 2 conversions need to take place and they are:
- Click on the product or service page
- Visitors buy the product or engage with the service.
Here you are in 100% control of these 2 actions.
Here are a few techniques you can use to make this conversion happen.
A. Public income reports.
You need to look at public income reports where bloggers are publicly revealing how much they are making from their affiliate deals.
These reports are available on Google.
If you’re following the same topic, you can also take a look at where their other affiliate income generates, and potentially promote the same products.
B. Ask questions
If you cannot see much information about an affiliate program you wish to join, just sign up and ask questions.
You can then use the answers you get to figure out if the affiliate program is worth promoting.
Please share this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing to help someone out there.