Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to earn passive income. It has grown into a multi-billion industry over the past few years, making it a lucrative industry. This affiliate marketing for beginners guide will you get started.
I must disclose here that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quickly scheme. It requires a lot of hard work and consistency to close a sale through affiliate marketing. However, affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity to earn as much as you want from anywhere in the world.
So what is an affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a process to sell someone else’s product for a certain percentage of the profits.
An affiliate marketer closes the gap between the product creator or seller and a consumer. As an affiliate, you are simply a salesperson of your selected product.
As an affiliate marketer, you help companies and merchants to drive sales for a commission. And the great news is that you can do it for multiple companies.
Getting into the lucrative affiliate marketing industry is simple. You will need to decide on the products you want to promote. Then, join an affiliate program that sells your selected product. The merchant will provide a unique link to track the sale back to you. You will get a commission from every sale you generate through the unique link.
But, affiliate marketing involves a lot more than described above. Lets understand how affiliate marketing works in more detail.
How Does Affiliate Marketing work?
Everyone is trying to maximize their revenue in this era. Today, affiliate marketing is regarded as one of the most rewarding ways to generate a passive income.
Once you select a product you want to promote, a merchant will provide a unique link. We call this link an affiliate link. An affiliate link helps the merchant track each sale to the rightful affiliate marketer.
Once a consumer clicks on the link, it will redirect them to the merchant’s website or the product page.
Affiliate marketing involves three parties; the seller, the affiliate marketer, and the consumer. However, the seller is not engaged in the marketing process. This is the work of the affiliate marketer. They can use social media, websites, or blogs to reach consumers. The goal of an affiliate marketer is to educate the consumer about a product and its benefits.
How Much Money do Affiliate Marketers Make?
Affiliate marketers can earn as much money as they want to. As an affiliate marketer, you will earn according to your hard work and skills. Some affiliate marketers earn only a few dollars, while others can make tens of thousands per day.
An average low-level affiliate marketer can earns $0-$300 per day. An intermediate affiliate market can make up to $3000 per day, while a top-level affiliate marketer can earn over $10,000 per day.
Most affiliate marketers are paid per sale. It means you only earn when a customer clicks on an affiliate link on your site and completes the purchase. A good example is the Amazon Associates program, where you promote products from different Amazon sellers for a commission.
Few affiliate programs are flexible enough to allow pay per lead. It is a typical structure for affiliate programs for service products. You will be paid based on the number of lead conversions. Your work is to convince your readers or viewers to visit the merchant’s website and sign up with email in most cases.
Why Choose Affiliate Marketing?
When you read about how much affiliate marketers earn, it is tempting enough to get you started. However, if this is your only motivation, you are likely to fail in affiliate marketing. It needs dedication and skill, but it can be the best investment you ever made.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money, even when you sleep. It provides an opportunity to make money continuously. You can work from anywhere, and finally, gain financial freedom.
Some affiliate marketers earn a decent income to do it on a full-time basis. It does take time and skills to invest in affiliate marketing, but it is worth it.
Affiliate marketing is also an excellent business model because you don’t have to deal with customers directly. You are also not responsible for customer satisfaction which means it is a low-risk investment.
Affiliate marketing requires little to no capital to get started. But, its essential to start with the products that you are familiar understand.
You do not have to depend on Google Ads and other advertisements to make a sale. The backbone of affiliate marketing is SEO. If you are good with SEO, you can drive meaningful traffic to your website easily.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
There are several types of affiliate marketing channels.
- One can get started in affiliate marketing as an influencer or blogger.
- If you have a paid search microsite, you can also get into affiliate marketers.
- You can also use your email list to market and sell products as an affiliate marketer.
- People with a large social following online can monetize their audience through affiliate marketing as well.
Most influencers use social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. It gives them direct access to the customers and hence increasing the chances of purchase.
One of the most popular travel influencer marketers is Jimmy Chin with over 2.8 million followers on Instagram.
Similarly, bloggers have organic traffic on the search engine, which guarantees a high conversion rate. You can sample a product and write product reviews to promote a brand. The blogger gets a part of the profits from the sale of the product reviews.
However, there are various techniques of affiliate marketing through a blog. You can write helpful content and link it back to the product page. Blogging is the best channel for beginners in affiliate marketing.
Other affiliate marketing channels include paid search microsites, email lists, and large media websites. We shall be talking about affiliate marketing for bloggers in this article.
Step by Step Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
You have learned the basics of what affiliate marketing entails so far. I have prepared an 8-step guide to get you started in affiliate marketing.
Step 1: Select an Affiliate Marketing Platform
There are various platforms for affiliate marketing. You can start marketing your merchant’s products through a blog, Instagram, or YouTube.
Starting a blog is cheap, and you do not need any technical knowledge to set it up. It will cost you a couple of dollars per month to host and maintain a secure website. Namecheap is one of the best web hosting companies for beginner affiliate marketers.
Then, you will need to create helpful content and SEO skills to market your site. If you lack SEO skills, you can always outsource the work from a skilled freelancer via sites like Upwork.
You can also use YouTube to create high-quality content to promote brands. It is crucial to optimize your YouTube content for a better ranking in search engines. You can do this by writing an SEO-friendly video description.
Step 2: Choose your Niche
Starting a blog is the first step, you need to think about your niche. There is a lot of competition in the blogging industry. Therefore, you need to select a profitable niche and one that you are passionate about.
For instance, you might be interested in writing about skincare. However, this is a broad niche where you will face a lot of competition and barely make any sales. You can narrow down your niche to target a focused audience. You can niche down to a skincare routine for oily skin.
Having a focused niche will increase the chances of ranking high in search engines. I have prepared a three-step process to choose a profitable niche for your blog:
Evaluate your Passions and Skills
When looking into affiliate marketing for beginners, you must choose to focus on a subject you are passionate about. Unfortunately, most affiliate marketers are too focused on making money. However, you must select a niche you will still be interested in 5 years to come.
Affiliate marketing is a long-term investment. If you are not passionate about your niche, you are bound to fail.
Check to see the Profitability of your Niche
Once you determine the topic you are interested in, you must verify to ensure it is profitable. Use online tools such as Kwfinder.com to test if there is a market for your niche.
Go for high-volume keywords, 1-10k monthly traffic. Keywords with lower volume indicate a lack of market in the said niche. Also, check the bid amount on your niche keywords and choose a niche with higher bids.
Narrow down your Niche and Test
You can also create a landing page for the products you want to sell with tools like ClickFunnels. If you are not sure about how to do this, you can once again outsource work from a freelancer. Hire a freelancer who has experience in your selected niche.
Monitor the performance of the landing page to determine if the niche is profitable. If you have people coming to the landing page, your niche is likely to be profitable.
Step 3: Joining an affiliate program
Once you have chosen your niche, it is time to join affiliate programs for beginners. You can join more than one affiliate programs to maximize your revenue. There are three types of affiliate programs to choose from;
- High-paying low-volume affiliate programs
- Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs
- High-paying, high volume affiliate programs
The high-paying, low-volume affiliate programs involve selling products with high payouts. However, beware of the intense competition in these programs linked to the high commissions. While these programs are profitable, I would not recommend them for beginners.
On the other hand, low-paying, high-volume have low payouts with an opportunity to sell more products. The products on this program have massive appeal to the customers. This makes low-paying high-volume programs ideal for beginners.
A good example is Amazon Associates, with a 1-10% commission on every product you sell.
High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs have both appeal to customers and high commissions. However, you may need a large marketing budget and expertise to generate sales using this program. It can be a little complex for beginners in affiliate marketing.
So how do you choose the right affiliate marketing program?
How to choose an affiliate marketing program?
Your ideal affiliate marketing program depends on your skills. Your target audience may also affect the right affiliate marketing program for you. For instance, if you target individual consumers, you should go with low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs.
On the contrary, if you target a B2B audience, you can always go with high-paying, low-volume programs, such as the Clickfunnels affiliate program.
Your ideal affiliate program should also align with your niche. Go for affiliate programs offering products that are related to your blog topics.
You should also ensure that you have used the product before joining an affiliate program. It is only fair to tell your audience about your authentic experience with the consequences. Ensure that you only promote high-quality products from a personal perspective.
You can also opt to contact the merchant directly if you think you can promote their products. This is especially when the merchant does not have a public affiliate program.
The easiest way to find an ideal affiliate marketing program is through Google search. It would also help to know what products your competitors are promoting and how it works for them.
Step 4: Choosing a product to promote
At this point, I am sure you are excited and can’t wait to create content for your website. We will come to that in the next step of this affiliate marketing for beginners. You must first choose the product you want to promote before creating content. Remember that you need your content to resonate with the product you are selling.
Fortunately, you can promote different types of products, including physical products, information, or services. Amazon Associates is an excellent platform for affiliate marketers who want to promote physical products. You can also promote informational products such as eBooks and other digital products.
I insist on familiarizing yourself with the products before you can start selling. Your readers are keen and can tell when you do not understand a thing about a product. It would help to purchase the products you intend to review and promote.
Step 5: Create content to build an audience
Content is one of the most critical components of affiliate marketing. Start with creating a high-quality content that helps your audience solve their problems. An affiliate marketer is similar to an online salesperson. Therefore, you must understand the ins and outs of the product you want to market.
If you are writing product reviews, you need to make it personal. Tools like Grammarly can help you to refine your content. Let your readers know about your genuine experience and opinion of the product. This is an excellent technique to build a personal brand and also authenticity.
While the aim is to sell a product to your readers, it would help to prioritize the quality of your content. Use online tools to look for relevant keywords that your readers are looking for in search engines. Create content that answers the search question in as many details as possible to meet the user’s intention.
High-quality content will earn the reader’s trust, which only enhances your monthly traffic. When your customers trust you, you stand a better chance to generate leads. Great content can help you build your email list and establish a relationship with your audience.
Step 6: Driving traffic to your website
Step 5 emphasizes creating high-quality content that meets the user intent. However, how do you get people to read your exciting content? You must work towards driving high-quality traffic to your website if you want to make money via affiliate marketing.
I will discuss three main ways to get people to see and read your content;
- Paid traffic
- Search engine optimization
- An active email list
These three strategies have worked for me over the years.
Affiliate marketing is a long-term business strategy. However, you need an audience if you plan to promote and sell products in the long run. You can run PPC ads to give you a traffic head start. However, PPC ads require a marketing budget that most beginners lack.
And besides, paid traffic means that people will see your content for as long as you keep paying for the ads. Simultaneously, if you do not pay for the ads, the traffic will decline immediately. I also do not think that paid traffic is an effective way to drive traffic for affiliate marketing beginners.
I would not suggest using paid traffic unless you have prior expertise in Google Ads. If you are not careful, you may end up losing a lot of money for low-quality traffic.
Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss paid traffic for those who have a sustainable marketing budget. It can work very well for affiliate marketers in high-paying affiliate marketing programs.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A great way to improve your search engine optimization is to focus on developing high-quality content. Start by researching what your readers are looking for online.
What kind of content are they search for on Google or Bing and other search engines?
Once you understand your target audience’s intent, it is easy to create engaging content that answers their questions. In so doing, you will bring a considerable amount of traffic to your website.
Lastly, you will need a few technical SEO practices to get you going. These may include link building and placement, as well as keyword targeting. It will also help to include images, videos, and even tables to enhance your content engagement.
Building an Active email List
Having an active email list means that you have direct access to your customers. You can send out emails to promote affiliate products or update them about new content on your website.
To build an email list, you need to create engaging content on your site. It would also help make several lead magnets to convince your readers to sign up for your email list. The good news is that people love free stuff in exchange for their contact details. It could be a free eBook, video, or online course in exchange for their email addresses.
Use email tool like GetResponse or ActiveCampaign to add a subscription button or a pop-up form to get your audience to sign up for your email list. Use your email list to send out new content or pitch the product to your audience directly.
Email marketing is also an effective way to drive traffic to your website. You can also promote your content and products to an existing email list.
However, I always urge affiliate marketing beginners to build an email list from scratch. It helps to avoid sending spammy emails to people who have no interest in what you are selling.
Step 7: Place your Affiliate links Strategically
We have discussed some of the most crucial steps of affiliate marketing for beginners. However, getting people to click on your affiliate sites is a challenge, especially for beginners.
Your link placement determines whether a reader clicks the link or not. It would help if you learned how to place the affiliate links in your text without appearing spammy.
For instance, putting an affiliate link in the first line may not ideal. It makes your readers feel like all you want to do is pitch your products rather than help them. Simultaneously, placing the link at the end of an article can be inconvenient for you.
Most readers may not read the entire blog post. A lot of readers skim through the content looking for the answers to their questions.
- It would help place the links within the text, preferably in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph of your content.
- YouTube affiliate marketers should place the link below the video in the video description section.
It also helps to underline and assign a different font color to the anchor text of your affiliate links.
Add Buttons or Tables
Callout buttons are also essential in encouraging readers to click on the affiliate links. I am sure you have come across blog posts with ‘Buy now‘ or ‘Amazon’ buttons. The link redirects to the product page or the merchant’s website.
Buttons are adequate to capture the user’s attention. It is also easy to skim through content and hence a higher chance of your reader clicking on the affiliate links.
Tables are helpful, especially when you are creating product review content. You can embed or insert a table or chart with affiliate links anywhere in your blog post.
Add Links in Newsletter or Social Channels
Other tactics to get your readers to click on your affiliate links may include using your affiliate links in your email newsletters and using affiliate links on Pinterest and other social media platforms. Social media platforms provide additional exposure for your affiliate links.
Step 8: Converting clicks to sales
Affiliate marketing involves two conversion processes. You will need to get your traffic to click on the affiliate link, which takes you to the product (merchant’s) page.
However, the hard work does not stop there. Remember, most affiliate programs pay on successful sale and not for clicks. Therefore, you need to convince your visitors to purchase the product you are promoting. Unfortunately, you do not have much control when it comes to converting clicks to sales.
Nevertheless, you can still increase your conversion rates by providing some effort in quality content or review. It would help to gain your visitors’ trust by working hard to earn a stellar reputation. Keep an eye on negative reviews from your audience and other review sites.
Do thorough research and choose affiliate programs with high conversion rates. If you cannot access these details, you can always ask your merchant. When people trust you, they will buy the products you recommend and promote.
5 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks for Beginners
The above steps should get you started in affiliate marketing for beginners. As outlined earlier, it is essential to choose the right affiliate programs for you. Below is a list of the five best affiliate networks for beginners;
- Amazon Associates
- ClickBank Affiliate
- eBay Partner Network
- Rakuten Affiliate
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate marketing networks in the world. It is also one of the most accessible affiliate programs for beginners since it falls under the Low-paying, high volume category. And besides, Amazon Associates is only going to get bigger as more merchants join the giant e-commerce platform.
What’s more? Amazon Associates is easy and free to join. The program offers a 1-10% commission for every sale.
Amazon Associates also provides endless products to promote. However, it is often challenging for international affiliates to receive their earnings. Amazon Associates allows only three payment methods:
- Bank transfer (Direct deposit for US affiliates only)
- Amazon Gift card
Another thing to note about Amazon Associate is that the cookie file is valid for only 24 hours. You will not get paid when the buyer delays the purchase by longer than 24 hours. However, it is an excellent program to get you started.
ShareAsale is another popular affiliate program with a lot of products to promote. Your commission can increase from 10% up to 40% with time. As with Amazon Associates, it is extremely easy to sign-up and starts promoting products with ShareASale. It is also free to join, and they have excellent customer support compared to most affiliate programs.
You will work with the merchants directly. While this is a good thing, it means that you will spend some time negotiating with some merchants.
However, as much as I recommend this website, it takes some time for new affiliate marketers to close meaningful sales.
Other than the above shortcomings, ShareAsale is a beginner-friendly website. It has a lot of unique products for affiliates to promote. I think it would be an excellent place to start, but then again, with dedication and unwavering persistence.
I also love ShareASale because of its flexible payment options. You can accept your earnings through a cheque via email or FedEx, international direct deposit, Payoneer, or wire transfer. Anyone can join ShareASale and start earning through affiliate marketing.
ClickBank is also a free-to-sign-up affiliate marketing program. It is an excellent platform for affiliate marketers who want to promote digital products. ClickBank affiliates offers higher commissions than most affiliate programs and this can go up to 75%.
I also like ClickBank because it is easy to sign up and navigate research potential products you might want to promote.
Unfortunately, ClickBank comes with a lot of competition. This means that you will have to work extra hard to drive traffic to your website. You must also be cautious when selecting a product to promote. ClickBank can sometimes feature low-quality products.
Overall, ClickBank is an excellent platform for people who want to promote eBooks, videos, online courses, and tutorials.
eBay Partner Network is the affiliate marketing program for eBay. It offers a lot of unique products to promote and has fast payouts. You will receive your earnings every 22nd of each month. I love that they are so consistent with their payment schedule.
However, it is difficult to earn a decent income from eBay Partner Network. Instead of making a specific percentage of the profits, eBay combines all the affiliates’ sales. You will earn according to your monthly traffic volume.
If you want to work with the eBay affiliate program, it is best to wait until your site has good quality traffic.
Nevertheless, the eBay affiliate network does allow low payment limits up to $25. Most websites will only pay you after reaching a $50 payment threshold.
Impact affiliate program is one of the most straightforward networks to join. However, you need to have decent monthly traffic to join the network and start selling. Impact Affiliate program also hosts some of the biggest brands that you can promote.
It is also easy to create unique affiliate links when using the Impact affiliate program.
While they rarely change their interface, I love that Impact is user-friendly. And what’s more? Impact Affiliate program supports PayPal and wire payments for majority of the countries with only $50 as minimum payment threshold.
Your thoughts on Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online and from anywhere in the world. Affiliate marketing allows you to earn even while you sleep.
However, its not get rich quick scheme. It takes a lot of patience, hard work, and consistent learning to start earning a decent income. In most cases, an affiliate marketer starts earning his first dollar after 3-4 months average. The above steps should guide you through creating a successful affiliate marketing business.
Let me know about your experience with affiliate marketing. What has been your biggest challenge that you are yet to join the rich network of affiliate marketers?