Practice shows that lots of entrepreneurs build their businesses using Affiliate marketing programs.
Some of the business owners use Affiliate marketing as an additional source of income, the other ones build the entire business solely on this type of marketing.
So, should you focus your efforts on Affiliate marketing to be able to earn solid money?
In this guide, you will find out everything you should know about Affiliate marketing and how to use it in seven simple but effective ways.
1. Start With the Basics of Affiliate Marketing
First of all, you should understand what Affiliate marketing is.
Affiliate marketing is the process when you promote different products or services and make money from the commissions.
To put it simply, when you do Affiliate marketing you act like a salesperson for some company. As a result, if people buy a certain product with the help of your promotion, you will get money for this.
One of the biggest advantages of being an affiliate marketer is that you can promote different products from different companies at the same time.
How does Affiliate marketing work?
Let’s say you found a perfect affiliate program and already made a deal with a merchant. The merchant gives you a unique link that tracks the sales using the cookies. What’s more important, this “cookie” file helps the merchant to attribute the sale back to the right person and it holds an expiration date (in other words, you’ll be paid even if there was some delay in purchasing)
You might be interested in how much money affiliate marketers make.
Well, it depends on the experience an affiliate marketer has and the niche where to make this business. Hence, the amount of money is unlimited.
2. How to Start Your First Affiliate Marketing Program in 7 Steps
If you are completely new to Affiliate marketing, you will need some pieces of advice on how to start this business effectively. Therefore, the following 7 steps will help you move in the right direction.
Think about the platform where to start
You can run your affiliate marketing programs on various platforms. If you are fond of social media platforms – you can do it there as well. For example, this person has an affiliate link on Twitter:
However, it should be stated that affiliate marketers prefer to do their business on YouTube and their blogs mostly.
If you decide to run your affiliate marketing campaigns on your blog, you must follow one rule – optimize your blog properly. Keep in mind, if your blog is not high-authoritative, nobody will see your content with affiliate links included. Hence, you should work on your content strategy and building links.
Talking about YouTube as a platform for Affiliate marketing – it is free of charge and could be used by anyone. Just create a niche-related channel and start uploading videos. And don’t forget to include affiliate links.
For instance, this channel suggests a video-review on the best acoustic guitars in 2019. Plus, you can find a list of affiliate links in a description section down below the video:
These affiliate links align with the content and redirect to Amazon pages where you can buy the guitars reviewed in the video.
Remember that you must never hide a fact of including affiliate links in your content. Otherwise, your activity will contradict with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules.
Think about the niche to do your Affiliate Marketing
When you start any activity related to Affiliate marketing, you must think wisely about the niche where to push the business forward.
If you are a noob, you should focus on less competitive niches and target the topics that belong to a specific category.
For example, there is no sense for you to focus on the topic “digital marketing” – it is too in-depth. But if you target the topic “SEO tools”, you will have more chances to run an affiliate campaign successfully.
The more specific topic you’re targeting, the more focused audience you will attract.
Explore affiliate programs to work with
When it comes to choosing an affiliate program, you will have three directions:
1. High-paying, low-volume affiliate programs
This type of affiliate program is for those entrepreneurs who have a solid budget. The thing is that you will promote and sell those products that have the highest level of payouts. However, the products of this category have a limited number of buyers.
2. Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs
This category suggests the products that have a mass appeal but a pretty low level of commissions. It is the most commonly used program on Amazon.
Let’s say you have a channel on YouTube where you give book reviews. You can add unique links to the books that you’re reviewing in your video content and people would be able to purchase these books on Amazon:
A “paperback” version of the book costs $9.55. Being a part of Amazon’s affiliate program, you will get 10% commissions on selling this book. It means that you will get $0.96 per sale.
As you can see, to make good money with this program you will need lots of views and likes on your YouTube channel.
3. High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs
This program is not a good option for those affiliate marketers who have a lack of experience in this field. First of all, the program deals with products that have a mass appeal and a high level of commissions. Therefore, every skillful affiliate marketer wants to be a part of this program.
It is up to you which program to choose.
Craft your content
Every affiliate link must be appropriate to your content organically. It shouldn’t have a sales intent behind itself.
Your target audience must find answers to the questions people have in your content. It should resolve the potential problems your audience might have. Consequently, make sure that you promote the products that can help your target audience to solve the problems.
Therefore, if you promote a book – you must read it yourself. If you promote some tool – you must test it yourself as well.
To sum up, try to build your affiliate marketing content on writing product reviews.
Work on driving more traffic to your site
High-quality content makes sense if it drives traffic to your blog. If your blog doesn’t have enough traffic, the affiliate links will have fewer chances to get clicks.
In other words, the lack of traffic equals the lack of affiliate sales.
Therefore, you must work on driving traffic to your web-resource. You can do this by following these three simple but actionable directions:
1. Content optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your pages (content) rank well in SERP. By having high ranking positions for your target keywords, you will start getting free passive traffic to your website.
Optimize your content by doing proper keyword research and analyzing your audience’s needs.
2. Don’t shy away from paying for traffic
Using PPC ads will provide you with driving high-quality target traffic to your website. Nevertheless, you must keep in mind that when you stop paying for PPC ads, the traffic will start to fade away.
3. Work on building an email list
It is important to build your email list. When you have a solid email list, you will have a good opportunity to stay in touch with your target audience directly and share your content on a regular basis.
The most straightforward way to make sure your email list grows is by creating a “sign-up” form on your blog:
Do your affiliate links get “clicks”?
Let’s suppose that your content really rocks but do people click on your affiliate links?
If you see that you lack “clicks”, you should do the following:
1. A correct link placement
Practice shows that not every person reads a blog post from A to Z. Consequently, if you place your affiliate link at the bottom of the text, the chances that it will be noticed are dim. Plus, don’t place affiliate links at the beginning of your post – it will look too spammy. The best option is to search for a suitable place somewhere in between a text body.
2. Affiliate links must align with the context
Let’s say you’re writing a review of the top five books on science-fiction. You’re describing the story behind these books, expressing your personal “likes” and “dislikes” and when it comes to adding the affiliate links, you should use the original name of the books.
For instance, “It is time to review the first book that I want to start with. This book is “The Thing On The Doorstep” by H.P Lovecraft.”
3. Don’t forget about a call-to-action
A “call-to-action” element is an integral part of your overall promotion strategy. You must push your target audience to click on the affiliate link. Hence, you can diversify this element with various buttons, tables, or boxes.
Make sure your affiliate links are converted into sales
The whole idea of your affiliate marketing efforts is to make people click on your unique links and get converted into sales. If it doesn’t happen, your affiliate marketing strategy doesn’t work.
You should realize that there are two basic stages of conversion. The first stage is when a potential customer clicks on your affiliate link and goes to a product page. The second stage is when this person purchases a product.
You are responsible for the first stage. Your part of a deal is to force people to click the links from your end. While a merchant is responsible for the stage of conversion.
If you want to run your affiliate marketing business successfully, you should deal with those affiliate programs that have a good level of conversion.
In order to find a perfect affiliate program, you should:
1. Explore public income reports
Google can provide you with a public income report you are interested in. For example, you’ve decided to start your affiliate marketing journey with a “Low-paying, high-volume affiliate” type of a program. It means that you want to review a few public income reports on Amazon affiliate program:
You might face the situation when you are not able to find the information you are interested in. No worries, you can always get in touch with an affiliate program department of a particular company and ask your questions.
To Sum Up
Affiliate marketing is a kind of business that can bring you tons of money. But you must know how to run this business and invest lots of your time and efforts into it.
It is not a “one-night” business when you get your money in a blink of an eye. No. You must work hard and never give up if you feel like all your tries are in vain.
Likely, if you have chosen a way of an affiliate marketer, these steps will help you at your beginner stage.
Sergey Aliokhin is a Marketing Manager at Andcards (SaaS company developing coworking software solutions.) Apart from exploring different marketing and SEO things he likes reading, playing the bass, and studying martial arts.