If you’ve been looking for a way to make money online, have heard about affiliate marketing but don’t know how to begin, this post is an affiliate marketing how to guide to get you started and off on the right track.
Not everyone who tries their hand at affiliate marketing is successful, and often it’s because they simply weren’t shown the best way to go about it. They didn’t receive any genuine guidance or the right training (if any training at all).
There is no one right way to make money as an affiliate. Instead, there are countless ways you can earn an income – part-time, fulltime or beyond – with affiliate marketing. There are also many things marketers can do that’ll be bad for their online businesses as well.
What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we go any further, in case anyone reading this has heard of affiliate marketing, but doesn’t really know what it means, then this section is for you.
If you already understand the basics of how affiliate marketing works, then by all means skip this section.
The way affiliate marketing works is really very basics. Sure, there’s more to the process of setting things up so you can make decent money with it, but in itself it’s a super simple thing, which is what I really love about it.
You can be an affiliate for one company or retailer – such as Amazon – or you could promote products and services from multiple companies, retailers and affiliate programs. You’re free to do what you like in that regard.
You could think of an affiliate as being an online sales rep, except you’re not employed by anyone and you don’t get paid retainers or salaries.
Many sales reps work for a company on a commission basis. They make a sale and get paid a percentage for their effort. Affiliate marketing works exactly the same way online.
You promote Product A on your website, social media, YouTube videos, sales funnels or however you choose. If someone buys Product A as a direct result of your promotions, you earn a commission.
It really is as basic as that.
You don’t create products. You don’t buy products and then try to sell them. You don’t need any manufacturing or product branding. You’re simply the go between from shopper to product seller and get paid commissions for your efforts.
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This Is Important – Your Job As An Affiliate Marketer Is To Help People
I wanted to mention this very important point near the beginning, because it actually is so vital that it means everything when it comes to success or failure as an affiliate marketer.
Your major role as an affiliate is not to sell stuff to people.
It’s not, though. There are already millions of retailers online doing exactly that. What you need to do as an affiliate marketer is to first help people.
You could do this via writing a product review on something they’re interested in buying, an information article with a recommendation of something that provides a solution to their problem, a how to post that again instructs them on something and provides a solution to their problem.
See where I’m going with this?
People have a specific problem and you provide a solution. They walk away happy and you make some money as a result of helping them.
The wealthiest people in the world are generally those who recognised a problem and provided a solution for that problem, not matter what it might be. They’ll also usually provide massive value too.
This is not the case with every business on earth, but generally, if you can help someone out with a solution to an issue, you can make money, and often a lot of money.
Choose a Niche To Focus On
No matter how you plan to promote affiliate products – website, videos, social media, funnels, email marketing – it’s important to choose a niche to focus on.
What’s a niche?
It’s basically just a subject of interest or category, but fairly well defined. A very broad niche might be “fishing”, whereas a much more refined niche could be something like “fly fishing tackle”.
The niche of this website you are reading now is MMO (make money online), which in itself is very broad. However, because my site heavily focuses on helping people make money as affiliate marketers, one of the main things I recommend is training on affiliate marketing through a company called Wealthy Affiliate.
The reason you want to mainly focus on the one niche is you’ll become (and also look like) an expert on the subject. You’ll gain authority with search engines and potential customers alike.
Making sales as an affiliate marketer is all about trust more than anything else.
People can buy anything online from practically anywhere, but if they’re going to purchase a product or service through your specific recommendation, they first have to trust you as being genuine and that you know what you are talking about.
Another thing to keep in mind is this: Don’t just chase the money and pick a niche because the products attract high commissions. Only choose a niche that you’re either already experienced in, at least have a strong interest in, or feel you can continually create content about the subject.
If you think you’ll run out of ideas after a month, or get bored with the niche you’re considering, then dump it and choose something else.
Over time you can expand your affiliate marketing gig and start introducing more niches and increasing your income potential.
What Promotional Medium Should You Choose?
Just like there are numerous ways to make money online with affiliate marketing, and just about any niche can make you money, there are also a number of promotional methods you can use. I won’t cover every conceivable option here, but just the main ones.
Now you could simply choose just one of these and be successful, but most marketers, at least after a while, combine a few of these to get maximum results and earn maximum income.
Let’s start off with one of the oldest and most common methods affiliate marketers use online.
An Affiliate Website
In a way, setting up a website and filling it with relevant content is quite a labour intensive way to make money as an affiliate, but the real plus of having your own affiliate marketing site is that it’s yours.
It’s your very own piece of internet real estate that will grow in value. Down the track you could even sell your site for a very tidy sum if it goes well.
Another reason why you might consider going the website route is that you can get loads of free search engine traffic and make money out of traffic that you don’t have to pay for.
Also, as you grow your website and it gains in authority over time, you’ll also be creating your own trusted brand, no matter what niche you’re in.
I don’t mean a product brand, but your brand, what you and your site are about and what you stand for.
Another key thing to note is that you can constantly refer people back to your website. If you do Facebook ads, for example, you can direct people to a relevant landing page or post on your site instead of risking having your ad pulled because you’re directly referring people to an affiliate offer with an affiliate link.
It’s the same with videos on platforms like YouTube. You could do a review about a product and, in the video description, link people to a post on your website for more information. That post will contain a call to action and your affiliate link for the product your video review is about.
Obviously if you start an affiliate marketing website you’ll first need a domain name and web hosting. You can get both either through:
Click the link on either one and you’ll be taken through to a comprehensive review of each.
Bluehost is a web hosting company, but they have some awesome deals on hosting packages for anyone wanting to get started in affiliate marketing, and you can also buy domain names directly on the platform.
Wealthy Affiliate also provides web hosting, but without any different options. You can also buy domain names directly through WA. The biggest advantage of Wealthy Affiliate is it’s primarily a training platform that teaches members how to make money with affiliate marketing, mostly via the website method.
Did you know that technically YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine behind Google?
Sure, people don’t search as many diverse things as they do on Google because they’re looking for videos, but you can find videos on just about anything on YouTube. It’s not the only video platform you can target as an affiliate, but it is the best in the form of getting traffic and making money as an affiliate marketer.
Keep in mind too that Google owns YouTube, so if you can get your videos ranked on the YouTube search engine, you can also get them ranked in Google searches as well.
Double the benefits.
You could actually focus on YouTube alone for your affiliate promotions, but the only problem is, YouTube doesn’t like affiliate links, so you’ll need somewhere to send your visitors, and one of the best places is a page on your website.
You can also use video to send people to a landing page where you collect email addresses to build your email list, and email marketing is something we’ll talk more about shortly in a section further below.
The good thing about YouTube is that it’s easier to rank for various search terms and keywords than it is on search engine giants like Google, which is still way more competitive than YouTube.
You could do screencast videos, where you use software to screen capture something you’re showing people how to do on your computer.
You could also do a product review type of video where you actually demonstrate the product on camera. Another type of review is where you’re simply talking on the video while showing screenshots of the product and information about the product
You can also do tutorials, how to videos, general information about your niche, how to solve a problem and lots more.
Don’t be shy about doing video. You don’t necessarily have to have your face on camera, and videos really do convert well, because a lot of people these days would rather watch a video than read a page of text.
Social Media Marketing
Some affiliate marketers only use social media to promote their affiliate offers, but this method does have certain restrictions. The main one being, most social media platforms really frown on you including affiliate links in your posts.
It’s best to combine social media with a website, or at least YouTube videos or a sales funnel.
The most effective way to take advantage of social media is to use it in conjunction with your website. Repurpose website content into social media posts and link back to your site.
You can also use paid promotions, such as Facebook ads, and send traffic to a landing page on your site or a video on YouTube.
Social media platforms to focus on include:
- And others…
Apart from Facebook ads, I really think Facebook isn’t the best these days for promoting stuff, as the platform seriously restricts how many people see your posts.
The same can be said for Twitter. It used to work really well, but has recently lost a lot of its effectiveness unless you pay to advertise on there.
The two best ones at the moment, in my opinion, are Pinterest and Instagram, and interestingly both are very visual platforms. You can also pay to advertise on both, but you still get pretty good reach even without paying for ads.
You just need to expand your network on there and grow a following.
Many marketers swear that this is by far and away the best method to make money as an affiliate marketer.
The great thing about building a relevant email list that is keen on your niche is that it’s yours to keep. You’re not relying on the nuances of Google algorithms, or places like Facebook that might decide they don’t like your advertising.
Once you have a list, you can communicate with them directly, personally, whenever you want.
Don’t constantly market to your list though. Give them lots of free value and toss in a promotion every now and then. Email marketing is all about building a rapport with your list and gaining the trust of your subscribers.
There are a number of ways you can incorporate email marketing as a part of your affiliate marketing efforts. You can just focus on email marketing alone, or have it as part of your overall mix, along with a website, videos and social media.
The idea of email marketing is to focus on building a list of relevant subscribers who are likely to be interested in the products you will promote to them from time to time.
You’ll need an email client to help with this, such as Aweber or GetResponse, and these platforms will store your subscribers and provide you with many tools to make emailing and marketing to your list a breeze.
The best way to entice people to join your email list is to offer them something for free. This is called a “lead magnet”, and one of the most common is a free eBook.
You could also offer a free mini online email course, some sort of cheat sheet, access to a video. All sorts of stuff. eBooks work well though and probably always will.
The idea is they hand over their email address in exchange for the freebie you’re offering them.
When you hear the term “sales funnel”, it can apply to a few methods of getting people to take actions. Often it will involve collecting email addresses and email marketing, but overall the process, in essence, is quite simple.
Not everyone is ready to buy something from you, or even wants to buy something from you. A funnel basically warms them up for the purchase by guiding them through a series of steps.
Here’s a really super basic example of a sales funnel right here in this post.
You found this post by searching for information on affiliate marketing. At the end of this section and post I recommend you go read my review for Wealthy Affiliate, which teaches people how to earn money as affiliates.
You then click through and read my review. In the review there are affiliate links that point to the Wealthy Affiliate sign up page. You click through and join.
What you’ve done there (if you were to do that) is follow a basic sales funnel.
That’s really what a sales funnel is.
By the way, if you do want to join Wealthy Affiliate, you can do so for FREE. There’s nothing to pay and no credit card needed to sign up as a free member.
There is a premium membership option though, and it’s well worth taking it up if you’re serious about making money as an affiliate marketer. There’s so much training and support on the platform. It really is well worth taking a look.
Click the banner below to read my Wealthy Affiliate review now.