If you want to make money online then affiliate marketing is just about the easiest way to get started. In this post, we will examine what affiliate marketing is and the benefits of becoming an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is an easy concept to grasp and you can get started very quickly with little or no investment. But it is not as easy as you might think and you will have to be consistent with your efforts to get the results that you want. Very few people make a lot of money with affiliate marketing but it is certainly possible.
So what is Affiliate Marketing?
When you are an affiliate marketer you will recommend products and services created by others. Each time you make a sale using your unique affiliate link you will earn a commission. Commissions in affiliate marketing vary from 1% to 100%.
You can promote physical products or digital products (or both) as an affiliate. The product vendor or an affiliate network will provide you with a unique affiliate link for the product. You can then use this to recommend the product to others.
There are several ways that you can recommend a product or service as an affiliate. If you have your own blog or website you can post content about the product. You don’t even need a website to be an affiliate marketer. Many affiliates use social media for affiliate marketing for example.
Let’s say that you are promoting a digital product where you earn 50% commission which is fairly common. If the product has a $50 cost to the end customer then you will earn $25 from each sale made through your affiliate link. The more that you can get the word out about the product or service the more commission you are likely to make.
The Affiliate Marketing Process
Here is a typical affiliate marketing process:
- Choose an affiliate offer that appeals to you
- Obtain your unique affiliate link from the vendor or affiliate network
- Promote the offer and add your affiliate link in your content
- Receive commissions for all sales made through your link
Let’s take a look at each one of these steps in detail:
Choosing the right Affiliate Offer
There are thousands of affiliate offers available covering every niche. Choosing the right offer is very important. If you have a blog about weight lifting, for example, you will be able to find several physical products and digital products that you can promote.
You could join the Amazon Associates program and promote weight lifting products sold on Amazon. The commissions on physical products tend to be very low in the region of 1% to 8%. So to make good money you should target high ticket products such as home gym equipment.
There are many digital products available in the health and fitness niche. You should have no trouble finding a product related to weight training. This could be a video training course about the best kinds of weight training exercises and how to perform them correctly for example. The Clickbank affiliate network is a good place to look.
When you are choosing a product or service to promote as an affiliate you need to ensure that it is a good choice. Here are some questions to ask:
- Is the product or service a good fit for my online business?
- Is the product or service in demand?
- Does the product or service convert?
- Are other affiliates seeing success from promoting this product or service?
This may seem obvious, but if you have a blog or website about weight lifting you only want to promote related products or services. Promoting baby clothes on a weight lifting website is not going to result in any commissions for you. So finding affiliate offers that are a good fit for your online business is where you need to start.
The next thing to look at is the demand for the product or service. You don’t want to promote an affiliate offer where there is little demand as you are not going to make a lot of commission from this. Products that have a lot of bad reviews are unlikely to be in demand as word gets around fast.
Choosing affiliate offers that convert well is vital for your success. If you use an affiliate network to select affiliate offers then there are usually metrics that will tell you how well each offer converts.
Take a look at the sales page for the product or service. Is the copy convincing? Ask yourself if you would purchase the product. If you wouldn’t purchase it then the chances are people that visit the sales page from your affiliate link won’t purchase it either.
Are there other affiliate marketers promoting the product or service? You can normally see some indication of affiliate activity around an offer from an affiliate network. If there are lots of affiliates promoting the same offer then the chances are good that it converts well and they are making good commissions.
Obtaining your Affiliate Link
To make commissions from affiliate marketing you will need a unique affiliate URL for every product or service that you promote. To obtain an affiliate link you will need to sign up or apply to become an affiliate for the offer you have chosen to promote.
Becoming an affiliate for a product or service should always be free of charge. You are helping the product vendor to promote their offers so you should never have to pay for this. If there is a charge then investigate this thoroughly before getting involved.
You will have to complete an online application form to become an affiliate. With some products, you will need to explain what promotional tactics you are going to use to get the word out. With some affiliate networks such as Clickbank, you can promote any product once you sign up as an affiliate.
If an affiliate network rejects you then don’t give up. Find another product or service to promote elsewhere. This happens sometimes so just chalk it up to experience. Some affiliate networks have very stringent requirements and you may not have the experience that they are looking for.
Once accepted as an affiliate you can obtain your affiliate link. Your affiliate link will be unique to you. It is the way that the affiliate network or product vendor can track sales that you make on their behalf. Make sure that you copy your affiliate links and keep a record of them.
Promoting the Affiliate Offer
You will need to create content to promote your affiliate offers. There are several ways that you can do this:
- Create posts on your own blog or website
- Create a free blog and add relevant content
- Use social media marketing on sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest
- Use video marketing on a site like YouTube
- Use paid traffic such as Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, etc
You need to drive as much targeted traffic to your affiliate offers as possible. This will provide you with the best chance of success. Getting your offer in front of people that will have an interest in it is critical. Don’t waste your time and effort promoting your offer to people who have no interest.
Although you could create a free blog using a service like Blogger or WordPress.com we don’t recommend this. Most people know that these are free and will consider you to be cheap if you do this. If you can’t be bothered to spend a few dollars on a domain name and some web hosting why should your visitors purchase from you?
If you have a limited budget then start with free social marketing. Create a Facebook Page and add posts to it related to your niche and offers. Once you have made some commissions invest in your own blog or website. A domain name costs around $10 a year and web hosting around $10 a month.
One of the most popular and effective ways to promote affiliate offers is to publish a review on your website. Tell your visitors the good and bad points about the product (no product is perfect). Use your affiliate link to drive your visitors to the sales page for the offer.
To get the best results from social media marketing you need to know which platforms your target market use. If you are promoting an offer to businesses then LinkedIn is a must. For consumer products, you can use Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. It is not necessary to have more than one social media presence when you are starting out.
Facebook is the largest social media platform, so if in doubt you can start here. When you are posting any content on social media platforms you need to ensure that it does not come across as spam. You need to provide value in your content posts. Use a service like Bit.ly to mask your affiliate links.
You need to check the terms and conditions of the social network you want to use. Most will not allow you to link directly to an offer these days. You will likely need to create a landing page that contains your affiliate link. If you don’t know and follow the rules then you run the risk of having your social account closed down. Bit.ly may not be enough.
A great way to get targeted visitors to your affiliate offers is to use video marketing. Many affiliate marketers shy away from this because they do not want to show their faces on camera. There are ways of creating videos around your affiliate offers that do not require you to show your face.
YouTube is the second biggest website on the planet. It gets billions of views each day and there are always people searching for product videos. So you can make a product review video for example and optimize it so that it will appear as close to the top of the search results as you can get it.
You can add your affiliate link for the offer in the description under the video. In the video tell your viewers that they can find out more about the product by clicking this link. Some affiliates making some really good money through video marketing on YouTube. This is free traffic for as long as your video remains on the platform.
The fastest way to get targeted visitors to your affiliate offer is to use paid traffic. There are a number of paid traffic sources that you can use:
- Pay per click (PPC) traffic using Google Adwords or Bing Ads
- Social media ads such as Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, etc
- YouTube Ads
- Solo ads
- Native ads
- Banner ads
- Shout outs from social media influencers
Search marketing using PPC ads can be very effective. Your ad will appear at the top of search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo for related keywords. You only pay when someone clicks through to your landing page.
Keyword research is essential for success with PPC. You need to target keywords that have commercial intent such as a specific product or service name and then the word “review”. It is easy to run up high costs with PPC so you need to monitor everything closely.
With social media ads from Facebook and Instagram, you can specifically target your ad to people that you believe will be interested in what you are promoting. This can be very effective. With YouTube Ads, you will use keywords again to identify the best videos to run your ads on.
If you are promoting affiliate offers in the make money online niche then solo ads can be effective. You will purchase clicks from people that have an email list in your niche. You need to choose a good solo ad provider that has a track record and an established reputation.
Native ads appear on sites with high traffic and are best for general offers such as health and fitness and make money online. Banner ads are not as effective as they used to be and you pay for the number of impressions that your banner receives. There are websites where you can pay social media influencers to provide a “shout out” for your offer.
The affiliate network or product vendor will send you the commissions you have earned in different ways. Some affiliate networks pay you instantly when you make a sale. With others, you may have to wait as long as 60 days to receive your commissions.
Always check the payout terms with any vendor or affiliate network you want to join. There will usually be different payment options too such as a check, a direct bank transfer, a transfer using PayPal, Stripe, or another payment processor, and more.
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
There are many benefits to becoming an affiliate marketer. These include:
- You can get started fast
- There are thousands of offers available
- You are not responsible for customer support
- You can do it for free
- There are a lot of tips and advice available online
- You do not have to create products or services
Although there are a lot of benefits, few people make life-changing incomes through affiliate marketing. It requires consistent effort to succeed with affiliate marketing and few are willing to do this. It is not just a matter of sharing your affiliate link. You have to be smarter than that. But if you do it right then you can make a significant income with affiliate marketing.
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What Is Affiliate Marketing?
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