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What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing for beginners may not be an easy path to walk. So if you are the one, then this content is for you.
Let us understand what is Affiliate Marketing in the first place.
You generally seek out a recommendation when you buy anything, whether it be from a friend, family, or any trusted source. Also If you buy anything from any e-commerce site you check star ratings and reviews of the product by customers who have already bought it.
So how will it be if you could become the trusted source whose recommendation people seek to buy anything and that also helps you get new cash inflow? This is known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is mostly seen as a way to generate “passive income”. But that’s not all. You will have to develop relationships with affiliate brands, promote your brand, promote affiliate products and you need to write reviews of the products you are going to promote.
How does Affiliate Marketing work step by step?
Affiliate marketer (or affiliate) promotes a product or service by sharing it on a blog, social media, podcast, etc. Then affiliate earns a commission every time someone makes a purchase through the unique link associated with his/her recommendation.
When someone clicks the unique link, a small file called a cookie gets stored on their device.
An affiliate cookie fulfills two purposes:
- It lets the merchant pin the sale to the actual person.
- It also holds an expiration date, so affiliates get paid even if the buyer delays the purchase.
A cookie’s lifespan decides how long the prospective buyer who clicks through your affiliate link might provide you a profit through a given campaign.
For instance, suppose a seller sets the cookie duration to 60 days. This implies that affiliates have exactly 60 days to complete the deal, once a link has been clicked.
Below are the steps involved in the affiliate marketing effort :
- Sign up for your niche company’s affiliate program.
- Write a killer review covering the company’s products or services you plan to promote. In this review, you need to include a special tracker link that you should have received when you signed up.
- When someone reads your review and clicks on the aforementioned link (after he is convinced) and makes a purchase.
- You are paid a commission.
Commission rates vary depending on the company and the product. You can earn from 5% to as much as 50% in commissions, usually when promoting a class or event. There are also some affiliate programs that provide a flat rate per sale in place of percentage.
Do you need a platform for affiliate marketing?
You can do affiliate marketing on any social media platform like Instagram, youtube but the best way is to have your own website and write blogs, products reviews, and user guides in your niche.
To create your blog website you need to :
- Find and Register domain name
- Get domain hosting
- Choose CMS – WordPress is the most used CMS worldwide
- Find the perfect theme for your WordPress blog site
- Install some essential plugins for better working of your blog site.
How to get started with Affiliate Marketing?
Below are the simple steps you need to perform to get started with Affiliate marketing
Getting to know your Niche
Lots of people ask questions like How do I find my niche for affiliate marketing? Or Which niche is best for affiliate marketing? What niches are most profitable?
Instead of asking these questions to others, you ask yourself – What are your skills? What is your passion ? and What are you enthusiastic about? Will you be able to write content without getting bored?
Your niche is a combination of your knowledge, passion, interest, or enthusiasm. Once you decide on that, then try to get more specific in that area.
For example, if you are skilled in yoga and teaching others is your passion and you are enthusiastic about it then “Yoga training” is your niche. But you need to narrow it down, maybe you just focus on ladies who are above 40 years of age.
Because “if you serve everyone you’ll serve no one”
So you try to become an expert in “Yoga training for women above 40 years”. This way you are going to solve the obesity or other body and health-related issues of ladies who are above 40 yrs of age.
Now you need to do keyword research in your niche to find out the profitable keyword or product/service which you can promote.
At this point, you could team up with companies, join their affiliate programs that sell or produce appliances, gears or provide services related to your niche.
These are things your readers will have an interest in and would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on.
Then you can start creating blogs, reviews, and user guides for products and services in your selected niche and start promoting them. When you write reviews or blog posts on your niche topic you should be giving your honest opinion to readers.
Once your site is up and you have started creating content, then you need to optimize it for search engines to have a better chance of ranking on SERP. Now you’re free to add affiliate links to your blogs.
Finding suitable affiliate programs to promote products
A very important aspect when you talk about affiliate marketing for beginners. Beginners need to be very careful in finding the affiliate programs to promote
We can divide the affiliate programs into three categories :
High-paying and low-volume affiliate programs
These are programs for products with high payouts but fewer customers. Here customers are some other businesses.
Low-paying and high-volume affiliate programs
These are programs for products with low payouts but a massive amount of customer base.
For example, consider Amazon’s affiliate program. You can earn up to ten percent commissions on almost anything Amazon sells.
The other good thing is that you may also get commissions on the entire value of the purchase rather than just the product you recommended.
To succeed in this type of affiliate program, you’ll need a huge amount of traffic.
High-paying and high-volume affiliate programs
These are programs for products with a huge customer base and also pay high commissions.
For example credit cards. Most people need a credit card.
The drawback of these types of products is that they are marketed by experienced affiliate marketers with deep pockets.
So depending on your niche and level of expertise you need to decide which type of affiliate program to go for. If your target is consumers, you should go with the second model of low commissions and higher sales volume.
If you’re targeting businesses, you should go for the first model: high-paying and low volume. The most popular programs in this category are software products or web-hosting services.
Moreover, if there is a product you really want to promote without a public affiliate program, reach out to the company directly and ask if they would be willing to build an affiliate relationship with you.
Creating compelling content
The two rules of creating good content are being honest and having good knowledge of the topic, whether it’s a product/services review or a simple blog.
This will help in creating your community of fans who will trust you for your recommendations
While making money is the main purpose of affiliate marketing, you also have a wonderful opportunity to build your audience, which in turn helps you make more money.
You don’t need to please everybody, therefore the best thing you can do is to frame your review or blog with your audience in mind.
So even if someone reads your review or blog about some product, and then decides not to buy, that is not something you need to worry about. If one finds your review honest and detailed, he may probably return to look for your opinion on other products as well.
Just keep in mind, you are not an advertising agency.
With honesty and a deep understanding of the product or service follow the AIDA format to create your content.
AIDA is a format for crafting persuasive content. But the goal is not actually to persuade the reader to buy the product but to convince him that you are an authoritative voice on this topic.
AIDA stands for:
A = Attention
Get your reader hooked immediately. Let them know why they should pay attention and keep reading. Use powerful words or an image that will catch the reader’s eye and make them stop and read your content
I = Interest
After getting hold of your reader’s attention, now it’s time to make them interested in your content. A good way of doing this is by involving their emotions. Talk about why it is you’re using this product and why you want to share your experience with it with people. Share some anecdote if there is any.
D = Desire
The difference between interest and desire is the difference between wondering about something and actually imagining yourself using that something. If you responded well to a product or service, talk about why. Again, you’ll be appealing to your readers’ emotions, inviting them to relate to your positive experience and showing them that they can have that experience too.
A = Action
Your review should finish with a call to action. This may not necessarily have to be to buy the product even if you share your affiliate link. The CTA could be to subscribe to your blog, newsletter, or follow you or your company on social media.
With the fundamentals of AIDA in your mind as you craft your content, you should be able to create attention-grabbing and action-oriented content.
You can also use content generators online for the first draft and then work on its improvement.
Driving traffic to your Affiliate website
This is also one of the very important things when you discuss affiliate marketing for beginners. Affiliate marketing beginners should know the strategies to drive traffic to their blog site.
After you have created good content. The next step is to get more and more people to read it so that you have a good chance that they will click on your affiliate links.
You need to work on the below-mentioned traffic strategies:
You need to drive organic traffic (free traffic through search engines) to
your website and for that, your articles should be SEO optimized.
As long as you rank high in the search engines for your target keywords, you’ll get free, consistent, and passive traffic.
SEO is actually doing things mentioned below :
(i) understanding what your target customers are looking for in search engines.
(ii) then creating content around those topics and
(iii) finally doing some required things (which includes link building) to push these pages higher in the search engines
This is the best strategy for affiliate marketers as there is no monetary cost involved in this effort.
In this case, you drive traffic by running pay-per-click (ppc) ads on social media sites like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The advantage of paid traffic is that you get traffic by just paying.
But the downside is, running ads will dig into your profits. Also, once you stop paying, your traffic will also stop.
Actually, ppc ads are a great traffic strategy if you are into a high-paying affiliate program.
But if you are new to paid traffic and have no marketing budget then it’s not a good idea. You just need to focus on organic traffic in this case.
Email marketing is about getting the emails of your prospects through your website or other social media and communicating with them.
To build an email list, you need to persuade the readers on your site to sign up by offering them something free like an eBook, an email course, etc.
You can use the freebies to tell your subscriber about new content and keep them coming back to your site for more. This leads to more clicks and sales.
You can also send affiliate promotion emails to your list directly.
Getting clicks on affiliate links
There are a few things you need to consider if you want to get clicks on your affiliate link.
You need to balance link placement in your content. For example, if your affiliate links are down the page then there is very little chance of them getting clicked.
You also need to place the links in the right context. Otherwise, they will look spammy.
Using callouts like tables, and boxes can grab your readers’ attention and make the posts easily readable.
Don’t be in any kind of illusion that, just because you have a killer piece of content, people will click on your affiliate links.
Getting sales from clicks
In affiliate marketing, two kinds of conversions need to happen for you to earn a commission.
The first conversion is – click to the product page.
You are fully in control of this action. Use the above-mentioned strategies to drive traffic to your site to improve your chances of getting that click.
The second conversion is – visitor purchasing the product. Since the merchant controls the checkout, these types of conversion rates are out of your control.
The trick is to look for merchants with programs that convert well.
There are few ways to find them:
- Read online reviews about the company and get to know how the company and its products are rated.
- Look at public income reports where bloggers reveal how much money they are making from their affiliate programs. Search for these reports in search engines. For example, if you search for “income report clickfunnel affiliate”, you’ll see a few blog posts showing how bloggers have made money from Clickfunnel. If affiliates are making good money then that program is converting well.
- If there isn’t much information available about an affiliate program you want to join. Then you need to sign up and ask questions.
This can help you figure out if the affiliate program is worth promoting.
These are the fundamentals of Affiliate Marketing, and applying them will get you off on the right foot. Affiliate marketing takes time.
Focus first on making your first affiliate sale. As your site grows, set new goals, and continue experimenting.
Is affiliate marketing easy?
It’s not easy for beginners. But if you follow the steps mentioned in this article and be patient then gradually you’ll start making good money.
Is affiliate marketing dead in 2021?
Affiliate marketing is not dead in 2021 but it is becoming more challenging now. Every day the competition is increasing which will make affiliate marketing difficult. But still, if you know how to choose the right products to promote, how to create killer content, how to drive traffic to your online asset where you are promoting products, and finally converting prospects to customers, then you’ll be unstoppable.
Why do most affiliate marketers fail?
There could be many reasons why many affiliate marketers fail. But it boils down to failing in strategy to promote the product and get customers to buy.