In today's guide, we dive into affiliate marketing for beginners.
It is no longer news that affiliate marketing is one of the most profitable online business models that pays on the internet.
As profitable as it can be. Most newbies who are just starting out find affiliate marketing intimidating. However, with this ultimate guide, including the PDF, you are on your way to winning big with affiliate marketing as a beginner.
Today I’m going to show you a better way to start affiliate marketing business model as a beginner that you are.
When you digest this concept, not only will you be able to turn it into a passive income online business alone.
You will be able to use this exact concept to promote any offer and run it successfully from anywhere in the world.
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Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
You may have heard that affiliate marketing is a highly rewarding business model for earning a good income online, particularly if you are just starting out.
This is absolutely true because…
- It doesn't cost a fortune to run – unlike other methods of earning online, you can start affiliate marketing as a beginner even with zero money.
- It is very flexible – as an affiliate, it doesn't stop you from doing other things you cherish.
- It focuses your attention on one thing which is marketing – this tends to save you a whole lot of stress compared to producing your own product from scratch.
There are a lot of benefits to affiliate marketing. This is one top reason I do recommend affiliate marketing for beginners as the best business model to start with.
Affiliate marketing is a global industry worth about $16 billion.
Since 2015, revenue from affiliate marketing programs grows by 10% annually, says Hostingtribunal.
Want a piece of that cake too? Then start your affiliate marketing business today.
You don't know where to start right?
I saw that coming and I believe that is why you are here.
This article guide was written to assist you in starting a successful affiliate marketing business the right way.
To get started with affiliate marketing. I will not only show you the exact steps to follow alone but also how to promote your affiliate product(s) so you can make money.
But before that,
I think I have to cover the basics first to make sure we are on the same page.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where you are paid to promote someone else's products.
Think of it like this, when you help a business or company make a sale, you are rewarded for that sale in the form of a commission. Isn't it?
So for each customer you direct that ends up buying their product or services, you are paid a certain percentage.
Here, you are simply the affiliate of the company, but instead of the normal monthly salary, your affiliate marketing salary is in the form of a commission.
As you can see, two parties are involved here.
- You (as the Affiliate Marketer or Publisher).
- The Company (as the Merchant or Vendor).
Note: I might be using those terms often or interchangeably in this guide.
That being said, the next question is…
How does affiliate marketing work?
When you sign up with a company as their affiliate marketer, you are provided with a unique URL.
This URL contains a special code that helps track the origin of the clicker. So whenever someone clicks on your affiliate link, a special file, known as a “cookie” is installed on their device or browser.
And this tagged cookie does two things:
- Helps the vendor track the origin of where the sale came from which, in this case, indicates you as the affiliate who brought the sale for them.
- The cookie also has a duration – it has an expiration date which means that it won't be on the user's browser forever. Therefore, any sale outside the cookie expiration date won't be tracked to you.
To help you get my illustration better, here's an affiliate marketing example:
Imagine that you are promoting a smartphone for Jumia (the company).
And a customer (say Rachael) clicked on your special affiliate link (that was provided to you by Jumia) but something came up that requires her immediate attention, so she didn't buy at that moment.
4 days later, she re-visited Jumia website, and she bought the phone, possibly bought other items in addition.
You see, 4 days ago, when she clicked on your affiliate link, the cookie was installed on her browser.
Since Jumia cookies last for 7 days, you will still get your commission when she buys (before the cookies expires).
Even better, you will be compensated for every other thing she bought in addition to the phone.
Despite your link pointing to only one product category – smartphones (as long as the cookies is till active).
Now, let's talk about the earning potentials.
How much can you make as an affiliate?
Affiliate marketing is a game of number.
There are no limits to what you can make as an affiliate marketer because there are tons of products you can promote within your niche.
And this is why the effort you put in place plays an important role here.
Let me explain this further.
The more effort and time you put in your marketing tactics, the higher the chance of making more money. You can set a target income for yourself on a monthly basis and work towards it.
How to start affiliate marketing for beginners
Ready to go?
These are the 7 steps to a profitable affiliate marketing that makes money.
- Step #1: Choose a platform.
- Step #2: Pick an affiliate product niche.
- Step #3: Join affiliate programs.
- Step #4: Create great content.
- Step #5: Drive traffic to the content
- Step #6: Optimize content for conversion.
- Step #7: Do analysis and adjust.
In addition to the steps above,
I will give you one more bonus step which is my smart blueprint of running affiliate marketing for a quicker result. You will find out as you read along.
Now, let me discuss each step in-depth.
Step #1. Choose a platform
This is a very important step that can either make or break your affiliate marketing business.
I wouldn't want you to joke with it all.
Irrespective of the platform you will use to start your affiliate marketing business.
If you are thinking long-term. I will fully recommend you start a blog.
You will see the reason why I advised that, as you read along.
Affiliate marketing with a blog
Your own blog becomes your own asset (your own platform) when it comes to affiliate marketing business.
Let me explain, you may choose to use social media as a platform to promote your offers. A good example is using a platform like Instagram, where you place affiliate links on your bio.
Well, that is not a bad idea at all.
But there is a little issue here.
Remember, you do not own your Instagram account, though you think you are, but Facebook Inc. does.
And they decide to choose when and how they update their policies which you may not be aware of, most times.
And if by any chance, you mistakenly violate their terms or algorithm, or maybe your account got hacked (this is common these days too), my friend, your account is gone. All your efforts are gone.
Why build someone else's platform when you can build your own? Starting a website (or blog) benefits you in many ways.
To name but a few:
- You control what happens on your blog, who sees what, where and when.
- You don't have to worry about losing all your work and everything gone.
- Your income will be consistent (as long as you keep working).
- You can easily scale and expand as you grow bigger.
Once your blog is up and running, optimize it so that it can be found on search engines like Google. In this way, you can get rank and profit from free organic traffic.
Affiliate marketing with Youtube
Alternatively, you can create video content, upload it to YouTube, and you can include your affiliate link in the description.
YouTube work best for video review as an affiliate platform.
Here, you record a video around the offer you are promoting talking about the benefits, the pros and cons of the product.
Finally, you ask the viewers to use your link or special discount code to purchase the product (or even promise them additional bonuses if they through your link).
If you give a genuine (unbiased) review, the buyers tends to love you for that and they reciprocate the favour by using your affiliate link to buy the product.
In my opinion, Youtube is great but I think the website tends to win overall comparing the capacity of a blog and a YouTube channel.
You may try both, or choose your own platform, I won't impose anything on you.
But for this guide, I will focus more on the website as an affiliate platform.
Step #2. Pick a product niche
Let me shock you first, did you know that the number of blogs on the internet is over 600 million. As if this isn't enough, the number of bloggers in the US alone is approximately 32 million+ – Statista.com
What does this mean for a beginner who want to start affiliate marketing?
You will encounter bigger competitors in your major field and if you want to compete with them, you can't win them because they have dominated the categories long before you started.
In order to make blogging work for you, then you must niche down.
So, what is a Niche?
A niche is a specific segment of the market for a specific type of topics, audience, goods or service.
Let me explain further,
Take for instance, If you are going to be blogging about ‘health' for example, your chance of getting heard here is very thin as the topic “health” is a broad one and has a lot of established publishers already.
So, you need to dig deeper and go with a slightly more specific sub-topic like ‘Losing weight for women ‘.
With such a specific niche, there is a higher chance of success in this niche because you can create a targeted audience, and you can easily rank on search engines because the competition here is lower.
Please don't get me wrong here, I'm not scaring you off competition. As it turns out, competition is a good sign that a niche is profitable and worth investing in.
I am only saying you should focus more on where your success is more guaranteed than chasing shadows.
And this pop the question, “how do you choose the right niche?”.
Let me give you some tips…
How to pick a good niche for affiliate marketing
I can understand that it can seem overwhelming at times, but here are few suggestions that can guide you in picking a good niche.
#Tip 1: Choose a niche you are passionate about but profitable
Your passion will keep you going even when the result isn't coming the way you wanted it first but don't get carried away by your emotions around a niche, be sure to know if there are buying audiences in it.
#Tip 2: Choose a niche with decent monthly traffic
You need a niche that has keywords with sufficient search volume such that when you rank on the search engine, you get decent traffic.
#Tip 3: Go for niches with medium to low competition
Just like I said earlier, competing with popular brands is a lost battle (even before you start).
#Tip 4: You need products that actually solve people's problems
Avoid promoting counterfeit products (or products you can't stand by) just to earn quick money.
Please note: Do not narrow your niche down too much. Else, you'll soon run out of content ideas for the subject.
The bottom line is this – find a niche with moderate competition.
Step #3. Choose an affiliate program
There are many affiliate programs out there with their own kind of product to promote.
I will like to categorize them into:
- #1: Physical product affiliate program
- #2: Digital product affiliate program
- #3: In-house product affiliate program
#1: Physical Product Affiliate Program
These are popular marketplaces like an online shopping store that sells varieties of handy products. And most accept external vendors to list out items on their platforms too.
On this platform, you can find and promote physical products in all kind of niches like beauty, game, smartphones, clothing & apparels, watches and accessories, etc…
You can register with them to become their affiliate marketer. But one common major issue with platforms like this are low commissions payout.
#2: Digital Product Affiliate Program
These are online digital marketplaces (or websites) where you can find and promote digital products (like ebooks, courses, online software, membership program, video tutorials, etc…) in several categories.
Digital products are accessed electronically by the end-user upon payment.
Commissions are usually high because there is no repeated running cost on products, unlike physical products.
Popular digital marketplaces are:
- Clickbank.com (Global)
- JVZoo.com (Global)
- Warriorplus (Global)
- Sell Health (Global)
- Expertnaire.com (Nigeria)
#3: In-House Affiliate Program
These are standalone companies that have their own inbuilt affiliate program, giving affiliate marketers the opportunity to promote their product or services.
Most run a B2B (Business to Business) or a SaaS (Software as a service) business model.
Commission rates are highly rewarding – it can be a one-time (high commission) or a low commission (but on a recurring basis).
Now that you know what affiliate programs are and types we have, the time has come to choose one to focus on.
How to know which affiliate program to run with?
The program you choose will depend on your expertise as well as your niche.
If your niche is targeting end consumers with physical consumption, then it makes more sense to promote physical or handy products here.
Alternatively, if your niche isn't about physical product, then the digital marketplace is appropriate for you to find digital products to promote (as regards your niche or expertise).
If yours has to do with a B2B or SaaS, then consider the In-House affiliate program network.
The majority of companies affiliated with this B2B / SaaS model are under the web hosting, productivity, and digital marketing industry.
In the meantime, a quick Google search query will get a ton of results easily sorted for you. By finding affiliate marketing programs then filter the results based on your niche.
E.g – Skincare + Affiliate program
A simple query like this will find you high paying affiliate networks you never knew.
Once you finish this step, it is time for the next step:
Step #4. Content creation
Creating quality content is very crucial here.
And by creating quality article or blog post, it means you are producing actionable and valuable content that your readers crave so that your affiliate links will naturally fit in and not to look spammy.
You don't have an idea right?
Okay, I have few suggestions for you.
Let take for instance that you are planning to create a review (kind of content) for some products. Instead of picking content randomly on the internet. You actually buy the product and experience it first hand.
And when it comes to writing a review about such a product, you will have more useful information to share to those who need this review to make their buying decision.
I cannot tell you enough how this simple strategy alone is a deal-breaker in affiliate marketing.
Don't be like most bloggers that reviews product without a clue on how it works.
However, there is a higher chance that you won't possibly buy all the products to review or maybe you do not have enough cash to buy every product you promote.
In a situation like this, …
Here's a better approach to reviewing products
First, start from reviewing the products you are already using (or have used).
You can interview close friends who bought or used other products you haven't used.
Then compile their thoughts and opinions together in a video or blog post, but remember to include your affiliate link in the content. This is far better than copying other people's blog content for a review.
Another thing to keep in mind when creating a very lucrative affiliate marketing business online is traffic
And this pop the question, how can you drive traffic to your content.
See how below in the next step which is…
Step #5. Traffic generation
This step is very important in your affiliate marketing business.
By the word “traffic“, I mean getting more eyeballs (or readers) to discover your content.
And here goes the question again…
How do I generate traffic to my affiliate content?
No matter how valuable your content is, without an audience to consume it, you won't earn money.
So, how do you get traffic to your awesome content?
I have 3 sources of traffic that you can choose or better still, employ them all for maximum ROI.
a) Paid traffic
This is where you spend some money to generate traffic through advertisements.
For example, using social media advertisements and PPC (pay per click) advertisements. Or pay to advertise on popular blogs (with massive traffic) to get eyeballs to your content.
The beauty of paid traffic is that it gets you instant result (traffic) so far you have the money to spend on adverts.
And the ugly part, it stops, the very moment you exhaust the advert budget or when you stop paying for it. Besides, maybe eating into your profits.
Consequently, as a beginner affiliate, I would recommend you to stay away from paid traffic if you are just starting out. Use it only when you have the budget. Otherwise, stick to the next traffic source.
b) Free organic traffic
You can get free traffic through search engines like Google, thanks to SEO (search engine optimization).
This is where you optimize your content with relevant keywords that users use when researching your niche or affiliate product.
With this traffic source, and if done well, you are sure to get a consistent readership ranking for your chosen keywords. Though the result might not be immediate but it will pay off in the long run.
Basically, this is what you have to do:
- Do your research online for your target audience.
- Create valuable content around that topic of interest.
- Take part in technical stuff that will help you rank and stay there.
Given that it takes a little effort to get organic traffic to your content and sometimes you may need to throw some money into the exercise.
Alternatively, if you are just starting out, you can make good use of free traffic resources at your disposal and effectively promote your affiliate links via:
- Facebook groups
- Twitter, Instagram
- Snapchat or Tiktok
But have it at the back of your mind to have your own platform for bigger opportunities.
Another awesome traffic source is …
c) Create an email list
Building an email list from the start of your affiliate marketing business is very crucial.
As long as death is certain, some of your readers will never return to your blog, unless you do something.
That is, something to capture their emails so you can keep in touch with them over and over again.
To do this, you will need to give out something for free (called a lead magnet) in return for their email address.
The freebie is your ethical bribe but must be enticing, else, no one will consider it.
For example: If you are blogging about weight loss program, create a workout course and provide it for free in exchange for an email address.
With this in mind, you don't have to break the bank to come up with a lead magnet.
Here are some other lead magnet ideas you can give for free…
- An e-book
- A cheat sheet
- A discount code
- A checklist
- A coupon code
- Giveaways, etc.
As long as your freebie is quite valuable, you are good to go. Don't give trash and expect good result.
Time to wrap everything up and make them work towards one goal: Effective selling.
Step #6. Content optimization
Optimize your content and blog for better conversion.
A mouth-watering product does not guarantee that you will make a sale. That is to say, people do not go about clicking links without obvious reasons.
Thus you need to be intentional on how you position your affiliate link.
Something like this:
- Place links where your readers are more likely to click on them (Know strategic places to include your affiliate links in your content).
- Your content can be in the form of a list post or comparison tables (for reviews).
- Bold important texts to highlight important parts of the content. Doing this attracts the attention of skimmer.
When people come to your affiliate content, likely actions they might perform is:
- Click your link to the product page.
- Then buys the product (or not).
The truth is, you are only in control of the first action: getting them to click using the strategy above.
But the problem lies in the other end, which is buying the product.
But here are few suggestions that may likely increase your conversion rate.
#1. Make sure that the products you promote are proven to convert
Don't just promote any product that comes your way, be sure to find out if the product sells itself first.
Here is a quick self-test, ask yourself, does the product look so promising that you will buy it yourself.
#2. Ask merchants what their conversion rates are
If your merchant is reachable, you can ask them about their conversion rate all these years about their products and they will gladly tell you.
#3. Promote product that others are already promoting
Spot out affiliate products others are promoting and are making good sales from. You can easily tell from the testimonies of other affiliate marketers. Some may even publish their income reports online.
#4. Build potential buyer's email list
By building your email list around the affiliate product gives you the chance for proper follow-ups. Doing this can boost your conversion rate by 20%.
Lastly, you do not need to repeat the same mistakes you made and to avoid this, see the next step.
Step #7. Analyze your result
No doubt… you will make mistakes along the way. In fact, a ton of it.
And that is okay but you shouldn't repeat same mistake repeatedly.
By analyzing your data is the only infallible way to avoid pit holes.
Luckily for you, many of the affiliate marketing websites will give you access to the dashboard. Here, you get first-hand information about the performance of your affiliate campaigns.
All that is left for you is to sort through them, find what you care about, and use it to make future decisions.
Let take for instance: If you are running multiple affiliate marketing campaigns for different products, you can generate reports on the best performing products based on the conversion rates.
Then, take that information and tweak your affiliate marketing strategy for such products. By doing this, you are ensuring that 20% of your time is spent on the effort that is responsible for 80% of your income.
Affiliate Marketing for Beginners Summary
There is no doubt that affiliate marketing works, even if you are a complete beginner. The only problem is running away thinking that you will make money overnight.
Affiliate marketing needs patience, consistency, and learning just like any other business. All you have to do is follow the steps given, and in no time, you will earn your first affiliate commission.
Focus more on creating valuable content and building a loyal customer base, and your future sales will come from them. This is the foundation for building a profitable affiliate marketing business empire.