Affiliate marketing is a complex topic when first encountered.
All kinds of terms are thrown at the novice.
Search engine optimization, Meta Tags, Keywords, Page Rank, Back links….The list seems endless.
In truth, although it can be quite confusing at first, everything is intertwined.
So, as you learn one aspect, you are also gaining knowledge of others.
In this article we will look at how to make the topic less intimidating to the aspiring affiliate marketing beginner.
Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
To begin with let’s take a look at how it actually works.
A lot of companies now have an online presence for their brand and products.
Although traditional retail stores in malls etc, still do a lot of business, e-commerce is growing year after year with no end in sight to it’s amazing growth.
With the worlds obsession with smart phones and social media, it seems that most peoples attention is firmly on their phone screen.
Companies have realized this and are very keen to take advantage of this huge market of captivated potential customers.
Despite a lot of companies now having dedicated social media specialists and large online advertising budgets.
They are still only reaching a tiny fraction of their potential customer base and competition is fierce to say the least.
It is also getting to be very expensive.
Advertising rates are going up and social media specialists, at least those who can provide results, are starting to charge for their expertise.
In steps the affiliate marketers.
Although affiliate marketing has been around for over 20 years now (Amazon started the worlds first online affiliate program in 1996) it is now a core feature of online promotion.
A lot of companies have affiliate programs and more are being set up all the time.
How it works is actually a pretty simple concept.
A company has a website that showcases their products for sale.
In order for them to sell their products they need website visitors (known as traffic).
Granted, not everyone who visits the site will purchase something, but it is a numbers game.
The more people that visit the site, the more chance of some of them making a purchase.
The company will utilize things such as social media and PPC (Pay per click) advertising to drive traffic to their site, and therefore products.
Online advertising and social media specialists can get very expensive, as I mentioned above.
Neither are guaranteed to bring in results, despite any money spent.
Affiliates, however, only get paid on performance. (Affiliates get a commission if they refer a site visitor that results in a sale)
From a companies point of view, this is fantastic. The affiliates only cost money if they bring in money, to put it bluntly.
For affiliates, this is also a fantastic deal.
They have access to a whole inventory of products to promote without parting with a single penny on stock inventory.
The affiliate does not have to worry about overheads such as rent on a premises, staff salary costs, etc like the actual company does.
To make money, all the affiliate has to do is refer traffic to the company website.
This is achieved by the affiliate posting links that direct web traffic to the company website.
The link has a unique I.D. built into the URl that let’s the company know which affiliate referred the individual site visitor.
This is known as a referral link.
If the person buys something from the company website, the affiliate is credited with a commission.
The commission is usually a percentage of the total sale.
Andrew has joined an affiliate program for a company that sells health and fitness supplements.
The program pays 10% commission on all sales.
Over the course of a month, Andrew posts referral links on his blog and social media pages.
He refers 6000 people to the company website during the month.
1200 people end up making purchases from the supplement company website.
The total amount of sales referred by Andrew ends up being $48000. (The customers spend an average of $40 each)
The company pays Andrew 10% which = $4800.
Not bad for a month.
Now Andrew aims to refer even more people next month and to keep increasing his referral numbers month over month.
I Have Written An Article That Goes Into Deeper Detail
Some Common Affiliate Marketing Terminology
Here are some common terms that you will encounter.
A unique I.D that is embedded into an affiliate link. The I.D. indicates which Affiliate is responsible for referring a sale.
A tracking link (Sometimes called a referral link) URL that contains an Affiliates unique I.D. code that indicates the individual that referred a sale to a merchant.
This is a program offered by merchants who will provide affiliates with tools such as banners and other promotional materials in order for them to promote the merchants products. The merchant will offer affiliates a commission or bounty in exchange for qualified sales or referrals.
A website that uses a series of posts to provide informational content for visitors to the site. Often considered as a diary format due to the posts being displayed in order of date created.
A word used to identify the topic of a piece of content on a web page or to retrieve a piece of content via a search engine request.
Organic Search Results
Organic means content, such as pages, that are ranked in search engine results and produce traffic.
An abbreviation of the term Search Engine Optimization. The practice of optimizing web content in order to appear high in search results and therefore achieve a high PR (Page Rank).
I Have Written An Article That Goes Into Deeper Detail
How To Get Started
To get started in affiliate marketing you are going to need a few things set in place.
First of all, without doubt, you are going to need to learn the skill set needed.
There is no escaping this.
I will link to articles at the end of this section that will guide you on this.
You will also need the following.
I will give a brief overview of each.
Choose And Research A Niche
You will have to decide what kind of niche (topic) you are going to be working in.
A very strong suggestion of mine is that you choose something you are really passionate about and have at least a competent level of knowledge about.
This is not to say you can’t learn more as you go, but avoid the temptation to pick something you know nothing about just based on the money potential you may see.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are prepared to put in enough study to be able to write about a topic, then by all means, do so.
But this is why I mention that you have to be passionate about the topic, or at least have a strong interest.
When you are affiliate marketing, you are going to be spending a lot of time researching, writing, and creating content.
I’m talking about a lot of time, not a few hours here and there, not if you want to be successful anyway.
When choosing a niche, be sure to have a look around online to see how popular it is.
Look on online forums, social media pages, product reviews, etc.
This will tell you what people are looking for and talking about with regards to the topic.
It will also give you an idea of the level of competition you are going to be up against.
Find Affiliate Programs.
Once you have chosen a niche and put in some early research, you should then look around for affiliate programs with products in your niche.
You can usually find these at the bottom of a brand or product website.
Look for a link usually labeled either “Affiliates” or “Partners”.
It may not always be located at the bottom, but it usually is.
Another way is to simply Google “the brand name affiliate program”
Take a look around, see what is available, and also what kind of commission rates they are offering.
Set Up A Blog
When you are confident you have chosen your niche and have found ways to monetize it via affiliate programs, then you can consider setting up a blog.
A blog is going to be your central hub, so to speak.
It is where you will host your content such as articles and direct social media back to it, in the hopes they either convert into sales, or they themselves, re-share it on social media.
I typically use WordPress, for my Blogs. This site is created using that platform. But there are plenty of options available.
You will also have to research a domain, I have written an article here on choosing a domain name
Here is a video from the WordPress YouTube Channel
Set Up Social Media
Once you have addressed the above steps, you should then set up a social media presence.
I advise sticking to one or two platforms at first, because each platform has a lot of its own nuances, and you also do not want to overwhelm yourself in the early stages.
Some of the most common platforms used for affiliate marketing promotion are listed below.
When you have the above infrastructure set in place, it is time to create content.
Content can range from articles, pictures, infographics, videos, and so forth.
This is what you will spend the vast majority of your time doing.
With articles you want to create content that both informs and interests, but also leads them to where you want them to be and what you want them to do.
If you are promoting a product, then a great way of doing this is to write a review of the product and put affiliate links to the product at the bottom.
Be honest in your reviews.
List the good, bad, and the ugly.
This builds trust with the reader, and let’s be honest.
Is there such a thing as a perfect product?
Obviously do not find faults for the sake of it, but do not gloss over them either.
If your content is compelling enough, it will lead the reader to the links at the bottom.
If they click through and end up purchasing the product, you make money.
Videos can follow the same concept and at the end of the video you can prompt the viewer to click the affiliate links in the description beneath the video.
Promote On Social Media
One you have a good selection of content, which you will keep adding to, you will then spend time promoting it on social media.
This can be tweets with links to your content.
Facebook posts that lead your followers to reviews etc on your blog.
Videos as I described above.
Whatever it takes to get people to your links, and therefore through to the products you earn commission on.
This is the marketing aspect of affiliate marketing.
Getting peoples attention and getting to click your links through to products.
There are many tried and tested methods, but never be scared to get creative!
That’s what marketing is all about.
Getting peoples attention.
Where To Learn Affiliate Marketing
Here is an article that tells you where to get professional training from.
Don’t Forget To Book Mark The Home Page!
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