Affiliate marketing is one of the best and most effective options to monetize your website because people are always looking for reliable sources to guide their purchase decisions. So besides product reviews from other customers, they also look for expert opinions and recommendations. That’s where content from affiliate marketers enter the picture.
Realizing this, 84% of publishers are already creating content to promote affiliate products. If you want to get into the game, this affiliate marketing guide helps you learn how to start affiliate marketing. Let’s dive in.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Before getting into the details of how to start affiliate marketing, you might be curious to learn what it really is and how it works. Understanding the mechanism behind affiliate marketing will help you master your efforts.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is a process in which you promote a product or service and earn a commission from it. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Finding a product or service you want to promote
- Signing up for its affiliate program
- Getting a unique affiliate link, which you promote through your chosen channel
- Earning a percentage of the profit from each sale you refer
As such, affiliate marketing provides a convenient and flexible way to earn passive income. Aside from an initial time investment, you don’t have to put in too much work to start earning. So it’s easy to boost your income on the side while focusing on other work. And since people aren’t directly buying things from you, you don’t even have to worry about customer satisfaction or customer support.
While plenty of publishers and bloggers become affiliates to supplement their income, you even have full-time affiliate marketers whose income solely relies on commissions.
How to start affiliate marketing in 7 steps
Now let’s move on to the main part – how to start affiliate marketing for beginners. Although we quickly outlined the process above, there’s more to affiliate marketing than that if you want to be successful. Besides taking care of the essentials, there are plenty of additional steps to help you optimize your efforts and maximize your affiliate earnings.
1: Narrow down on your niche
While you have the freedom to start promoting whichever products speak to you, narrowing down on a niche is crucial for beginners as it helps you focus your efforts in one particular area. This makes it easier to start building credibility and attracting a specific target audience instead of trying to reach anyone and everyone.
Hyper-focusing on a niche makes affiliate marketing more manageable, especially for beginners. Then once you become more established, you can expand your focus area to include additional niches if you choose.
For instance, TechRadar provides tech buying guides that initially focused on the basics like phones, TVs, laptops, and cameras. But they’ve further expanded their focus based on new developments in the industry, adding sections for wearables, tablets, smart home devices, and more.
2: Find products to promote
Once you’ve decided on a niche to focus on, it’s time to find the products and services you want to promote in that niche. There are several ways to do this:
- Join a big affiliate network – Retail giants like Amazon already have a massive affiliate network that you can join. The best part about joining these big networks is that you’ll have an extensive category of products to choose from, which makes it more likely that you’ll find something you want to promote.
- Promote products you already use – Sometimes, the products you already love and use may also have affiliate programs you can join. Catalog all the products and services you’re already using and pick out the ones that fit your chosen niche. Then check with the company or seller to see if they have an affiliate program you can join.
For instance, let’s say you’re a copywriter and you want to supplement your income through affiliate links on your copywriting blog. And let’s say you’re already using Grammarly to run quick grammar checks and plagiarism tests. So you could consider joining the Grammarly affiliate program.
- Study-related blogs – Another great way to discover hidden affiliate gems is by studying what other blogs in your niche are promoting. Go through their posts to see which products and services they’re promoting and which ones would be relevant to your niche.
3: Choose the right channel
Focusing on one main channel at the start will make your affiliate marketing efforts easier to manage. You can then expand to other channels as you gain a sound footing in your primary channel. Affiliates typically use their blogs or YouTube channels as a primary marketing channel. So choose one that fits your niche and personality best.
4: Create high-quality content
Content quality is the main factor that influences people’s decisions to click on an affiliate link. Your content should be informative and helpful. It should provide your audience with valuable information that can sway their purchase decisions. If you’ve written a detailed review of a new phone, it should be compelling enough to make readers think, “Hey, I want to buy this phone.”
There are several types of content you can create to promote affiliate products, mainly:
- Product reviews – Provide your audience with a detailed review of the product or service. Explore the features and pricing with them and share your unique opinion. If you notice any drawbacks, don’t hesitate to mention them so you can build trust with your audience. Product reviews can be in either written or video format, so they work great for both blogs and YouTube channels.
For example, Merchant Maverick regularly publishes reviews of software and services to promote their affiliate links.
- Tutorials – You can also promote your affiliate links using a detailed guide showing people how to use a product or how to do a certain task using the product. This is a great way to hook people who are already interested in the product and just want to get a better idea of how it works.
Otherwise, you could also create tutorial content involving related products and tasks and find a way to include your affiliate link. For example, gaming tech YouTuber Austin Evans, who has 4.31 million subscribers, created a tutorial video on how to build a gaming PC. He then posted a bunch of affiliate links for the parts and products he used in the video.
- Product comparison – Product comparison posts are another great way to influence people’s purchase decisions through content without being too pushy. This involves comparing two very similar products (of which you are an affiliate) and helping your audience understand which one to buy.
Your comparison will break down the key features, highlights, and drawbacks between the two products. This not only makes the information easier to process but also identifies which product is right for whom.
For example, The Advisor Coach published a blog post comparing Sumo and OptinMonster and promoted their affiliate link for the latter.
- Resource content – Alternately, you can also put together a resource list of products in the same category. For example, you could create a resource page containing 100+ tools for freelancers. This is one of the easiest ways to create content as you don’t have to go too in-depth with each product you’ve listed.
5: Optimise your content for visibility
Whether you’re promoting affiliate links through your blog or YouTube channel, ramping up your SEO efforts is crucial to maximizing your results. Search engine optimization prepares your content to gain more visibility in relevant searches. And the more prominently visibility your content is, the more likely you’ll attract traffic. This then translates to more clicks on your affiliate links.
So if someone searches for “Google Chromecast review,” you want to make sure your blog post or video is one of the first things that pop up. There’s a reason publishers like TechRadar lead the race in affiliate marketing.
6: Cross-promote your content through multiple channels
To further attract more content views and therefore, drive more clicks, you should also promote your content through multiple channels. So for instance, if you publish a new blog post, you should share the post through your social media. Additionally, you could link it in relevant guest posts that you’re submitting to reputable sites or share it through relevant Quora answers, Reddit posts, and more.
7: Manage your affiliate programs effectively
As you get more acquainted with affiliate marketing and start promoting more products, it goes without saying that you’ll find it more challenging to keep track of your efforts. So it’s crucial that you have a way to organize your affiliate programs, links, and commissions in one place.
ClickMeter offers a brilliant solution for this with its affiliate’s tracking tool. This allows you to manage and track all the links you use in your affiliate marketing efforts along with the commissions you get from them. It also lets you customize your links with your domain or channel name, differentiate between real visitors and bots, and test different messages to see which has the biggest impact.
As you can see, affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as signing up for a program and sharing it with people. There’s a lot that goes into making sure that your efforts pay off. Your biggest focus should be on content quality and promotion, but you should be equally invested in managing and optimizing your efforts.
- The top conversion tracking tools for marketers
- 5 Awesome Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Generate More Sales
This blog post is about:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing Strategies
- The Beginner’s Guide on How to Start Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing Guide