Sergey Aliokhin is a Marketing Manager at andcards. Apart from exploring different marketing and SEO things he likes reading, playing the bass, and studying martial arts.
Affiliate marketing is a popular tactic of earning a commission by promoting other company’s products to drive sales and generate significant online revenue.
It is not a secret that affiliate marketing is one of the business directions that lets people build a lucrative business across different niches.
Just imagine that business spending on affiliate marketing will hit $8.2 billion in the USA by 2022 according to Statista.
Therefore, if you still don't know how to use affiliate marketing for your business needs, this guide will share 7 practical pieces of advice that will help you out.
Basics of Affiliate Marketing You Should Know
To put it in a nutshell, affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other companies' services or products and earning money through the commissions.
By doing affiliate marketing you become a salesperson for the specific company. You sell the product and get a reward in return.
Being an affiliate marketer means that you can promote and sell the products for different companies simultaneously and get all the commissions you deserve.
What is the exact scheme of affiliate marketing?
When you make a deal with a certain merchant, this merchant provides you with a unique link. This link tracks the sales with the help of a file that is called a "cookie".
This file helps the merchant to attribute the sale back to the right person and it holds an expiration date (you will get paid even if the purchase was delayed.)
A good question is how much money do affiliate marketers make?
It has no limits. And it depends on the niche you're selling.
But if you want to make six or seven figures per month, you must work hard on your brand first of all. If nobody knows you, your commissions will be just a couple of dollars.
7 Steps to Start With Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign
Every affiliate marketer has his or her secrets on how to succeed. However, if you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you can follow these 7 steps that will help you get involved in it.
1. Choose the right platform for you
You can do affiliate marketing across different platforms. Even social channels work for this activity as well. For example, here is how this person does affiliate marketing using Instagram:
Nevertheless, the practice shows that the majority of affiliate marketers run their business using a blog or YouTube.
Blogging is a quite widespread way of making money with affiliate marketing. It is not as expensive but you will need to work on website optimization to make your blog ranking well.
Once your blog ranks positively on Google, you can start adding affiliate links to your content.
YouTube costs nothing. It is a completely free platform where any person can create a channel and start uploading video content.
Here is the example of a channel called "Books with Chloe" that reviews different books and contains affiliate links:
The host of this channel creates video content based on book reviews and adds affiliate links to the books featured in the specific video.
However, if you want to include affiliate links, you must always disclose this fact. Keep in mind that FTC (Federal Trade Commissions) requires you to inform about receiving income from your affiliate programs.
2. Decide what niche you want to use for affiliate marketing
The first thing that you should take into account is that your target must be a less competitive niche. Plus, focusing on a topic that goes under a specific category.
For example, the topic "musical instruments" is very wide. While targeting the topic "keyboards" has more sense.
By following this narrowed-down topic you will be able to build a more focused audience for your blog. It will help your website rank better.
Afterwards, start doing your affiliate marketing.
3. Find affiliate program
There are three affiliate programs available for your choice:
- High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs
If you want to deal with a product that has a mass appeal, this program is for you.
The biggest advantage of this type of program is that you will get high commissions. However, the downside of it is that this program attracts lots of other affiliate marketers with a high level of experience.
In other words, it is going to be hard to compete in this program if you are an amateur.
- High-paying, low-volume affiliate programs
This type of program is the most desirable partnership for clever affiliate marketers. It deals with the products that have the highest level of payouts.
However, keep in mind that this program covers niche products that have a limited amount of buyers. Plus, if you are not an affiliate marketer with deep pockets, you should be careful with this program as well.
- Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs
You can find a huge amount of products that have mass appeal but with a low level of payouts.
This program is commonly used for selling goods on Amazon.
For example, if you host a YouTube channel where you review PC games, you can insert a unique link to the game that your subscribers can buy on Amazon:
As you can see, the price for these games is $19. According to Amazon's affiliate program, you will be able to earn up to 10% commissions on selling the games. A simple calculation gives us $1.9 per sale.
To make this program actionable, you will need lots of traffic to gain.
Which program to choose?
It depends on your level of experience as an affiliate marketer and the niche you're willing to move your business.
For instance, if you are going after a business audience, high-paying and low-volume type of program should be your choice. But if your target is consumers, you should be focused on a "low-paying and high-volume" program.
To sum up, you should think twice before choosing the program because it is all about your time and money.
4. Work on your content
Being an affiliate marketer means being able to create high-quality content where your affiliate links would fit organically.
As you know, the aim of your content is to help people solve their problems. Therefore, if you use affiliate links in your content, you must be sure that the product you promote fits your audience's needs.
Consequently, you can't promote a book that you haven't read. You can't promote a guitar you have never played on before. You can't promote the SEO service that you don't use by yourself.
The best way to handle content creation for your affiliate marketing needs is to write product reviews based on your personal user experience.
5. Don’t forget to drive more traffic to your website
It is not enough to create high-quality content. If it doesn't drive any traffic to your blog, it is useless. And without traffic, your affiliate links won't get any clicks.
No clicks = no sales.
Hence, you must apply some strategies that would help you drive more traffic to your blog.
- Optimize your content
The primary goal of SEO is to make your pages rank higher in SERP. When your pages rank well for the target keywords, you get free and passive traffic to your blog.
SEO allows you to understand your target audience and create content that would fit their needs. Plus, it is the solution that helps you push the pages higher across search engines.
- Building an email list
It is critically important to take care of building an email list. By having the email list you will be able to stay in touch with your target audience and share your content.
It leads to driving more traffic, affiliate links "clicks", and sales.
You can add a sign-up form on your blog landing page or at the end of each article:
Furthermore, you can add more creativity to building your email list by offering something for free, like courses, eBooks, etc.
- Pay for traffic
Paid traffic is when you get traffic to your blog by using PPC ads.
Once you start paying for the ads, your traffic starts to grow.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of downsides to using paid ads. First of all, it costs you money. Secondly, when your ads stop working, the traffic stops coming to your blog.
If you have a low budget for using PPC ads, you should better avoid trying this method for your affiliate marketing efforts.
6. Make sure your affiliate links get “clicks”
One thing is to create awesome content - the other is to make people click on your affiliate links.
How to do this effectively?
- Place the links correctly
Don't place your affiliate links at the end of your content. There are quite fewer chances that people will scroll the page until the end. And don't insert links in your introduction section - it might look spammy. You must find a balance in the link placement.
- Don't forget about context
If you put affiliate links to your content without paying attention to context, it will look spammy as well.
Let's say you are writing a post on the best PC horror games for $20. When your narration comes to the place where you want to insert affiliate links, you should use a product name but not a collective one. For instance:
"Now, it’s time to evaluate a few PC horror games, like game name 1, game name 2, game name 3."
- Use call-to-action
Make sure you don't forget to use call-to-action elements. It will help you attract users' attention and make your content more readable. You can use different boxes, buttons, or tables for this purpose.
7. Your links must be converted into sales
If your links don't convert into sales, your affiliate marketing doesn't work.
There are two stages of conversion: the first one is when a potential customer clicks to the product page and the second one is when this person buys a product.
If the second stage of conversion is under a merchant's control, you are fully responsible for the first action.
Keep in mind that your purpose is to find merchants that offer an affiliate program that converts well. To find such trust-worthy programs, you should:
- Review public income reports
Go to Google and find public income reports for the platform you are interested in. Let's see what you can get by reviewing the income reports for Amazon affiliate program:
You can see a report of an affiliate marketer that made over $1K in 7th-month blogging.
- Don't shy away from asking questions
There are cases when you can't find the information you need on some specific affiliate program.
You should reach out to the company that offers this affiliate program and ask your questions. You must know all the pitfalls that might not be expected.
Affiliate marketing can be your next main source of income. It is a kind of game that you must know the rules to play.
It is not a lottery where you can hit the jackpot in a night. It always takes time, patience, and efforts.
However, if you follow these 7 steps listed in the post, your first affiliate sale is not long in coming!
If you find this piece of content is useful, feel free to share on your socials. And don't forget to comment!
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