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Times are tough and the entire world is seemingly looking for ways through which to earn a living online. You are probably one of these people. The bad news is that it’s not that easy to start earning money over the internet. It takes time and effort. Most people stumble because they do not know what they are doing. They hear about affiliate marketing and they set out to do it without first carrying out research. If that is what you are doing, you need to STOP RIGHT NOW! You need to first read this affiliate marketing for beginners guide before making serious mistakes. I know, because I have been at it for over a decade. My name is Francisco and my company, Planet Marketing, specializes in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Affiliate Marketing and Remarketing. Not only am I an affiliate for tens of companies whose services I sell through this website, but I also run my own affiliate marketing program in-house. In fact, I make thousands of dollars through affiliate marketing every month. So, you can be sure that this is not just an article written by someone without an idea what they are talking about. In this post, I am going to;
- Define Affiliate Marketing.
- Take a look at Affiliate Marketing from the point of view of the affiliate.
- Take a look at affiliate marketing from the point of view of the vendor.
- Give you the advantages of affiliate marketing.
- Show you how to get started with affiliate marketing.
What the heck is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is something that you will hear mentioned when people talk about making money online. People will also talk about affiliate marketing while discussing passive income sources. These are all topics that I have covered on this blog. So, what in the name of everything is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing can be defined as a type of marketing under which businesses hire the services of affiliates to sell goods and services for a commission.
How does affiliate marketing work?
I have previously written another article in which I talk about how affiliate marketing works. Check that out to learn more. Anyway, this article is meant to give a simplified glimpse into affiliate marketing for the benefit of beginners. So, how does affiliate marketing work?
- The starting point of affiliate marketing is the brand that comes up with a product. The product can be anything, from the latest smart watch to online courses. I personally have come up with a DIY Facebook Ads Marketing Course that I sell using affiliates. Note that the brand is sometimes referred to as the vendor or merchant.
- Vendors engage the services of affiliates to do marketing of the product on their behalf. But how do vendors and affiliates meet? Well, vendors can engage affiliates directly to sell their products and services. Another option is for vendors to join affiliate networks. These are companies whose sole purpose is to serve as the meeting place for vendors and affiliates. The advantage of an affiliate network is that a vendor can find thousands of relevant affiliates there without having to run around looking for them all over the internet.
- Affiliates who join a brand’s program are given a unique link. These unique links identify individual affiliates and are used to track who is making what sales.
- The affiliate then creates content that is relevant to the brand’s products. It’s important to emphasize the issue of relevancy here. The whole trick lies in making sure that information about a product gets before the right kind of audience at the right time. Without that, the entire effort will likely fall flat on its face.
- The affiliate embeds their affiliate link at strategic places throughout their content. As an example, this is an affiliate link for Shopper Approved, one of the companies for which I am an affiliate. The company specializes in online reviews, which are a great way of boosting a brand’s online visibility.
- People who are interested click on the link and they go on to buy the product or service.
- Once that is done, the affiliate is paid a commission.
Types of affiliate payments
Again, I need to repeat that article is aimed at explaining affiliate marketing for the benefit of beginners. If you have been researching affiliate marketing, then it’s definite that you are looking to make money. Perhaps you are a stay at home mom or a single mom looking to supplement your income. Anyway, one of the things that will be of interest to you is that there are two types of payment when it comes to affiliate marketing. These are recurring payments and once off payments.
Once off payments
Once off payments, as their name implies, are once off. You, as an affiliate, join an affiliate program and you get your affiliate link. From there, you start promoting products and/or services for the brand. Now, when someone buys, you get a single payment and that is that.
This is usually what happens with affiliate marketing programs for web hosting companies. I am personally an affiliate for such companies as Bluehost, DreamHost and InterServer. When I make a sale on behalf of these companies, I get paid a fixed amount. The amounts for web hosting companies are around $100. So, you can actually make a decent living if you are able to refer lots of people to these companies. However, this is a flooded marketing and unless you are very good, you may want to look elsewhere.
Once off payments are good, but beginners should, instead, be on the hunt for affiliate programs that offer recurring payments. I have already noted that times are tough, and the entire world is on the hunt for passive sources of income. One of the ways through which you can begin to earn a decent living without having to continuous do back breaking work is by joining programs that will continue to pay you a certain percentage of your reference’s monthly subscription.
I personally am an affiliate for a number of companies that offer this type of payment. One of these is Shopper Approved, a company that you can use to get star ratings in Google Ads. Now, this is a great company that I use myself for online reviews. And as an affiliate, I have referred over 300 people to this company over the years. That’s a great number that ensures that I get thousands of dollars from this company every month. So, the people that I refer to this company are tied to my account. I will continue to get something from them even 10 or 20 years into the future. The only requirement is that they continue to make their payments to Shopper Approved.
That’s the beauty of recurring payments. Anyway, I just thought this was a great affiliate marketing tip for beginners. You should be on the hunt for affiliate programs that enable you to have peace of mind knowing that you will continue getting money well into the future.
Affiliate Marketing from the point of view of the affiliate
So, what does affiliate marketing look like from the point of view of the affiliate? There are number of things that we need to outline here. First, we need to show you how to get started with affiliate marketing;
How to become and affiliate
Anybody can become an affiliate. All that you need to have is probably an email address and everybody has that, right? From there, you need for find affiliate programs that you can join. Becoming an affiliate is easy. The difficult part comes in trying to make it really work. Though thousands join the various affiliate marketing programs that are out there, only a few succeed in making it a viable source of income. So, how does one become an affiliate?
You need to have a marketing channel
Affiliate marketing is the digital version of the kind of marketing that used to take place way back, when salesmen would go around totting samples and trying to push various products to harried housewives. While there may still be people doing that in today’s world, marketing, it is safe to say, has mostly transitioned to the internet. Affiliate marketing takes advantage of the various internet based tools that have become common across the globe. To make it happen, you need to have at least one of the following;
You need to have a blog
Blogging is something that has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. You should think of a blog as your very own personal space on which you have the freedom to do and say whatever you want. Each day, thousands of blogs are created around the world by people who are looking to join the bandwagon. Most of these are soon abandoned as reality sets in. It’s not that easy to come up with and run an interesting tale for long. Most people abandon the effort after a short while. However, as a beginner to affiliate marketing, it’s imperative that you create your own channel through which to make sales. A blog is one such channel. Anybody can create a blog. The difficult part lies in making it work. The following are some of the things that you should understand to help you stay in the game;
- You need to be decided on your subject: Think of this as the theme for your blog. What are you going to be talking about. There are thousands of topics out there and you are never going to run out. However, you should be aware that you cannot possibly cover all of them. Instead, you should try and narrow down your focus. That way, you can be sure to do justice to that particular topic. Being focused is also a good way of making sure that you retain an audience, which is essential for affiliate marketing. Let’s assume that you wish to blog about Soccer. There are millions of people who are interested in the subject around the world. The competition is tough because there are already thousands of blogs covering the subject. But if you are good enough, you could make it work. But what would happen if you were to suddenly start blogging about politics on your Soccer site? Chances are high that you will lose your audience. So, you need to have a particular focus if you wish to become successful at blogging.
- You need to decide on a domain name for your blog: This can be anything and you don’t need to worry about it too much. However, most people prefer to have a domain name that speaks to the theme of their blog. As an example, if your blog is going to be focusing on buying eggs, you can call your site buyingeggs.com. You will find that most of the intuitive domain names are already taken. You will also find that some of these are up for sale for thousands of dollars. My advice is that you should never buy these. It’s a waste of money. Your site is only going to be as good as its content and buying a domain for $20000 instead of $12 is not going to do it for you.
- You need to choose a web host: Most people worry about web hosting and whether or not their choice is going to be good enough for their site. However, in most cases, beginner bloggers do not actually need expensive web hosts or web hosting plans. Shared hosting will do for you so you should go for that. I have previously covered a lot of the web hosts that can be found out there. Some of the best are Bluehost, DreamHost and HostGator. You can choose any of these for your site. For beginners, hosting packages cost as little as $3 per month. On top of that, you get a free domain for the first year.
- Create your site: I advise people to create their sites using WordPress, which is the best CMS for beginners. This is something that you can actually do on your own and you will learn a useful skill along the way. However, if in doubt, don’t hesitate to give me a call and I will be glad to set up a beautiful site on your behalf.
- Start blogging: Content is key to blogging and affiliate marketing beginners need to be cognizant of the fact. To get people to your site you need to write great, relevant content. Content Marketing works through Search Engines such as Google and Bing and you need to make sure that you have this in mind while writing your content. Search Engine Optimization is a useful tool in this regard. You need to be aware of all the tools that can be used to give your content greater visibility on search engines. For that, you first of all need relevance. Search engines will not choose your content if it’s not relevant to your search query.
- Join affiliate programs: As your audience grows, you can begin joining affiliate programs. One thing that I need to mention as part of this affiliate marketing for beginners article is that you don’t need to join all the affiliate marketing programs that are out there. What I like to do is to join programs that I have previously used. Of course this is not a prerequisite but doing so is helpful in that even as I blog, I am very aware of what I am talking about. And my readers can actually tell that this is not an article that was written by someone off a company’s website, but one that was written by a user of a particular product. I have already noted that I use Shopper Approved for online reviews. I am also an affiliate for this company. And the content that I have produced on the subject is in-depth and contains relevant examples. As a result, I have been very successful in my affiliate marketing efforts for this company.
You can do affiliate marketing via Social Media
This is your second option when it comes to affiliate marketing. These days, everyone is on social media. Most people have followings composed of their parents, siblings, friends and colleagues. Now, that is all great, but that’s not really going to work when it comes to affiliate marketing. If you try to use these people to sell products and services, you may have only one or two sales. If you are really serious about doing affiliate marketing via social media, you need to think of the whole venture as a business. You need to go way beyond the social networking mentality. Think of your audience as an asset. And you need grow that asset. There are a number of ways through which you can do this;
- You need to cover a subject that people are interested in. Platforms such as Facebook allow you to create Pages on which you can cover various topics. Let’s say, as an example, that you are interested in Science Fiction novels. You can talk about that on your normal Facebook Profile. You can even join Amazon Associates and begin promoting Science Fiction books to your friends and family. But, how many are going to buy anything? Well, not many. What you need to do is to create an audience that is composed of people who share the same interests. Using the above example, you can go to Facebook and create a Sci-Fi Lovers page. You can call your page whatever you want. From there, you then need to promote your page to make sure that you get a lot of people following it. Once you have increased your following to thousands, you can then begin promoting Sci-Fi books from Amazon using your affiliate links.
- You need to keep your audience engaged. Social media is all about engagement and this is something that you need to keep in mind if you are to use it for affiliate marketing. Post interesting content, and people will keep checking your out. As an example, you can produce content that’s useful to your audience as a way of promoting engagement. Using the above example, you can write a “Latest Sci-Fi novels,” post to make sure that people stay abreast with what’s happening in the field. Keep refreshing this content and you can be sure that people will keep coming back.
You can use Email for Affiliate Marketing
This is another thing that affiliate marketing beginners need to be aware of. Affiliate marketing is not limited to blogging and social media. You can actually do it using email. However, the challenges that you face here are more or less similar to the ones that you face when it comes to blogging. Without a big audience, you are probably not going to be able to make it work. Anyway, there are many ways of increasing your mailing list. You can use your blog, as an example, to offer freebies to those that are willing to sign up for your newsletter.
Affiliate Marketing from the point of view of the vendor
It would be remiss to talk of Affiliate Marketing solely from the point of view of the affiliate. In fact, affiliate marketing begins with the merchant. He is actually the one who comes up with the product or service. Anyway, if you are a merchant and you are looking to get started with Affiliate Marketing, don’t hesitate to check out this article in which I cover the topic. However, there are a few things that I can mention here;
- You can run your own affiliate program: This is the first option for brands that are looking to get started with affiliate marketing. Many companies out there run their own affiliate marketing programs. If you choose to go down this road, you may need to hire someone to manage your program and to interact with affiliates. The advantage of running your own affiliate program is that you do not need to pay someone else to run your program.
- You can join an affiliate network: There are plenty of affiliate networks out there. Companies looking for affiliates to market their products can go down this route. Some of the best known affiliate networks are CJ Affiliates, Amazon Associates, ShareASale and many others. The advantage of joining an affiliate network is that you do not need to run around looking for suitable people to promote your products. Most affiliate networks have tens of thousands of affiliates on their books and you will be able to find appropriate people for your program.
- You can take a hybrid approach: This is the third approach for companies that are looking to launch affiliate programs. I have come across many companies that take this approach. These companies join an affiliate network, while also running their own in-house affiliate marketing program.
Advantages of affiliate marketing for businesses
So, what are the advantages of affiliate marketing from the point of view of businesses? Well, the one major advantage is that instead of being the sole herald for your brand, affiliate marketing allows you to engage the services of hundreds if not thousands of other people to market your products and services on your behalf.
Not only that, but this marketing happens mostly free of charge. You only get to pay something once someone has made a sale. So, if you have hundreds of bloggers on your books, they will be blogging about your products and services to their readers. And all the content that you get will be free of charge. So, affiliate marketing offers a great opportunity for brands looking to get the word out there about their products and services.
Affiliate Marketing for beginners: How to get started
Hopefully, I have done justice to the subject of affiliate marketing in the above article. But to summarize, I need to repeat that affiliate marketing is a great way through which content creators can monetize their creations. If you are a blogger or an influenzer, affiliate marketing is one way of ensuring that you get something for your efforts.
Affiliate marketing is also a great source of passive income. The great thing about passive income is that you do not need to constantly work in order to get paid. Once you have done the work, the money will begin rolling in. All that you will need to do is carry out a few maintenance tasks going forward. So, if you are a beginner, you should know what affiliate marketing is something that has the potential to give you the kind of freedom that we are all looking for.
However, you do need to note that you need to be focused in order to make it work. Affiliate marketing is not going to work if your content is all over the place. What you need to do is to decide on a topic for your content and stick to it. Of course, you can diversify, but, wherever possible, strive to stay as near your core subject as is possible. Doing this means you will be able to create a dedicated audience to which you can do affiliate marketing.