Affiliate marketing is a popular way of making money online. However, it is not as easy as most people think. You need to be very active and business-smart, constantly working to promote yourself and your affiliate businesses.
It is more than a 9-to-5 job. Most affiliate marketers work almost every day without taking breaks, producing new content, advice, and material for their audience consumption.
However, the rewards are worth it. When done right, affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative way of earning income by producing creative and valuable content. Some of the more successful marketers make a six-figure salary from their partners.
In this blog post, we will look at some of the basics of affiliate marketing for people who are new to the field.
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Things to Consider Before You Start on Affiliate Marketing
If you are considering affiliate marketing seriously, here are some of the things to consider.
- Find a niche that you are genuinely interested in. When you start as a content writer or content producer on your website, blog, or social media account, choose something you can talk about for hours without getting bored. This is important for having a long and fulfilling career in affiliate marketing.
- Have a plan on how much you want to make, how much time you will dedicate to affiliate marketing, and how long you want to try. Nobody starts this full time because the money is slow at first. You would be better off by starting part-time, only dedicating more time when you start building partnerships with businesses.
- Focus on multiple topics. This will give you more things to cover and talk about and also ensure you have something to produce even when there’s no new development in one topic.
- Find a smart way to disclose your affiliate links. Some content producers throw a small pitch for their partner within the video, usually a minute after the start. Bloggers also add affiliate links, usually within the first three paragraphs. Your audience may not go through the entire content, so it is smart to add links as soon as they feel right.
- Be transparent and don’t use false advertising. If you have tried a product from your affiliate partner and liked it, recommend it to your audience. However, if you don’t think the product is actually useful, don’t become an affiliate for them. It may cost you revenue in the short term, but you will build a better reputation over the long term.
- Steer clear of shady businesses. There are plenty of illegitimate businesses that scam people for money. When you put your name on a product or recommend it to your audience, they will buy it because they trust you. If they get scammed or face ‘affiliate theft,’ they will blame you.
- Ten years ago, being an affiliate was taken as being a ‘sellout,’ who recommends products for a commission. People’s attitudes have changed now, and they are more trusting of affiliate marketing. Don’t feel pressured or sheepish about promoting your affiliate links. If you are providing honest and insightful recommendations that will help your audience, there is no reason to be shy about it.
- Affiliate marketing is a long-term game. On average, it takes two to five years to build enough of a following that can earn you good income through affiliate marketing. Some people get lucky and hit success sooner, but for most people, it takes years to see the money roll in. Be patient and persevere.
Steps for Becoming an Affiliate Marketer
Here are the basic steps for becoming an affiliate marketer.
Step 1 – Choose a Niche
The first step for building a successful affiliate marketing business is to select specific products and customers you will focus on.
For example, you may consider becoming a clothing and fashion advisor focusing on women’s or children’s apparel. The content you produce will be focused on the niche market that you select.
Step 2 – Select a Platform
Social media platforms are popular for easily finding an audience and potential buyers. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the three big platforms for affiliate marketing; however, there are others that may work for your specific industry. You should select at least two platforms to build an audience.
You will also need to start your own blog and website. It should be the centre of all your affiliate marketing effort. Content produced for social media platforms should also be present on your website.
Step 3 – Join Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs connect content producers and media influencers with businesses that want to sell their products and services.
Sometimes, you may be directly contacted by the product seller to promote their product or service in your content. However, this is unlikely to happen when you are new, and you will have to join an affiliate marketing program.
Step 4 – Produce Great Content and Build an Audience
This is the real meat of affiliate marketing. Online users are bombarded with information and content these days. You will need to make a real effort to stand out from the rest.
Your content must be unique and interesting. It should be helpful and something that people want to keep coming back to. If you are not a good content writer, you can always consider hiring content writing services to do the job for you. That way, you will be able to focus more on marketing.
Promote your content anywhere and everywhere as much as you can. In the beginning, you will have to do it all on your own. But when you start to build an audience, encourage them to share, like, comment on, and subscribe to the content that you are producing. If your content is well received and helpful, it should start getting attention.
Step 5 – Get Clicks and Sales
The last crucial step for affiliate marketing is to get users to click on your affiliate links and make purchases. Affiliates are paid a fixed amount based on the clicks and/or sales generated from their links.
The more people who click and buy through you, the more commission you get.
Many affiliate marketers get stuck in step 4. They are able to build a large audience that regularly watches or reads their content but find it difficult to convert this audience into sales. If this is the case for your business, you may need to place better CTAs and adjust your content to be more promotional.
Marketers believe that a conversion rate of 2% – 5% is amazing. If you have a regular audience of 100k people, 2,000 people clicking on your affiliate link can easily make you thousands of dollars each month.
In conclusion, there are three main points to be aware of new people joining affiliate marketing.
Number one, affiliate marketing is not an easy job. Don’t take it lightly. You will need to consistently produce good quality content and promote it as much as you can.
Number two, don’t lose hope. Some people will ignore you, criticise you, or make fun of your content. Evaluate your content objectively. Get input from people who can view your content objectively. See if there is room for improvement. But do not lose motivation because of early rejection.
Number three, always look for ways to get sponsors and improve your income stream over time. You cannot run an affiliate marketing business without an income in the long term. Be pragmatic and take your costs and time investments into consideration.
We hope this basic guideline can be useful in your journey to running a successful affiliate marketing business.