Affiliate Marketing 101

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for people who are new to online entrepreneurship to earn their first dollars selling online. In a nutshell, an affiliate marketer sells the products of other businesses in order to receive a commission. They may do this by creating Youtube videos, blog posts, or creating ad campaigns for a certain product. For instance, a popular  fitness Youtube channel may recommend a particular water bottle brand to their subscribers. In most cases, this bottle company will give the marketer a link to their product specific to them so that when people use it to make a purchase, the company can compensate them.
 
Affiliate marketing is a great way for someone who is new to online entrepreneurship to get started because you can learn what it takes to market and sell products that you do not actually have to own or ship out to anyone. However, this does not mean that this is easy. It requires a good amount of work to be put into it as you would put into any other business. Despite this, there are many reasons why it is a good place to start:
  • No need to hire staff
  • Initial costs are very low
  • You do not need your own product or to hold inventory
  • You can work around your schedule

One of the most important things you need in order to become a successful affiliate marketer is a good niche. A niche is a particular activity or interest specialized by a small subset of people. This could be drone pilots or dog lovers.If you can create a platform that speaks directly to a certain niche and provides products suitable for them, they are more likely to turn to you when they need something. Having a general, all-purpose, platform might sound like an easy choice but in reality, it is far better to use your platform to reach out to a particular group of people. You will have to do your own research to see what might be best for you. It is helpful to pick a niche that you are a part of or at least knowledgable of so that you can have some insight into what your audience will be most interested in.

 

Once you have a niche picked out, you need to figure out what platform you will be utilizing. The most common and effective are websites/blogs, and Youtube channels. The main hurdle to overcome at this stage is driving traffic. If you cannot get people to visit or view your content, you won’t be able to sell them anything. The strategy I recommend the most is to start off with a website/blog. It is easier to gain traffic to a new website than it is to a new Youtube channel. There are plenty of website builders that can get you professional looking blogs with a low cost of entry. I recommend using Squarespace or WordPress but you can really choose what options suit you the best. Once you have a site, I also recommend purchasing a domain name. Now this may not be incredibly mandatory at first, but having an actual url attached to your website does a lot for providing readers with a sense of legitimacy from you. You can typically register a new domain name for less than $12. As your platform grows and you begin earning income, you can reinvest into your website by adding premium themes and plugins to make your website look as professional or as personal as you want it.

Once you have your site set up,  you need to start creating content. This should all be relative to your niche. If you decided to make a website for people who enjoy flying drones, you can start by posting articles on flying tips or information on how they can make the most of their drone. You can either write these posts yourself (this is why it is helpful to be familiar with your niche of choice) or outsource them online. It is fairly cheap to procure content from websites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Textbroker. How you decide to get this content is up to you. You can also find videos online relating to your niche and share them with your readers. Giving people a place to see all things related to what they’re interested in is the best way to keep them coming back.

 

It is at this stage where you can start posting product recommendations. There are many affiliate programs you can join to start making money. The most popular ones are Amazon and Clickbank. Both of these have a large market of items in hundreds of different categories that you can earn a commission on. All you need to do is provide an affiliate link to your readers/subscribers. Create a post with information on a particular product, why it would be a good value to your readers, and where they can get it. The best affiliate marketers will primarily only promote products they actually have or use which gives a more authentic feel to the promotion. This does not always have to be the case, however, especially in the beginning. If you become successful, you may have companies sending you products for free just to promote!

When the content starts flowing, you’ll need to start the actual marketing of your site. This is often the most difficult part. Posting links to your best content on sites where followers of your niche likely frequent (Reddit, etc.) is a great way to start. You can also create ad campaigns for particular posts or products you are promoting on Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. An effective strategy is to provide a free value to a new reader in exchange for an email subscription. You can then continue to market to users even when they are not actively using your website. You will need to be creative but it is possible to gain a solid stream of traffic.

 

Becoming a successful affiliate may not be the easiest challenge but anyone can do it if they put the time into it. I hope this article helps but put you on the right track!