What is Affiliate Marketing & How to Get Started(Beginners Guide)

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When it comes to making a living online, affiliate marketing is a skilled based approach that anyone could learn. It’s a part of the online world that needs no degree or a formal learning.

With this Affiliate marketing guide, I want to provide you all the details about:

  • Basics of Affiliate marketing
  • How Affiliate marketing works
  • How to get started with Affiliate marketing
  • Affiliate marketing Terminologies
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What is Affiliate Marketing & How it Works.

Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals. It is an excellent way of earning passive income.

Probably every big company has an affiliate program that anyone can join at no cost. If you had no knowledge of this then this guide is for you.

How it works?

Let’s simplify this for a better understanding

  1. You join an affiliate program.
  2. You pick a product to promote (You will get a unique affiliate link)
  3. You share the link via Social media, Blog, YouTube videos, Facebook ads or any other form
  4. When someone makes a purchase, you earn a handsome affiliate commission.

 The affiliate earns a commission each time someone makes a purchase through the unique link associated with their recommendation.

how affiliate marketing works

To review:

  1. You show an ad or a link for Store Z on your website, blog, or social network.
  2. A customer clicks your unique link.
  3. The customer makes a purchase in Store Z.
  4. The affiliate network records the transaction.
  5. The purchase is confirmed by Store Z.
  6. You get paid a commission.

Commission rates vary depending on the company and the offer.

How newbies can get started in affiliate marketing

Let’s look at how you can get started with affiliate marketing in 7 simple steps.

  1. Choose a platform
  2. Choose your niche
  3. Find affiliate programs to join
  4. Create great content
  5. Drive traffic to your affiliate site
  6. Get clicks on your affiliate links
  7. Convert clicks to sales

1. Choose a platform

Theoretically, you can do affiliate marketing on any platform. Even social media platforms works though it’s much easier to build an audience and increase your affiliate sales via one of two channels: a blog or YouTube channel.

Starting a blog today is easy and cheap. There are countless tutorials online that you to learn how to get started. The best part? It’ll likely only cost you a few dollars per month.

Once your site is up, optimize it for search engines so that you have a better chance of ranking. From there, you’re free to add affiliate links in your content.

Read: How to start a blog

YouTube on the other hand, creating and uploading content to YouTube is free, which makes it ideal for many people. Optimize your videos for SEO, and include affiliate links in your description.

Note: Don’t forget to disclose the fact that you’re including affiliate links.  The Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) requires you to be transparent when receiving income from an endorsement.

2. Choose niche

Choose a topic in a specific category. For example, the topic of “food” is an enormous category. Instead of tackling that, try something more specific, like grilling food.

This will help you build a more focused audience and in turn can help you rank higher in search results.

Read: How to pick a niche

Many affiliate sites die due to a lack of consistency. So at the very least, if you’re passionate about a topic, you’ll find it much easier to press on when the going gets tough.

3. Find affiliate programs to join

You have three types of affiliate programs that you can choose from.

A. High-paying, low-volume affiliate programs

These are affiliate programs for niche products with high payouts.

B. Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs

These are affiliate programs for products with low payouts but mass appeal.

C. High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs

These are affiliate programs for products with mass appeal, which also pay high commissions.

On deciding which affiliate marketing program to go for, it highly depends on your level of expertise.

If targeting consumers, you’ll likely go with the second model of low commissions and higher sales volume.

If you’re going after a business audience, you’ll likely go for the first model: high-paying and low volume.

The best way to find these affiliate programs is with a Google search.

4. Build content

Want your affiliate site to succeed?

Then you need to create high-quality content where your affiliate links fits naturally.

5. Drive traffic to your affiliate site

Now that you got great content on your site, the next step is to get more people to read it, so they will click on your affiliate links.

Let’s look at three different traffic strategies you can use to build your site’s traffic.

A. Paid traffic

This is where you pay for traffic to your site. You can do this using PPC ads.

The advantage of paid traffic is that the moment you start paying, you get traffic.

B. Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the practice of optimizing pages to rank high in search engines like Google.

Read: SEO complete guide

As long as you can rank high in the search engines for your target keywords, you’ll get consistent and passive traffic.

C. Build an email list

Email lists allow you to communicate with your readers anytime.

Use them to tell fans about new content and keep them coming back to your site for more. This leads to more affiliate clicks and sales.

You can even send affiliate email promotions to your list directly.

Affiliate marketing terminologies:

Here are some of the common terms associated with affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliates: Publishers like you and me who are using affiliate program links to promote and make sales.
  • Affiliate marketplace: There are many marketplaces like Shareasale, CJ, and Clickbank. These work as central databases for affiliate programs in different niches.
  • Affiliate software: Software used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product.
    • Example: FirstPromoter.
  • Affiliate link: Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
  • Affiliate ID: Similar to the affiliate link, but many affiliate programs offer a unique ID which you can add to any page of the product site.
  • Payment mode: Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment.
    • Example: Cheque, wire transfer, PayPal, and others.
  • Affiliate Manager/OPM: Many companies have dedicated affiliate managers to help publishers earn more by giving them optimization tips.
  • Commission percentage/amount: The amount or percentage you will be receiving in affiliate income from every sale.
  • 2-tier affiliate marketing: This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program. With this method, you recommend that others join affiliate programs, and you receive a commission when a sub-affiliate makes a sale (similar to MLM or multi-level marketing). This income is also known as a sub-affiliate commission.
  • Landing pages: A unique product sales or demo page used for the purpose of increasing sales. Most of the programs that you will be promoting have many landing pages, and you can run A/B testing to see which pages convert best for you.
  • Custom affiliate income/account: Unlike a generic affiliate account, many companies offer custom affiliate income to people making the most affiliate sales for them.
  • Link clocking: Most of the affiliate tracking links are ugly. Using a link clocking technique like URL shorteners, Thirsty Affiliates, etc., you can turn ugly links into links that can be read and understood by your readers.
  • Custom coupons: Many programs allow affiliates to create custom coupons which are also used to track sales.

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