If you have any interest in making money online, chances are you have heard affiliate marketing mentioned more than a few times. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn steady income on the internet.
This article will help you understand affiliate marketing, how it works and how you can get started. If you are already an affiliate marketer, then this post will show you how to make more money in affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an online business model where you are paid commission for promoting other peoples’ products and services. An affiliate marketer is an online salesperson who promotes products in exchange for a commission.
In affiliate marketing, you are an affiliate if you promote peoples’ products to earn a commission. You are a merchant if you have a product affiliates can promote to earn a commission. The people who buy the products are customers.
To better understand affiliate marketing, think of real estate agents. Their job is to promote/market other people’s estates and property, and for every sale they get a commission. The commission varies with each property and the more sales they make, the more commission they get. That is exactly how affiliate marketing works.
Keeping the estate agent example in mind, an affiliate marketer:
- Searches for products/services to promote just as an estate agent searches for property to market
- Understands the terms (sharing formula) for the products just as an estate agent discusses commission terms with the estate owner/seller
- Promotes the products
- Gets paid for every sale he generates
- Repeats the process
There is no upper limit to how much you can earn as an affiliate marketer. If an affiliate product pays $20/sale, and you refer 10 customers who buy the product, you earn $200. It’s that simple. Some affiliate products pay as much as $100/sale while some pay as low as $1/sale. How much you earn depends entirely on you.
Benefits of affiliate marketing
- It is one of the simplest ways to start a home-based business. You can start your own affiliate marketing business now in your room, making hundreds of dollars any time from now.
- No experience is required. Anyone can start affiliate marketing and make money. You don’t need to have prior experience at selling. However, you should be willing to commit to a learning process if you must succeed.
- There are no upper limits on the amount of money you can earn. Established marketers make thousands of dollars monthly through affiliate marketing.
- You do not have to design, develop or manufacture any products; affiliate merchants design their own products and promotion materials (images, banners, etc). Your job is to promote the products using the materials.
- There are no financial risks involved. You don’t pay anything to promote an affiliate product. If the product does not convert well, you are free to switch to any other products you want.
How to start affiliate marketing as a beginner in 4 steps
1. Pick a niche
The first thing you want to do before you venture into affiliate marketing is to pick a niche. A niche is simply a topic or an area of interest. Having a niche will ensure you speak to a particular target audience instead of trying to talk to everybody. Some examples of a niche are:
- Entertainment, etc
Each of these broad niches can be further broken down into sub-niches. I advise beginners to pick a much narrowed niche instead of focusing on a broad niche.
The reason is, having a narrow niche allows you to focus on a much targeted customer base. Instead of staying in Health, for example, you can decide to target weight loss, skin care, men’s health, etc.
I published a list of niche ideas for beginners. I also included their sub-niches to make the selection process easier. Check it out.
2. Build a blog around that niche
When you select a niche, the next thing you want to do is build a blog around that niche.
Now, can you promote affiliate products without having a blog? Absolutely! However, if you want long-term success, having a blog gives you an indispensable advantage.
A blog gives you the freedom to connect with your readers, give them helpful information, build a subscriber base and follow-up with them until they trust you enough to follow your recommendations.
Instead of sending visitors directly to an affiliate offer, you can direct those visitors to your blog, convert them to loyal followers through your email list and promote many other affiliate offers to them. You get to make money over and over. Best of all, your subscribers will love you for sending useful information their way.
The most important reason to have a blog for your affiliate marketing business is that having a blog gives you the ability to build a relationship of trust with your followers. You do this by providing them with useful and reliable information.
Last but not least, you can promote countless products on your blog. You can even sell your own products/services on your own blog. This would be impossible if you are having to send visitors directly to your affiliate offers.
As a beginner, starting a blog does not have to be hard at all. This free online course will take you from a beginner to a pro in a few hours. Among many things, you will also follow a hands-on worksheet to choose the perfect niche for yourself.
3. Join affiliate programs
When you build your blog, the next step is to sign up for affiliate programs and start making some money. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds but you get the idea.
To avoid promoting dud products to your followers and losing their trust, make sure you select only effective products. You will know this by the number of positive reviews each product gets. You can also research the product to see the experience other users have had with it. Some merchants will let you try the product yourself to see how good it is. Udemy does this for their affiliates.
How to find affiliate programs
One way to find affiliate programs is through affiliate networks. Affiliate networks usually have lots of products in many niches. They also have more flexible payment methods. Many merchants will just prefer to pay through PayPal which is not a good thing for some countries like Nigeria. Affiliate networks have other payment methods like Payoneer, direct deposit, etc.
Here are some reliable affiliate networks you can join:
When you join an affiliate network, make sure you understand their rules.
Commission Junction, for example, will deactivate your account if you fail to generate a commission within a specified amount of time. You want to join them only when you understand affiliate marketing and you are sure of making sales. Clickbank does not accept Nigerians.
Other networks have their own rules. Do a bit of research before you apply.
Depending on the niche of your blog, you can apply directly to companies and become an affiliate. Some merchants keep their affiliate programs in-house. There is no particular way to find them since they don’t outsource to any affiliate network.
A good rule of thumb is, if you use and like any product, reach out to them and find out if they have an affiliate program.
If you are in Nigeria, Konga and Jumia e-commerce stores have interesting affiliate programs. They also have extensive support for beginners. You may want to check them out.
4. Promote affiliate products and make money for each sale
All the steps mentioned above won’t work if you don’t promote the affiliate products. Promotion means to drive traffic to the products, get people to see and buy them.
There are several ways to promote affiliate products; they all work best if you have a blog. When you drive traffic to your blog you are not just promoting the affiliate product, you are promoting yourself too, increasing your channels of making money.
Some of the ways you can promote affiliate products include:
- Placing banners/affiliate links on your blog
- Writing product reviews
- Email marketing
- Use social media
- Search engine traffic
- Paid traffic, etc.
Most affiliate networks will pay you when you reach a certain threshold, usually $100. There are several payment methods available. They include: PayPal, direct bank deposit, checks and Payoneer.
If you cannot get a PayPal account and you live in a country where direct bank deposit or checks could be a problem, then Payoneer is your next best choice.
When you open an account with Payoneer, they issue you a valid US bank account and send you a MasterCard. The MasterCard will be sent directly to any address you provide.
You will receive funds in your Payoneer account and get your money on any MasterCard enabled ATM anywhere in the world. This is important because most companies don’t pay direct deposit to international bank accounts (especially Nigeria).
Making money as an affiliate marketer is simple but it takes a lot of work, especially as a beginner. Since you have me to guide you, the best thing you can do is to follow me on social media and subscribe to my newsletter. This way, you get every tutorial directly from me the moment they are published.
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What do you think about affiliate marketing? Send in your comments and let me know.