In this affiliate marketing for beginners guide, I will go through the 7 most important first steps to be successful as an affiliate marketer. At its core affiliate marketing is just recommending things people can buy, for which you receive a small kickback. I will go into a little more detail further down.
Whatever your reason for wanting to move away from the main stream workforce and start an online business you have landed at the right spot. As we all know times have changed and the old ways of earning are no longer reliable.
There is no point I can see, putting your head in the sand and hoping things will turn around. If you have some experience with blogging your in front of the game.
If your just starting out then these tips will get you started and earning money online.
Since the start of the covid drama, more and more companies are utilizing affiliate marketing as a way to get their products out there.
So while affiliate marketing does have the potential to provide some impressive benefits, you do need some preparation.
You may have heard how top Affiliate Marketers make passive income online, utilizing Amazon and other affiliate programs successfully! Or…
Probably in the past you have read E-books or signed up for courses.
Perhaps you have tried it, but there always seemed to be some missing link in the detail that limited your success with this online earning model.
However, lets start with the question most everyone wants an answer too…
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products.
In a nutshell, as an Affiliate marketer (Publisher) you find a product or service you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
Sounds simple, but it can get complicated. First a look at ways to earn money as an affiliate marketer.
- Pay Per Sale
The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product on their websites, blog sites or social sites, and earns a piece of the profit from each sale that comes from their site. This does not increase the cost for the buyer, as the commission is part of the company’s cost structure.
Many companies will also include a discount for the affiliate to use with his link. This helps the affiliates promotional efforts by encouraging people to buy from the affiliates link if it offers a discount.
This does not affect the affiliates payment though, as it is normally part of a company’s marketing strategy.
The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
Payment is made to an account of yours that you have registered with the company (or your PayPal account if you have one), and is paid usually on a monthly or bi- monthly basis upon reaching a certain dollar amount.
Depending on the company of course.
Some companies set the level of earnings before they pay, with others you can nominate the amount of earnings that will be paid to you.
Some, like this company for example, have a minimum level of $25.00. But it does vary from company to company.
Sometimes, depending on the company you do not have to sell anything to receive a payment
2. Pay Per Click
This program focuses on encouraging the affiliate to redirect consumers from their marketing platform to the merchant’s website. This means the affiliate must engage the consumer to the extent that they will move from the affiliate’s site to the merchant’s site. The affiliate is paid based on the increase in web traffic. It may not be a lot per click, but they do build up quickly if you are in a popular niche. Fishing or sport, kids toys, chickens, cats, woodwork, you name it, there is a product being made for those and thousands of other niches.
3. Pay Per Lead.
A more complex system, Pay per Lead compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads.
The affiliate must persuade the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action — whether it’s filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial of a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading software or files.
Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?
1. It is Convenient and flexible
Because you’re becoming a freelancer, you have ultimate dependence in defining your own objectives, changing your path when you feel inclined, selecting the products that intrigue you, and even deciding your own hours.
2. A Source of Passive income
While any “normal” job needs you to be at work to earn money, affiliate marketing opens an opportunity to create money while you sleep.
3. No Need for customer support
Individual sellers and companies need to deal with their customers and make sure they are happy with what they have bought.
With the affiliate marketing structure, you never have to care about customer support or custom content.
4. Performance-based rewards
With most jobs, you can work 40 – 70 hours a week and still get the same salary.
Affiliate marketing is based solely on your performance. You will receive from what you put into it.
Practicing your reviewing skills and creating appealing campaigns will convert into significant increases in your income.
Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service.
Whether it’s PPS, PPL, or PPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs, and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat !.
You may be thinking to yourself “I don’t have the skills, patience or I don’t like writing ” In that case it may not be for you. But, before you go, this guy just writes a small piece most days, much like a diary, and believe it not it gets around 700 hits from Google each week.
He does not own a website.
Obviously it took some time, but he will tell you he wasted the first 18mths and the popularity of his “blog” ( if you can call it that), only gathered steam as he became more consistent over the past 12 months.
So, you don’t have to be in the top echelon of writers to be successful at affiliate marketing. Like travel? Good photos and a basic write up of your travel adventures can led to some awesome perks, as well as a good income.
This little piece got me a partnership with a tour company in Colombia.
I am by no means a good travel writer, to be honest I am hopeless. The important thing though, is that we all have experiences and knowledge.
Putting it into words can sometimes be a challenge, but with practice and tips on how to set out a blog, (if you are on a good platform with good training), it will all come together.
This article still brings in customers and I haven’t updated it for ages.
Good Affiliate Networks
Good affiliate networks have a dedicated account manager updating their content and marketing tools / programs to keep things fresh and up to date so the affiliate always has good material to work with.
An example of one reasonably big ticket affiliate program popular in the personal development space which is constantly developing new programs and content can be seen here
Others have pre-made content for your website but you will still have to put your own “spin” on it, or just use it to give you ideas. The reason? Google loves original content.
See my Affiliate Disclosure Here
Step 1. Choosing a Platform
The first step to getting started as an affiliate is choosing a platform. The internet gives us a lot of options to choose from. Many people who understand the intricacies of website setups, keywords and have some experience with SEO, are happy to use Bluehost ( or some other host, Go Daddy for eg), setup a WordPress site and start blogging.
Once their site matures they will add adsense or become an Amazon affiliate (for example), so their site brings in some income.
5 Good platforms to learn Affiliate Marketing. ( Links included )
- Affilorama Offers free written and video lessons, tools, tips and support allowing complete affiliate beginners to build a successful business from scratch. Free to Start. Paid courses have a 60 day money back guarantee. See more Here
- Solo Build it. This one has been around for a long time sometimes referred to as Site Sell, but they are two parts of the same company. They will get you to do a “test” for generating niche ideas for you. Not expensive and very good value with lots of support. A review of Solo Build it Here
- Udemy: Always popular, although it not as in-depth as other courses and it lacks community support. Still the courses are generally explained in quite explicit detail via video and notes. At Udemy you can learn How to Build High Quality Websites.
- Wealthy Affiliate : Popular, although it may appear expensive, it does offer a lot of value. Very in-depth with a lot of community support. No credit card needed to start, and you have 7 days to try all the benefits of Premium membership free. See more Here.
- CB Affiliate Magic. Clickbank is the largest seller of digital products in the world. CB Affiliate Magic Is The Only Software Available In The Market that Enables CB Affiliate Marketers To Create Stunning Product Catalogs Within 60 Seconds. The app can be used to create catalogues in 189 niches. The generated HTML code will be ready to copy and paste to any website, blog or Facebook page. Probably more suited to the experienced marketer, but you can see more Here.
U-Tube. U -Tube plays a big part in affiliate marketing. All the above platforms have U-Tube modules in their training with the exception of CB Affiliate Magic.
Obviously there are other courses out there. But these five are a broad cross section of what is available. As you can see if you went to the links, they can be quite varied in the way they operate. The best affiliate marketing courses should involve these five main aspects:
- User experience
- Pricing, and quality.
If Your Just Starting out.
Before joining an affiliate marketing course, it is essential to weigh the courses’ pros and cons to come up to come up with the right one for you.
For my money Wealthy Affiliate, then Solo Build it, are the best options. There are plenty of arguments between the affiliates of these over on the forums, but many who are members of one are members of the other.
Wealthy Affiliate allows you to host multiple websites in their premium membership which saves them a stack of money. Click HERE then click on hosting to see for your self.
If you are just starting out, maybe Solo Build it. I know of one guy who has had a site about Coffee and Coffee Machines for about 15 years that still brings in about $40 – $50,000 a year. He only updates it about once a month. Not bad money for about an hour or two of “work” a month.
Udemy does offer some good short courses at very affordable rates.
Affilorama is also quite good, although it has over 100 free lessons the paid training is more pricey than the others. I guess if your making money then you can afford them.
The best thing about these three is they have been around for a long time and have kept up with all the changes that the internet has undergone over the years.
For pricing click on the links above. I know Solo Build It is increasing its price soon.
Step 2. Selecting a Niche
A niche is simple, it is an audience. An audience looks for stuff online, for example, what are some of the last searches you did in Google. These are ALL niches.
Some resources that you can use for your niche research Include
When deciding on a niche and trying to narrow down to a more specific niche, I recommend you ask yourself the following question:
I want to help people that _________________________
Fill in the blank and you are going to be much closer to a specific audience.
For example you may be interested in the Health niche. Health is way too broad, dig a little.
What was the health problem you had that you would like to help others with? Slow metabolism ?. You now have a specific group in the health niche. So whatever niche you are thinking of break it down to a specific part of that niche.
Animals are always a popular niche, try breaking it down to a breed of dog, cat, guinea pig, bird for example, and you have your own niche. It is surprising how few people do this.
People sometimes worry that there won’t be enough people in their niche, but that can be researched quite easily. Try this tool, using your search term as a keyword and see how many searches a month it gets. It won’t cost you anything.
The best way to think of a niche, is just as a group of people looking for something specific.
Step 3. Find Affiliate Programs to Join.
There are many ways to structure a successful affiliate marketing site. You can offer product reviews and comparisons, curate lists of unique or interesting products, create how-to’s for various topics, and much more.
The common denominator is generally a trustworthy website that is up-front with how they make money, and quality content that keeps people coming back.
Importantly choose good products and companies in your niche to promote. As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have control over the future of products that you are recommending. Some points to consider.
- High-paying, low-volume affiliate programs.
- Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs. Amazon is one.
- High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs. Often found in the travel niche but Covid screwed that. Still it will come back.
The Benefits of Joining an Affiliate Program
- No need to chase payments; the platform handles it for you
- Choose products or services that make sense for your audience
- Some affiliate networks offer rewards and incentives—so the more you sell, the better your commission rates may be
- Access to analytics and reporting tools so you can track your progress
A few other considerations when comparing the top affiliate networks:
- Commission rates: How much will you earn per sale? Networks can vary widely.
- Approval requirements: Some networks require your site to be well-established or have a certain amount of traffic.
- Cookie duration: Cookie duration refers to how long a program tracks and gives you credit for a prospective buyer. Durations can vary drastically from platform to platform. For example, Amazon’s cookie duration is 24 hours, while Avangate is 120 days
In early 2020 Amazon and Walmart cut the percentages they were paying to affiliates and increased the costs for companies listing products on their platforms. People still sign up for Amazon because it does have high ticket items, but look around before you commit to any.
There are lots of affiliate networks ( just Google it), out there with excellent products suitable for many niches.
Step 4. Create Good Content
Creating good content for your reader is what determines where Google or Bing or other search engines rank you.
The various platforms listed above each have their methods as to how to set out your content, whether your writing product reviews or articles about cats.
As mentioned above, I want to help people ____________________ ? So make sure you are writing for them. besides it is what Google looks for when it trawls your content. Things to consider are
- Creating keyword rich content without stuffing keywords
- Create readable content that converts.
- Be creditable. Write naturally.
Step 5. Drive Traffic to your Website.
Paid traffic or organic traffic?. The platforms listed above all have software or other methods that show you how to get traffic to your website. Using paid traffic is expensive so utilizing the methods these platforms have on getting organic traffic is your first step.
This will include knowledge of keyword research, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as forums, which can be a gold mine if used correctly.
All the above platforms have modules on how to use social media and forums.
Building up a list of subscribers is essential. As your site matures you should be getting followers from your social media as well as your blog. Keeping a record of them and staying in touch with a regular newsletter or email will help your site flourish as word gets around.
Step 6. Getting Clicks on your Affiliate Links.
There are numerous ways to get clicks on your affiliate links.
Charts and Tables: Charts and Tables are a very good website feature to get more clicks. You can create charts and tables on all kinds of topics such as: A product vs. B product. This is common with review sites.
Be helpful with tutorials & reviews: These are some of the oldest affiliate marketing methods, but they still work great. Quality and helpful reviews can sell products insanely well.
Tutorials which demonstrate how to use a product can also help sale more complex products such as software and electronics.
Other methods include:
- Adding short code to your site
- Linking to product reviews on merchant sites
- Balance Link Placement.
- Use Buttons
- Keep merchant links relevant to your niche.
The WordPress block editor gives us so many more options over the old “Classic editor” If your not using it you should be. You don’t need any more knowledge of HTML than you would use with the Classic Editor. The functionally of the block editor makes the Classic editor almost primitive.
The best place to add links is throughout your content. Put them at the bottom of the page and hardly anyone will click on them. Put them in your introduction then most likely your page will look spammy and people will click away from your site.
Using text based affiliate links actually embedded inside your regular blog posts, encourages people to take your recommendation as a personal recommendation for that product/service.
There is an inherent trust factor when you drop a link inside a blog post where you are talking about and praising the product in question. It’s kind of like evidence that the visitor should click through.
It’s a fine balance though, so I recommend if you’re new to affiliate marketing don’t have a page full of links if you are promoting one product. One will do !.
The block editor gives us some good options to include links in our content. Placing the example below in between appropriate paragraphs is one very effective method.
Convert Clicks to Sales.
You may think you have no control over this but we do actually. What we don’t have control over is the merchants payment gateway. You’re 100% in control of this action. Use the tactics above to improve your chances of getting that click
To do you best to convert clicks to sales, Merchants have ( most times), numerous landing pages. Have a look through them some will convert better than others. Test them. Use the affiliate networks analytics to see which are getting the most clicks.
I hope this ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners helped you learn how to become an affiliate marketer. What makes affiliate marketing so exciting is there is no cap on the potential earnings you can make.
All the best.
Sources used. ahrerfs.com, thirsty affiliate.com and Neil Patel.