Wondering how to make money online?
You’re not alone. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are also interested in making money with an internet-based “side hustle” to supplement their regular income or even starting an online business to replace their income entirely.
Though there are many ways to make money on the internet, one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online is by starting an affiliate marketing business. Even if it’s not as easy as making money with ads on your website, it’s still relatively simple to do and has more profit potential than just simply running advertisements on your website.
So what is affiliate marketing? And how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
The idea behind it is that you promote other people’s products, often through an affiliate network, earning a commission if people actually end up buying thanks to your marketing.
It’s based on revenue sharing. If you have a product and want to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive through an affiliate program. If you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer
Now you know the basic definition of affiliate marketing and how the process works, so let’s talk about how to get started.
Step #1: Decide on a platform
Theoretically, you can do affiliate marketing on any platform. Even Instagram works.
However, 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 relatively easy and cheap. There are plenty of tutorials online that teach you how to get started. 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 to your content.
The other platform is YouTube. 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.
Step #2: Choose your niche
Choosing a niche will give focus to your business and help you with content. It’ll also make it easier to create targeted marketing campaigns.
For some people, choosing their niche is the hardest part of starting their own business, but it doesn’t have to be that way. To find one, you need to answer a few questions:
- What am I passionate about? Typically, the things we’re passionate about are things we’re also already knowledgeable about, which makes it much easier to create content.
- Is this topic big enough? Is there enough to the topic to create up to 100 blog posts? If not, you may struggle with search engine optimization or have trouble developing authority.
- Is the niche oversaturated? Is there room for another affiliate in the niche? Before jumping into an overly popular niche and trying to compete with folks who’ve been around for a while, maybe give another niche a try.
- Is there money in this niche? Money isn’t everything, to be sure. If you’re interested in a couple of topics and one is a moneymaker, but one isn’t… choose the moneymaker.
You can check out a niche on an affiliate retailer like ClickBank to see if it’s worth putting time into it.
Step #3: Create Quality Content
Once you’ve found a profitable niche that you’re excited about, you’re ready to build a website and start blogging.
Content marketing will be the backbone of your affiliate promotional efforts. but producing regularly can be a real challenge, here are some tips to help you engage your audience :
A) Write Reviews: You can write detailed reviews of products, courses, books or software products you promote as an affiliate.
B) Write Definitive Content on a Related Topic: you may also post on your site to educate your readers and “soft sell” your products and then work to get it ranking in the search engines.
C) Create Valuable Bonus Content: Assuming it’s allowed by your affiliate agreement (sometimes it’s not), you can create bonus content, exclusive to your readers, that helps people get even more value from the affiliate product.
People love bonuses! You can create many types of bonuses fairly quickly and easily while still giving your readers excellent value
Some affiliate networks and affiliate programs require you to already have established content, site traffic, and monthly views at a certain level before they’ll accept you as an affiliate.
So Start Writing Content…And don’t stop. This is by far the most critical step in the process of learning how to start affiliate marketing. In order to create and grow your website, you need to pack it full of content your visitors won’t find anywhere else online.
New to content marketing? We have an excellent beginner’s guide to content marketing to help you get started. And, definitely check out our SEO guide to optimize your content to drive traffic to your site!
Step #4: Choose the Right Affiliate Network
Affiliate marketing networks are essentially online marketplaces where retailers list their products and affiliates can find products to sell. The marketing network acts as a middleman. As the affiliate, you should never have to pay to sign up for an affiliate marketing network.
Many affiliate networks exist, some of which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
Take the time to study and research the seller with care before teaming up. The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work.
in some cases, you may work with a company or individual directly as an affiliate; rather than going through a network. Entrepreneurs or companies may run their own affiliate program and you can apply directly to them to promote their products and services. If you see a product that you would really like to promote as an affiliate and the company doesn’t offer a formal affiliate program, you can always reach out to them to work out a private deal as well.
Step #5: Choose Affiliate Products to Promote
If you’ve done the work to choose a niche, choosing affiliate products to promote should be easy! Choose products that fit your niche and relate to your content.
Where do you get ideas for products to promote? Anywhere, really:
A. Promote Products you Already Use
What do you already use and love? There’s probably an affiliate program for that.
Make a list of all of the products and services that you use and hit up Google to find their affiliate programs. Then, write reviews and plug in the affiliate links.
B. Promote Products That Fill a Need
Listen to the people who are interested in your niche. What problems are they facing? Are there gaps in the solutions that are already available? Find products that can help and try them out. If the products are good, become an affiliate and recommend them. Your audience wants solutions. If they work, they’ll be willing to pay for them.
C. Promote Products Your Audience Wants to Know About
Ask your audience what they’re interested in and try it. If it’s a good product, recommend it. If it isn’t, tell them. At best, you’ll get sales. At worst, you’ll gain more trust from your audience. Which basically means there’s no “worst” here.
D. Promote Products From Others in Your Niche
Pay attention to other affiliate marketers in your niche. What are they talking about and promoting? What ads are they using? Check out Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook to take a look at #affiliate and #ad to see what other affiliates are promoting.
Step #6: Drive traffic to your affiliate site
You’ve created great content. The next step is to get more people to read it, so they will click on your affiliate links.
Here are three traffic strategies to consider:
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.
However, there are some downsides.
First, running ads will dig into your profits. It’s quite normal for advertisers to lose money before they make it… if they ever do. You need to be realistic about how long it takes to optimize a paid traffic campaign.
Secondly, once you stop paying for ads, your traffic will stop.
Generally speaking, ads are a great traffic strategy if you’re part of a high-paying affiliate program and can make the numbers work.
But if you’re completely new to paid marketing and have no marketing budget, then it might not be such a great idea.
B. Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of optimizing pages to rank high in search engines like Google.
For as long as you can rank high in the search engines for your target keywords, you’ll get consistent and passive traffic.
On the most basic level, SEO is about:
1. Understanding what your target customers are searching for;
2. Creating content around those topics (blog posts, product pages, etc.);
3. Taking care of the “technical” stuff to push these pages higher in the search engines (which includes link building).
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.
To build an email list, you need to persuade the readers on your site to sign up. That means offering something valuable.
But there are plenty of ways to do this: you can show a slide-in box at the end of every article, put a “subscribe” link on their navigation bar, or offer a free eBook, an email course, etc
All you need is some creativity.
Step #7: Track Your Results
Tracking your affiliate links can help you understand which products perform better with your audience which can help you provide better products to them in the future.
Even better, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to provide them with better content, increasing their trust and loyalty. which will keep them coming back to you again.
You can use many WordPress plugins to easily track the performance of your affiliate products such as :
# Bonus: Stay current with trends:
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
That dream you’ve had of making passive income isn’t just a silly fantasy.
It’s a completely achievable reality.
Sure, it’s not as easy as pushing a magic button or throwing Google Adsense all over your site, but with a little knowledge and persistence, you can definitely do it and even turn it into an online business.