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Affiliate marketing is the arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
Basically, affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products to earn commissions.
All of us at some point has been involved in some form of affiliate marketing one way or the other. If for example you have ever referred a friend to sign up with Uber as a rider or a driver and was awarded some type of credit or coupon, that is actually an example of affiliate marketing!
A lot of the websites that you see and use online, unless they are a major corporation or a small business that creates their own products and services, make their profits from referring customers to someones products and services. This is exactly what affiliate marketing is.
You’re “getting paid” for recommending a product or service to another person.
When a consumer buys a products or service that they look up and pay for online through an affiliate marketer, a certain percentage of the money that is paid for that product or service goes to the affiliate.
Big companies and sole entrepreneurs alike both take advantage of this lucrative business model.
One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that an affiliate marketer can make money 24 hours a day even while he or she sleeps because there will always be people searching for products and services that can eventually find their platform (whether it be a blog, website, or a Youtube channel), during any time of the day, all over the world.
Imagine setting up your business once and getting paid over and over again! Affiliate marketing is basically passive income.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
1. Potential Full-Time Passive Income
As I was just saying, affiliate marketing has the potential for you to do something once and get paid again and again. Because your website/business can be working for you 24/7 even while you sleep and travel. And this process is called passive income!
Passive income is generally defined as a stream of income earned with little effort, and it is referred to as progressive passive income when there is little effort needed from the individual receiving the passive income in order to grow the stream of income.
In affiliate marketing, you’re working for your passive income streams. When you have a passive income stream, you work only when you choose to, not because you have to!
This is an obviously better source of income than the traditional 9-5 jobs where you get paid by the amount of time you work and your work performance.
2. Fully Flexible Working Schedule
You won’t be able to just up and quit your job right away, but as things pick up you can eventually put in that pink slip and create your own working schedule.
The good thing about having your own online business is that you can work anytime, anywhere you want. No boss. No set schedule.
At this point, you have created location freedom for yourself. You can work from home, in a coffee shop, or a foreign country if you want to, as long as you have an internet connection.
3. NO Face-to-Face Selling
Unlike Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing. You don’t ever have to interact with a customer buying the product or the business selling the product. You’re just the middle man facilitating the transaction. You make the introduction and you get your cut of the deal. Simple as that.
4. NO Prior Experience Needed
Literally anyone can build a profitable affiliate marketing business. You don’t need to know how to code or have to be experienced in sales. All you need is the drive and the hustle!
The Different Avenues of Affiliate Marketing
There are a few different ways that you can make money with affiliate marketing. For example, you can sell your affiliate products via Email, solo ads, Pay Per Click (PPC), social media, sales funnels, etc…
But the one I’m focusing on here is related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Content Marketing, where you basically have a platfrom (mainly a blog and / or a Youtube channel) where you can attract customers on a daily basis, with the content that you create on the platform.
Basically, you want to create a decent amount of blog posts (and Youtube videos if you’re not too shy to get in front of the camera or at least speak on the mic) with valuable content that will attract the traffic needed to generate sales.
A common way to make money as an affiliate marketer is by joining what is called an affiliate program, also known as an affiliate network.
An affiliate program is an agreement in which a business pays another business or influence (“the affiliate”) a commission for sending traffic and/or sales their way.
This can be achieved through web content, social media, or a product integration. The affiliate gets a unique link (an “affiliate link”) from which clicks can be tracked — typically using cookies.
You will often come across the terms “cookie length” or “cookie life” within the affiliate marketing industry, which simply defines how long the cookie will be tracking the user’s online activity.
For example, if a cookie has a 30-day life, your referral needs to make a purchase within 30-days of clicking your affiliate link in order for you to get paid — otherwise the lead will no longer be traceable.
So if someone goes on to your website and clicks on your affiliate link of a laptop that you’re advertising for a certain company, even if they don’t buy the laptop that day, if the cookie has a 30 day life, as long as they go back and buy that same laptop on the same website within 30 days, you still get the commission for the sale.
There are many different types of affiliate programs. Some of the more popular ones include:
These affiliate networks literally have products that you can promote and sell for just about every niche that you can think of.
Signing up to become an affiliate is FREE. So, if you ever come across any affiliate program that requires you to pay a fee, stay away from them.
You will be given an unique affiliate link once you’re accepted into any affiliate program. That link allows them to track sales back to you the affiliate. To make money from affiliate marketing, all you need to do is to get people to purchase products through your affiliate link.
But of course you’re not just gonna get hundreds or thousands of people to just start buying your recommended products and services out of the blue, so in the next section we’ll get into how to get set up so we can get to the money.
Step 1: Choose Your Niche
A niche can be loosely defined as a similar group of product solutions or services that appeal to a specific group of people.
A niche is just a category. A market of people. Each niche contains specific solutions for groups of people in a category.
A niche is also a group of people who will be interested in the things you promote.
This niche will determine the topic of your website and the affiliate products you’re going to sell.
A good way to choose your niche is to think about your passion or hobby. You should already have some knowledge and experience in that area. You should also have the passion to work on that area and to learn it better.
Don’t worry if you don’t think you’re an “expert” in your niche, you can still make money with it.
Some popular niches include:
- Health & Fitnsess
- Making Money Online
- Personal Finance
- Weight Loss
- Real Estate
- Debt Settlement
In affiliate marketing, your main focus is to learn the “marketing” aspect. As long as you know how to market your product to your target audience effectively, you can make money even if you’re not an expert in that area.
Step 2: Make a Plan
You know the saying. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
Time and strategy will be beneficial as you approach the world of affiliate marketing.
In the event that you are still working or have additional responsibilities like taking care of a child, you want to make sure that you have good time management between your current responsibilities and the new business that you will be starting to build.
Try to invest at least 2 to 4 hours a day working on what you’re building.
As for your strategy, my recommendation is content marketing, which means you’ll need to create content consistently. So, you need to plan how many posts you’re going to write per week (and how many Youtube videos you’re going to create if you decide to use that to supplement your traffic). Once you get started, you’ll have a better understanding of what to prepare for and what to plan.
Step 3: Build a Website or Landing Page
Nowadays you don’t have to know a single line of code to build a website.
Creating a website is a simple 3 step process. You get a domain name, you choose a hosting site, then you design your website (Well the last one isn’t super simple, but I promise you’ll get better with a little practice).
Top hosting companies for a WordPress website:
Step 4: Affiliate Products Research
This is the step where you want to find affiliate products that are not just profitable but relevant to your niche.
If you think you were just going to come into the game and make all the big money sales from the jump that’s probably not going to happen so slow down a little young buck!
You want to stay focused on finding and promoting the products and services that are relative to your niche even if all of the ticket sales are not that high.
Relevancy is the key to conversion!
The more relevant your offer is to your niche, the higher the chance people will buy from you.
So if you were to say, be a member of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, this is the time when you might want to look at pages like Amazon Best Seller list. (This is NOT for shopping! It’s for research! LOL)
Step 5: Drive Targeted Traffic (Visitors)
Once you have began to have a decent amount of content created, you want to work on driving traffic towards the website / platform that you have your affiliate links.
There are a lot of different ways to generate traffic, but they all fall under two main categories. Free traffic and paid traffic.
The free traffic more often comes from the people who find your site from a Google search, while the paid traffic is generated from you paying for advertisements.
SEO strategies is also a way for you to drive traffic towards your site.
Step 6: Make Sales
Get to the money!
As long as you have a decent amount of valuable content created that you can consistently add to, you will eventually generate sales with your affiliate marketing business.
Tips for Success
A few tips that I believe can help ensure your success as an affiliate marketer:
1. Treat it like a Business
The reason you want to treat your journey as a successful affiliate marketer like a business, is because that’s basically what it is, so you want to make sure that you allocate a healthy amount of time and dedication towards creating your platform, on a almost daily or at the least a weekly basis.
Like many other things in life, you get out what you put in. So put in that work, so you can reap the rewards of your hard work over time.
2. Consistency is Key
Please don’t think that you’re going to come in and put in a good week or two worth of work then come back and find your bank account numbers bigger than before.
It would be wise to have a well-planned schedule that you try your best to commit to.
Plus the more time that you put in, the more you will hone your skills, not just in affiliate marketing, but online marketing in general. This is advantageous towards your education in online business.
As you are creating content and getting better at it, you should always be looking for new strategies to learn as an affiliate marketer. Also when it comes to your niche, you’re obviously not going to literally know everything about what you’re selling so there should always be a decent amount of research being done at least periodically.
Between Google and Youtube there is plenty of free information from other affiliate marketers that you can find to help push you forward in your journey to success as an affiliate marketer.
4. Be Patient
If you ever heard that you can get rich off of affiliate marketing in a very short period of time block and delete that person.
The affiliate marketing “gurus” that are trying to sell you on how you can make money with their paid strategies are making a lot of that big money off of you investing into them. The rest is money that they learned how to make from the time spent learning from their trials and errors in the game. The strategy to be successful in the industry is relatively clear cut. Find a niche, market the right products within that niche to generate sales.
Sure, if you have the money to invest and you find a legitimate course on affiliate marketing from a credible source it may be worth the investment, but at the end of the day, experience is the best teacher.
Affiliate marketing will remain as a viable business model for a long time, and can be as profitable as ever especially now considering the whole world is engaged in the online marketplace more than ever.
I hope that you can make this guide useful towards your journey in Affiliate Marketing.