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How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

how to start affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is now a short way to success, it’s a long journey that you have to meticulously plan. In order to gain more profits you have to follow steps on how to start affiliate marketing. So, to make your affiliate marketer journey simple, in this blog post, I am going to list down the steps that you should be doing. 

Affiliate marketing requires content that gives you returns. Still there are some of the best practices in affiliate marketing that you must follow in order to sustain longer. The best practices will help you to earn more commissions and build the trust with your audience.

 So, here are the steps on how to start affiliate marketing. Start planning and implementing them for better results. 

Step 1: Decide on the medium to publish content

When you will produce interesting content to participate in the affiliate program, you will need a media to publish it. 

You can start a blog and/or YouTube Channel as it is found that usually, these two platforms work a lot better in terms of affiliate marketing. Of course, you can select among the following media as well like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. 

When you participate in the affiliate program you get a unique link to promote the product or service. This unique link identifies your account and all the sales via this link will end up amounting to the affiliate commission that you earn from that affiliate program. And, if you want to add this unique link on any of the media discussed earlier it would be perfectly fine. As long as the sale happens via that link, you will earn the commissions. Suppose, you have an amazing Facebook Group and you are actively participating in it, you can even share the link over there.

So how to decide which medium you should go for? This depends on your strength. For example, you like creating videos then the YouTube channel would be the right platform for you. And if you like to write the blog can be the right platform for you. 

You can also be present on multiple platforms and integrate those platforms with each other. Example: You can write a post on travel on your blog and upload the video on YouTube regarding the travel journey. And the YouTube video can be embedded in your blog post.

Starting a blog nowadays is very easy with loads of publishing platforms available. Also, few publishing platforms have free options too, you can start your blog without investing. There is a complete video tutorial on blogging in this course, I suggest you should check that. 

On a blog you can add links in the blog post, on YouTube you can add links in the description section, on Instagram you add affiliate links in the bio section, likewise on all other platforms. 

In most cases, it is found that you can get more clicks on the blog, and hence the majority of affiliate marketers select blogs as a media. They also integrate social media platforms with their blog.

Step 2: Decide the niche

This step simply means you need to decide what topic or subject you want to select for producing content. Yes! You heard it right, as an affiliate marketer you have to produce content, interesting ones. 

For this, you can select any topic on which you have knowledge, the subject you are passionate about, or subject that you are expert in. In case neither works for you then you can follow the famous advice of Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk which is “document the process of learning”

Examples of topics can be like Food, Travel, Technology, Book Reviews, Product Reviews, Fashion, etc. 

Also, the content can be video content, a post, an article, image, etc. based on the medium you chose.

Step 3: High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs

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

The not so good part of these types of affiliate programs is that they attract affiliate marketers with lots of expertise and deep pockets. Some also use spammy tactics that you just can’t compete with. But of course, there is always a market for all who work towards their goals. So, don’t worry about the downside, just be aware of it.

The decision which type of program you should join completely depends on a niche topic you selected and the level of expertise. 

For example: if you are targeting consumers who are buying general products like groceries, electronics, toys, etc. then you can choose the 2nd type of affiliate program type which is low commission and higher sales volume.

And if your target audience is business-related then you can go with the 1st model of affiliate program which is high-paying and low sales volume. An example of this could be Hosting Services of Godaddy. You can promote the hosting services and get a commission on the sale. 

Now that you know about various types of affiliate programs. Let’s discuss the content creation process. 

Step 4: Create great content

Content is the most important in all of this. You need to develop high-quality content. What does high-quality mean? It means a content where the affiliate links fit in naturally, they don’t look like they are being forcefully sold to the reader. 

For example, Tim Ferriss interviewed 100+ famous people and asked them this question:

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?

He published those answers in a blog post and included affiliate links to the mentioned products. His audience loved the content. 

Curating the products in a list is not enough. You will need to go the extra mile to make sure the content is genuine and if the consumer follows your suggestion then he will benefit out of it. 

Solving the problems, helping the consumers, basically helping your readers is what you should strive for. Cause trust is everything. Once your readers start trusting you then they will for sure click on the links suggested by you and also buy the product/service. 

Step 5: Drive traffic to your affiliate site

Now that, you have the idea to create interesting content and to add affiliate links the next step is to get people to your blog/YouTube channel. 

I would like to suggest the following strategies to get traffic to your website or YouTube channel:

  • Paid Traffic

You can run ads on Google or Facebook to a highly targeted audience. Ensure the targeting is matching to your blog content. This way the moment you start running ads you will start getting relevant traffic, which may like your content and click on the affiliated links suggested by you. 

But the drawback is you will have to invest in ads from your pockets and hence it means your initial investment will be larger. Gradually you may benefit from the relevant traffic coming to your site. Also, you should remember the moment you stop running the ads the people will also stop coming to your site. 

This Paid Traffic strategy is good only if you are a part of a high paying affiliate network. If you are working for single-digit commission paying affiliate programs, its better you stay away from this. 

  • SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a method of getting organic traffic from Google Search Engine. Organic means you don’t have to pay to get listed on the Google search engine result pages. Instead of paying you have to optimize your website and create a relevant digital presence. This will prove that your website is the best fit for the queries people are asking on the Google search engine, and your website will be listed on the top. 

The best part is it is free and once you start ranking on the 1st page you can expect a lot of traffic for a long time. This strategy won’t harm your profit margins.

SEO includes link building activities, which is getting your website listed on other’s sites. For this you will need to get a tie-up with other websites, create a good presence on social media, work with influencers if you have no budget you can even plan a barter : ), get your article published with some newspapers, etc. 

But the downside is that it takes time and needs you to consistently work towards your goals of achieving a high rank for your website on Google Search Engine Result Page. 

Most of the bloggers do choose this strategy. 

  • Email List

I am sure you understand by now the affiliate marketing plan greatly depends on the content that you develop. It should be interesting, valuable, entertaining, etc to get people’s attention. Once you have them on your website, you can ask them to subscribe to your blog so that you can send them emails to inform you about the new blog posts. Gradually you will have a huge amount of emails in your list, to which you can promote your affiliate programs, once in a while. 

Many sites have an innovative way of collecting emails like:

  • A little Pop-up form, which appears when the person is about to leave the page
  • Pop Up form, when the person scrolls to the bottom after completing the reading page. 
  • Slide-in box at the end of every article, Example Ahref
  • Subscribe link in the navigation bar Example: Gear Patrol
  • You can even offer free eBook or digital Course to motivate people to fill the form

But there are plenty of ways to motivate people to fill the subscription form, with little creative ideas.

  • Social Media

Social Media has many people visiting them every day. It can be a good choice to promote your website over there. One idea is, you can breakdown your long-form articles and blog posts on social media into bite-size formats. The valuable content will gradually get traction. Of course, you need to ensure you use social media with all its little tricks and techniques example relevant hashtags, setting up bio properly, posting regularly, etc. The traffic from the site can then be gradually pushed to the website. 

  • Combination

Many affiliate marketers do not depend on one of this option but prefer to combine all of them to get relevant traffic to the site who will click on the affiliate links. Example: SEO, Ads and Social Media can get you relevant traffic to your blog site. You can retain and try to get this traffic of people on your email list. 

You now know the ways to get traffic to your site, let’s move on to (Step number 6)

Step 6: To get clicks on your affiliate links

People coming to your website is no guarantee that they will click on the links, there are few things you can try to encourage them to click on the links, like:

  • Link Placement

If you place most of your affiliate links, at the bottom half of your article then you might get fewer clicks. Also, people have a little fatigue to the right-hand side content on the blog, they sometimes completely ignore it and might not click on the affiliate links. Then the place left is where the article starts or the top portion of your webpage. But adding too many links there might make your webpage look like a spammy site. And even before people read your content and understand what it is they might choose to leave your webpage.

So you need to balance out the placement of the affiliate links. 

  • Context 

When you mention the links in your content you need to ensure you don’t look out of context or spammy. Example:

If you are reviewing smartphones your introduction should not sound like: “Today, we shall review the best smartphone” Instead, you can write like “Today, I’m reviewing 5 different smartphones that you can buy on Flipkart for under Rs. 25000 and these are SmartPhone 1, SmartPhone 2, Smartphone 3, Smartphone 4 and SmartPhone 5”

  • Callouts & Highlights

Informing users genuinely about the affiliate links is not at all a bad idea. Anyway according to FTC guidelines you need to ensure the article mentions that the article consists of paid promotion. So you will have to inform about the affiliate link. 

Also, to grab the attention of the readers you can highlight the links using buttons, tables, boxes, etc. Also, design your posts and write the content in a way that it is skimmable, and feels very light to read.

Now that you know to drive traffic to the site, how to encourage users to click on the link, it’s time we also understand how to get the clicks converted into sales. So that brings to:(Step number 7)

Step 7: Convert clicks to sales

Affiliate programs, most of them, pay you commission once the sale is done. So you have complete control till the point that they click on the affiliate links. Post that it depends on the conversion rates on the affiliate’s website. 

If things are out of control, then how do you ensure you get the commissions. Here are a few points that can help you:

  • Ensure you select the affiliate program which has a reputation with good conversion rates, you can talk to industry people, talk to the affiliate program team of that company or affiliate network, check for reports on the internet which affiliate programs pay the most. 
  • Try to understand the affiliate program in terms of the product/service they are selling accordingly plan your content and set the right expectations in your readers’ minds as to what they can expect. 

Certain affiliate programs pay on clicks, if you find them good enough you can work with them too. 

All in all, ensure the decisions you take are based on research. 

As I have spoken earlier: Affiliate Marketing is no overnight make money game. It’s a kind of business that will take time and effort to set it up nurture it and then only you will start reaping benefits. 

In this blog, we have shared 7 steps to start your affiliate marketing journey and these steps are: 

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

With that, we come to the end of this blog. If you have any doubts, fell free to write to me at success@ddigitaltree.com