With so much to learn and do, beginners getting into affiliate marketing can sometimes feel intimidated. However, once you understand the basics of this business, you can build on what you have learned and take inspiration from those who have succeeded in this field.
Affiliate marketing is worth billions and growing as many businesses are willing to pay people a commission on each new customer referral received. ‘How to make money online’ has now become an extremely sought-after query, and one of the best ways to reap the dividends of being able to work from wherever you choose market what interests you.
What an affiliate marketer does
As an affiliate marketer, your job is to use your web properties to drive as much traffic as possible to the product or service you are promoting. If a customer buys the merchant’s product or performs some other action that is agreed to payment, you will receive a commission for it. As you will have your own unique affiliate ID for every product you promote that is included in your your links to the vendor’s products, everything is automatically tracked and sales are credited to your account.
Getting started in affiliate marketing
The first and most important rule of affiliate marketing is not to expect instant success. It is usually a slow road, so it should be approached as a supplementary source of income in the beginning. Only a minority of visitors are ever going to convert to paying customers, and it takes a long time to build the kind of traffic that can really build a good income. However, you have to start somewhere, and the basic steps are finding and learning a niche, building a website, establishing a presence on social networks and joining affiliate networks.
Affiliate marketing for beginners
1. Finding and learning niche
The traditional advice for selecting a niche (a segment of a market) is to look for something with low competition and high demand. While this should be done to the extent it is possible when targeting products within the main niche you choose, it is important to choose a broad niche where you have some interest. You will need to produce content for that niche that will stand out and provide people with what they need. This is very difficult to do without the right knowledge and interest in that niche. Almost anything that people are interested in can be marketed and has micro niches within the main niche where competition is not so fierce.
Therefore, keep interests in mind when going through the steps of how to find a niche. Only after the niche has been selected should you use keyword research tools to research what people are looking for and find the low-handing fruit that can be targeted.
It is advisable to then start learning more about the niche before building any web properties. First, find blogs and forums in the niche and start following them for knowledge and ideas for your site, as well as angles on how you might market things yourself. In addition, seek out those experts in your niche and learn from them.
2. Build a website
As an affiliate site forms the core of the internet marketing business, site building must be carefully thought out and continuous. It can be thought of as the store to bring in customers, although the final sale will be made at the merchant’s website. While some beginners relying on free publishing platforms, as they are easier and of course do not cost anything, it is advisable to limit the use of these to supporting your main site. Otherwise, your business will be at the mercy of these platforms and their terms of service.
Creating a site can be a long process, but it is worth the time and effort if the end product is a user-friendly hub that hosts rich and informative content. Identifying keywords that are relevant to the target segment and business is extremely crucial for affiliate marketing.
Use keyword research tools to find long-tail and other keywords and then create a categorizing plan for the site to make it easy to navigate for both visitors and search engines. For traffic, use on-page techniques when building the site, off-page SEO when building links and consider PPC to buy traffic where appropriate.
3. Get social
It is increasingly difficult to get enough traffic to websites without some kind of pretense on social networks. You need to use the principles laid out in social network marketing to build a following and a name for yourself on at least one social network. Do not try to join too many networks as you will probably not be able to stand out on any of them, and all your efforts could be wasted. Instead, start with a single major network such as Facebook and learn the ropes from there. Then, as time permits, become active on other social networks that are suited for your niche.
Remember that most of your traffic and sales will likely come from a relatively small portion of your content. Therefore, select what content you think is best, make it better and use techniques to include social bookmarking and buzz in addition to social networks to try to make it stand out.
4. Joining affiliate networks
An affiliate network acts as a channel between marketers and publishers. By joining good affiliate networks, you can gain access to just the products needed. Although many think that joining affiliate networks is one of the first steps to take, it actually is best done after finding a niche and getting started on your site (although you need to be sure the niche you choose has marketable products). The chances of getting many sales in the beginning before you have much traffic is very low, and having a website to show the affiliate networks is often required before you can join.
You cannot rush into affiliate marketing and expect to make money. At the same time, you will never get anywhere if you spend too much time trying to learn everything before getting started. Approach it in a measured, methodical manner. Make those first steps and keep building your business as you learn from there.
The following guide to affiliate marketing covers the entire process of affiliate marketing in much greater detail.