Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, hands down. If you’re really passionate about it and you’ve invested time and energy in building your own community, affiliate marketing will allow you to turn your blog into something bigger.
In case you haven’t noticed, affiliate marketing is all the rage right now. The only downside to this is that there’s an overload of information and, if you’re a beginner, it can be incredibly overwhelming to read through all of that.
That’s why today I want to provide this complete and comprehensive guide on affiliate marketing for beginners. My purpose here is to help you understand what affiliate marketing is and how all you bloggers out there can take advantage of it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only getting started with your blog. The sooner you understand affiliate marketing, the sooner you’ll be able to apply it and the better it will be in the long run.
Affiliate marketing is truly great, but it’s also complicated. This shouldn’t discourage you, though! That’s why I put this guide together, to show you that with a little time and a lot of dedication, you can make money off your blog.
What Is Affiliate Marketing
First thing’s first! Affiliate marketing is a sales strategy that allows companies and independent sellers to increase sales by allowing third parties to target the same audience. These third parties, meaning you, earn a commission for the sales they bring in. This means that you’ll be able to make money off of products that are not your own.
Let’s say you have a blog about skin care but you don’t actually have products of your own and that’s not what you’re interested in. You can easily monetize your blog by becoming an affiliate for companies that you trust.
Product owners can make less money because they have to page the commission, but the great benefit is that they reach customers that they wouldn’t be able to reach on their own. In other words, affiliate marketing is a win/win situation for everyone involved. Companies grow, and affiliates make money without producing anything other than the content they’re passionate about.
Before we go on, I’d like to go through some words that will come up a lot in the context of affiliate marketing and that can cause some confusion.
- Merchant: The merchant is the retailer, meaning the company or brand that’s responsible for the products you’ll be promoting.
- Publisher: The publisher is the affiliate, meaning the person that promotes the merchant’s products in the hopes of increasing the merchant’s sales and traffic.
- Deep linking: Deep links are the links that lead your audience towards the product or page you’re promoting.
- URL Masking: This is the art of making those long, confusing links look more attractive and clickable than they actually are and it’s done through tools such as Bitly (bit.ly).
How To Approach Affiliate Marketing
There are two different ways to approach affiliate marketing, you can either be the merchant or the publisher. If you’re a merchant, your main goal is to find the right affiliates for your purposes. If you’re a publisher, your main goal is to produce high-quality content that will hopefully inspire people to make the purchase and to follow your recommendations.
How Much Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing
One of the most important things you need to understand about affiliate marketing is that your earnings can vary and everyone earns money in a different way. Some affiliates are lucky enough to make thousands of dollars a month, but others can struggle to make $1 a day.
Strategy is what makes or breaks your affiliate marketing campaign, which is why it’s so important to understand how this type of digital marketing works. If you understand it, you’ll be able to apply the strategies that will work best your niche. If you don’t, it will be very difficult for you to rise.
Don’t worry, though! That’s what this affiliate marketing guide for beginners is for. Keep reading!
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
When you’re approaching affiliate marketing from the perspective of publishers or affiliates, the first thing you need to do is find a company or brand you’re comfortable promoting.
Said company or brand has to be relevant to your niche and the topics you usually cover in your blog. The product or service you’ll promote needs to be useful to your audience, otherwise, it won’t increase the sales of the merchant, which means the relationship won’t work.
Once you find a company or brand, you have to join their partner program to become an affiliate, also known as publisher, associate, or partner.
After you do that, you will receive a unique affiliate ID that you’ll need to use in all the affiliate links you add to your blog to promote the product or service. Your affiliate ID will also allow the merchant to track how much traffic you drive towards their sites and products. It also tracks the purchases you produce so you can earn your commission.
Perhaps the most important part of being an affiliate is creating relevant content that prompts your audience to make a purchase. You can do this in many different ways, whether that’s producing reviews, making recommendations in your regular posts, adding banner ads to your site, sending newsletters, and more.
Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing
Now that we know all the basics of affiliate marketing, let’s go through what you need to do to get started!
1. Write Reviews
The first thing you need to do is start reviewing products that are relevant to your niche. As a consumer, you’re already buying and using products all the time. All you have to do is start writing about them and letting your readers know what you think.
If your blog is about skin care, write reviews of your favorite products. If you love reading, review books. If you have children and you write about parenting, review all the things you get for them.
Use your personal experience to make your readers relate to the products you’re promoting. If you do this, they will find the information not only useful, but honest and genuine. This will build trust and loyalty, which is exactly what you need from your readers if you want them to buy the things or try the services you’re promoting.
Make sure you include the affiliate links to the products that you promote and make honest calls to action that will prompt your readers to click and find out more about the product or service in question.
If you only rely on your blog, you’ll need a serious amount of traffic if you want to make money.
But that’s what step 2 is for!
2. Set Up An Email List
Using your blog is great, but driving that much traffic can be truly difficult. That’s why you need to find a way to have a direct relationship with your readers so you can market directly to them.
That’s where email comes in! Email is easily one of the best marketing channels at your disposal. All you need to do is ask your readers for their email addresses so you can send them relevant content and offers on the products or services you’re promoting.
There are several tools you can use to gather your reader’s emails, such as Hello Bar, Exit Gate, Sidebar Widget, among others.
Because your niche is specific, you won’t need a huge email list to make this strategy work. It doesn’t matter if you have less than 500 people on your list. What matters is that you keep your readers engaged by sending them weekly updates and important information.
You’re a consumer yourself, this means that you already understand what works and what doesn’t. People hate constant sales emails, so don’t clutter your subscribers’ inbox. Inform them instead, tell them stories, make them engage with the product or service you’re promoting on a regular basis, and they will take the plunge eventually.
3. Educate Your Audience
The best way to engage with your audience is by providing high-quality, useful and valuable content. This means that you have to make it your priority to educate them on a specific issue, topic, product, service, etc.
That’s what your blog is for, so don’t just make it about the reviews. Tell your story, share your experience with a certain issue and explain how the products or services you promote helped you solve it, help them understand why they should be interested in what you’re promoting.
Like I said before, people want to know what you can do for them, so make sure you make it crystal clear. Be creative, try different things and make content you’re proud of, but, above all, make it relevant.
4. Integrate PPC Advertising Into Your Campaign
If you do everything right, your affiliate marketing campaign will take off, so you’ll be able to think about integrating PPC advertising into your campaign.
PPC or “Pay-Per-Click” advertising is a form of digital marketing that allows advertisers to earn money every time people click on online ads.
You’ve seen them whenever you make a search for a product or service, so you already know what they are. What you need to learn is how to use them in your business.
Why? Because PPC advertising is an incredible way to increase your conversion rate and to drive traffic to your site. PPC advertising can be a great tool to make people subscribe to your email list, to make more sales, and of course to make people sign up to your site and engage with them directly.
Essential Affiliate Marketing Tips For Success
Now that we’ve gone through all the essential information, I want to share some tips that will allow you to be more successful in your affiliate marketing campaign.
The first tip is to choose good products, good companies, good brands. It’s extremely important that you think of your audience and that you promote products or services that are high-quality. The companies you choose should be trustworthy and reputable.
If you wouldn’t get it for yourself, don’t recommend it. If you think it’s a scam, stay away from it. If the product doesn’t work, don’t give it a platform on your blog. If you respect your audience, they will trust you and your recommendations.
The second tip is making sure your content is valuable and useful. I can’t stress this enough! If you don’t produce good content, your affiliate links will go unclicked and unnoticed.
Convince your audience that what you’re offering will cover their needs and wants. Sell the product or service well and your affiliate marketing campaign will find success.
Last but not least, always think of your audience. Remember your blog is your baby and you should cherish your community. After all, they are the people that make it possible for you to do what you love and make a living off of it.
Make sure you keep their best interests at heart; recommend good products, write honest reviews, and always find ways to help them cover their needs. Your readers want to know what you can do for them, and in return, they will follow your advice.
As you can see, there’s a lot you need to consider if you’re thinking about giving affiliate marketing a try. The good thing is that it’s not a complicated as it may seem; not if you’re smart about it and you keep your content on point.
Now that you have all the information you need, all you have to do is start putting together your strategy and just go for it. It doesn’t matter if your blog is still growing, what matters is that you tap into this source of income as soon as possible and as best as you can.
You will feel incredible once you start seeing results and you can create your own business without actually having to produce anything. That’s the beauty of it!