Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is universally recognised as one of the quickest ways to earn money online. As a method of making a living, affiliate marketing has been around a long time, and there are literally thousands of different ways to get started without having to invest a lot of money upfront. It offers tremendous potential for people who do not have access to start-up capital or are not very Internet/technically savvy. This methodology has some very distinct advantages, including no requirement to have a product of your own, no need to hold stock, no need to ship any product. You will then create a business with literally very little overhead, and no people to employ (unless you scale up and decide to hire a virtual assistant to help you).
Examples of Affiliate Marketing Programs
As a generalisation, product manufacturers, service providers, advertisers or merchants utilise website owners and bloggers to promote their products/service, almost like a virtual sales team. These manufacturers or promoters of products often provide a lot of material that affiliates can use, such as banner ads, email swipes, buttons and links for websites to place within their website content/articles to market and promote the manufacturer or merchants products. The reciprocal arrangement is that the person with the website, YouTube video channel, or Blogger receives commission payments if a customer clicks on the link in their promotional material. When a buyer clicks on the link, it is delivered directly to the customer via the affiliate link. Highly successful affiliates also collect email addresses of their buyers to build and promote to their email lists. A typical example of an affiliate link is a pay per click or PPC; however, content marketing and email promotional marketing are becoming more popular, and often more cost-effective.
Promoting the Product
When deciding what sort of affiliate program to promote, you need to consider, and one of the most important of these is choosing which company or promoter you will get into bed with. The critical thing to bear in mind is that the product needs to be of acceptable quality. If it is a service that is being promoted then it needs to be an evergreen service and one that offers significant value to the purchaser. There is a multitude of commission structures offered through affiliate marketing programs. Ideally, if you can find an affiliate program that pays out an initial commission and recurring commissions, then that is almost the ‘Holy Grail’ in affiliate marketing. Often, affiliate marketing programs offer their affiliates hundred per cent commissions on the front end of the products they promote. They make their money on the upsells or additional services/products. Upsells are often more expensive, and the commission paid on these upsells generally fall in the range of circa 30-50%. Before deciding which organisation and which products to consider promoting as an affiliate, you need to do your due diligence to understand exactly what it is you’re promoting fully. It would be best if you had clarity around what you’re going to get out of it, and whether it is something that you are ethically comfortable about promoting.
Deciding Which Affiliate Product to Promote
In the early days of affiliate marketing, there are not many affiliate programs available that you could choose from as a potential marketer. Nowadays, the standard and availability are so much higher. The whole industry has been professionalised, and there is a lot of competition. Large organisations, for example, Amazon, eBay, Google and many of the large web hosting companies, e.g. Siteground, Blue Hosting, etc., offer excellent affiliate programmes. The choice of finding something to promote is almost endless. You are almost spoilt for choice for things to promote, and if you do your research, you can find an affiliate program for nearly anything that people will buy. If you have your website (and you should), it makes sense to promote products congruent with your website’s content and theme. Having a website is almost essential to success with affiliate marketing. Still, there are other ways to promote products, for example producing review articles and directing the URLs to affiliate programs. Becoming an Affiliate Becoming an affiliate is quite doable, but you must do your research meticulously. Often, if you scroll down to the bottom of most organisations offering affiliate programmes, they will generally have details relating to their affiliate programs. In that case, you can sign up and obtain a link directly through their webpage. The instructions are usually apparent on what you need to do to sign up for the affiliate program and precisely what you are signing up for. Once you are granted access, you will be given a promotional link, and this affiliate link will be unique to you so that you will get the commission if someone buys through your link. The process of signing up for an affiliate program is often the easy part. Still, it is becoming increasingly conditional on whether you can demonstrate that you can sell products and that you’re able to drive buyer traffic. Driving traffic to be able to generate sales is, in my opinion, the most challenging part of becoming a successful affiliate. This is why having your website is quite critical because one of the tried and tested methodologies are to drive traffic to your website so that people can see a review of the products you are promoting. If you’ve done a good enough job promoting it, they should click on your link. However, to get people to stay on your website long enough so that they are more likely to click on your link depends on whether your content and articles that you have written are exciting and relevant. You have to ask yourself, ‘Have I constantly added enough value through the information I have provided?’.
Things to Look Out For
Some of the criteria you need to consider when deciding which affiliate program to join includes high affiliate commissions, reasonable conversion rates and excellent already done for your promotional material. Get everything set up correctly, master the skills, and you will be able to develop a passive income that works for you even when you’re asleep. Good affiliate programs should have plenty of promotional material pre-prepared for you, for example, sales pages where you can cut and paste key points to put in your articles. The better ones even have banners that you can use for social media promotion and banners that you can use on your website and email swipes if you decide that you will run traffic-driving campaigns by email. Where to Find Affiliate Programs As I have already stated, there is a multitude of options available online. Just type affiliate programs into Google, and you should be swamped with options to consider. Some other places to check out include Clickbank.com, JVzoo.com and Warrior+.com. A great resource is www.muncheye.com. This website shows up-and-coming promotions for information products and software that will be launched through the three organisations I’ve mentioned above. Most of the big household name companies also offer affiliate programs which you can often access by their websites. Amazon has an outstanding affiliate program, but its initial commissions are very much on the low side. However, suppose someone purchases a promoted product through your affiliate link. In that case, there is an additional scheme whereby if the purchaser buys other products via Amazon within a certain timeframe, you will also be able to get a commission on those sales, making it worthwhile considering.
Promoting Your Affiliate Link
It isn’t easy to directly market your link, particularly if you’re trying to use search engines like Google or Bing to promote them. The reason being is that the links themselves will not rank because they are often too complicated. The best way to do it as I have already alluded to is to create your website and ideally obtain a domain name that has some relevance to the type of products you want to promote. For example, if I wanted to promote a pair of earphones and other similar electrical goods, I will create a website with a domain name relevant to those products. I could then easily add content by writing a review or even better still videoing a review and loading onto YouTube and then embedding that video into my website. Even better would be to have both video and written content describing the pros and cons of what you are promoting or comparing the product you are trying to promote. In this way, by having a website name relevant to the products and using keywords, search engines will be able to make sense of what your website is all about, which will help with your rankings. Higher rankings equal a higher number of visitors, a higher number of visitors equals more probability of a visitor clicking on your link.
If you want to get started with affiliate marketing and don’t yet have a website, does this mean that you can’t get going with affiliate marketing until you have the website set up? The answer to that question is that it will probably be more difficult, but not impossible. You can produce useful articles about the product you try to promote and look for article directories to post your items with an embedded link in the report. Some examples of article directories include ‘articles’, ‘e-zine articles’ ‘technocratic’ the ‘free library’ and others. When you’re pulling your article together, don’t rely solely on one source to compile all your information. Ideally, look at several pieces or sources of information to get a real in-depth understanding of the product you are trying to promote. One way of simplifying the review by making it into a more digestible form is to list down the pros and cons or even bullet points so that people can get the gist of what the product is all about and what it can do. Comparing one product to another product, identifying the pros and cons of each, and then suggesting a recommendation for the one you’re promoting can be a very powerful way of getting people to click on your link rather than just promoting the product itself. Your content or review articles need to be compelling and exciting so that people will stay on your website long enough, influencing your website ranking and potentially increasing the number of visitors to your site.
Making money online and potentially scaling your business up by using the affiliate marketing model can be very lucrative and on a personal level, a gratifying experience. One benefit often overlooked is the fact that you’re also building your skill set up, and that can be utilised in other ways to make money online. Take time to do your research/due diligence carefully, find the right affiliate program; ideally, something you are interested in or have an affinity with. If you are a ‘techie’ person go for a techie affiliate program, if you’re into health or food or travel, then go for affiliate programs related to the things you’re interested in. Remember, producing good quality content for your website also helps you master how to write decent articles/reviews and accept that you will most likely not be perfect when you first start. Don’t bother about that, get on with promoting the products, practice creating reviews and what you’ve learned from the process. Incorporate that learning into your next review, and you will get better and more successful over time. The critical point to remember here is that ‘imperfect action outperforms no action every time!