Affiliate Marketing is one of the most lucrative ways to generate income online.
Wouldn’t you love to get up in the morning and see that you got commissions for sales that happened while you were sleeping?
Sounds interesting, Right?
But you might be having some questions..What Affiliate Marketing actually is and how it works? What steps do you need to take? What skills are required?
Well, we will get to each of these questions…But at first, I’ll start with the last one.
What skills are required to start with Affiliate Marketing?
Well, an Affiliate Marketer wears many hats and looks after different aspects like Blogging, Driving Traffic, Social Media…But there’s no such thing that can’t be learned.
This is a complete step-by-step beginner’s guide of Affiliate Marketing that has been written by keeping in mind a friend of mine, named Tom.
And Tom has…
- No Coding Skills
- Gets confused by technical jargon
- Loves the idea of generating passive income online
So if you are anything like Tom, this guide has been written for you.
Let’s not waste any time and get started!
- What is Affiliate Marketing?
- The Right Approach
- What do you need?
- The Winning Formula
What is Affiliate Marketing?
The Internet is home to the biggest marketplace that exists on this planet.
So many people are looking to sell things and even more people are looking to buy things or maybe they are just “passively looking”.
Affiliate Marketers help the sellers by making sales and converting these “potential buyers” to “customers” by promoting their products and services.
And sellers are more than happy to give a handsome commission to affiliate marketers for each sale that happens through them.
Each sale is tracked through a special Affiliate Link which looks just like a normal link, but it has tacking ID to track the sales.
So, Affiliate Marketing is basically a process in which affiliate marketers or Affiliates can make commissions by helping sellers make sales and by helping Buyers find the right product.
Simply put, This is how it works:
- Affiliates find good products or services that they want to promote.
They look out for Sellers, Merchants, Companies or Affiliate Networks who have affiliate marketing programs and sign up for it.
- Sellers verify the application and approve their request. Affiliates are provided with Affiliate links to promote the product.
- Affiliates do promotion and promote the product to their audience.
- Buyers purchase the product using special affiliate link which has tracking ID.
- Affiliates get rewarded with commissions from sellers for making that sale happen.
Basic Sign Up Procedure
For example, Amazon runs their own Affiliate program which hands out millions of dollars in affiliate commissions each year.
You can simply sign up for their program by going to Amazon Associates.
After signing up for their affiliate program you can start promoting any of their products, you just need to go to a product page and click on Amazon’s Affiliate toolbar to get your affiliate link.
Once you click on the toolbar, you will get your very own affiliate link which has a tracking ID.
When someone clicks on that link and buys anything from Amazon, you will get commissions for making that sale happen.
But if you are thinking about signing up for one of the Affiliate Programs and going on a link-posting spree, Hang on…
It might not work exactly as you plan, as there are a few key elements we still need to discuss.
Just wait until you finish reading this guide!
The Right Approach
Many people start Affiliate Marketing with all the wrong expectations and mindset and struggle to earn decent money out of it.
If your aim is to just go for Spray-and-Pray Approach when it comes to posting Affiliate Links, this guide is not for you.
Let’s see how the Spray-and-Pray Approach works…
You pick a product > Then You find buyers > Then you start posting(spraying) affiliate links > And then you pray that someone will buy using that link.
I’m not saying you won’t make any sales this way, but you will definitely struggle to make any substantial income.
Let me tell you a secret, that all pro-affiliates know…
People like buying things from people or companies who build familiarity and trust with them.
The idea of this guide is to show you a path of least resistance so that you can make sales with ease.
Let’s see what a right approach looks like…
Pick a Profitable Niche
People who use the spray-and-pray approach, find the products first and then they look for potential buyers to sell those products.
That’s not how it works.
Instead find an eager and interested group of buyers FIRST and then simply offer whatever it is they are already purchasing.
Confused, where to find these interested buyers?
Just look around… Do you have a friend who likes gaming on his laptop or a friend who is interested in gardening? Or Yoga? Reading books? Or any activity that you can think of?
Are you yourself interested in any of these activities?
Just make a list of all the niches that you can think of and are interested in.
Now head on to Amazon and type that “niche” or “keyword” to find the products that are selling under that niche.
Just to give you an example, Yoga and Healthy Living is a great niche as people are already interested in buying everything from Yoga mats to Yoga pants.
You can also read the following articles to assist you in finding a profitable niche:
Find Good Affiliate Products and Programs
Once you have selected a good profitable niche, you need to find good products to recommend to your audience.
There’s no need to go and do all the hard work yourself, just see what people are already buying.
Because it’s very likely that what they are buying today is what they’ll buy tomorrow.
It’s also better to check these products yourself before recommending it to anyone else.
This will build trust with your audience and it will also help you in the long run.
You can find affiliate offers from many sellers, merchants and vendors that are popular in your niche on these Affiliate Networks.
Just a word of precaution, don’t just take the vendors word seriously and recommend the product before trying yourself.
Some vendors do lie about how great their product this and this can damage your reputation.
Always check the reviews but take them with a grain of salt as they can sometimes be biased.
Doing a bit of research will make the future-process much easier for you.
What do you need?
You need three things to do Affiliate Marketing like a Pro.
These are also three steps or three stages of Affiliate Marketing.
Your success as an affiliate marketer entirely depends on how well you do these things.
1. Start a Blog
Gone are the days, when starting a blog used to be an arena of computer nerds.
Literally, anyone can start a blog these days.
NO technical skills required!
Having your own blog is the most effective way of doing Affiliate Marketing.
As a blog publisher, you get to publish content that educates, informs, entertains and informs your readers.
In affiliate marketing terms, you can think of it as your sales funnel.
So this is how it works:
- You publish high-quality content like review articles, comparison articles, educational and informational content etc.
- Gradually, you will attract a lot of potential buyers interested in that niche and products.
- Some of these people will buy those products using your affiliate links.
What happens between step 2 and step 3 is what differentiates a Pro Affiliate Marketer from an Okay one.
Let’s take a glimpse of that differentiating factor in the next 2 steps.
2. Build an Email List
What’s an Email list and why do I need it??
Well, good question! I know you are smart.
An Email List is basically used to collect emails of people who subscribe to your mailing list.
And you need it because a better way of doing Affiliate Marketing does not exist.
You might have heard many other Affiliate marketers and Bloggers saying, Money is in the list. Well, all of them can’t be wrong.
Another important reason for building your Email List is that you completely own and control this marketing channel.
Sure, you can promote using Pinterest, Youtube or SEO..
But just think about it, what happens if they change their algorithm one day and all your traffic drops.
Also sending an Email is a more personal form of communication and people are more likely to make a purchase decision through Email than any other means.
Now that you know the importance of Email List, you might need an effective way of getting people to sign up for your List.
And the best way to do that is by using Optin Forms or Popups on your site.
I recommend using Sumo Me or Thrive Leads for collecting Emails.
3. Build Relationship with your Subscribers
This is the most crucial step for becoming a pro affiliate marketer.
Remember, we talked about People buying from those they already know and trust.
Having an Email list gives you a window to build that trust.
You need to start building your Email list from day one as it gives you the best opportunity to build a relationship with your subscribers which will eventually lead to more conversions.
But to build a relationship, you need to engage with your audience.
There is a geeky way to send Emails to your subscribers but even geeks don’t use that anymore.
The reason these third-party Email service providers are preferred by almost everyone is that they make the entire process of sending and scheduling Emails completely seamless.
These 3 steps are the pillars which lay the foundation of your Affiliate Marketing Funnel.
The Winning Formula
Imagine a burger with just the buns or a pizza with no toppings, doesn’t make sense, Right?
Similarly, the above three steps are just the pre-requisites but your sales funnel is still lacking the key ingredients.
If you combine the following 3 secret ingredients with the above-mentioned steps, you will have what we call a “Winning Funnel”.
Let’s see what these 3 secret ingredients are:
1. Irresistible Lead Magnet
Why would anyone sign up for your Email List?
To be sent offers or newsletters? Definitely not.
You need to give your audience a valid reason to subscribe to your Email List.
And the best way to do this by offering a juicy free lead magnet in exchange for their Emails.
It could be a Free Ebook, Short course, reports, videos, mind maps, presentations, reports, software, pdf or any other valuable resource that can give instant value to your reader.
It could also be a content upgrade at the end of an article where you offer more value in exchange for their Email.
A good example could be a FREE Affiliate Marketing Handbook at the end of this article.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time coming up with your lead magnet, just step into your reader’s shoes and see what will they like.
Or even better, just snoop competitors in your niche to see what they are offering.
An irresistible lead magnet can boost your Email Subscribers like nothing else.
2. Compelling Copywriting
This is something that doesn’t get enough attention, but if it’s missing it can break your entire funnel.
Compelling copywriting helps the prospects to make the final purchase decision and horrible copy-writing can make them press “EJECT” faster than a pilot sitting in crashing fighter jet.
Anything that’s worth getting in this world can be yours if you know how to use words wisely.
Everyone likes buying but no one like being marketed to.
Don’t give me Facts, there are already a thousand sites telling me the same thing. Just tell me an entertaining story that informs and educates and you have my attention.
This is the essence of not just Affiliate Marketing but any Marketing in the world.
Just try to connect with the reader and polish up your copy-writing skills, suddenly everything will click.
3. The Importance of Trust
This is the final key ingredient without which it’s impossible to become a super affiliate.
When anyone enters Affiliate Marketing, it’s very easy to get blinded by hefty commissions some Affiliate Networks or Vendors are offering.
Many people make the mistake of not keeping their readers best-interest at hearts.
But promoting or recommending a product that you have yourself not used or believe in, can make you lose your reputation faster than you would lose a boxing bout with Muhammad Ali.
Even if you make a few quick bucks recommending snake oil, you might lose out on even bigger commissions in future.
In some cases, you might have to personally deal with returns and angry customers.
If given a choice, always pick what’s best for your reader.
This key ingredient can separate you with most of your competitors who are just looking to make quick bucks.
It’s easier to get overwhelmed when you think of doing everything at once, especially if you are just starting out.
The reason I included most of the things in this guide itself was to help you find all the information at one place.
Just start with what you can do today and take it one day at a time.
I am very hopeful that if you can combine all the 3 key ingredients with the three steps I mentioned, you can create your own passive income machine.
But don’t assume that it won’t take effort.
This guide has been written for action-takers and if you are one, there’s no obstacle that can stop you.
Try > Fail > Learn > Optimize > Repeat until you get success.
That’s the only way to do Affiliate Marketing.