Hello there. I know you have been looking around for ways to make money online. Well, who hasn’t heard of affiliate marketing?
If you have done some searching, you might be aware of affiliate marketing and how it has become a simple way of making passive income from the comfort of your home. Even if you aren’t mindful, hang around a bit more to learn about a very straightforward method of generating passive income.
Before we begin, here’s a disclaimer. The income generating system that I’m going to discuss is simple but not fast or easy. It takes time to show results. Also, you need to put a fair amount of effort into understanding, learning and applying aspects related to the system to benefit from it.
With that said, let’s get started.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s start with a briefing for you to learn about affiliate marketing: what it is and how it works.
Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing (or promoting) products based on sharing of commission from sales.
A typical affiliate setup has three parts: producer, product and the affiliate.
The producer (seller or merchant) creates the product. It could be an individual or a company that has ideas and creates products for the concerned markets. In an affiliate system, the producer is not responsible for promoting the product in the market; that’s the work of an affiliate.
An affiliate, again, could be an individual or a company. Their sole purpose is to promote and sell the product to potential customers in the market.
The system works on the principle of shared revenue, i.e., for every product unit that gets sold to a customer, the profit gained from the sale is divided between the producer and the affiliate.
The ratio of revenue sharing varies from product to product, and company to company. Some products might have as high as 50% commission on sales while the low commissions, usually, are around 5 to 10%.
Joining an Affiliate Marketing System
You have two options to be a part of an affiliate marketing setup:
• Be a producer
• Be an affiliate
You can start as a producer but will need time, money and ideas to come up with a product, which could be difficult for you. Hence, we recommend you to start as an affiliate marketer, keeping things simple – promoting products and receiving a part of revenue for every sale you make.
Your job as an affiliate marketer would be to promote the product to the general masses and make sales.
But, how do you become an affiliate marketer?
How Excel as an Affiliate Marketer
The next part of learning affiliate marketing is how to be an affiliate marketer. So, let’s look into that aspect.
Before you can begin promoting products to generate passive income, there are a few steps that you need to follow and set yourself up as an affiliate marketer.
Step 1: Decide on a Niche
There are a massive number and types of products in the market, ranging from toothbrushes, pencils, to educational courses and cars. What I’m implying is, for every product that exists in the market, there is a customer base for it. Products differ between markets, and so do their customers.
So, before you begin the process, you have to decide on a market, i.e., a niche.
What is a Niche?
In simple terms, a niche is a problem of the customer, and a product is a solution to this problem.
Any product that fails to solve a problem (need or want) of the customer is the wrong product. Such entities will not have any market existence. Hence, if you see a product in the market, be assured that it is duly fulfilling its purpose of solving the customer’s problem.
So, for promoting products, you have to concentrate on a specific niche. But before you choose any niche, make sure that it is a focused problem, not something too general.
For example, weight loss is a general problem.
However, weight loss for homemakers is a focused problem.
Similarly, dog care is a general problem
While dog care for new owners/beginners is a focused problem.
Thus, weight loss for homemakers or dog care for beginners could be your niche. But why should you do so? Let’s see.
Why Have a Focused Problem as a Niche?
Going back to the weight loss example, if you think of weight loss, it does not say anything about the subject. Though this is a general problem, the customer base is very diverse because of other associated conditions and limitations.
A weight loss program designed for homemakers will not be useful for office workers trying to lose weight. That’s because both the customer bases belong to different environments and have varying needs.
What we are saying is, there’s no one-size-fits-all in products. As mentioned earlier, every product has a particular type of customer.
Therefore, starting with a focused problem as a niche will ensure that you are approaching and pitching to the right people who can associate themselves with the product and see the value in it. All this means you have a higher probability of making the sale and generating income while providing value to the customer.
But then again, a question might come to your mind – what type of niche would be the best for me?
So, let’s address that.
What Type of Niche Best Suits You?
Speaking of the best niche for you, pick something that interests you. It could be a hobby like video games and photography or something more intent like trading stocks and investing.
Choose something that you are associated with yourself. The thing is the potential customers who will be subjected to your promotional content, if they end up buying, will do so trusting your word for it.
Let’s say you pick a niche that does not interest you. Then, if you create content relating to the topic, there will be a lack of intent and understanding of the product, which will be visible to the audience.
All this means you fail on two fronts:
• neither do you help people to solve their problem via the product
• nor do you make the sale and generate any income.
So, do some research, assess all the available options and then choose a niche (i.e., a focused problem) that best relates to you.
Step 2: Find Related Products
Once you are done with niche selection, next, you have to find products to promote, that relate to your chosen niche.
That said, numerous sites and programs on the Internet let you choose from a vast collection of affiliate products like Clickbank and Amazon Affiliates Program. These two are the most common platforms among affiliate marketers.
Based on which platform you choose, there will be differences in how you obtain affiliate links and promote the products. With Clickbank, you only have to click on the ‘Promote’ button to get an affiliate link which you can use on your preferred marketing platform. With Amazon’s Affiliate Program, however, you can either put up ads or affiliate links on your marketing platform.
After obtaining the affiliate links, you have to bring in traffic to your preferred platform, influencing your audience (by showing the value of the product provides to them) to click on the links and make purchases.
But, how do you make them do so?
Step 3: Setup Your Marketing Platform
You need a proper place to speak about the products you are promoting, and show the product value to the customers. The best thing is, you also have options for where you want to publicise your affiliate products.
Blogs and websites are the most commonly used platforms for marketing of affiliate products, but you are not just limited to them. You could create videos and post them on YouTube, or promote products via pictures on Instagram.
This aspect of affiliate marketing requires you to spend a bit of your money. Concerning blogs or websites, you would need a domain and hosting server which comes at a monthly or annual fee. Further, based on how you want to create the contents (outsource or create yourself), you are looking at additional costs.
Elsewhere in my blog, I have written about How to Create a Free Website for Affiliate Marketing.
Let’s look more into that aspect.
Step 4: Create Relevant Content for Promoting the Product
After setting up the marketing platform, your next task in the list is to create content related to the niche which endorses the products.
There are two ways to do this.
• Either, you could create the content yourself (i.e., write the blog posts and reviews, make videos by yourself),
• Or, you could outsource the content creation task (i.e., pay someone else to do the job for you).
Of the two options, I recommend that you are better off creating the content yourself. Don’t worry about your skills not being up to par. You needn’t be a literature expert to write blog posts, just able enough to make your point across to the audience. Remember, you will improve over time as you keep writing new content.
Alternatively, you could create videos regarding the products.
The best mantra for video content, you ask? Product review videos are the way to go.
It does two things:
• You get to assess the product as a user; thus, have a more hands-on experience.
• The audience can relate with you as you are speaking from your experience.
Moreover, videos are a visual medium, something the audience can see and thus, builds confidence in them about what you have to say about the product.
Further, you can also combine platforms to promote better and show the potential values that your affiliate products can have in the customers’ lives.
The following text talks about how you can do so.
Step 5: Make Your Point and Earn Money
As said earlier, you aren’t limited to using just one marketing platform for your purpose. Instead, I suggest that you have at least two platforms.
Here’s the step-by-step approach:
• First, start a blog and create contents (textual and graphical) relevant to the affiliate products.
• Once you have enough material (at least ten articles), start promoting your blog. Some manual networking and SEO should see your blog get some good traffic.
(The intention of promoting the blog is to grow your audience. The more people learn about your blog, the better. However, make sure you are approaching the right people who can be potential buyers having a problem that your products can solve.)
• After the above step, start integrating video content into your blog. Once, your library has a considerable number of video content, start promoting your video content in your blogs while also advertising your blog in your videos.
With these three steps, you should be having the right amount of traffic carrying potential customers who make the purchase. However, if you aren’t finding the desired results, you might not be appealing to the target audience.
Delivering Value For Money
Affiliate marketing is a source of passive income for the marketer. But from a customer’s perspective, it is about spending money to tend their need or problem. For a person to spend money, they have to see the worth in the thing (which in this case is the product) offered to them. If they don’t realise the value associated with the product and how it benefits them, it is very likely that they won’t buy the product.
Hence, do not make your blog or videos just about promoting the affiliate products. You will only look like the salesman who comes door-to-door pressing on buying stuff people don’t need. Create valuable content along with promotional material for the audience. I say, for every two promotional content have at least seven value-added content. Once they realise the value, tempting them into buying products will not take much effort.
And that, my reader, concludes a brief lesson on how to learn affiliate marketing.
The following are some other aspects that you will find useful, so read on.
Other Aspects of Affiliate Marketing
Expanding your business
With the proper investment of time and effort, affiliate marketing can overcome regular day jobs in terms of making money. Meaning, you can live comfortably by only relying on affiliate incomes and quitting daily work.
For this thing to happen, you have to expand your affiliate business. Now, let’s go one step at a time to know how you can do so.
To expand your affiliate business, you need to make more sales.
To make more sales, you need to expose your business to a bigger audience.
In achieving a bigger audience, you need a reliable communication medium.
And what’s that reliable medium of communication, you ask?
So let me tell you. It is e-mail.
Yes, e-mail marketing is a potent tool and when done right, can make you a vast amount of money.
That said, you need to have e-mail addresses of potential customers who would be willing to buy the products.
How do you collect all those e-mails?
For collecting e-mail addresses, you have to offer people something of value in return for their e-mail address. This entity could be anything, a free e-book or discount coupon. You provide the people, what we call is a ‘lead magnet’ in exchange for their e-mail address.
Hence, it is vital that collect e-mail addresses of the traffic that comes to your blog to approach them later with a value-added proposition intended for a sale.
Some Dangers in Affiliate Marketing
Not Establishing Identity (Not Being Niche-Focused)
It is vital that you stick to your thoughts and opinions in your content for the audience. Raving about a product in one post, and then undermining the same product in the next post does not do you any favours. You have to be consistent with your thoughts and expressions about things you tell your audience. Your content should build the audience’s trust in you and not make you feel like a cheap salesman.
Losing Interest or Being Overwhelmed
Initially, affiliate marketing might seem tiring and bothersome. But to benefit from this system, you have to put in the necessary effort. You might struggle at the beginning, but as time passes and you get acquainted with various elements, things become more comfortable and straightforward.
If you struggle too much in the beginning, take things slow and learn each aspect properly before moving to the following elements.
Doing Things the Wrong Way
Let me say this. Affiliate marketing is profitable when you do the right things. You can’t blame the system for not being able to take its advantage by following the wrong methods and practices.
Hence, before beginning any task, make sure it is the right thing to do.
Missing out on Adding Value in the Contents
As said earlier, the audience wants value in your content to become a customer. If you fail in this regard, your audience will not turn into customers.
Thus, ensure that any content you put on your blog or videos has some value in them for the audience to take.
Not Abiding by Affiliate Terms and Policy
The quickest way of getting kicked out of an affiliate program is by not abiding by the rules and regulations of the program. Hence, before you start on as an affiliate, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions associated and act accordingly.
Affiliate marketing is an attractive prospect for anyone who wants some passive income. With that said, being an affiliate marketer is the simplest way of starting in this affiliate marketing system. You only have to promote products for a shared profit on the product sale.
For being an affiliate marketer, you have to:
- Decide on a niche
- Find the niche-related products
- Setup your marketing platform
- Create relevant content promoting the products
- Show the customer about the value associated with the products and earn money
When done right, this method of promoting products as an affiliate can make you tons of money.