Becoming an affiliate marketer is easy, in fact, it takes only a couple of hours to set up everything you need to become a full-time affiliate marketer and a step to gaining your financial freedom.
It’s working towards becoming a successful affiliate marketer that matters. The steps you take, and what you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis set you on the path to success.
Like many successful affiliate marketing stories, mine was easy, faster than I even expected at the time. In fact, I made my first sale in the first month. Then it was okay to paste your affiliate links on YouTube. I did this over and over back then in 2011.
During the same period, I was learning about search engine optimization (SEO) to try and grow my blog’s organic traffic. The results were amazing as there was not much competition at the time.
At the end of my first year of affiliate marketing, I have already made over 350 sales which made me close to $5K only from the affiliate offers I was promoting.
It was an amazing year. I just told myself that affiliate marketing was very easy reasons been that, I was not involved in manufacturing or owning an eCommerce store, and didn’t have to deal with customers.
This to me was making 99% profit on each commission considering the 1% was the time I invested.
Today many people believe affiliate marketing is dead. Far from true though, it’s even the same as it was 10 years ago. All that matters is your strategy and that’s what am going to share with you in this post.
All blog income comes from affiliate marketing
What you must understand is affiliate marketing is a real business. The journey is not easy, and it will certainly not succeed overnight. But I can say that affiliate marketing may be very successful.
This beginner’s guide will explain how to start affiliate marketing. I want something like this to help me through the whole process. So let’s get started!
Before proceeding with these steps, we need to start with the basics of affiliate marketing and accurately define its meaning.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an agreement through which you can earn commissions to promote the products or services of another company.
Affiliate marketing is also called performance marketing or CPA marketing. The definition of affiliate marketing makes it different from other forms of digital marketing.
Although it is a form of online advertising, affiliate marketing is very different from just banner advertising.
Unlike banner ads, with affiliate marketing, you will usually not be paid unless the visitor “converts.”
Generally, conversions refer to purchases made by potential customers (visitors to your website). But some marketers have different definitions of “conversion”. It can be so complicated that the customer not only buys the product but can also take specific measures after the purchase.
Affiliate marketing terms
Like any topic, affiliate marketing has its own jargon. The definition of affiliate marketing itself is a salad of words and mass consumption. So let’s take a look at the terms you might encounter.
#1. Merchant: A company that sells products.
#2. Products-merchandise sold by retailers and promoted by subsidiaries.
#3. Affiliates: third parties that promote merchants’ products. Also called editor, contributor, or partner.
#4. Super affiliates: the best-performing affiliates. Usually, less than 20% of affiliates are super affiliates, but they can bring 80% of all conversions.
#5. Affiliate is links-also known as tracking links. This is a unique URL that can track affiliates’ clicks and conversions.
#5. Conversion: an event defined by the Merchant and considered by the affiliate. It can be anything defined by the merchant, but it is usually a potential customer of the merchant or purchase of the product.
#6. Prospect: An individual who performs conversion with the merchant. Also known as a lead, customer, or client.
#7. Affiliate Network: an optional intermediary between merchants and affiliates, helping to facilitate transactions.
#8. Affiliate Manager: a person who acts as an intermediary between the merchant and the affiliate. Your goal is to maximize the performance of the affiliate program.
#9. Affiliate program-an an agreement between merchants to pay commissions to affiliates.
#10. Affiliate Offer: a specific promotion of the product.
#11. Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of clicks on affiliate links based on page impressions.
#12. Conversion rate (CR): the percentage of clicks that have been converted.
#13. Cost-per-action (CPA): a commission model in which the merchant pays the affiliate fee only for conversions.
#14. Cost-per-click (CPC)-a commission model in which merchants only pay affiliate fees for clicks. It is usually used with advertising banners, not with affiliate marketing.
#15. Postback URL: the URL used for server-side conversion; also known as server-to-server tracking.
#17. SubID: a text string embedded as part of the affiliate link used to define the affiliate, and the affiliate can use the string to detect conversion.
#18. Creative: Image ad text or banner used by affiliates to promote merchant products.
#19. Copy: Written text that helps promote the company’s products.
#20. Co-branding: the affiliate’s logo, copy or trademark appears on the merchant’s login page.
#21. Landing page: the merchant website that the affiliate directs traffic to through the affiliate link.
#22. Adblocking: web browser technology can prevent the detection of affiliate clicks and conversions. In addition, you can also prevent the display of advertising banners.
#23. Attribution: The process of correctly identifying the affiliates to be converted.
#24. Chargeback: Invalid conversions will result in the loss of affiliate commissions.
#25. Commission: The income earned by the affiliate to generate conversions. This is also called the introduction fee, candidate fee or reward.
#26: Cookies: Information stored in the browsers of potential customers.
#27: Link Cloaking: Hides the affiliate link with a cleaner-looking URL than what the merchant has provided. Link cloaking can be used to better manage links and track clicks and conversions.
How much can I earn as an affiliate marketer?
There is really no limit to how much you can potentially earn as an affiliate. People make millions through affiliate marketing while many make hundreds of thousands every month.
And I am not a snowflake. In another article, I discussed blogs that have sold more than 7 digits. All of this is recorded through public information, so it is legal. This is not a monthly income report for bloggers that can be tracked.
I personally know that other bloggers earn more than six figures a month from their blogs, and this is all due to affiliate marketing. But what I want to say is that many bloggers earn thousands of dollars a year, which is a good parallel event.
In the final analysis, affiliate marketing is how you work, how you manage, and how much energy you put into your blog. Of course, this is not a rich plan, nor is it an overnight success.
How does affiliate marketing work?
A high-level overview of how affiliate marketing works
At the highest level, this is how affiliate marketing works:
1. Visitors to your blog read an article from your website.
The visitor clicks on the associated link to be redirected to the merchant’s website.
3. On the company’s website, the visitor performs the required event.
4. Affiliates are accounted for due to this event.
The Technology Behind Affiliate marketing
The details of affiliate marketing may be quite technical, and I will not stop. If you don’t want to learn more about how the process actually works, please skip this section for now and read the first step to becoming a submarket.
The HTTP protocol that controls all websites is not yet in the state. With HTTP, the website will not store previous visits.
When a single visitor travels between pages of a website, by default, the webserver does not know its identity. Web browser cookies are a way to bypass this restriction.
When the visitor clicks the URL of the unique affiliate link to enter the merchant’s website, it will be marked as a cookie.
Cookies can be used a lot, but in affiliate marketing, they are used to identify visitors from one visit to the next website. In this way, the subsidiary will receive credit when it converts.
Just like the cookies, you can eat, the cookies of your web browser will not last forever.
The “Lifetime” (TTL) of a cookie can range from a few minutes to a few years. For affiliate marketing, the typical TTL is 30 days. The longer the TTL, the better.
One of the disadvantages of affiliate marketing is to rely on cookies to get enough credit cards.
The reward is an important theme in affiliate marketing.
Now the detection is not always 100% accurate.
When users use multiple devices (such as phones, laptops, etc.) to access the page, detection becomes difficult. If the visitor uses an ad blocker, it will also not work.
Affiliate marketing technology has been improving, but in some cases, conversions will be lost. Affiliate networks tend to detect better conversions than internal affiliate programs run by merchants, for example.
How to Get Affiliate Link
All merchants platforms have their affiliate links and banners to make it easy for affiliates, you will have to navigate each affiliate program you sign up for to get your links and banners.
You must get it by registering in the merchant’s affiliate plan. The program can exist directly at the merchant, or in most cases through an affiliate network.
Merchants can provide links in two ways: internal affiliate programs or networks. Most affiliates cooperate with merchants through affiliate network programs.
The online affiliate program involves working with third parties to manage your relationship with the merchant. Generally, the affiliate network handles communications, affiliate links, tracking, reporting, and payments.
The affiliate network usually has thousands of merchants to choose from. You connect to the connected network and then register each individual merchant program. Some will automatically approve candidates, and some will automatically review and manually approve new affiliates.
Once approved, you will be able to access special affiliate links that are unique to you. These unique links can be placed wherever you want to promote the merchant’s products. This can be on your blog, email, your YouTube channel, etc.
NOTE: It is always important to read the terms of the affiliate contract before starting to promote the dealer. Make sure to clearly state where you can and cannot place your affiliate link.
For example, most merchants prohibit you from bidding or impersonating it as a trademark of Google advertising. Before promoting the restriction, be sure to check the restriction first; otherwise, the dealer may ban it.
Compared with internal affiliate plans, networking has many advantages:
• They act as an intermediary between you and the merchant.
• Ensure prompt payment of commissions.
• Allows you to cooperate with thousands of merchants on one panel.
• Acting as the accounting auditor of the merchant to ensure everything goes smoothly.
• They can ensure more accurate tracking of affiliate clicks and conversions.
• It provides better reports compared to internal affiliate programs.
Internal Affiliate Programs
With an internal affiliate program, you will usually work more closely with the distributor and build a closer relationship.
As with affiliate networks, you can get affiliate links from the merchant’s affiliate marketing programs. The merchant is responsible for tracking success. Unfortunately, you don’t know if the merchant handles the conversion, and you rely on the merchant to make one payment.
Benefits of internal relations:
•Closer relationship with merchants
• The fees paid are usually higher than those obtained through affiliate marketing programs.
• More flexible options can increase conversion rates
How do affiliate merchants pay?
As a subsidiary, you will receive credit if a predetermined event occurs. Opportunities are usually sales or conversions. This is also called cost-per-action or CPA. In affiliate marketing, CPA is the most popular payment method. But this is not the only option.
You can also pay for other types of events. Other options are:
• Each lead (cost per lead or CPL): email address, phone number, address, etc.
• Per click (cost per click or cost per click)-is no different from placing a banner ad.
- Impression (Cost per Thousand, or CPM) — Some ads are also by this method.
The shop owner determines the payment method, but it can also be negotiated.
Payment frequency and payment method depend on the affiliate plan. The most common way is to pay monthly.
Affiliate networks tend to be better in terms of payments and well-maintained schedules. Almost all networks require regular payments (almost always monthly payments). Otherwise, your program will be closed until your late payment is updated.
This is an important difference from the internal affiliate plan. Although payments and relationships are usually better, they may not be payments. It is not uncommon for AR departments of large companies to pay on a 90-day net payment schedule. This means that you must wait 90 days to pay for conversion costs that occurred three months ago.
If your merchant is slow to pay or needs an old invoice, please consider this possible issue.
Most affiliate networks provide an electronic payment method, usually direct deposit or PayPal. On the other hand, direct relationships can only support direct deposits. To make matters worse, I work with companies (high-tech companies, nothing more than) that are still reducing physical control.
Getting started with affiliate marketing in 6 simple steps
Now that we have sorted out some basic questions and terminology, let us follow the steps to start as an affiliate marketer.
1. Choose your niche
The first and most important step of affiliate marketing is to choose your niche market.
Ideally, you should first look at the topics you are interested in. The important thing is that your niche should be useful. As an entrepreneur, you want to be a problem-solver. If you have a problem, it certainly applies to others!
You are not starting a business to help yourself. You are building a business that can help others.
This is a mistake that entrepreneurs often make. They think: “I will start doing business to get rich.” Yes, you can get rich, but this is just a side effect of helping others in the process. The more people you help, the higher your reward will be.
When I created the “investor fan” blog, I even fell into a trap. His niche is investment. Yes, I am interested in investing and know that many people are struggling with this problem and need help. But my first blog post was not helpful at all. I wrote some topics that interest me. result? No one cares.
When I wrote articles to help others, my blog hadn’t started yet.
Another common mistake is to choose a niche market without competition. I used to think so. I used to think that having the most successful business must be the most complex business idea anyone has ever thought of.
There is no single idea on the Internet. If you have considered, so can others.
What matters is not how unique your idea is, but how you execute it.
Choose a niche market that is popular but that you think has growth opportunities. This is exactly what I did with investor Junkie.
If you think that all topics about this market segment have been mentioned, and you don’t have any opinion on the topic or the new features that can be added to your blog, then the market may be saturated. For the niche, this may not be a good idea.
But I find that the simplest ideas are sometimes the best.
Another common mistake is to make the niche market too big. This is especially true when you start.
Suppose it makes the kitchen utensils beautiful. This is a very broad topic. Yes, the search volume already exists, but it is too large to rank articles.
Instead, I recommend registering a domain name that covers a wide range of topics but is suitable for one or possibly two specific domains. You can expand at any time in the future.
If your topic is distributed, it won’t help your audience or Google.
Continuing with the pan example above, I limited my field of expertise to two topics: knives and cutting boards. They are not only very limited but also complementary to each other.
2. Create a blog
After determining the niche, the next step is to create a blog. Although you can make money through affiliate marketing without a blog, I don’t recommend it. You want blogs and organic search traffic to become the central strategy of affiliate marketing.
Yes, you can make money on YouTube or Pinterest, but you are not the owner of these channels.
You have a blog and you can control it. You can only rent other channels, such as social networks. You may be the most popular Instagram star since the Kardashians, but if Facebook decides not to like you anymore, then your business may disappear overnight.
I have had this happen many times with other affiliate marketers. Don’t become the basis of quicksand business.
Think of blogs as the core of bicycles. At the center is your blog. Broadcasting is email, paid traffic, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, push notifications and other channels. These channels are ways to attract visitors to your blog.
I will not discuss all the steps of creating your blog here. Instead, I have covered the details in another article called “How to Create a Blog”.
3. Create content
Since the core of your business is a blog, you want to create content on it. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the recommended way to attract visitors to your blog. Although you want to create other ways to build your audience, organic research is still the most important method.
According to the GrowthBadger survey, most of the website’s traffic comes from organic searches. Since Google is by far the best search engine, you must be on Google to be found.
Yes, you can focus on social media, podcasts, and paid traffic, but if you don’t use SEO as a blogger, you will lose a large audience.
For this step, I recommend creating at least 25 articles before proceeding to the next step. These may not be short messages of 200 words, but lengthy and detailed articles related to your market segment.
If you have a niche market for weight loss, please don’t write articles about your cat. By the way, write down the niche market you plan to create.
You cannot skip this step. Before you consider joining the affiliate program, you need a complete website. If your blog has no content, not only will you have an audience, but you will also have a small chance of getting approval from affiliate managers.
Therefore, before you start writing, please plan the 25 articles to be written. Create important articles that are easy to categorize. If you can buy a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, I suggest you continue. Keyword research tools are invaluable.
And there are some free options available.
The results of Google Ads, Google Trends, and Google Search Engine itself are excellent free tools that can be used to find topics to write about. My copywriter SEO course describes how to use these services for free, and what kind of content needs to be written, and how to write content for Google to find you.
4. Build an audience
As you may know, without steady affiliate traffic sources you won’t be able to make reasonable money with your affiliate career. There are many ways you can build an audience nowadays. The most sustainable means is through content and organic traffic from search engines.
Other methods include Email marketing, Video marketing on YouTube, podcasts, and Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Forums such as Quora, Reddit, and Warrior forum are some good sources of affiliate traffic. Paid traffic is one proven way to get massive traffic to boost your affiliate marketing. See the video below on how you can promote your offers using paid traffic.
It will do you so much good if you spend some time creating quality traffic through your blog.
5. Signing up for affiliate programs
You can only proceed with this step after completing the first four steps. Signing up for a membership program before you start blogging is like building a house before a solid foundation is consolidated.
In fact, when you sign up for a membership plan, you become a “partner” of the merchant’s sales channel. But not all membership plans are the same.
To choose the wrong product, I will mention the best affiliate marketing plan that every beginner should sign up for.
With the affiliate plan I recommend, you can sell any product or service through your blog.
Depending on your niche, you should also consider signing up with merchants that are not among the merchants I recommend.
How do you know if the merchant has an affiliate plan? Google’s Google [Brand Partner Program] or [Brand Partner Program].
Many businessmen do not advertise their affiliate programs. They did not receive the influx of new members but kept it secret. You should contact these distributors directly and ask if they have a membership plan.
I also had great success when I got in touch with merchants who did not have a membership plan and asked if they would like to start. However, I recommend that you do not use this option unless you are a veteran player who has an impact on the niche market.
6. Making money with affiliate marketing
So at this point, you might be lucky and start making some money. However, this is just the beginning of your journey. There are several important steps ahead that involved strategies to make you from $0 to $100K or $10,000K to millions of dollars.
It all depends on how you do it and how long you do it.