How to Start Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing Programs, you’ve read it over and over, heard the phrase spoken by others with a blank look on your face but what the heck is Affiliate Marketing? Today I am going to simplify this mysterious money-making marketing method by providing a very easy and simple beginners guide on how to start affiliate marketing.
With this guide, you too will be able to start choosing the right affiliate marketing program to join and how to make money from it no matter if you’re a stay at home mom or dad, a retiree, a teenager or a full-time worker. This is an excellent way to earn a passive income or as they like to say make money while you sleep.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information read full disclosure.
What Is Affiliate Marketing and How to Start Making Money From It?
First off let’s go to the basics, let’s define what affiliate marketing for beginners really is.
In layman’s terms, the affiliate marketing definition is the earning of a commission on a product or service sold. The affiliate member will gain a form of monetary reward or discount for a valued review or recommendation once someone purchases the product or service.
This information is shared publicly on platforms such as websites, vlogs, blogs, emails or on social media for a wider audience to become aware, purchase and use the recommended product or service.
I’m sure you have seen affiliate marketing at work and more than likely made a purchase in the past for one or more affiliated products due to the influencing content from an affiliate member. The affiliate then receives a percentage from that promoted product. You know the type, a recommended course, a service to join up to, a useful ebook all easily downloadable.
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Now please be aware that the commission or percentage will in no way impact you the buyer of the product. All it is is a percentage share between the creator of the product or service and the affiliate recommending it.
For affiliate marketing to work successfully it is always best to recommend products that you have used and love as then the information you give in your review or general recommendation as an affiliate will be genuine and not just a sales pitch to get a commission. It must also be relevant to your readers.
Have a read of this post Make Quick and Easy Meals When Working From Home as an example.
For example, there is no point in placing affiliate coded banners or links on a pet care product if the niche content you always send out to your followers is about food and drink. (This is not to be confused with ad marketing such as Google Adsense).
A great affiliate marketing example is my use of Grammarly. When writing my blog posts, emails or ghostwriting to avoid any general grammatical errors slipping through the net I use it before I do a deep proofread.
Now because I use it so often and get great use out of it, it makes sense to join the Grammarly affiliate program, recommend the product to others and earn from it at the same time therein becoming an affiliate marketer.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing by Using Different Affiliate Marketing Display Styles
There are different ways to display the affiliate marketing programs that are available
- An affiliate linked image placement – When viewing a website or blog you may have seen individual images of products placed on a website, not Google ads but very specific ads relating to what the article is about.
These are usually affiliated ads, meaning they have a link with a specific code included that is specific to you the affiliate member.
So if, for example, you write an instructional blog post about how to proofread your documents carefully before sending out to a client, you might want to place a Grammarly affiliate-linked image above, beside or below that paragraph.
Someone searching the internet about proofreading may come across your post and out of interest click on the affiliated Grammarly image, make a purchase and ‘boom’ you make a commission. It’s that simple!
- A linked text placement – This is the most user-friendly version as it’s less intrusive to the reader, yet subtle and persuasive enough if used correctly.
These affiliated text links can be used on blogs, vlogs, emails and social media to attract potential purchasers to a product or service that you have recommended. It is basically a hyperlinked coded text which can appear as highlighted underlined text, or bold/unbold text of a different color.
- A linked image and text placement – Some styles show both text and image so that the user can clearly see the full details of what is being recommended. This may include a title, a brief description, a price along with the image.
Which Display Style Works Best When Learning How to Start Affiliate Marketing?
This depends on your reader engagement, your influence, demographics (yes the age and location of your reader matters when it comes to affiliate marketing engagement) and, of course, your content.
If you write about something that just does not gel with your readers or is not niche specific it doesn’t matter what method of affiliate marketing style you use, it just won’t work.
It is said that the text-only method works best as it is not ‘so in your face’ and the reader can make a solid decision to click on that text link because of the valid information provided in your content.
Not only that, as mentioned before this style can be used easily across many platforms so a vlog, blog or website, a regular emailed newsletter, social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can use your affiliate coded links in most of these places.
What Is Affiliate Commission?
In a nutshell, this is basically a percentage paid to the affiliate for recommending a product and referring a reader or user to click through and make a purchase onto the affiliate link. Commission percentage rates vary with each affiliate program and can be as low as 2% to a high of nearly 100%. Again, check the terms.
A thing to note about affiliate commissions though is don’t be fooled by the large commission affiliate programs, say a course or retail item costing $2000. As great as that sounds the more expensive a product or service is the fewer purchases will be made by a potential buyer.
While a lower commission rated item like a $97 online course or fashion item may encourage lots and lots of buyer interest resulting in a lot more earned commissions.
Another thing to be aware of when trying to obtain commission is that if no one has any interest in whatever affiliate program you’re promoting you will not make any money.
If your promotion is not on point, your content not engaging then no amount of affiliate marketing spread across your blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook or Instagram pages etc will lead to a sale. So as stated earlier make sure to make your content niche-specific and be genuine when promoting products.
It’s an absolutely great feeling when you start seeing and hearing the ‘ping’ of email messages from Paypal saying you’ve just earned cash from an affiliate program that you’re a part of.
When Learning How to Start Affiliate Marketing Do You Need a Website?
The answer to this is actually, no. You do not need a website. There are some very successful people out there earning small fortunes as influencers on platforms such as Instagram.
Doing great affiliate marketing on YouTube, social media and email and even from the Pinterest search engine. So no, you definitely do not need a website to make money from affiliate marketing but you may decide to add a website later on to boost your income even more.
The other great thing about affiliate marketing is that it is not restricted by age. From teenager to senior you can promote products and services using affiliate marketing. Kids can too with the help of their parents, of course.
From toys and computer games, to exercise programs to retirement planning services. There is something that absolutely anyone can promote via their social media, blog, email list or YouTube channel.
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Where Can You Find Affiliate Marketing Programs?
Finding an affiliate marketing program to join is not as hard as you might think. Wherever you are based in the world affiliate marketing is available to you.
It could be a locally-based business, so where I’m located in the Caribbean and Latin America, you can sign up to the affiliate program of Gustazos which is the LatAm website very similar to Groupon. Plus most affiliate programs are global.
You are not restricted by location when wanting to become an affiliate or the number of affiliate programs you can join. Just remember to be classy about it. Do not stuff your content with a million affiliate links as that is a big turn off.
Your priority is to match the affiliate program with your reader/viewer and that the product or service no matter where they are located will be of benefit to them.
One of the best ways to do affiliate marketing successfully is to take this course. It will make a world of difference to your income.
There are always popular ones that are mentioned frequently such as Amazon Associates, eBay, ShareASale and Clickbank but remember Google is your friend. You can find out anything you want on Google and you will find a whole range of affiliate programs just by Googling the word “affiliate program”.
If like me you’ve read a million and one blog posts and signed up for lots of email freebies you may have noticed a few names regularly mentioned within the blogging world. They are BlueHost, Siteground and Convertkit
I do not use these providers but they are heavily promoted so I assume they are okay. But what I do know about them is they each have very competitive and rewarding affiliate programs.
I personally use Hostinger and Mailerlite and very comfortable sharing my experiences using their services. They are not the popular ones but I’m happy with them, get great customer service and their products and services are good enough for me to run this site successfully.
I also use the very popular ShareASale affiliate network which has a wide range of merchants that you can choose to become an affiliate for. They are super easy to join, it doesn’t matter where you are located in the world, they have merchants for every niche so you’re always in a position to offer great products or services that are of interest to your subscribers. If you wish to join up as a ShareASale affiliate just click on the image below.
Other ways of finding great affiliate programs to join is to check if there is a blogger whose content you love reading or a vlogger you love watching. Any particular company like a supermarket that you like to shop at, or product that you like and enjoy using go to their website, scroll down to the bottom of their page (usually site menu at the footer of the page) and you might be lucky to see that they offer an affiliate program that you can join.
If you can’t find anything under affiliate you might find something under Referral Scheme or Refer a Friend. These schemes more or less follow the same affiliate principles where you can either get a discount on a product you use or receive a cash incentive for your referral.
You can also find affiliate marketing programs within niche specific Facebook Groups. A blogger may ask for beta testers for a new product that they are about to launch and you could volunteer or pay a super reduced rate to be one of the first users.
Once you are satisfied that this product is something worth promoting you can become an affiliate marketer for the newly launched product.
There are also popular affiliate networks that you can join which are groups of associated companies, businesses that come under one umbrella and offer affiliate marketing opportunities but there are certain criteria for some of them that you have to fulfil before you can join.
The most popular affiliate networks are Rakuten, Shareasale, CJ Affiliate, Awin and so on. Before considering any of these try out the ones that are easiest to join first such as Amazon Associates, FlexOffers and Shareasale.
How You Can Use Affiliate Marketing
We have already talked about this but the main reason for joining any affiliate program is to find a product you like, recommend it to others and make some money from it.
- Use affiliate marketing to promote a product you like
- Use affiliate marketing to help your readers, users, listeners solve a problem
- Use affiliate marketing to share and promote your own product with others. Yes, you can create your very own affiliate marketing product or service and others can become affiliates of it. This can be in the form of an ebook or a course.
When Should You Start Affiliate Marketing?
When it comes to starting affiliate marketing, there is no time like the present but you have to be considerate when starting out and follow certain steps.
- You cannot push a sales pitch down a potential user’s throat. As horrible as that sounds nobody likes a pushy seller
- You have to build up a following
- Have a story to tell, an event to share
- Create trust among your followers
- Learn to know your followers likes and dislikes through their comments and suggestions
- Share a problem that was solved by a product or service that you used
- You can now start to introduce affiliate marketing to your followers.
>>>If you need additional help understanding affiliate marketing you could also try out this course by popular coach Lewis Howes.
A perfect example of this is Amazon Prime Day. Millions of people buy things on Amazon but if they know they can get discounted products that makes it all the more attractive.
If you vlog, blog, or have a Facebook or Instagram page try to find some niche-specific Amazon products of interest to your followers, ones that are heavily discounted during Amazon Prime Day.
How Much Can You Earn from Affiliate Marketing Programs?
This is very difficult to answer, you know that saying, how long is a piece of string? Many factors impact how much money you can earn from affiliate marketing. Some people actually earn a full-time income.
One of the most popular bloggers out there is Michelle Schroder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents she earns over $50,000 in affiliate income per month and that doesn’t include sponsorship, selling her own products such as ebooks and courses and other income.
This didn’t happen overnight she started her online business as a side hustle and through hard work it grew so you never know what you can achieve. Just think about it, what would you do if you were able to earn even an extra $500 a month just by recommending products and services that you love to use?
If you want something that sounds a bit more realistic to remove any doubt there’s also Carly Campbell of Mommy on Purpose, I love her story. Her quick success is not typical but very very inspiring. She earns around $4,500 from her affiliate marketing method and again, this does not include other income.
While others just make a small amount each month if done right it can be very lucrative and turn into 5 and 6 figures. It is all dependent on your networking, your followers, your promoting skills, and your online presence – website or social media. The key is the more viewers you have the more likely you are to earn money from affiliate marketing.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing and Which Are the Best Affiliate Marketing Programs to Join?
Amazon Associates – This is one of the easiest to join because there aren’t any restrictions on viewers to your site. You can be a complete newbie with 0 viewers and still be able to join Amazon Associates.
Knowing which is the best affiliate program to use is something that you just have to figure out for yourself. Your niche will dictate which ones to join and from that, you can then determine which are the best ones for you just by the results you get in commissions.
If you really want an extensive list of affiliate programs to join check out FlexOffers and check out the merchants. Just sign up once and choose the merchants you want to use within your social media or blog.
Once you’re approved with FlexOffers you can join the merchants one by one. Just add their links wherever you want them. You won’t believe some of the merchants that are available to you. Some of your favorite fashion, beauty, tech. It’s fabulous, you’ll be like a kid in a candy store!
How Do You Get Paid As An Affiliate?
Each affiliate program has there own methods of sending your commission payments to you. It can be sent to you via Paypal, Check, Payoneer and some even send directly to your bank account. Even some of these payment acceptance methods have affiliate programs, such as Paypal business account.
In regards to payouts, the different affiliate programs have their own minimum payouts. Some may have a minimum of $50 or less while others may have a minimum of $100 before they make a payment to you.
To find out please always read their terms and conditions when signing up for an affiliate marketing program.
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Why Do You Have To Disclose You Are Using Affiliate Marketing?
Disclosing that you are part of an affiliate program is very important. Here are some of the reasons.
- It creates transparency between you and your readers/followers
- It creates trust with your readers.
- It is a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirement in the US to disclose that you are using affiliate marketing on your website or blog and other online platforms. It is a way to protect the user and let them know that the product is being endorsed and that the affiliate will earn some kind of financial reward from this promotion.
- It is a Consumer Protection Regulation in the UK that protects the consumer and makes sure that affiliate links are disclosed.
- For Europe it is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that protects the consumer in regards to disclosure of affiliate marketing and if you haven’t set this up yet where have you been?
One of the most useful blogs posts I have found in regards to GDPR is by Robert Partridge of Blogging Tech Tips. He makes everything straightforward, really goes in-depth but also explains it all in plain English. He can help you out too, just get in touch directly.
Other things of note when disclosing your affiliate marketing
- The disclosure must be placed on your site in a clear and obvious place
- The disclosure should be placed as close to the actual affiliate link as possible. It must not be buried within other text or hidden by images and graphics.
- If using a third party program such as the Amazon Associates affiliate program you must clearly list their required wording in an area that can be clearly seen.
I hope this guide has now simplified Affiliate Marketing for you. Learning how to use this method of marketing to make money that is practically automated is absolutely awesome. You too can implement the points above on how you can make money while you sleep.
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