What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work? [Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners]

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work? Questions that every beginner stepping toe into the vast sea of digital marketing has! Well, affiliate marketing is exactly what it sounds like. In short, you promote a product and get a commission on every sale. This is the basic concept of affiliate marketing. In the internet space, people sell all kinds of things ranging from back braces to solar panels and beyond.

Usually, these sellers are not so digital marketing savvy, and that’s where an affiliate marketer (YOU) comes in. According to 99firms; 15% of the total digital media advertising revenue is attributed to affiliate marketing. So that’s how much potential affiliate marketing has.

So what happens is that an affiliate marketer goes to an affiliate network which is a marketplace where the vendors (people selling products) list their offers. An offer typically includes everything about the product and how much commission the vendor will pay on each sale.

So once the affiliate marketer selects an offer, he then promotes it on his blog and through emails to his audience, and when someone purchases that product through the affiliate link of the affiliate marketer, the affiliate marketer gets the commission. Now if you want to get started with your own affiliate marketing business, there are a few steps you need to follow that are given below.

6 Steps to Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business

1. Selecting A Niche

Your niche is undoubtingly the basis of all of your affiliate marketing efforts. It will ultimately decide how much your profit is going to be, how much effort you will have to put in getting traffic and what type of content you are going to be writing about. But as much important, as it is to select a niche, it also much difficult for beginners to settle on one that they can enjoy working on while making a handsome amount.

So to make sure that you find an excellent niche for your affiliate marketing business, you need first see if you have passion for something. Though it is not necessary that the niche you have a passion for is going to pay you well, if you are passionate about something that is also in demand then you can go for it. So if there is a niche in your mind, you will check it through four ways that we will tell you in this section to see if you can work on it.

Furthermore, if you are not passionate about anything then get ideas from the internet, search on the internet about different niches, ask your friends and family members and start gathering niches and write them in the notepad of your phone. Now once you have 15 to 20 or more niches, there are four things that you will look in them:

  • Google Trend: According to Stats Counter; More than 92% of users around the world search on just Google. This means you can get a pretty good idea about the popularity of a niche from Google’s Tends. So search the niche on Google Trend and you will get a popularity graph. See if it has a good graph with a constant upward trend, if the trend is not in a constant line but in big spikes, it may be a seasonal niche which you don’t want to get into.
  • Demand: Next, you need to search your niche on the Google Adwords that shows the monthly search volume for keywords. See if your niche and the keywords related to it have a good search volume. It should be at least more than 1000/month with low competition which usually means a good demand.
  • Money: Now that you know a niche has a good demand, your next step is to see how much earning potential it has. Signup on affiliate networks like ClickBank, see their sections related to your niche and find offers that are providing a good percentage of commission. If there are several offers with good commissions, then it means your niche has money potential too.
  • Content: The last step is to find content to write in your niche. You need to see if you can write at least 50 to a recommended 100 articles on that niche. See your competitors and get blog ideas from their website and gather around 50 to 100 topics from there.

If your niche fulfills these criteria, then you should move to the next step which is to set up a website.

2. Website Setup

When it comes to setting up your own website, you only need four things given below:

  • Domain Name: Domain is the address of a website like ‘Facebook.com’. You can choose any domain as long as it is not taken by someone else. For domain, you can go to domain name providers like GoDaddy or Namecheap but if you want the most affordable package, you can also get a domain name and hosting from Wealthy Affiliate. They have very attractive packages.
  • Hosting: Once you have registered a suitable domain, you need hosting to make that domain go live so people can visit it. For that, there are different hosting providers like Hostgator. But keep in mind that it is crucial that you choose a hosting that is reliable and doesn’t face frequent downtimes so that your website can stay up 24/7. The good news is that Wealthy Affiliate also provides very attractive hosting packages that ensure minimal downtimes. So with them, you can get a domain name and hosting all in one place.
  • Website Builder: When it comes to getting a website builder, you can go for WordPress which is free and is the most user-friendly because you don’t have to do any coding at all. It is a drag-and-drop website builder that allows you to create a stunning website in minutes. There are many other website builders like Squarespace and Wix, so make sure to select the website builder that is easiest to use.
  • Theme: Now to make your website aesthetically appealing, you need a theme. There are tons of themes out there that are both free and premium. Select the one that you think your visitors will be very attracted to. Make sure that your theme is mobile responsive because more than 50% of affiliate-referred traffic comes from mobile devices. (AWIN)

These are the four steps that you need to take to get your website up and running. If you face any problem while creating your website, you can either ask your questions here or directly get in touch with the expert webmasters at Wealthy Affiliate which is the number one forum for earning through affiliate marketing.

3. Choose the Affiliate Marketplace

This one is the easy part because you just need to sign up for an affiliate marketplace through which you will get in touch with the sellers of the products, get their offer, promote it on your website and earn a commission for each sale.

There are tons of different affiliate marketplaces such as Peerfly, ClickBank, MaxBounty and Amazon. You can sign up on any or all of them and start finding offers that have a good commission and high popularity.

You can also use the website AffPaying to find new affiliate marketplaces and also see reviews from their users to know how good they are.

Once you have selected the affiliate platform, look for offers in your niche. Generally, you should go for offers that pay a minimum of $35 commission for the physical goods. As mentioned by Am Navigator; Developed affiliate programs account for generating 15% to 30% of all advertiser’s online sales which shows how crucial it is for you to get the right offer to make good money.

Tip: Search the names of the products from the affiliate offers in Google trends to see if there is a demand.

4. Start Your Blog

Now you have a niche, a website, the affiliate network and also an offer, you need to start working on content creation. According to MediaKix; 20% of publishers’ revenue is now generated via affiliate marketing which shows how crucial publishing valuable blogs is for your profit in affiliate marketing.

So now you need to take the topics that you gathered at the start while selecting the niche and start writing on them in a way that they relate to the offers you have.

For instance, if your niche is in solar energy, you can find offers for solar panels or solar headlamps on Amazon, write their reviews or tips on how to use them and incorporate the links to the offers in your blogs. But make sure that your blogs offer some kind of value to the customers or solve a problem that they have so that they start to trust you.

Also, you don’t have to always write reviews of the products or content around those products; you can also write general content related to your niche that solves a problem like tips on using solar panels or a guide to finding the best solar headlamps.

Keep writing blogs and create a schedule on when you are going to post them and how frequent you will be posting them. If you cannot write the blogs for yourself, you can always hire a freelancer to do the job for you.

5. Build an Audience

Once you start to share content on your website, you need people to read it, and for that, you need to make some effort. Remember, building an audience and becoming an influencer in your niche is your ultimate goal because according to AWIN; one influencer generated $7million in affiliate marketing revenue in a year which shows how important a loyal audience is. So here are a few things to get you started:

  • SEO: This is the most important part of your audience-building efforts because good SEO optimization will rank you higher in search engines for the keywords you are targeting. You can learn the basics and advanced level SEO techniques for free from blogs of people like Brian Dean and Neil Patel.
  • Social Media: Join groups that are related to your niche and start engaging in posts of that group. Build credibility in those groups and then start posting your blog links asking people to read them and share with others as well.
  • Paid Ads: You can also promote your blogs through Google Ads to get in ‘search results’ of people who are searching for the products you are promoting or the content that you have shared.
  • Guest Posting: Find blogs that are related to your niche, email them and ask them if you can post a blog on their website with a link that can take their visitors back to your blog. This will help you get a highly relevant audience for your blog.
  • List Building: Once you start to see some traffic, add popups to your websites that ask readers to sign up for your newsletter. You can also offer them a gift like a free e-book to sign up. You will get their email this way. And then you can email them whenever you publish a new blog post asking them to read it.

If you just focus on doing these things, you will slowly but gradually start to see good results in the form of traffic to your website and who knows, people may start to buy from your affiliate links as well.

6. Promote Your Offers

Now you will begin to see some traffic by building an audience, and you may start to see some sales as well. But to increase sales and achieve optimality, you need to promote your offers. So for that, you first need to put banners for the offers you are promoting on your website so people can click them, go to the page of the offer and buy the product.

Secondly, you need to use the email list that you have been building and start sending offers in the emails to your audience. If you send 10,000 emails and even if just 1% of them actually purchase the product, you will get 100 sales. So if your commission is $35, you can earn $35,000 that easily.

You also need to add links to the offers in your blog posts as discussed above. This will also increase your chances of getting a sale.

Over To You

So these are all the steps that you need to take to get started on your Affiliate marketing journey. Remember, there is still a lot of potential in affiliate marketing as the annual affiliate marketing spending is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. (99Firms)

Granted, it is not going to be a piece of cake, but, it will definitely be worth it if you keep striving and have patience. Furthermore, if you have any questions regarding this, you can always ask them in the comments, or you can ask them in a separate post at Wealthy Affiliate and get direct answers from the experts.

Are you looking to make money with your blog but don't have anything to sell? Then affiliate marketing is for you! Check out my beginners guide to affiliate marking and get started today. #affiliatemarketingforbeginners #makemoneyonline #blogging #success

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Hey there! I'm Jason Smart, an entrepreneur sharing what I’ve learned about blogging and online business.

Whether you are looking for a simple side hustle, or a full fledged passive income business, All Smart Money is all about giving you the tips, tricks and tools you need to build, scale, and make money with your blog, even if you’re a total beginner.



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