I've been making a living from affiliate marketing the last decade.
It's actually becoming quite a popular choice among people looking to create a passive income, and it's easy to see why that is.
It's a simple concept to grasp, it requires almost no capital to get started, creates freedom of location, and the income-roof is limitless.
Merchants are offering greater opportunities to earn money through affiliate marketing than ever before.
There's literally affiliate programs for everything today.
Affiliate marketing is indeed one of the best ways to create passive income. And you don't have to be a complete geek or know how to code either.
Even beginners have a fair shot at making money – if they're willing to invest enough time.
Even though there's a lot of competition, it's still a great time to get in the affiliate game as a beginner.
So let's talk about affiliate marketing for beginners and how you can can get started on that journey.
Affiliate marketing 101 – The basics for beginners
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for beginners?
Let me summarize it real quick with the following three questions you probably have on your mind.
What is affiliate marketing?
Being an affiliate means recommending products and services from company's your partnering with.
Every time someone buys something through your links, you get a commission.
Actually, one of the oldest professions.
Affiliate marketing in a nutshell
- Earn commission by selling another brand's products or services.
- Based on a revenue-sharing concept.
- Well-tested monetization model that offers profitability for all parties.
How do you get paid?
You get paid when people take action on the advertiser's website. There are three pays to earn money as an affiliate marketer.
All three ways can generate a decent income and serves their purpose. Which one you should focus on depends on your industry and visitor behaviour.
- Pay per Sale (PPS): Earn a percentage of the sale.
- Pay per Click (PPC): Get paid for the number of visitors you send to the merchants website (regardless if a sale is made or not).
- Pay per Lead (PPL): Get the customer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action. For example, subscribing to a newsletter.
Why become an affiliate marketer?
So, before we delve into the process of how to become an affiliate marketer, lets first touch on why you would want to become one.
There's some real nice upside to making a living through affiliate marketing. In a way, it's dream career for many people.
I actually wrote a longer post about why you should consider affiliate marketing here.
The affiliate marketing model
- You can actually generate passive income. However, it does take time.
- No limits or restrictions. No income roof. No scalability dilemmas.
- Location independence. You choose from where you want to work.
- Flexibility. You choose with what niche and market you want to work.
- Limited start up costs. You actually don't need more than €30 to get started.
How to get started with affiliate marketing in 4 steps
Now that we have covered the affiliate marketing for dummies part, it's time to concentrate on the main topic: how to start affiliate marketing.
Let's get into it.
Here are 4 steps on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners:
1. Join an affiliate network
Technically, all you need to do to become an affiliate marketer is signing up to an affiliate network.
Finding a decent affiliate network is important when starting out as an affiliate marketer.
Some affiliate networks are better than others, especially if you're just starting out and don't have too much traffic.
Here's the top 5 (biggest) affiliate networks:
After signing up to an affiliate network, you'll be able to browse through the different products and services available to affiliate with.
You will see what commissions the companies are offering, i.e, what you can expect to get for PPS, PPC or PPL.
Choose an affiliate network for your market.Every market has their own affiliate networks. The biggest affiliate networks tend to have coverage for many countries, but if you're targeting a specific local market, you might need to do some research on your own.
Send in your applicationTypically, you need to get a manual approval (but there's exceptions) from the network to start marketing their products. The moment 22 here is that you might need a website in order to get approved, so take a look at step 2 & 3 before moving ahead with this.
Create a publisher profileOnce you get accepted, do take the time to fill out the necessary information about you as a company (even if you're a beginner). Since you'll be applying to affiliate programs later, and will be subject to manual approval, it's better to come across as professional as possible.
Steps to sign up to an affiliate network
2. Find a brand, product or service that you want to promote
There's hundreds of thousands of products and services, so today, you can literally find affiliate programs for anything.
Now, all you have to do is figure out what products you want to promote.
So, how do you know what products you should promote?
Well, there's no easy way to tell, and many factors are involved.
Choosing your niche is indeed one of the steps where people get stuck and never get started with affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what to do.
However, because a lot of top agencies and professionals work with items they are familiar with, this is one of the best advice to follow when getting started with affiliate marketing.
But I will help you to figure it on your own.
Something you have passion for.When starting out as an affiliate marketer, I would recommend becoming an affiliate for a product or service that you resonate with and have some level of passion for. If you have an interest in the thing you're trying to sell, it's more likely to come across in your marketing message, and that might lead to increased conversion.
Expertise is a big plusIt's a big upside if you have experience with the product, or expertise about the topic. Trying the product or service first hand will ensure that you can speak honestly about your own experience, and it will add credibility to what you're saying. It will also build a sense of trust with your audience and potential customers. This is harder to do if you have no prior experience, but of course, still doable. Again, conversion goes up if you can offer an expert opinion.
Niched topic.The more niched products, the easier to sell them. If you go broad, you'll have a more difficult time to convert your visitors into money. Niched products do have a big advantage.
Things to keep in mind when finding a niche
You'll also need to make sure you can actually sell this product online. Luckily, these days, you can sell almost anything online.
3. Start promoting your affiliate products
The hard part is figuring out what products and services you wanna promote, so if you did that, congratulations.
Now it's time to start promoting it.
There's different ways to promote affiliate products. You can setup a website, do email marketing or use social media.
Personally, I'm a fan of promoting the products through a website, because it's more automatic, and you have less limits.
We're not going to cover how to build a website in this article, but consider taking my free affiliate marketing course for beginners where I show this process step-by-step.
Create a website.We're not going to cover how to build a website in this article, but consider taking my free affiliate marketing course for beginners where I show this process step-by-step.
Apply to the programs.You need to apply for the affiliate programs you wish to promote. Do this by logging in to the affiliate network you signed up to in step one. Search the affiliate program, and click apply. Sometimes, you might need to add your website as a channel first.
Get tracking link.Typically you get accepted in a few days. Under the advertiser page, you will now be able to find a unique tracking link that you will use to promote their products. This is needed so that the affiliate network knows where the sale or lead came from.
Promote the products.Use the tracking link to promote products contextually as a start. You can create comparison tables or do product review. Avoid using too many banners as this is not effective anymore.
How to promote your affiliate products
3. Generate customers and earn commission
The final step is all about getting customers, making sales and earning that passive income.
It's the most fun part, but also the most difficult.
In simple words, you need to figure out how to get traffic to your website. Of course, all other affiliate marketers out there are competing for the same traffic, so it's not always easy.
But with sustained efforts for a longer time, you'll slowly build up your audience, and start getting sales.
Learn SEO.Standing for search engine optimization, it's basically the art of making your website rank high on Google. If you can make your site rank on relevant keywords to your niche, then you'll have plenty of sales coming in, and converting will be easy. Here are 7 SEO techniques you might want to learn.
Be active on social media.Advertise your website on social media. Publish valuable content around your topic to get people curious and want to visit your website (and ultimately interested to buy your products).
Create content.Become a content creator machine, and create new content often. Write content for the purpose of your reader – be they an eCommerce audience or be they and SaaS audience – but also write content for SEO. You can also create content for other sites to market your own – there are dozens of ways to contribute: write guest posts, post in forums, comment on blog posts, make videos for Youtube and more. Remember to do keyword research and optimize your content to keywords with both high and low volume.
The 3 ultimate tips to succeed as an affiliate marketer
Glad you made it so far. Hopefully you'll now be on your way to getting started in affiliate marketing.
Obviously, there's a lot more to it, but I didn't want to overcomplicate it, and overload you with information.
Before finalizing this post, let me share 3 basic but fundamental tips I would give anyone thinking about giving affiliate marketing a go:
1. Affiliate marketing is easy – don't overcomplicate the process
It's actually really easy to get started as an affiliate, don't over complicate the process.
The truth is, most people never start because they think it's too hard.
And many times, they try to learn everything there is about the affiliate game before even starting with their first website.
It's not really that hard, and you don't have to learn everything.
Just get started.
What's hard is be resilient enough to keep working hard for at least 3-12 months, to see the good results.
2. Promote affiliate products you know
It's important that you understand and believe in the product or brand you are promoting.
So pick a product you can understand and believe in. It's essential to create some USP if you want to make it to the top.
Then really get to know your target audience: how best to get through to them and what makes them want to purchase what you're offering.
Having an audience who have a connection to your content and products means they are more likely to purchase the stuff you recommend.
As an affiliate marketer, it's your goal to become an authority figure on the products you intend to promote.
3. Be realistic about what affiliate marketing is
When reading most guides about affiliate marketing for dummies, it's being sold as an easy way to make money.
Sorry, but it just isn't.
Building an affiliate marketing business has the potential to generate a sizeable passive income stream with great opportunities to scale and expand into something huge.
But also, it is important to understand that affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme, and income is not always stable.
A lot of beginners believe that affiliate marketing is a good way to make a quick buck.
You will get successful if you work hard, but it will still take a lot of time.
You need to be mentally prepared to put in the time, have patience and work hard.
Having unrealistic expectations ensures you're gonna quite too early.
I believe my blog series on how to become an entrepreneur can help you get started and understand what's needed from you to make money as a business owner.
Get started as a full time affiliate (free course)
Thanks for reading. This was a very simplified post on how to get started with affiliate marketing as a beginner, and doesn't even begin to cover all the things you need to know to become successful.
Today I am making more than a 6 figure income per month, solely from my affiliate projects.
And yes, you can too, but let's be real..
It's gonna take you a while to get there – there's no doubt about that.
But there's no need to take unnecessary detours. I mean, it took me almost 10 years, mostly because I didn't know where to focus. If you know what to do, you make it happen much faster.
Luckily for you, I've created an affiliate marketing for beginners course, explaining step-by-step how to get started in affiliate marketing on a very practical level.
Completely free (for now).
What you will learn in the course:
- Introduction to affiliate marketing
- The reality of being an affiliate
- Choosing your niche – practical guidelines
- Buying a domain and hosting in 5 minutes
- Setting up your own site with WordPress and configuration
- Content writing 101
- Finding affiliate products and getting your first sales
If you want to get involved and start the course today, click here to sign up.