Business Insider found that about 15% of the revenue of the digital media industry comes from affiliate marketing.
But that was in 2016 when the topic of what affiliate marketing became more and more popular.
So if you are a beginner in affiliate marketing and want to know how to learn affiliate marketing, how to enter this billion-dollar industry, please keep reading because…
I will show you what it is, how it works, what membership means, affiliate meaning, and how to get started without much publicity.
We have a lot of work to do today, and I sincerely hope that your aspiring affiliate marketers will actually build a website that is not only profitable but also something you’re proud to create.
So what affiliate marketing is and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s or companies’ products.
For this example, we are going to use Amazon Associates – Amazon’s affiliate marketing program!
When someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link, you will receive commission compensation.
Now, in order for the affiliate company to attribute sales to the right people, the merchant usually uses a unique link that looks something like this.
When a visitor clicks on a link to your blog, website, or anywhere, the cookie is stored in their device.
There are two main functions of cookies.
First, it helps the merchant attribute the sale back to the right person.
Secondly, cookies usually have an expiration date, which means that people don’t need to buy the product immediately after clicking your link.
Let us look at an example, everything is very clear.
Visitor comes to your post about “gardening hoses” and clicks on one of your affiliate links.
This takes them to a product page on Amazon.
They must pick up their children from football practice.
So they do that, they have dinner and then go back to Amazon.com in their web browser.
They find the product again and then purchase it along with this PS4 controller.
Because they clicked on your affiliate link, the cookie is stored on their device.
And because Amazon has a 24-hour cookie duration,
you would still get compensated a percentage for both the garden hose and the PS4 controller, even though you weren’t promoting it.
Now, how much money can you earn as an affiliate marketer?
The simple answer to that is that there is no limit.
For example, Pat Flynn shared his income reports frequently, and in December 2017 made $100,000 in membership commissions.
Ryan Robinson in October 2019, reported over $19,000
in affiliate revenue.
Both of these gentlemen have done an excellent job building their brand and it’s taken a lot of hard work and time.
But the reality?
Your checks might look more like this.
At least when you’re just starting out.
Trust me, if I had someone to tell me all this I would be a billionaire by now 🙂
Never have big expectations when you start!
YES, have your own goals but don’t expect ANYTHING OVERNIGHT!
This is why 98% of people in IM never make it, why?
They have big expectations and in reality, it is not how things work, especially online!
My advice is to stick with your goal, be constant, provide value to people and results will follow!
Alright, so let’s quickly go over the things you’ll need to get started with affiliate marketing.
First, you’ll need a platform where you can use affiliate links.
So the two places I recommend are through a blog or YouTube channel.
Starting a blog is easier and cheaper than ever.
There are plenty of tutorials I’m about to write about and create videos about that, also around the web and it’ll cost anywhere from a dollar to ten dollars per month.
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So, once you have your website ready, you’re then free to add your links in your content whenever and wherever.
Another platform you can use is YouTube, where you can create content and, include affiliate links in the description.
From my experience, you’ll get more clicks from a blog/website than a YouTube video.
So for that reason, most of the examples going forward will be for a blog, but the principle still remains the same.
Alright, the next thing you need to do is choose a niche.
When you’re choosing a niche, remember you’re choosing a niche, not an industry.
And for that reason, I recommend choosing a topic that focuses on a specific category.
For example, instead of focusing on the “food” theme as a whole, start with more specific content like “grilled food”.
When you cover this category and build traffic to these pages, you can start to expand into other related categories, such as “dessert” or “vegetarian“.
Keeping topics close can help you attract more audiences and rank higher in search engines.
Now, if you want to be the person who created the content, select the content you are interested in.
The reason is that I have seen too many affiliate sites die due to lack of consistency, and most importantly, they spread false and inaccurate information.
Even if you are not an expert in the field, documenting your learning content can bring many benefits and build an audience.
Now, if you want to outsource content, I suggest you look for writers who are experienced in a niche market.
This will help you create higher quality works, which will bring more visits, attract visitors, and hopefully have more affiliate sales from best affiliate programs for beginners.
I’ll expand on the importance of content quality in a bit.
Ok, now you’ll need affiliate programs to join.
When it comes to choosing affiliate programs, there are generally two models I’ve seen and used.
And both come with their own shares of pros and cons.
The first is high-paying low-volume affiliate programs.
The obvious benefit is that they will pay you higher fees for each of your transactions, ranging from $50 to $500 to a couple of thousands of dollars per referral.
The cons that come with these programs is that there’s generally more competition.
This for newcomers means, it is difficult to make a substantial amount of money because they will compete with wealthy digital marketers.
The second model is low-paying high-volume affiliate programs.
The positive thing about these programs is that there are usually many products to choose from.
You will often get commissions for the total value of the purchase, not just the products you recommend.
As for the disadvantages, unless you actually generate a large amount of traffic and membership sales, it is difficult to earn considerable income.
There are tons of best affiliate programs for beginners you can choose from.
If you look to target consumers, you might choose the second model, which is low commissions and high sales.
You may want to check out two popular membership programs, Amazon Associates and Commission Junction.
And if you’re going after more of a B2B audience you’ll likely go with the first model, high-paying, low-sales volume programs.
The most common programs I see here are for software and web hosting related products.
Usually, I find that the best way to find affiliate programs is to just search for them on Google.
Now, there’s actually one more category of affiliate programs and how to learn affiliate marketing that I didn’t really touch on, but it’s important that you’re aware they exist.
And those are the high-volume, high-paying affiliate programs.
These will always be super-competitive and over-saturated with experienced marketers.
We’re talking about things like credit cards, loans, and gambling-related offers.
I won’t go deeper into this since this is an affiliate marketing for beginners pdf.
Now, I’m sure you know you can’t just post links on your blog and expect people to click it.
You need to create high-quality content where your affiliate links will fit naturally.
The information has never been so accessible in the history of the world.
So the way people make buying decisions today is very different from 20 years ago.
For example, I was recently in the market for a smartwatch, but I didn’t know which one to get.
So I did what everyone does, search for information.
I went to Google and searched for “best smart watches.”
The Apple Watch was on every list, so naturally, it was top of mind.
And when the Series 5 watch was released, I did another search for “apple series 5 watch review“.
And another for “series 5 vs. series 3 watch.”
And the content-led me to my final purchasing decision.
Now, the one commonality you’ll see in quality content is that the information helps users solve a problem.
So rather than going to Amazon and finding the top 5 best sellers to promote, I highly recommend going the extra mile to make your content superb.
That might mean to purchase an item and give a hands-on review.
Even if you don’t have the money to buy every product, start with what you have in your home.
For example, if I had a tech blog, I could create killer reviews on Apple Airpods, Bose QC35 headphones, or an Amazon Echo since I’ve owned these products for a while now.
The bottom line, make your content stand out because it’ll help build brand and trust over the long haul.
Alright, we’ve got the fundamentals of what affiliate marketing is, let’s get into a basic formula to actually make money from your affiliate site.
And the formula looks something like this:
Traffic + Clicks + Conversions = Revenue.
If any of these are missing, it’ll be impossible to get any kind of commission.
So let’s dissect each part of the formula.
First, let’s talk about getting traffic to your affiliate site.
And there are a ton of ways to do this but let’s talk about the three most popular ways.
The first is to buy ads through platforms like Google, Bing, and Facebook.
Paid traffic is awesome because the moment you start playing, you’ll immediately get traffic to your site.
But there are two huge downsides to this.
1. Running ads will dig into your profits
In fact, it’s quite normal for advertisers to lose money before they make it… If they ever do.
From my experience, this can work well if you’re part of a high-paying affiliate program and best affiliate programs for beginners.
For lower-commission programs like Amazon Associates, I wouldn’t bother trying to run ads.
And #2 – When you stop paying for ads, your traffic comes to a halt.
I’m all for using ads to drive relevant traffic, but if you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend trying it right away.
The risk will usually be too high for the reward.
The next traffic source is organic social traffic.
With most social networks, you need followers to actually get a decent amount of traffic.
And even if you do have followers, what you’ll often find is that you’ll get traffic spikes.
But shortly after, the traffic fades to nothing.
This is what some refer to as “the spike of hope” and “the flatline of nope.”
Since we’re talking about building sustainable affiliate sites, I wouldn’t recommend relying on social as a main source of traffic.
And this brings us to the final traffic source – SEO, which stands for search engine optimization.
SEO is the practice of optimizing pages to rank high in search engines, like Google.
Best of all, it has the complete opposite effect of paid ads and social traffic.
Free, consistent, and passive traffic that doesn’t fade over time.
On a basic level, SEO comes down to your content and other websites linking to it.
Now, in order to find topics worth writing about for an affiliate site and affiliate meaning, you’ll need a keyword research tool.
The one that I’m using here is Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.
So assuming my niche site was gardening, I’ll start off by adding a couple of broad keywords related to my niche, like “gardening,” “garden,” “plants,” and “flowers.”
Next, I’ll go to the Phrase match report, which gives us around 7 million keyword ideas that contain any of these words.
Now again, with affiliate content, you want to look for topics where you can organically insert different product recommendations.
For example, “what do garden snakes eat” might be a good topic to cover to get traffic, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to include any product recommendations.
So we need to filter these results down using keyword modifiers.
A modifier is an add-on to a base keyword.
So a few common ones that work well for affiliate sites might be “best,” “top,” “vs,” or “review.”
So I’m back in the Keyword ideas report and I’ll click on the Include search box.
Next, I’ll click on the Any word tab, then add a few so-called “affiliate modifiers“.
And now we have a lot of great topics to cover like “best indoor plants,” “best garden hose,” “best house plants,” “metal garden hose reviews,” and more.
And based on Ahrefs‘ Keyword Difficulty score, most of these should be pretty easy to rank for.
Now, I won’t go any further into keyword research because we have a bunch of tutorials that go a lot deeper into this process.
Now, assuming you’ve created some epic content, the second part of SEO is to get other websites to link to your page.
The main way SEOs do this is through something called link building.
This usually requires reaching out to other bloggers and website owners and asking them to link to your page for a good reason.
Going further on this topic would only extend this article for an unreasonable amount of time…
Bookmark my site to stay on with all new articles in near future, link building as well as my recommendations for building links to a new website.
You’ll definitely want to check those out.
Let’s move onto the second part of the formula, which is to drive clicks to your affiliate links.
There are a few things to consider.
First is a link placement, meaning the position of links on your page.
If they’re all buried at the bottom of the page where only 10% of your visitors might go, then they probably won’t get clicked.
Go the other extreme and make every other word a link in your introduction, and your contents can look spammy.
So you’ll want to balance link placement with the next consideration, which is context.
You want to link to product pages contextually.
For example, let’s say you were writing an article called “The Best Chef Knives for Under $50.”
You probably wouldn’t want to add links in your introduction where you say:
“Today, I’m reviewing the best chef knives.”
Where you have 3 links to different products.
There’s no context and it just looks spammy.
Instead, you might say, “Today, I’m reviewing three different chef knives you can buy on Amazon for under $50“.
These are product name 1, product name 2, and product name 3.
Lastly, are using callouts like buttons, tables, and boxes.
WireCutter, anytime they share one of their picks, they use eye-catchy boxes, with buttons inside.
PC Mag uses a comparison table like this, with buttons inside.
These kinds of callouts attract your readers‘ attention and make the post more skimmable.
The last ingredient in our formula is conversion.
With how to learn affiliate marketing there are two conversions that need to take place in order for you to make money.
The first is the click.
You’re in control and responsible for this action.
And the second conversion is the visitor actually purchasing a product on the affiliate partner’s site.
In this case, the merchant controls the checkout and should be committed to high conversion rates.
We’ve already gone through a few tips to increase clicks, so it comes down to finding the best affiliate programs for beginners.
The first way to know whether an affiliate program converts are to look for public income reports.
If people are making good money from an affiliate program, then chances are, the products convert or there’s at least enough sales volume to make a decent income.
For example, if we search for “income report amazon affiliate” in Google, you’ll see this post called, “How I made $22,000 from my blog.”
And on that page, you’ll see that she broke down where her income came from.
And it looks like around $7,300 came from Amazon affiliate commissions in one month.
Another way is to simply join the affiliate program, get accepted, and ask the affiliate manager some questions.
You might ask what their average conversion rates are and/or a ballpark range of top earner’s monthly commissions.
Normally, I’ll do this for smaller affiliate programs when I already have existing traffic I can use as leverage in my email.
And I haven’t had anyone avoid the question.
Finally, use some common sense.
If the program or product you’re promoting feels “off” and you would never recommend that product to an interested friend or family member, run.
It’s clear that a lot of affiliate sites lack authenticity.
And in my opinion, referring people to products that they’ll actually love is a lot more value from a personal and brand perspective.
The final piece of advice that I have is to actually go and experiment.
Don’t expect perfection or a life-changing income that happens overnight.
It doesn’t happen that way, otherwise, we’d all be billionaires.
Focus on making that first affiliate sale.
And as your site grows, set new reachable goals rather than settling for a one-off hustle.
Now, I have a question for you.
Would it be helpful if I built an affiliate site from scratch and documented everything for you on our YouTube channel?
Let me know in the comments and use the hashtag “affiliate marketing.”
And if you enjoyed reading this make sure to comment, share, and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more actionable marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, get that affiliate site up and running, and I’ll see you in the next article.