If you’re looking to start making more money, this guide will show you how to get started in affiliate marketing. It’s full of online tips and tricks to help boost your earnings.
Entrepreneurs always want their business to grow, and one way they can do that is by finding another stream of income.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising where publishers earn commission by promoting products or services made by another retailer or advertiser. The affiliate partner is rewarded with a payout for providing specific results to the retailer or advertiser.
The goal of affiliate marketing is typically to make a sale. But some programs might reward you simply for brings people to their website, or clicks and downloads on an app.
Joining an affiliate program is usually free, so you don’t have to spend any initial funds. With the right strategy in place, affiliate marketing can turn into a profitable online business venture that nets you regular income.
How affiliate marketing works
Affiliate marketing is the process of earns a commission by sharing products or services on blogs, social media platforms, podcasts, or websites. Each time a purchase is made through the unique affiliate link associated with their recommendation, they earn a small commission from the sale.
- You display an advertisement or Store A’s link on your website, blog, or social media.
- A customer clicks your unique affiliate link.
- A customer buys something from Store A.
- The affiliate network keeps a record of the transaction.
- You will receive a confirmation from Store A once your purchase is complete.
- You will receive a commission in the form of money.
The commission rate you earn from affiliate sales differ based on the company and offer. Generally, comissions start from 1% of the sale, but with some favorable contracts, you could potentially bring up to 50%. The majority of time, this occurs when trying to promote a class or event. Additionally, there are also affiliate marketing programs that give a set amount per sale instead of working off percentages.
Types of affiliate marketing
Many affiliates are shrouded in mystery, and it’s tough to discern whether they’re passionate about the product or merely in it for the money. This was especially true a few years ago. In 2009, however, Pat Flynn— a well-known affiliate marketer — categorized affiliates into three groups. By comprehending these types of affiliate marketing, you can get an understanding for how people make money online with this method, without judgement on your part.
Unattached affiliate marketing
The first type of affiliate marketing is called “unattached,” which means you have zero authority in the niche of the product you’re promoting. There’s no connection between you and potential customers. You often run pay-per-click ads with your affiliate link attached and hope people will click it, buy the product, and earn a commission that way.
Unattached affiliate marketing is appealing to some because it requires very little work on their part. These businesses tend to succeed based off of the reputation and trustworthiness they build with their target audience. For affiliate marketers that don’t have the time or energy to pursue these relationships, this type of marketing may be their best bet.
People who engage in unattached affiliate marketing do so, not to build a business, but simply to make money online.
Related affiliate marketing
Related affiliate marketing is the act of promoting products that are related to your niche but that you don’t use yourself. For example, if you’re an influencer on TikTok with a large following in the beauty community, you could be a trusted source of product recommendations for your fans, even though you’ve never used those products before.
Although related affiliate marketing can be more financially beneficial, there is always the chance of promoting a product you know absolutely nothing about. Unfortunately, it only takes one terrible promotion to make your audience lose all trust in you. If people don’t see transparency or they do not trust you, building a long term successful affiliate marketing business will be close to impossible.
Involved affiliate marketing
The way forward for affiliate marketing is to only recommend products and services that the affiliate marketer has used and truly believes in. This method, known as involved affiliate marketing, is best for your audience and business because it fosters trust and authenticity, which eventually leads to higher conversions.
With this type of affiliate marketing, rather than paying for clicks on a digital ad, an influencer promotes products and services to their followers that they may actually find useful. This type of credibility takes more time to develop with an audience, but it is essential for creating a lasting business.
If you want to be an affiliate marketing partner, get involved and take an active approach. You don’t have to rely on expensive PPC ads that might or might not get clicks and sales. A more organic method, such as creating an Instagram Story or writing a blog post about your experience with a product, will make you seem like a more trustworthy source on any topic.
Pros and cons of affiliate marketing
While affiliate marketing has a plethora of benefits, it’s still important to be aware of the potential cons before diving in headfirst. After all, no business venture is perfect. According to Statista, the industry is estimated to grow from $5.4 billion in 2017 to a whopping $8.2 billion by 2022. And best of all, it’s relatively low-cost and can be quite profitable if done correctly. But as with any business decision, there are always pros and cons that must be considered before fully committing yourself.
Apart from industry growth, there are a few other reasons why entrepreneurs use referral marketing.
- Easy to execute
All you have to do is take care of the digital marketing for a product. The tougher stuff, like coming up with the product, handling customer service, or shipping it off, isn’t your responsibility.
- Low risk
One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that you can start making money without any upfront investment. An affiliate program carries very little risk—in fact, it’s one of the smartest ways to generate passive income. You will have to spend some time creating traffic sources, but once you’ve established your affiliate link, it can provide a steady stream of earnings.
- Easy to scale
With affiliate marketing, you have the potential to make a lot of money without hiring extra staff. You can promote new products to your current customer base and create campaigns for other products while your existing work continues to generate revenue in the background.
Although it may seem like there are an infinite amount of products or services to promote as an affiliate marketer, it’s important to only highlight those that you trust and would recommend yourself. This way, you’ll be taken more seriously by potential customers. Becoming a great affiliate marketer for any product takes time and effort, even if the product interests you or is related to one of your hobbies.
Although affiliate marketing has a few disadvantages, let’s explore the potential challenges you might face on your way to success.
- Requires patience
Affiliate marketing won’t make you rich overnight. It takes time and effort to grow an audience and earn trust.
It’s important that you try out different channels to see which one gets the best response from your target audience. You should also research products thoroughly before promoting them, to make sure they are relevant and credible. To generate leads, spend time blogging, publishing free content on social media, hosting virtual events, and doing other promotional activities on your chosen marketing channels.
As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have anyone regularly giving you a paycheck. You make money as people click on links or buy products from your recommendations. When someone completes the desired action, such as buying a product, the company associated with the cookie pays you commission for referring them.
- No control over program
As an affiliate, you must adhere to the rules and guidelines set forth by the company. This includes what you say and how you present their product or service. Keep in mind that your competitors are following the same recommendations, so it’s important to get creative and stand out from the crowd.
How do affiliate marketers make money?
As an affiliate marketer, your income potential is based on the size of your online following. If you have a large social media presence, you could make thousands of dollars per month or even more.
But how do affiliates get paid? When you pick an affiliate program to advertise, you’ll see that there are various payment models. Companies also refer to it as a price model, payout model, conversion type, or another variation.
The payment model you choose should be dictated by the goal you want to get paid for. If, for example, you’re promoting a software product, your goal could be a free trial signup. On the other hand, if you are an affiliate marketer promoting physical products, then your likely goal will be a purchase.
Although many programs last-click attribution, which means the affiliate who receives credit for the final click before a purchase gets 100% of the credit, this is gradually changing. For example, if there were multiple affiliates involved in a customer’s conversion funnel, you could potentially share equal credit for the sale. As programs improve their attribution models and reporting structures, we will begin to see these changes more frequently.
The five most popular methods affiliates use to get paid are:
- Pay per sale, this payout model, where you earn a commission for each sale made, is common for ecommerce offers.
- Pay per action, you receive a commission for a specific action every time someone fulfills the required task. Many affiliate programs use this type of payout model because it can be applied to different offers, such as newsletter signups, clicks, contact requests, and form submissions.
- Pay per install, As an affiliate, you’re paid for every install generated from traffic to your website. So, your content should aim to promote mobile apps and software so people will download or install them.
- Pay per lead, or cost per lead offers are a type of offer in which you get paid every time someone sign up for something. This popular payout method is used by companies for sweepstakes, lead generation, and other types of offers. Cost per lead offers are common for beginners because it’s easier to generate leads than to sell products to an audience.
- Pay per click, where you earn commission on every affiliate link clicked. Big merchants use these programs to instill brand awareness in potential customers. They don’t need to sign up for anything or make a purchase; they just have to visit the merchant’s site.
How to start affiliate marketing in 4 steps
- Pick your platform and method
- Decide your niche and audience
- Find your products or services
- Choose your first affiliate program
To run a successful small business, you need dedication and discipline. The same is true if you want to become a successful affiliate marketer. Use the following step-by-step guide to get started:
1.Pick your platform and method
The first step in becoming an affiliate marketer is to choose the platform you want to build your audience on. There are many different approaches and platforms you can choose from, so take some time look around and decide which one best fits your needs. Based on what method you prefer, here are some affiliate marketing ideas to get you started:
- Niche topic and review sites – websites where you compare or review products fall into this category. You have to constantly generate content associated with reviewing and update your site frequently to bring in an audience.
- Digital content – digital content creators, like bloggers or YouTubers, produce niche content that appeals to a target audience. By organically introducing related products that their viewers will want, these creators increase the likelihood of making a sale and earn an affiliate commission.
- Courses, events, workshops – If you work in education, you can integrate affiliate partnership offers into your events.
No matter which route you take, building an audience and being authentic are the two most crucial elements for affiliate marketing.
Without being able to connect with your audience, you will likely not see any success in convincing them to make a purchase from you.
When choosing a platform and method, ask yourself:
- What platforms do I use the most?
- Which platforms do I understand best?
Some of the most popular platforms that affiliate marketers use are:
- Pay per click (PPC)
If you use a marketing platform that you’re already comfortable with, creating high-quality content will be easier. In turn, this could result in a more engaged audience that is more likely to convert into sales.
2.Decide your niche and audience
If you want to appear authentic and trustworthy to your potential customers, choose a niche that you’re passionate about. Having knowledge in the area will help solidify those characteristics. Furthermore, it’ll also be easier for you to decide which products and brands to promote.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re a big fan of dogs. You own an akita and have extensive knowledge about the breed. You start a blog to share your findings and help other akita owners take care of their pets.
If you’re an Akita lover and want to blog about it, here’s what you need to do: post regularly and encourage people to subscribe to your email list so they can stay updated on your content. Optimize your website for search engines so that dog owners who are looking for information on Akitas can easily find you.
The area of focus you choose for your affiliate site will directly affect how much time or effort is needed to see results from SEO.
Blogging sites with enormous marketing budgets tend to dominate the SERPs for common areas such as software, marketing, and health care. The trick is finding less competitive areas that are yet undiscovered – but act fast before others start doing it too.
As you post more, you can use social listening, website analytics, and social media insights to discover who your audience is and what they like. This information will help you better tailor your content to them, resulting in increased engagement and conversions
You need to understand your audience so that you can provide them with the content they want. Keep in mind, you’re not getting paid simply for posting; affiliate marketing is a performance-based business. If you know what appeals to your readers, you can direct them towards products that will interest them and earn more affiliate income.
3.Find your products
To make money as an affiliate marketer, you need to ensure that your audience can relate to what you’re saying. The products or services that you promote must be items they would actually want. Getting this wrong will set back your success and decrease your credibility–as well as damage your relationship with your audience.
Fortunately, there are many places where you can look for potential products or brands to work with. A few examples of these affiliate marketplaces are:
If you have any products or services that you love and use frequently, check their websites to see if they offer an affiliate program. You might be surprised at how many large companies promote programs like these on their own sites; Amazon Associates is a great example.
If you want to take a more direct approach, try contacting the owner of a product you like and asking if they offer an affiliate marketing program. If not, they might be open to working out something else with you, such as giving you a special coupon code to share with your followers.
You’re more likely to get a good deal if you show interest early on and have some way of promoting the product, such as being a health and wellness blogger when approaching the seller of a new fitness product.
Before joining any affiliate marketing program, be sure to read the terms of service. For example, many programs don’t allow you to use their product or company name in pay-per-click ads.
4.Choose your first affiliate program
Keep your target audience in mind as you brainstorm products or browse through affiliate platforms. The most important criteria for a product is that it should be valuable to your target audience and fit with your area of expertise.
For example, a food blogger is unlikely to promote beauty products. A variety of other products like cookware, meal kits, gourmet ingredients, or aprons would be more appropriate.
Another thing to think about is whether the product or service you’re promoting lines up with the platform where you’re promote it. For example, home décor and clothing go well with image-based platforms like Instagram. But if what you’re selling takes more explanation, like software, people might be more likely to buy it after reading a blog post or watching a video on YouTube.
Tips for affiliate marketing success
We want to reiterate that affiliate marketing can lead to passive income, but you still have put in some initial effort. The success of your venture will depend on how well your review is received.
The easiest way to create a honest review is by being personal. Whether you’recoating your experience in a blog, social media post, Instagram Story or YouTube video,be as candid as possible. Your potential customers will be more likely to trust and follow your advice if they sense that you’re trustworthy!
You need to build trust with your potential customers if you want them to take your recommendations seriously. How much trust you’ll need to affiliate market successfully depends on what industry you’re in and what kinds of products you’re recommending. For example, it would take more trust for someone to buy a $1,000 course from an affiliate than it would for them to buy a $20 t-shirt.
If you want people to trust your recommendations, only promote a limited number of affiliate products that you have personally used and stick to your area of expertise. For example, I am trusted by many when it comes to beauty produtcts. However, I would not be as successful if I tried to become an affiliate for companies providing financial services.
Talk to a product expert
You could also learn more about the product by interview other users or even the person who sells it. This would make your review more well-rounded and engaging for the reader.
Create a product tutorial
Affiliate marketing success can come from the size of your following, but you can also generate traffic by giving a tutorial about what you’re offering.
When people use Google to look for things like “how to make money online” or “how to invest in cryptocurrencies,” if you provide a helpful tutorial that solves the searcher’s problem and shows off the value of what you’re recommending, not only will your referrals make more sense in context, but potential customers will have a stronger reason buy whatever it is you’re selling.
Build an email list
A quality email list is integral to any business because it’s one of the only ways to connect with consumers who aren’t on social media. In fact, when compared against other marketing channels, emails have the highest conversion rate at 66%.
You can increase your content’s reach by gathering emails and sending newsletters to subscribers on a regular basis. As an affiliate marketer, there are many things you can send to the people on your email list:
- Free downloads
- New blog posts
- A look inside your life or business
- Entertaining stories
- Reminders and news
- Special deals
Take advantage of your email list by showing your subscribers how valuable they are to you. If they shoot you an email, make sure to answer back promptly. Maintain a consistent newsletter schedule and always put out high-quality content. From time to time, promote some affiliate products as well.
Although there’s no solid rule on how often to send promotional emails, resist the urge to hit “send” too frequently or your subscribers will see you as untrustworthy and spammy. Instead, focus on quality over quantity by only promoting products that your subscribers will actually find useful.
Find relevant search terms
If you want to promote your offer through a blog post, first research which keywords someone might use in a search engine to find an answer to a related problem. Google Ads Keyword Planner is great tool that can help with this for free, and if you need more data some of the best tools are Ahrefs and Semrush.
Consider your point of view
Before you begin creating content, think about your offer from different angles. For example, if you have a physical product, how can instructional or tutorial content lead someone to try the product for themselves? Unboxing posts are popular right now, so if you receive a product in the mail, take pictures or videos of yourself opening it up and show off the benefits of using it.
Set your distribution strategy
After you finish writing your promotional content, share it on your website or social media platforms. You can also create an email marketing campaign if you have a subscriber list. In addition, make sure to include an affiliate marketing hub on your website with a resources page. This way, you can easily share a quick list of all the tools you use and love.
Try offering a bonus
You can market your affiliate program by giving a bonus to anyone who buys the offer. For example, you could give a free ebook you wrote to any follower who makes a purchase. Promotions like this encourage customers to buy by sweetening the deal. They’re especially persuasive if the bonus you offer is something you normally sell because then shoppers can see its actual dollar value right on your site
Keep things legal and above board
Always disclose to your followers when your post contains affiliate links. Not only is it required by the FTC, but it also helps you build a stronger connection with your audience.
If you’re unsure about what language to use in a disclaimer, it would be helpful to speak with a lawyer.
Best affiliate marketing programs
Below are example of some affiliate marketing programs that you can start promoting right now and start generating income in relatively few days.
The crypto.ro academy – best crypto affiliate program
The crypto industry is a sector full of opportunities for investors but also for affiliate marketers.
Some of the best crypto affiliate programs provide up to 30% commissions for each sale.
For example the crypto.ro Academy provides courses for beginner and advanced investors.
The membership fee for this crypto investing course starts at 400$, giving you the possibility to earn 120$ for every new member you bring into the academy.
This is something fairly easy that you can start doing today.
Here are the steps:
- Sign up here for the affiliate program
- Once approved, you will be provided educational video content
- Post video content on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.
- Earn commissions by converting as many of your followers interested in cryptocurrencies.
Perhaps the most popular example is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, called Amazon Affiliates. In fact, Amazon Affiliates not only has the biggest market share of affiliate networks (45.81%), but it is followed by CJ Affiliate (8.14%) and Rakuten Alabama Network (7.85%).
As a beginner, Amazon Affiliates is a great way to get into affiliate marketing. Creators, publishers, and bloggers can earn money by recommending products to their audience through an Amazon affiliate link. When someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission on that sale.
Get started in affiliate marketing today!
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn money with minimal investment. It can be time-consuming, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to find the right affiliate network and perfect your strategy, you can create a system that will generate passive income for years.