Ok so you want to make some passive income online using affiliate marketing. But you’re a beginner, and you aren’t quite sure where to start. Well, you are in the right place. This guide that you have just landed on will help you start your affiliate marketing journey, and set you on a course towards some solid passive income earnings.
1. Choose your niche – Health, Wealth, and Relationships
So there are three main, umbrella niches that people will spend money on in an online environment that you can market to. By no means is this every niche but you will find the easiest commissions are made using these areas. These three niches broadly are:
Think protein powders, training programs and mentors
Think online courses, trading platforms and investing advice
Think dating services and sites
Choosing a niche is entirely up to you, and you may find that the more you drill down on a niche that you find an area of interest that may be partially untapped in the online market. Of course, it’s crucial that you have an interest in the specific niche, and that there is a product out there that you can affiliate market to people interested in the niche.
Niche selection matters
Also, make sure the niche is one that people are searching for online and that there is a genuine potential audience. Competition is also a factor – in a dream world you want a high traffic niche with low competition- if you find one, however, let me know. Typically you?ll need to trade off on one or the other. More on driving traffic further on in this guide.
2. To short circuit your learning, take a course
Buy your Success
There are a number of excellent courses available that cover Affiliate Marketing end to end. The best part of taking a course is that you are basically just buying your success, assuming you are prepared to engage in the course.
Like to read?
If like me, you are a reader, I would suggest a course such as Affilorama. It has an absolute treasure trove of affiliate marketing information, both written and on video, and really steps both beginners and more seasoned campaigners through the process.
More of a millennial?
If you are more of a visual or sales type another course I have tried and enjoyed is internet jetset, from John Crestani.
There are many other courses available- these are just a couple I have tried and liked myself.
3. Research affiliate programs – clickbank, commission junction
Now you’ve selected a niche, you just need some products to offer. There are some fantastic affiliate program offers around, many offered directly through the product offeror but also there are a number of big affiliate program sites that offer commissions for a number of companies. Some of these are Clickbank, Commission Junction or Rakuten.
The level of effort to join different Affiliate programs varies from site to site- for example becoming an affiliate for instapage (an online squeeze page provider) is simply a matter of filling a form with a couple of details, whereas sites such as udemy are more picky with who they accept to their program. It’s up to you if this is an influencing factor. To be honest the difficulty in applying has no proportionality to how effective the product campaign can be in my opinion, just different networks do things in different ways.
4. Build a Site (or not)
To Wix or not to Wix
So in order to host your wonderful captivating content you’ll need to create a website. I recommend steering clear of Wix and Squarespace, simply because most of the sites I’ve seen made with them have been rubbish.
WordPress all the way
I recommend using a CMS (Content Management System) to make your website, my best results have been obtained using the ubiquitous WordPress. To do this, you will need a hosting with someone like Bluehost and I highly recommend you buy a theme to make your site as optimal in terms of design as possible. A great source of themes is Themeforest. You can really build excellent, professional sites with these and the available plugins make life easy when it comes to adding features such as custom fields, email collection integration, and fantastic looking banner headers. I’m a big fan of the Avada theme, this site uses it.
If you don’t want to make a website, that’s not a problem. Check out my guide here on how to do affiliate marketing without a website.
5. Make content
Ok so this is probably the most important thing you need to do to attract traffic, and influence affiliate sales and therefore commissions. Quality content is the lifeblood of much of the internet and to stand out from the crowd you need to make yours as good as possible.
Content is King
TO give just one example of why quality content is critical, just look at some of Google’s ranking factors. Google are on record as being a fan of the “long click”. Basically what this means is when a user clicks an organic search result, and then stays on the page they have clicked through to- the longer the user stays on the page, the more google believes they are satisfied with the content and therefore the search result.
So, you ask how do you keep a user on the page?
Simple answer – amazing, valuable content. You have to give plenty in order to gain the trust and interest of the user / reader. Which brings us to the question-
What is amazing content?
Ok, so this is the $64 question. It’s not easily answered and there are many different answers, none of which are wrong. There are many factors to take into consideration, such as SEO, user experience, value adding and so on. I would strongly recommend video content- it helps you engage best with your audience, and is normally well rated by Google. Otherwise there are many important facets of this question, which I will go into more detail with in an upcoming blog post. Think engaging copy, interesting and in demand topics, well laid out paragraphs, helping the reader learn.
6.Video – link to my ranking videos in google blog, tubebuddy, music
As mentioned briefly in the previous topic, video is probably the best way online to engage and build rapport with your audience. Some marketers talk of building a “personal brand” and though this may be beyond the scope of this blog, it kind of encapsulates the necessary thinking behind video- you are the brand. People relate well to faces and facial expressions, it’s just human nature, but that doesn’t mean if you are a bit shy or don’t want to appear on video that you are sunk- you could use a service such as Fiverr to have an animated video made, perhaps a video with an actor or you could make a video you do not actually appear in – think an unboxing video or a voiceover of a stock video.
With video, the easiest way to market it is through YouTube, which is absolutely free. See my blog post here for how to rank your video in YouTube and Google. There are some simple tricks such as getting a cover made through Fiverr or do it yourself through Canva to make your video stand out. For the content itself, Fiverr offers just about every service under the sun such as editing, intros and so on. You can post the YouTube video to your site if you have chosen to build one as well.
Lights, Camera, Action
With YouTube in particular there is a great opportunity to build an audience, and make sure you interact with comments, be they positive or negative through the platform. Encourage user interaction and subscription to your channel, it will pay you back when you start looking at affiliate links.
There are a number of wonderful tools available with YouTube to help with ranking and stock music to improve the viewability of your video. Tubebuddy is particularly useful in the ranking stakes and there are a number of useful libraries for clip music that can be used on YouTube via subscription.
7. Build an Audience – YouTube, social, email list
Your Audience is your income
These days resumes are losing relevance, especially in the digital world. Audiences, not resumes, be it subscribers, viewers, likes on social media and your effective outreach are the currency of the digital world. I’m sure you’ve heard of Instagram influencers who make thousands if not millions off promoting a product or service. Free to air television is quickly losing relevance and it’s amazing how targeted the new paradigm of online media can be for producing effective results.
The ubiquitous email list
Email is one of the most effective and underused methods for building an audience. You can collect emails in many ways using your website (pop-up box etc) or using some sort of “lead-magnet” on a platform such as facebook. Basically this is offering a product for free or for a low price, and collecting the customer’s email as part of the sale process. These emails then can be marketed to via direct email. You can even set up an automated sequence to send emails on your behalf using a platform such as Aweber.
8. Promote Affiliate Offers
Ok so you’ve done all the hard parts educating yourself, making outstanding content, driving traffic and building your audience. This is great. Time to monetise. Affiliate links for relevant products can be obtained from many places – from specialist affiliate networks mentioned earlier such as Clickbank or Commission Junction, individually from major vendors such as: Amazon, or smaller suppliers such as Semrush. Typically digital products offer a better commission rate than physical products.
Link me up
Getting your affiliate link is as simple as logging into whichever network you choose and grabbing your link. You can place this on your website, YouTube description, and some social networks (be careful, some don’t allow this, see my future blog about this), or anywhere else you like such as email.
Last but not least
Don’t think of affiliate links and making commissions as the first thing you want in marketing, even affiliate marketing. Building an audience, driving traffic and creating content are all crucial in actually driving any affiliate commissions. People are no longer fooled by cheap sales tricks and obvious tactics. It’s better simply to be honest and create great value.
Now it just all gets easier. You’ve created a blog, YouTube channel or social media presence. People are visiting your media, and clicking through to your affiliate offers, and converting into Affiliate sales. What next? Well, that’s easy. Just repeat the winning formula. At this point there are many things you can do to analyze how well you are converting – you can use A/B split testing, which is basically just offering two versions of the same ad and seeing which of the two sell better, you can track the movements through your site via Google Analytics, to see where your traffic is coming from and where it is going, or you could test which products and offers convert the best.
So there you go. This guide is intended to help you find your journey and give you an overview of a successful process. There are many intricacies and challenges you will face over the journey but if you keep these basic principles in mind you’ll be heading in the right direction. Feel free to leave a comment below or link to a similar article you have.
Disclaimer: Statements on this blog post do not represent the views or policies of anyone other than myself. The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only. The opinions and statements expressed are my own and some links in the blog are affiliate meaning that I can receive compensation from companies whose products I have linked to.