Affiliate Marketing For Beginners Guide: How to Start an Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing means selling a product that is not your own online, in order to earn a commission on sales. The products could be physical or digital. Physical products usually have lower commission than digital. If you sell a digital product such as an ebook, this commission might even be as much as 70-90%! If you don’t know where to start this business, this post, affiliate marketing for beginners is just for you.
Affiliate marketing is scalable. You can start with just a few products to promote and then add more. You have to choose a product appropriate to your niche website.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is The Best Way To Make Money
There are many angles to consider in affiliate marketing. Some even wonder as to how can you make money selling something that you did not make or don’t have. The simplest way to explain this is that it is essentially sales. You are acting as a seller and earning commission on any sales you make. In that way, you are just like the door-to-door salesmen who come around to sell you broadband or a Verizon subscription.
The difference is that you aren’t going door to door. The internet is your door and this is a door that gives you access to everyone.
Affiliate Marketers Have A Huge Advantage Over Salesmen
Salesmen normally has limited commission structure because of their limited product to promote. Affiliate marketers can earn more than 50% in commission; and they are not limited to one product. Moreover affiliate marketers can start earning just as though they are selling their own products, but without having to invest lots of money to create something from scratch.
And since affiliates will be selling products that are already out there, you can choose something that is already selling in big numbers.
Affiliate Marketing How Does It Work
How precisely does affiliate marketing work and why would a creator ever be happy to give away so much of their own profits? Imagine, the creator earning about 30% of his own product and affiliates about 70%? Why so?
First, let’s consider the type of product you are going to be selling. To many marketers, affiliate products will be digital products. However, products are not limited to digital. There are plenty more options out there, which we will explore in this article later. But for now, that’s what we’ll focus on, digital products. That means things like eBooks, like online courses and like presentations such as webinars, for example.
The marketing of a product costs a lot of money. Product creators would rather use affiliate marketing platforms using affiliates to promote their products. Created digital product’s cost is very minimal. They are willing to shell out 70% in commission and settle for a profit of 30%. But with thousands promoting such product, it makes sense to just use affiliate platforms with lots of affiliates.
Affiliate Links The Bread And Butter Of Marketers
Affiliate marketers make money when customers click on links provided by product owners and subsequently customers make a purchase. When customers click on a product link, they will be redirected to another page, called a pay page, where they can make the purchase. If they don’t at first, a cookie will be stored in the customer’s computer, usually lasting as long as180 days. When the customer eventually decides to buy within that cookie time frame, the cookie will identify the transaction as originating from the affiliate’s link, thus will earn a commission.
For the affiliate marketer, it is a very simple process: promote the product and provide the link. That’s all there is to it
How to Find and Sell Affiliate Products
It is advisable for beginners in affiliate marketing to start by signing up with established affiliate marketing platforms. These established affiliate platforms have substantial support to their affiliates specially the newbies. They have a lot of training videos on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners. They have a vast array of choices of products to choose from. Some affiliate platforms specialize in digital; others in physical; a few carries digital and physical products.
Choosing a particular product that is promoted independently by its creator or manufacturer is kind of disadvantageous to the beginner affiliate. Those vendors/merchants that don’t belong to affiliate platforms are usually well-established companies and are very selective.
Some well-established affiliate platforms are ClickBank, Linkshare and Share-a-Sale. Of course, Amazon is a great affiliate program too because they have thousands of products that you can promote, both physical and digital.
ClickBank and Linkshare has a variety of products in their marketplace but mostly digital. Share-a-Sale has a balanced collection of products. These three platforms are easy to get in as long as you can explain to them how you will go about promoting their products.
Join An Affiliate Program Network
Understanding how people advertise their products and their corresponding costs will give a good perspective as to how you will make money promoting them. As an affiliate marketer promoting their products you will decide what affiliate marketing programs to work with. Be it Clickbank, Amazon Associates, Linkshare, Share-a-sale or Refersion.
And what’s even better is that you can then just repeat this process over and over again with hundreds of different affiliate products if you like. You don’t have to spend any time creating them, so you can now set up something new every 24 hours.
If one affiliate product and landing page was making you a $100 a day and you now have 30… well you do the math!
Join Affiliate Program At Amazon
Amazon‘s design of their affiliate platform is different from the others. It is a very tempting option for many marketers. If you search affiliate marketing for beginners guide, affiliate platforms such as ClickBank, JVZoo and Commission Junction concentrate on digital products. Amazon has virtually everything that you can promote; however, Amazon has restrictions on some products.
Although Amazon’s associates/affiliates do not enjoy a very substantial commission structure, it is still a better choice simply because of its brand. As long as you promote their products properly, there is money to be earned in their program. Some associates promote the high-priced items which normally but not always carry a reasonable commission percentage.
Selling/promoting SAS (Software As A Service) is another product option in affiliate marketing for beginners. These are actually lucrative affiliate products. These products provide recurring commissions. Gambling and betting softwares are of these types. For as long as the bettor is using the software or app, the referring affiliate enjoys recurring commissions.
Choose Affiliate Products Wisely
One basic rule in affiliate marketing for beginners is to choose affiliate products wisely. It is not wise to just pick any product you happen to find in affiliate programs without matching it against your chosen niche. In other words, the products you promote must resonate with theme of your website. If your niche is about health, you would have a hard sell promoting electronics.
Popular products such as making money online, dating or fitness are very competitive. Getting your website googled to top SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) is close to impossible with these kind of niche.
Choose a product with a smaller niche. Instead of entering a very generic make money online or dating or fitness, narrow that to something like – make money creating paper flowers; or make money in promoting ebook about educating prostate cancer or how to date women from singapore.
After choosing a particular niche, blogging is the next step in affiliate marketing for beginners. Blogging is one of the easiest and cheapest way to promote your product. By following the techniques of SEO principles, you will find your website or topic occupying a relatively good SERP standing.
Promote Multiple Products
As affiliate marketer you have the option of selling multiple products. This is practical if you have a big site. You have to create articles about every product that you promote. Marketing so many products will pose various challenges though.
How To Market The Products
The key to success when it comes to selling affiliate products, is to build an audience first. This is the determining factor (insofar as there is one), as it means that you need to actually put in some time and
work in order to make the biggest if not better sales. This is one if not the hardest challenge in affiliate marketing for beginners. This is the first step to start affiliate marketing.
There are other ways to sell affiliate products; but this is where everything starts.
Be An Influencer
It takes a lot of time and preparation to be an influencer. To build one’s brand takes a lot of building up your name. Having a lot of followers or subscribers is the key to be an influencer. The fact that they followed you or subscribed to your website tells you that they believe in you. What you promote to them is almost as acceptable as truth.
Start by creating a website and then make your presence in social media. There are a lot of ways you can start a website and many of them are for free.
Wix is the leading free website creator. Squarespace is another freebie. Weebly is a blog website, meaning this is a platform designed for easy blogging. Establish your presence first; don’t start selling yet. Build your website with your chosen niche and propagate it with lots of valuable information.
One the biggest mistakes made by beginner affiliates is to try and create a very general website with as broad an appeal as possible. This is one of the forbidden rules in affiliate marketing for beginners. Targeting an expansive audience is just not practical and suitable for this kind of business. An affiliate marketer must be as target oriented and as pointed to a specific audience.
A “fitness” website for example is too generic and general. You are pretty much competing with the whole internet. Consider instead having a website that is about “Fitness for
Over 40s”. Or how about “Paleo Fitness”. Or “CrossFit”. Or “Outdoor Fitness”. Or “Hardcore Bodybuilding”. These options have a clearer target audience, and they respond favorably knowing that there is something there for them. Engagement with this highly targeted audience is highly probable.
Writing suggestion in affiliate marketing for beginners – try to write the blogs/articles yourself. Start from what you know; and then add information from what you gathered in your research. Don’t fall for that idea of hiring a writer unless you know for sure that he is knowledgeable about the topic. Very few paid writers are really knowledgeable on a specific topic. They most likely are researchers themselves. All they do is just copy ideas which may be old and stale already.
Links Are Essential In Affiliate Marketing
Placing links in your website’s post/articles is the very essence of affiliate marketing. Without links to direct your customers to the merchant’s page is just advertising a blank billboard. Thats why it is important where to put the links. Do not place links on your article that directs to the pay page outright. Create your own “sales page” before directing them to the vendor’s sales page.
This “sales page” is actually a bridge page, ie., a page coming from your article/post. Using a bridge page keeps you from getting banned from Google Adsense if you use one. Google Adsense and other affiliate platforms such a Media.net frowns at their competitors to your page. It is short of telling you they want ad exclusivity to your website.
Bridge page must be outside of your domain or a subdomain of your main domain which is not linked to Adsense or other platforms.
Post Relevant Content On Your Own Sales Page
Your sales page is solely for that purpose and none other. There should not be any ads or anything that will distract the reader or prospective customer. The page is usually long and narrow. Make the reader feel that if they quit reading midway, they will feel that they have wasted their time reading. Make them feel that they have to finish reading the post to their advantage.
Here are some tips to incorporate in your sales page:
- Grab Attention by making a bold statement. Follow this up with an interesting narrative where the reader follows through the whole article.
- Appeal through facts and figures. Let’s face it. Not all will trust you with your statements outright. Cite authoritative references; and then add statistics to strengthen your claim.
- Anticipate the questioning mindset of your audience. For example, make a blunt statement that there are many scams abounding on the internet specially in affiliate marketing for beginners. Affirm that what you have is not one of them and will never be.
- Mitigate risk by offering money-back-guarantee and free trials. People are hesitant to part with what they already have; not wanting to risk enter into something they don’t have any semblance of assurance.
Most importantly, understand the value proposition, i.e., the emotional as well as pragmatic value of your product. As in the case of an ebook on fitness, you are not selling the ebook itself but the value of being fit and healthy. What you are selling is the feeling of having immeasurable energy, ripped abs and unbounded confidence manifested in a beautiful and healthy body.
Get the reader feel that need to buy your product because of the benefits he will gain from it.
Most digital products come with its own ready-made sales page; all you have to do is tweak its content to propagate your own.
More Ways To Sell
There are many more ways to sell in affiliate marketing for beginners.
Embedding links within the body of your articles is one of the more common way of promotion. Very few affiliates do this but this is a great way to monetize your blog or website. Simply write something that interests you and place a link within the body. You are subtly promoting your product and anyone who engages with your blog might click on the link.
This similar to Adsense ad except that you earn more on commissions. Adsense commissions are usually lesser than those offered by vendors directly or through affiliate platforms.
Add some bragging statements in your blog such as your earnings. This approach works well in affiliate programs that accept sub-affiliates. In fact the law requires that you have to disclose that your blog or website earns commission from clickable links. This is a FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Affiliate Disclosure Law. There is a affiliate disclosure plugin (Word Press) that you can use that way you don’t have to cite verbatim the FTC’s provision on each post or article.
Pay Per Click Advertising
But what if you don’t have an audience? What if you aren’t an influencer who has earned the trust of your readers? In this case, you will need to find ways to send visitors to your sales page directly. The good news is that you can do this through advertising using PPC.
PPC is ‘Pay Per Click’. This is any kind of online advertising that only costs you when someone actually clicks on your advert. Facebook Ads work this way and so does Google AdWords.
The two tools are a match made in heaven for marketers. And here’s why…
The great thing about PPC is that it means you now know precisely how much you are paying for each visitor. If your ‘maximum bid’ for a click on your ads is 5 cents, then you know you are paying 5 cents tops for each visitor to your page.
Why does this matter? Because it allows you to crunch the numbers and guarantee profit. However, if your budget ‘per click spend’ is too low, your ad won’t show when there are lots of competing ads from other brands of the same niche. If you set it too high, you most likely won’t turn a profit.
When placing ads on Facebook you will have to define your demographics, meaning, who your audience will be. That includes age, gender, location, hobbies, income bracket and other interests.
When placing ads on Google through AdWords, the aim is to consider not only the interests of the person (based on what they are searching for – the “keywords”) but also the intent of that person. It is interesting to note that the ‘intent’ plays an important role in your ad. Intent determines if someone is just researching or bent on buying. ‘Researching’ through keywords would be – “best computer games this year”; compared to ‘bent on buying’ – “cheap computer games”.
The aim of PPC is to ensure that people ONLY click the link if they are likely to buy from you. This lowers the amount you spend, while increasing the potential profit. That means the adverts must be as tightly “targeted” to the right person as possible, even to the point of scaring away people who won’t
likely want to buy using the right text.
Make sure that your ad link redirects to your sales page. A well written sales page or landing page results in higher conversion rate – that is the aim of every PPC.
Conversion Rate Is A Concern In Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
Another figure you should be interested in is your ‘conversion rate’. This is the percentage of new visitors to your site who become buyers. Let’s say 1% for argument’s sake.
Now you can simply calculate how much each sale is costing you on average and then measure this against the profit you make per affiliate sale. So, you need 100 people to visit your site to make a single sale and that is going to cost you 100 x .05 or $5.
As long as you are making more than $5 per sale, then you know you’ll be in profit!
Of course, this does require a very small loss leader while you get those first 99 sales under your belt. And of course, some niches are more expensive to advertise in, while your conversion rate might also be much lower in some cases.
But either way, you can now mess with the numbers in order to create a perfectly automated cash generation system! If your conversion rate is too low, you can try to tweak the sales copy a little to make it more persuasive, or you can check that the ads are well targeted (being shown to the right people).
If your ad clicks are costing you too much, you try a less competition niche or you just lower your maximum bid right down. Eventually, you’ll find that magic formula that means you’ll be making money while you sleep.
Addendum Strategies In Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
Another mistake an affiliate marketing beginner is to fix their activities to themselves. Creating a blog without considering your competitor is a misnomer. Competition starts right at the very time you start in this business.
That is why you should pay attention on what they are doing on social media for example. Be aware of where you stand compared to your competitors. Gather as many information about your competitors, what they are posting and what they are doing. Collate these information and create your own modified version of all of them. By building your presence in social media you eventually establish your credibility too.
The So-called “Secret Sauce”
This so-called “secret sauce” is to “sandwich” your best content with your third party competitor’s best content. In other words, you use high-quality materials produced by third parties, and these could be your competitors, to establish credibility and context. Do not copy the context, just the ideas.
When people see your brand on social media and they see your post, it becomes readily apparent that you’re only going to talk about a fairly narrow range of topics. This establishes your brand as some sort of expert or credible authority within a fairly narrow range of subject matter categories. Make sure to focus on your narrowed message, while featuring the very best credible and authoritative content within
your niche to position your brand as an expert.
Master Free Traffic Before Spending On Paid Traffic
I know by this point you’re probably thinking that you want to jumpstart your affiliate marketing business. You probably have heard that many people spend their whole day in pajamas while making thousands of dollars per day. If you want to get from point A, which is your stage, to point B as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Believe me I’ve been there. I understand where you’re coming from.
However, let me tell you if you rush things and you go straight to paid traffic, there’s a high chance you will lose your shirt. No joke. There’s a high chance that after spending all those dollars, you have very little to show for it. Sadly, this is exactly the kind of situation many newbie affiliate marketers experience.
Don’t put yourself in that situation. Muster discipline. You have to master free traffic before spending a dime on paid traffic.
Analyze first how your social activities is doing. Maximize your Facebook page by having more likes, shares and interaction. How is you Twitter account doing? Do you have substantial followers that you can tweet about your posts? These are the things that you have to develop at first. Get as much organic traffic as you can. Organic traffic is the best traffic, and it is free.
How much does it cost to start an affiliate marketing business?
According to Statista, investment costs differ in every situation. If you start by yourself and do the guidelines here for free affiliate marketing, then you can basically start from scratch. There are things to consider that are inevitably hard not to spend a little bit of investment.
How much can a beginner make in affiliate marketing?
This question is correlated to the previous question. As the saying goes, money begets money. You probably heard of affiliates earning money in the hundreds of thousands.
Accelerate Your Learning Curve To Make Money NOW!!!
I believe that education is the key to making money in affiliate marketing. I am talking about education in information. I am not talking about degrees in education. For as long as you are equipped with the kind of knowledge necessary, then chances are you will succeed.
However, there are instances that you wanted to make money right off from scratch. That is a tall order to accomplish in so short a time by yourself.
Accelerate your learning curve by enrolling in a class for beginners or learn affiliate marketing tools or become a Super Affiliate.
Learn how to make money while learning affiliate marketing.