One of the biggest buzzwords these days is affiliate marketing. Like most buzzwords, however, it can be confusing– everyone tells you how great and awesome it is when it comes to returns and that you should totally try it out. The problem is, you don’t know where to begin. Worry not, because we’ve prepared a guide for you called ‘affiliate marketing for dummies.’
We all have to start somewhere and there’s always a first time for everything. So, here we are with our affiliate marketing for beginners guide. This applies to anyone with or without a blog, though it could be easier if you already do.
If you’re not already aware, affiliate marketing is where a bigger merchant business online pairs up with affiliates so those can organically market their products or services; it’s performance-based and you’ll be rewarded for each customer or visitor you bring to their site. Basically, it’s similar to a commission.
To that end, affiliate marketing for dummies is also easy and may only require three things: confidence (not mandatory), a small capital (also not mandatory), and time. Usually, it’s only time. If you have those, especially time. Then read on and prepare to have a better internet-based income than ever before. Do note that if you already have an established blog and a great audience base, you can skip the first three steps.
1. Choose your niche
This step here is a lot more important than it should be; treat it with the utmost care. The niche or the general topic sphere you choose for your website or blog contribute heaps to your affiliate marketing stint. How? Let’s say the merchant you partnered with (or partnered with you) sells clothes and your blog is all about film reviews. Not only would some of their products look out of place on your website, but your pool of affiliate products to promote would also be a lot less.
Of course, that’s an extreme example and almost always never happens in real life; merchants will have to review your application to be an affiliate first. Regardless, your niche would have to be something you’re passionate about. So if you’re passionate about film, perhaps an online business which sells pop culture novelty gifts would suit your site better. Moreover, just stick to your niche for one website- you can always open more websites for other niches.
2. Build a website
Once you’ve picked what you’re good at when it comes to blogging or producing content, it’s time to get technical. You need a blog or a website- a platform in which to do or try out your affiliate marketing for dummies. Don’t worry too much if you’re not tech-savvy; there are plenty of website builders and content management systems out there that can help you with ease. Sometimes they’ll even take care of the whole thing for you.
For starters, you can try out WordPress as it’s currently the most popular website builder at the moment. This is where the “small capital” part comes in. You’ll have to spend a bit of cash in order to get a URL or website domain of your own. You can forego this and stick with the “free version” but then you’ll only be borrowing a URL from WordPress, meaning your website will always end in “.wordpress,” as you expect, you won’t look legitimate this way– not in the eyes of the businesses you plan to affiliate with.
3. Work on quality content
Once you have your website set up, you can’t just jump into the affiliate marketing bandwagon just yet. There are certain thresholds and criteria to be observed if you want to be a trusty affiliate website. It involves having credibility, having a decent search engine optimization (SEO), and having a steady and reliable audience for your blog… among other things depending on where you apply as an affiliate.
One way to hit all those three items in the checklist is to produce quality content. That means organic website content (videos, posts, images, etc.) for your audience or subscribers. Evergreen content (basically timeless/always relevant content) also gets the job done. As you can imagine, this will take time. Once your post reach starts reaching thousands of viewers or you start seeing regular visitors, however, you can finally be confident in applying to be an affiliate. Sadly, there’s no other way around it– you can’t be an affiliate with an empty website, so get busy!
4. Choose your merchant(s)
Now that you finally have a healthy following and an online domain of your own, it’s time to find a big business partner. There’s no shortage of online merchant websites looking for affiliates. One of the most prominent ones is Amazon, eBay, Bluehost, etc. Other vendors or merchants also have them and they don’t even need to be selling tangible physical products.
In line with your niche, pick your affiliates wisely. It would be tricky to give you a rundown on which ones are the best since each is different in their own right and their terms are sometimes hidden unless you pass the application. That means you’ll have to do your research and review each and every merchant’s affiliate program or you can simply apply in all of them (as long as they fit your niche) and increase your chances of getting accepted. Make no mistake, there is a chance you’ll get rejected. Don’t let that discourage you, though.
5. Get affiliate links
If you work hard enough for a merchant to recognize your blog or website’s potential and you get accepted as an affiliate, it’s time to market their stuff! Once you’re set up in an affiliate program, you can finally create content about their product. Make it as organic as possible and depending on what kind of blog or website you run, you might want to tone down on the marketing jargon and stick to being conversational.
Either way, you’ll still have to get an affiliate link for your content featuring your partner’s products or services. Affiliate links are what help your partner business keep track of what you promote for them. This should be easy, big sites like Amazon or others with their own affiliate programs have a separate website section for “links” or “affiliate links.” Each one is different so make sure you check their site or the product page thoroughly.
6. Take advantage of WordPress plugins
Manually adding affiliate links to your website is easier the smaller your operation. Once you start getting bigger, you’re going to need some machine help. This is where plugins come in; there are actually WordPress plugins such as ThirstyAffiliates which can do the affiliate links for you. It’s especially handy when you’re an affiliate of multiple vendors or you have multiple websites.
Meanwhile, plugins like MonsterInsights help you track how your readers or viewers are reacting to your affiliate posts. They’ll also help you determine which posts are more popular among your audience so you can always adjust.ama
7. Engage your audience
By engaging and interacting with your audience, you retain them better and can keep them up to date on your content. That includes affiliate posts as well. Merely replying to them in the comment section of your site is not enough, it doesn’t even have to be communication either. Simply creating a small community for them on social media is likely to improve your affiliate program.
Make sure to share your affiliate posts on social media where users are more inclined to purchase a product such as Facebook or Instagram. By no means are we saying you should ignore their comments, of course. Communicating with them can and will help build their trust for you as a marketer.
Reminder: Don’t expect instant income
Now the negative part of affiliate marketing for dummies. It sounds all fun and games once you’re all set up, but don’t get sad when you find out that the payouts are not immediate. Depending on your affiliate network or partner, it might take a long while before you get rewarded with the fruits of your labor.
There are several factors to this, such as your audience size which affects how many people will buy the product you promoted. Other times, it would be the terms of the program you applied. Just be patient and it will pay off. Simply don’t go in expecting instant gratification, lest you want to be disappointed. Hopefully, after this affiliate marketing for dummies guide, you’re more than ready to earn more online!