Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Get a piece of this billion-dollar industry!
Affiliate marketing has grown tremendously in recent years. In fact, according to Statista, it's even expected to hit $8.2 billion in the U.S by 2022. This essentially means that it's not too late for you to join the bandwagon and secure your position in the said industry.
In this blog, we'll help you set the foundation of your affiliate marketing strategy to help you achieve success. But before we dive deep into that, let's first have a recap on the basics.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is the process of promoting the services/products of another business on your platform, and in turn, you get a commission for each sale. You act like an indirect salesman for a brand wherein the company rewards you for every sale made from your website.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can scale indefinitely and earn passively. You are not restricted to featuring only a single brand. Instead, you can be an affiliate for many brands simultaneously, giving you more streams of revenue potential. At the same time, you only need to create at least a single promotional content per brand and publish it on your website, and once published, you'll have to wait for sales to come in. Meaning, you can still expect to generate a commission even if you posted the content months ago.
How does it work?
From the advertiser's viewpoint, Affiliate Marketing allows you to make a sale even when you don't offer any products or services. In this setup, you get to capitalize on your affiliate brands' products and services since you only need to publish content promoting the said brand. If your content is compelling, the chances are high that your viewers will be enticed to buy from your affiliate brands, and when they do, you get a portion of the sale. It's a lot simpler when you run a blog site since you can post promotional blogs and wait for the sale to happen.
On the contrary, businesses use Affiliate Marketing to promote their businesses and expand the reach of their offerings. Businesses don't need to spend tons on sales and marketing professionals to promote their products with affiliate marketing. Instead, they can work with affiliates who will promote their brand to their target customers. Since the affiliate publishers are only paid for every sale/engagement, businesses can ensure that they only pay for results.
Affiliate Marketing has three parts: The advertiser/publisher, affiliate brand, and the end-customer.
- Brand / Business: The one who sells the products/services
- Advertiser / Publisher: The one who makes the promotion and earns from the commission
- End-customer: The one who makes the purchases
The process is simple; it starts with the publisher applying as an affiliate marketer for a particular brand. Once approved, the business will then provide a unique link to the affiliate marketer – the link is uniquely named to the affiliate, which allows the business to track. Next, the affiliate marketer can then publish the promotional content to his / her website with the unique affiliate link.
Now, when a customer sees your promotional content and decides to buy through your affiliate link, then that's precisely how you make money. Take note that your promotional content is not limited to a discount announcement. It can also be in the form of reviews, comparisons, and tips and tricks to make the selling part subtle. For instance, if your niche is lifestyle and fashion and one of your affiliate brands is a luxury watch, then perhaps you can make an article on "The Best Luxury Watches for 2021" – this kind of content is a killer and will undoubtedly boost your viewership.
Typical Products in Affiliate Marketing
There are four main kinds of business & products that you can promote through affiliate marketing. These are Digital downloads, Online, Hosted & Professional Services, Online Courses, and eCommerce stores.
These are digital products that consumers can instantly access as opposed to physical products. These products include audiobooks, software, mobile applications, and media content. Some good examples for this product include Netflix, Spotify, iBooks, and iTunes. Affiliate marketing does well for digital goods since anyone online can instantly sign up and purchase through an affiliate link.
Online, Hosted & Professional Services
The services that fall under this category can be accessed by any person from anywhere globally and are not limited to the merchant's locality. For instance, the professional services we're talking about include graphic designing, marketing services, accounting, and legal consulting. On the other hand, hosted services include website platforms, lead generation tools, course platforms, etc. GoDaddy, HootSuite, Shopify, and Designmodo are some examples under this category. These services can easily be accessed through an affiliate link like digital goods, making it the right subject for affiliate marketing.
This industry has been gaining so much popularity in recent years for its effectiveness and convenience. Aside from individuals signing up for personal development courses, companies are also acknowledging the effectiveness of online courses to equip their workforce with the necessary skills. The result? Huge market for online course platforms. Online courses are easy to sell since customers can instantly sign up and enroll in any course, making it a good target for affiliate marketing.
Of course, let's not forget about eCommerce stores. If you're an eCommerce entrepreneur, having an affiliate marketing program is a must. This is mainly because of its cost-effective approach in expanding your brand reach. Thus, you won't need to hire an in-house marketing army to run your promotional campaigns. Whatever your niche is, you'll be sure to find the right affiliate.
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
Choose your Platform
Affiliate Marketing can be done on any online platform, yes, even Instagram. However, it's recommended that you direct your affiliate marketing efforts towards a blog site or a YouTube channel.
Setting up a blog site is just like setting up an eCommerce store but more straightforward. On a blog site, you'll only need to create a website that's optimized for search engines. However, please note that you should structure and organize your blog site in a way that makes it easy for your website visitors to scroll through your content.
For eCommerce stores, you can add another page for blogs where you can post articles to promote your products and those for affiliate marketing. On the other hand, for YouTubers, you need to add the affiliate links in the description box of your videos.
Pick a Niche
The next part is - deciding which niche you want to take on. However, please take note that it's more challenging to lead the competition when you're after a generic niche than when targeting a specific category. If you're thinking of skateboards, it would be wise to focus on a specific skateboard, for instance, electric skateboards. Doing this will help you in building a focused audience for better engagement. A specific niche will also boost your ranking on SEO, which tends to be highly impossible with a generic niche because of the number of sites fighting for the top rank.
Sign Up for Affiliate Programs
Once you have your platform and your chosen niche, the next step is to find affiliate programs that match your requirements. Of course, you should only sign up for programs that cover your niche to ensure success. Besides, you don't want to cover areas that are not within your expertise.
You can choose three programs from the high paying-low volume, low paying-high volume, and high paying-high volume scheme. The high paying, low volume program is for businesses with specific niche products that offer high payouts; the catch is - there's a limited pool of potential buyers. In low paying-high volume, these are generally products with mass appeal, which makes them easy to sell. Lastly, in high paying-high volume program, these are likewise products with mass appeal but offer high commissions like credit cards.
In choosing an affiliate program, you must consider your niche and the audience of your website. If your blog site speaks to businesses, then you should opt for the first option, if for consumers – second.
Curate High-Quality Content
Once you're approved, you need to plan and create your content carefully. Remember that your promotional video or article will serve as your salesman. A well-written article may entice your readers to make a purchase or inquire, while a terrible article will just be ignored by your website visitors. Remember that your lifeline depends on your content in affiliate marketing, so you don't want to create substandard material – it must be winning content. Otherwise, your article will not be monetized.
Drive Traffic to your Site
Upon publishing new content, of course, you need to get the word out. There are several ways to promote content - one is by paid traffic through Pay-per-click (PPC), where you instantly get traffic upon payment. However, it would be best if you were strategic in launching paid ads since you don't want to depend solely on paid traffic for your content. Then we have Search Engine Optimization (SEO) optimization to boost your ranking on search results. The last is a more direct approach - through email marketing, where you'll launch your new content through your mailing list.
Get Clicks on your Affiliate Links
To get clicks on your content, your link placements must be strategically placed around the entire content, making it easy for the viewers to see. If you only place your affiliate link or CTA at the bottom of your page, then you might be missing out on a lot of potential clients since only a handful of readers read from top to bottom. It would help if you also structured it in a way that allows it to stand out. For instance, you can do this by changing the link's font color or by enclosing the CTA in a button.
Convert Clicks to Sales
In affiliate marketing, all your efforts will be pointless if no conversion will be made. Thus, it's crucial that you only work with brands with excellent sales funnels - meaning brands that make it easy for customers to place an order. Besides, no matter how excellent your promotional content is, if the customer has a hard time checking out, all your efforts will be futile.
Where to Find Affiliate Marketers
OSI Affiliate is a robust platform for recruiting affiliates, which, in turn, creates a network of unlimited referrals and sales. OSI Affiliate boasts a platform packed with essential features and tools to promote brands through social sharing, promo codes, landing pages, and many others.
For the marketers themselves, OSI Affiliate's social sharing features make affiliate marketing simple with its social media integrations with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - thus, making it one of our top affiliate marketing tools.
As of writing, ShareASale has over 4,000 merchants selling different services and products. It also houses the right mix of startup brands and enterprise businesses that are all looking for affiliates. Thus, making it a good source for publishers and businesses of any niche.
ShareASale is a giant Affiliate Network offering excellent potential and a proven track record for merchants and affiliates. It has excellent features that are essential in having a successful affiliate marketing strategy. With its massive pool of merchants that trust them, you'll be sure to get the best value for your money.
Shopping Cart and Affiliate Marketing Solution in One
PayKickstart is a web-based shopping cart and affiliate marketing solution in one. Currently, PayKickstart has 1,500 customers in around 65 countries around the world. Clients can track, manage, and pay affiliate partners through its single dashboard for its affiliate management.
PayKickstart is an affiliate marketing platform with comprehensive automation features. It has an advanced funnel builder, affiliate center, customizable checkout templates, and a marketing portal to automate your affiliate program.
Generally speaking, affiliate marketing is an easy way to make money online. For businesses, affiliate marketing offers a sustainable and cost-effective way to promote your products since you only pay for every sale, making it a low-risk kind of marketing strategy. For publishers, affiliate marketing offers excellent potential in terms of money-making capability for its sustainability and flexibility since it allows them to work with several brands simultaneously with no specific time frame.
With everything above mentioned, I highly recommend Affiliate Marketing both to publishers and businesses - the best part is that businesses can be a publisher at the same time!
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