Best Ways To Become An Affiliate Marketer
How to become an affiliate marketer? How to do affiliate marketing? These are the most important questions facing people interested in online business models.
If you stop to think about it, affiliate marketing is like starting a business. You have the distinct advantage of not holding inventory and typically don’t need to hire employees, but you’re still setting up an online operation.
No matter what approach you take, whether writing blog posts or running ads, there are certain steps you’ll need to take to help you find out how to use affiliate marketing to make a living. That means you must take strides to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
In this article, we’ll look at a step-by-step method you can use to learn how to do affiliate marketing. This will provide a platform for your efforts and help give you a leg up when you’re starting out.
Whether you go it alone, partner with others, or look for affiliate marketing jobs, these steps will prepare you for what’s ahead.
How To Become An Affiliate Marketer In 6 Steps
Knowing where to start is important when learning how to become an affiliate marketer. It’s all too easy to get the cart before the horse, and that metaphor covers a variety of scenarios. Finding merchant partners, high-commission affiliate programs, or affiliate marketing jobs that pay well and are consistent requires great up-front work before you’re ever in touch with a merchant.
So to help you build your online audience and find the right niche, here’s a six-step checklist you can use that can help give you a solid foundation as you start as an affiliate.
1. Choose a Niche
Every affiliate marketer has a niche in which they try to influence their audience. But if you’re too greedy and try to speak to too many niches, you could risk overextending and making your efforts ineffective.
So finding out who you’re going to target is the essential first step. But just because it comes first doesn’t make it easy.
Choosing your niche is one of the most crucial parts of starting your affiliate marketing efforts. The wrong niche will make it harder to sell, and the right niche will make it easier.
Finding your niche is one of the most crucial parts of starting your affiliate marketing efforts. The wrong niche will make it harder to sell, and the right niche will make it easier.
So how do you find out which niche is best for you?
To start with, you can do a short self-assessment. As affiliate marketers are meant to be reliable advocates for a product or brand, you want to ensure that you are in the right headspace.
Start by asking questions like:
- What topics am I passionate about?
- Do people search for my chosen niche?
- Will demand my niche stay consistent?
- Is there a lot of competition for my niche?
- Are there affiliate programs that work within my chosen niche?
These questions will help you determine if the product you’re considering is something you want to promote regularly. No matter what affiliate marketing tactic you choose, these are the make-or-break questions.
It should also be said that passion shouldn’t be the only reason you become an affiliate marketer. A site like KitchenFaucetDivas probably didn’t start as a passion project, but that doesn’t make it any less profitable.
So remember that finding the right affiliate products to sell isn’t always about fun. It’s about profit.
Len Markidan of Podia says, “If you don’t genuinely think that a product will improve people’s lives, don’t sell it! This is critical to long-term success as an affiliate. It only takes one bad recommendation to lose someone forever. But by taking the time to do your research, try every product you’re thinking about promoting, and think carefully about whether it’s a good fit for your audience, you can build a successful business by being a trusted source of useful recommendations.”
2. Evaluate Market Demand
It’s also important to evaluate the market demand for your affiliate niche. Doing so will help you identify items consumers are willing to pay for. With that knowledge, you can start marketing products that convert shoppers, earning you commissions.
To start assessing demand for a product, the best place to go is usually a tool like Google Trends. This tells you how often Google users search for a topic on a 0-100 scale. It also gives you a regional breakdown and some suggested topics as well.
For example, let’s see how many people search for the phrase ‘kitchen faucet’ on Google:
It’s relatively consistent for the past 5 years. That means those kitchen faucet reviews have a good potential to make money through affiliate marketing.
So whatever niche you’re considering, start by plugging it in and seeing if there’s consistent demand. This is one of the most consistent tests to determine which affiliate products to sell. Many affiliate marketing items will have moderate degrees of consistency, with spikes around the holidays.
3. Analyze The Competition
The next step is to determine whether or not there’s a lot of competition in your chosen niche, and there are a couple of ways to go about this.
A simple way is to use a keyword research tool like Uber-Suggest to help you see how competitive particular Google searches are.
Let’s keep running with this kitchen faucet example, to show you how it works. Start by plugging in your search term, and click ‘Look Up’ to see the results.
As you can see, on the right side of the results, you’ll see an indicator that says ‘Competition’. On Ubersuggest, this indicator ranges from 0-1, with 1 being the highest level of competition.
So with just a few clicks, you can find out what you’re up against in your niche. You can also see a variety of suggested searches that are related to your niche, as well as how competitive they are.
The second way to research competition levels is to use a service like Clickbank. For this purpose, click on the Affiliate Marketplace option on the home screen.
From there, you’ll see an option to input a search term. Again using the kitchen faucet as an example.
In the search results, you’ll see a section I’ve highlighted in the above example called Gravity. On ClickBank, Gravity measures the high demand for a product on a 100-point scale. The lower the Gravity, the harder it will be to sell your product.
When you combine these approaches, you should get an adequate view of how well your chosen niche will perform. Too much competition and insufficient demand is a recipe for disaster, so be diligent in this process.
An excellent example of an affiliate marketer that’s done their homework in their niche is the highly successful site the Points Guy. The site centers around travel-oriented reviews and guides but also provides curated news updates for those already on the go. They also promote credit cards, which is where they make their money.
This site gets more than 2.5 million unique monthly visitors, and for every successful card signed up for, they receive anywhere from $50-$400. As both the travel and credit card industries can be competitive, this is the kind of success that makes you pay attention.
And to round out their approach, they also run ads for their content to help bring in more traffic and make more money.
At the very least, this shows the importance of finding the right affiliate products to sell in your niche. Get this step right, and you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to make some money as an affiliate marketer.
4. Research Affiliate Programs
After you’ve picked a niche, it’s time to find out which program can help you promote products in your niche. This is where you take a step deeper into your study of becoming an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing programs are sites that act as the middleman between merchants and affiliates. Since it can be hard for merchants and affiliates to find each other, these sites act as a gateway for the relationship to begin.
With that, I’ll bring up some key questions you’ll need to answer while figuring out how to become an affiliate marketer. You should consider this essential checklist before proceeding with a particular program.
- What merchants are using the affiliate program you’re looking at?
- How much commission are you likely to make from your program?
- Do you want to be associated with the program and the brands selling through it?
- What kind of support does the program provide you with?
Remember that this is another step to make or break your success as an affiliate marketer. In other words, your program is the bridge that helps you find profitable partnerships. Don’t skip out on it.
5. Pick Your Affiliate Marketing Methods
Two most popular methods that affiliate marketers adopt include:
- Making websites like blogs or marketplaces.
- Running paid ads.
While these are only a couple of options, they’re the best way to do affiliate marketing. So, we’ll break down how to set up each. First up, let’s build a website.
While there’s some discussion over whether or not affiliates need a website, there are so many benefits that it’s almost pointless not to make one when you’re trying to get the knack for how to do affiliate marketing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with low or high-commission affiliate programs. Websites can help you be successful.
Plus, if you want to look for affiliate marketing jobs in the future, having your affiliate site is a perfect resume builder.
So when you search for ways to build a website, you will get many competing opinions about which option is the best. Should you go with a free option like Wix or WordPress.com, or is it better to build your own by using a hosting service?
While the ultimate hosting choice is up to you, you’ll want to find one that offers reliable service and a good experience.
Many of these hosting companies offer:
- Reliable hosting
- A domain name
- A professional email address
6. Create And Publish Top-Notch Content
The phrase ‘content is king’ gets thrown around a lot in marketing, and there’s a good reason for that. In many ways, the Internet is just a collection of content. People have no reason to come to you if you don't contribute.
As we’ve already seen, that content can be as simple as this blog post. How you ultimately deliver value is up to you.
But what types of content can you create that will help you stand out as a trustworthy and valuable affiliate marketer? You need something to build your audience even if you’ve got the right niche and a flawless website.
When considering what type of content to create, you’ve got a lot of options. In fact, one blog compiled 113 different types of content that can be created and shared. With all that variety, where do you start?
While, to some degree, this boils down to the ideas that interest you the most, there are at least three good starting places familiar to affiliate marketers. These can ultimately lead to success, so we’ll dive into each.
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One of the most effective content strategies is to write reviews for different products and services in their niche. Brands are always looking for product reviews that convert customers, so this can be a profitable place to start.
When done well, it can provide a seamless transition into affiliate marketing efforts and can be a great way to generate income.
For example, TheBestVPN is a site that reviews the most popular Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, on the market. This type of website is a goldmine of information for audiences interested in cybersecurity and ensuring the protection of their information.
With each review, there’s an option for readers to go to the site and learn more about the VPN. As you might expect, this link is an affiliate link that attributes each referred buyer to TheBestVPN’s website.
By simply focusing on product reviews, the site positions itself as a high-authority source for newcomers to the world of cybersecurity. Everyone involved gets something from the affiliate relationship, which completes the perfect model of affiliate marketing.
In a similar vein to product reviews, blog posts are another way that you can start building trust and making inroads in your chosen niche. More importantly, blog posts can help boost sales over time as you master how to become an affiliate marketer, which is your end goal.
By addressing common questions or problems in your target market, you’ll be positioning yourself to make recommendations down the line.
The big key to writing blog posts is consistency. You need to post consistently and keep a single voice that provides high-quality ideas and tips to your reader.
A great affiliate brand that’s done an excellent job of developing an innovative blogging approach is the site Top Ten Reviews.
While it sounds at first glance that this is just another review site, it’s a lot deeper than that. It’s a review comparison site that’s all delivered in blog posts and slideshares, like this roundup on hot tubs:
They’ve developed an engaged audience and dominated their niche by creating and delivering unique content. All of this is done as an affiliate too.
So if you’re struggling with a place to start and don’t want to do product reviews, take the leap into blogging. Offer solutions and share your tips as much as possible.
How To Do Affiliate Marketing Without A Website
As we’ve seen, building a website is just one option regarding the best ways to do affiliate marketing. Running ads is another. Ads can help you be successful, especially for high-commission affiliate programs.
So what if you only want to use paid ads to push people to your merchant partner’s site? In that case, you don’t need a website.
Instead, you’ll need to set up an account to create ads in, which means you’ll need to use Google ads, Facebook ads, or even Bing ads depending on your audience.
First, let’s show you how to get started on Google Ads. To get started, you’ll need to head over to the Google Ads homepage and click the Get Started button.
You’ll be sent to a screen asking for your email address and the website you’ll send ads to.
Next, you’ll be asked to sign in if you’re creating this with a Google account.
From there, you’ll be walked through the process to target and complete your ad, including images and copy. First, you’ll need to pick a goal for your ad.
Since you’re most likely trying to get users to buy a product, you’ll want to select the ‘Take action on your website option. You can direct and track traffic accordingly if you’re not the website’s owner.
From there, you’ll need to select the geographical location in which you want to advertise. This can be as broad or as narrow as you want it to be.
Once you’ve pinned down the location, you’ll want to define what it is you’re selling further. Based on the website's content, Google Ads will suggest products and services you can include that help narrow or expand your audience.
Once you’ve finished defining your product or service, the next step is to create the final ad. On the next screen, you’ll be able to edit the copy of your ad and finalize how it appears on a search engine results page.
Once you’re done, all that’s left is to finish publishing your ad and make adjustments as needed. At this point, you’ll have successfully created both your platform and your content.
1. Google Shopping Ads
Since ads are by far one of the more popular ways affiliate marketing content gets created and shared, it’s worth taking a longer look at your content options that maximize their effect.
And since your task as an affiliate marketer is to sell products, what better way to do it than with Google Shopping Ads?
Google Shopping Ads are the options you see at the top of the search engine results page when you’re looking for a certain product. Here’s an example of what that could look like when searching for some men’s shirts:
This type of ad content can help you stand out and tap into your audience’s desire for visual content. Some companies report an 1,800% return on investment for this type of ad. Your mileage may vary, but it’s a clear winner for your ad content needs.
While the type of ad you create and promote is largely dependent on your niche, the key takeaway is that you need to create something that’s compelling. It’s the final crucial step in mastering how to do affiliate marketing without a website.
2. Affiliate Marketing For Free
If you can’t afford to run ads or pay for web hosting right now, look into affiliate marketing methods that don’t require you to spend money. Popular strategies include:
3. Posting In Facebook Groups
Join Facebook groups related to your niche and start building relationships by commenting on others’ posts. Once people trust you, you can begin recommending your affiliate products to earn commissions.
Do you have an email list? If yes, you already have a channel to share affiliate links without charge. You can insert product links in your newsletters that take people to the merchant’s website. The more targeted your email list, the higher the number of people who will check out your affiliate offers.
4. Including Affiliate Links In YouTube Videos
YouTube is an excellent platform for affiliate marketing and doesn’t cost anything to use. You can start earning commissions by creating videos featuring the products you enjoy.
Make sure to add affiliate links in the description so people know where to make a purchase. Don’t have a lot of activity on YouTube? Then check out these 18 easy and free ways to get more YouTube views to kickstart your affiliate marketing journey.
I hope you liked this article, and feel free to leave your thoughts about it in the comments below. I’ll read and reply to your comments always.
See you soon in the next article.
Affiliate marketing strategies are standard fare, so none of those had to be invented here. Here are the basics; use them to get off to a good start.
Don't think you'll suddenly be able to retire early or replace your day job with this work. There is a time commitment involved in affiliate marketing.
Prioritize generating your initial affiliate commission. Develop new objectives for the site as it expands and keep testing out new features.
This is how a site's revenue can be increased to a sustainable level over time.
Have any inquiries? Leave me a message or write in the comments below if you have any questions, and I would be happy to answer.
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