So you want to be an affiliate marketer. You’re ready to start an online career promoting your favorite products or services from companies and brands you’ve trusted for years, and think you’d be perfect for the job. Unfortunately, you’ve never done any kind of affiliate marketing before, so you’re completely lost on how or where to start, and you’re thinking it’s a dream you won’t be able to achieve. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. In this article I’m going to lay out everything you need to know to begin affiliate marketing and succeed in your dream job.
As with anything, you need a starting point. There are many websites out there for companies who both specialize in affiliate marketing and have affiliate programs to get you started. Some will be a little more lenient with who they accept as an affiliate than others who will require you to have some experience first, and you can differentiate between the two by simply researching companies you’re interested in becoming an affiliate with. The other option, if you don’t feel like doing research, is to apply and see if they contact you. I’m going to go ahead and tell you, though, that if you already aren’t willing to do a little research, affiliate marketing is not for you.
Successful affiliate marketing revolves around keeping up with what’s trending, and getting to know your audience, and you can’t do that without a little grunt work.
How To Find An Affiliate Program
Three things to consider before looking for an affiliate program: The amount of time you want to dedicate to affiliate marketing, the kind of business you want to run, and the market you’re interested in.
There are affiliate programs out there for both general markets – like Amazon’s affiliate program, which caters to just about everyone and everything – and niche markets, such as outdoor sporting goods, clothing, makeup, etc.
If you’re comfortable promoting a myriad of items and services from different markets, or just aren’t sure what niche you fit into yet, a generalized affiliate program would be a great start for you. If you know for sure that you’re passionate about a certain subject, go for sites that offer products and services revolving around that subject.
A quick search for ‘Affiliate marketing programs for beginners’ will provide you with a few of the great affiliate programs out there for new aspiring affiliate marketers. The wonderful thing about a lot of these is that there’s no subscription fee starting out. It’s free to sign up (the site will tell you whether they start out free or not, so read carefully), and once you’ve gotten a feel for the program, you can choose to sign up for their premium program or stick to your current program. Most of them will also give you all the training you need to be successful, so it’s like an affiliate marketing course and job all in one! Or, as I stated before, you know what market you want to get into, try visiting your favorite sites to see if they have an affiliate program. This should be provided at the bottom of the page, where you typically find their contact information or their career page, and clicking the link should take you to a page that will explain their affiliate program to you and provide you with a form to sign up with.
Once you’ve successfully signed on with an affiliate program, they will provide you with an affiliate link or code to pass on to your audience, and this is what ensures that you get the credit for the sales you generate.
Come Up With A Plan
Next up in affiliate marketing, is coming up with a plan. How do you want to promote products? It helps if you already have an established site or blog built up to promote on, but you can still be successful if you don’t. Figure out where you’ll have the most visibility starting out and go from there. That could be an online forum you frequent, a social media website you’re on, or even a page you’ve written for before. Make sure you’re familiar with the guidelines of these sites before trying to market there so you know what you can and can’t do, and dive in. Eventually, you will want to build your own site to market from so you have a base to grow your business on, but having a transitional period is never a bad thing, and if you market your site properly with your established viewers, they’re likely to follow you there when you move over to your site.
Get to know your potential audience. It helps to watch other affiliate marketers within your niche to see how they market to their audience, as you’ll be marketing to the same types of people within that market. Get to know what products are popular or trending, what products customers are asking about or searching for, and how to get them excited for what you’re promoting. Research seasonal trends within the market to get an idea of the ebb and flow of the business, and watch how the market evolves. This is something you’ll want to do consistently if you want to be successful as an affiliate marketer. Keeping up with trends and your audience allows you to keep ahead of the game and learn to anticipate a change before it happens so you don’t get left behind.
Find Products To Promote
Depending on the market you choose, this part can be a bit boring, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. You already know what your audience may look for, so find products that you can get excited about that fit that criteria and go from there. My recommendation is to try the product or service out for yourself before promoting it, but you can research it too if this isn’t an option for you. Some companies will send you products to try out and review if you’re an affiliate, but this isn’t always the case, and buying products to promote can be expensive. If you’re not able to do this, do research to find out everything you can about the product you’ll be promoting. The internet is wonderful in that there is a review for nearly every product out there, and people are generally honest with how they feel about it.
That’s another thing – when you find the products you want to promote, always be honest with your audience and let the revenue take a back seat. People will be more likely to buy products based on recommendations that they trust, so this is your opportunity to make a positive, lasting first impression. Remember, people talk, and if you were dishonest with them, they won’t hesitate to let others know. It’s also helpful to remember that you may not win everyone over, either. Some people will like the products more than others – it’s all based on quality and opinion, after all – and that’s okay. Being honest with them will guarantee that the ones who did like the product will keep coming back to you for more recommendations.
Using Affiliate Links And Banners
Remember those affiliate links I mentioned earlier? This is where they come in. Banners are essentially links to a website that appear on other sites for show, but the real revenue comes when you place the link or banner within your content. People aren’t incredibly likely to click on the banner if it’s on the sidebar of your site – I know I never do – but if there is a link within the content that’s providing them with information about the product, they are more likely to click the link. These links do two things: Link the consumer to the merchant site using your affiliate code, and drop cookies into the user’s computer with your affiliate code. If they make a purchase on the merchant site, the merchant pulls the information from the cookies, sees your affiliate code attached, and give you credit for that sale.
Create Valuable Content
When someone is interested in a product or a service, the last thing they need is to simply be told to buy it. Telling people to do things leads to skepticism in most cases, and doesn’t make them want to buy anything. What you should be doing instead is telling them about the product to help them see why they should make the investment. This goes back to being totally honest with your audience. When you tell them about the product, push the fact that you’re getting paid to the back of your mind and keep it there. This will allow you to write a completely up-front, honest, and informative article or post about the product, whether your opinions on it are good or bad. List the pros and cons of the product or service, and why you personally liked or disliked it. Give it a rating (typically between 1 and 5, 1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest), and tell them why you would or would not purchase the product again. As long as you provide valuable content that your audience can use to make an informed decision, you’ll be doing just fine.