Creating your own affiliate marketing business – or adding affiliate marketing to a business you already own – is one of the simplest ways to make money online. Affiliate marketing does not require you to have a website, blog or product of your own in order to make money. It only takes a few easy steps, and you’ll be earnings your first commissions in minutes. For its cost-effectiveness and ease of integration, affiliate marketing should be a tool in every online business owner’s toolbox.
The concept has been around since the early days of the World Wide Web. Amazon claims to have launched the first affiliate program on the Internet back in 1996. However, various sources believe there were a number of sites that operated affiliate programs prior to Amazon.
Regardless of the market or niche you are in, the affiliate marketing formula remains fairly constant. Your main task is simply generating traffic to the website – in other words, getting prospective customers to the seller’s website using your unique affiliate link. When you are starting out, begin by coming up with ways to drive free traffic. Once you have begun to make some affiliate fees, you can branch out into paid advertising methods to generate traffic.
Your secondary task is to write really good advertising copy that sells. The good news is that a lot of vendors will make your job easier for you, providing you with copy that you can use on your website, in blog posts, in ads, etc. And they won’t just give you text – they may also provide you with full-blown emails you can send, banner ads for advertising, and even posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
So, what are the vital steps that lead to success in affiliate marketing? Here, I am going to lay out the five steps you can take to launch a profitable affiliate marketing business in minutes without any technical knowledge.
1. Find the Right Affiliate Network for You
The simplest way to get started in affiliate marketing is to select the right affiliate network. Unless you fit well with the merchant whose merchandise you are promoting, your affiliation will not work. Some affiliate networks are associate with big companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple, with others are tied in to specific products, services or industries. Amazon is an excellent place to get involved in affiliate marketing because they have just about every single product under the sun on the network.
ClickBank, a billion-dollar website, is one of the most popular and longest-running affiliate networks. Its specialties are memberships sites and digital products, such as software and e-books. If you feel good about selling information and would rather not mess with managing a “real” business, ClickBank could be a good place for you to start. Commissions on the website range from 10% all the way up to 75%.
ShareASale is another great affiliate network that has been around for almost 20 years. It is one of the largest affiliate marketing networks currently running. Whether your field of expertise is tech, weddings, apparel, fitness, automotive, gifts, productivity or practically anything else, ShareASale has you covered. In fact, they boast over 40 different categories, filled with over 4,800 different merchants! That’s an incredible number, and it’s growing every day.
Companies or entrepreneurs may also run their own affiliate program. In that case, you should apply directly to them to qualify to promote their merchandise. Occasionally, individual entrepreneurs with a single product or two can be worth your effort. But you should do your due diligence first before committing to anything.
A really great affiliate program that I would strongly recommend if you’re into the digital marketing niche is Clickfunnels Affiliate Program. With ClickFunnels, the commission is 40%. Not only that, it is also reoccurring! In addition, they give away a FREE Affiliate Bootcamp training that is easily worth $2,000 to help you promote ClickFunnels and start making commissions. If you’re a beginner in affiliate marketing, You should definitely sign up for the free training here.
2. Find the Best Affiliate Products
New affiliate marketers must have a sound product strategy before they begin. Optimally, that strategy begins with a profitable niche with a good amount of product vendors. That way, you will have a wide selection of products from which to choose to offer your community. Despite the wide selection, limit yourself to a handful of products at a time. That way, you can become the expert that others will turn to and trust in when they want to buy something. Consider whether you want to go specialized (e.g., after-market car modifications) or enter a broad niche (e.g., fitness).
Always measure your marketing efforts. Your merchant and/or affiliate network should provide metrics. That way you can determine which products are causing your audience to click, and which ones are not making you any money. This step is especially important if you are putting money into paid advertising to get traffic to your website.
Continually check your merchant’s marketplace for new products. As new products appear, test promoting them to your audience to see if they resonate and turn into conversions – and more money for you.
3. Consider Purchasing Prior to Promotion
You are not obligated to buy all the products you want to promote. However, owning and using the products you are promoting will help you establish credibility and trust in your community. Displaying an expert knowledge of the product can make the difference between someone leaving your website and clicking on an affiliate link.
One way to enhance your affiliate marketing reputation is to write product reviews. Information products are usually inexpensive, which makes them an especially easy target for this strategy. After your content marketing has established income, you may try buying more expensive products. Consider contacting the product creator beforehand to create a strategic marketing plan.
If you decide to actually use a product – and you get great results with it – then one of the most effective ways you can sell it to your audience is to share your personal experience with it. As your list of email subscribers grows and you burnish your reputation, merchants may begin to give you free samples of e-books and other products.
Often, merchants are happy to offer you a free copy or sample of their product even before your business is established – always ask! If you do receive something for free, give a full disclosure to your audience that the merchant gave you complimentary access to the product.
4. Get More Traffic with Social Media
One of the best methods for viral marketing is social media. Video marketing, in particular, is exploding as a good way to show your expertise with screenshots, live commentary, and even demonstrations of the product. Right now, livestreaming on Facebook or YouTube is an extremely effective method of affiliate marketing with videos.
While social media might be the first place you turn to get free traffic, it can also be used to get paid traffic. Advertising on social media can help you reach your target audience, then turn it into website traffic that will in turn click on your affiliate links.
5. Implement Sales Funnel Strategy
Sales funnel is a crucial strategy in converting sales online! If you’ve never heard of it, I’d strongly recommend you to read DotCom Secret by Russell Brunson.
In brief, a sales funnel is a structured process of qualifying and converting prospects into consumers, who are willing to pay for what you are offering. There are several steps in a funnel, which differ depending on the sales process involved. Each step in the funnel is designed to bring consumers to the next one, and usually end with customers purchasing the product.
Check out my article on The Right Way Of Making Money With Affiliate Marketing to understand how sales funnels can help you convert cold traffic into sales.