Any successful affiliate marketer will tell you if you want to make money on online, one of the most lucrative ways to do so is to sell a product or service. What’s really awesome is that you don’t even have to have your own products or services to make a lot of money. Getting started online as an affiliate marketer is a low-cost way to begin your online business.
All you have to do is find a product you want to promote, sign up to become an affiliate, grab your affiliate link and show it to others. When someone clicks on the link and purchases the item, you’ll walk away with a commission from that sale.
Make no mistake, lots of little commissions add up to one big fat commission check at the end of the holding period.
To say that this is simplifying the process is an understatement. In this article we’re going to talk about how to get started with affiliate marketing from the beginning. This will ensure that you are going about everything correctly so that you can maximize your earnings quickly.
Getting Started as an Affiliate Marketer
To get started you’ll need to do a few things. It’s important not to skip anything here. If you follow these instructions, you’ll be able to create a successful online business for yourself.
So many people like to read how to do things, but they also like reinventing the wheel. The truth is you don’t need to. Many others have already become successful. They’ve already made the mistakes; why would you want to go through that pain yourself?
Will it be easy? Probably not. Will you have to put in the work? Definitely, yes. Are there a gazillion steps to starting as an affiliate? Nope, not at all.
Let’s get started.
Choose Your Niche
Yes, even if you’re an affiliate marketer, you need to choose a niche. The best niche will be one in which you already have some expertise, knowledge, or skill. However, you don’t necessarily need to have intimate knowledge of the niche you choose, so don’t let that get in your way.
There are a few things you need to consider when choosing a niche, so let’s dig in.
Identify a problem you want to solve
If you have a problem you want to solve, you can bet you are not alone. Do you have an unruly puppy? Are you fighting a seemlingly losing battle with your weight? Or, perhaps you want to take a more holistic approach to solving your health issues.
I could go on and on listing problems everyday people endure and are striving to solve. That’s where you come in. You need to identify a problem you want to help others resolve.
Identify your target audience
Once you’ve identified a problem, you need to create a customer profile. Is your customer male or female? What is the age of your customer; is your customer a twentysomething, or a senior, or somewhere in between? Is your customer married or single? Think about who your customer is. Who suffers from this problem?
For example, if you know that thousands of women suffer from post-menopausal weight gain, then you really don’t want to target young females or males of any age. Your customer is the female over 50, regardless of education or marital status or anything else.
Do your research
Now that you’ve identified a problem and who your customer is, you need to find products that will solve their problem. Take some time with this. Whether the solution is a physical product or a digital product, or a combination of both, it makes no difference. Know what you’re talking about.
Look at trends, read industry news. Look at social media to see what people are talking about with respect to your niche. You don’t have to market anything new; you just need to do it differently… do it better than the competition.
Bringing us to the last point…
Learn marketing methods & techniques
There’s a lot to learn so don’t expect to become a marketing expert overnight or after reading a book on how to become the greatest marketer who ever walked the earth.
There are many ways to promote products but we’re not going into them in this article. “Make Money as an Affiliate Marketer” will give you some ways to promote your product, but there are more.
Once you pick a niche, you’ll be able to start locating products. But you need to get started building your website first.
Build a Website
Your website should be user friendly and focused on the audience and niche you chose. When visitors hit your website, it should be immediately clear what your website is about. Use your blog to address problems or issues they have, and then offer your solutions. Your visitors want to know how you can help them.
Choose Your Domain Name
Then you need to come up with a good domain name related to your niche. You also want your domain name to be memorable so keep it short. I’ve no doubt you’ll come across “experts” who tell you your domain name MUST include your keyword and MUST be a .com. I say hogwash to that.
But be smart about it. You don’t want to choose a domain name that indicates or implies you’re all about pets then your visitors are sent to an offer on “How to Cure Toenail Fungus.” That just won’t work. The two subjects are not related; they have nothing to do with each other and your visitors will think you are trying to trick them. And rightfully so.
If you generate lots of traffic to your website, Google won’t much care if your domain name is hyphenated or ends with .com, .net, .org, or whatever TLD (top level domain) is introduced. All Google is interested in is whether or not your website gains traction by whatever traffic generation methods you employ.
If a horde of people visit your site and spend some time looking around, then Google, and other search engines, take that as a good sign; that your visitors are interested in what you have to say or what you have to offer. If your visitors leave after 2 seconds, that signals to Google that your visitors don’t like what they see. That’s not good.
Okay, now back to building that website…
Your Website Must Be Mobile-Friendly
Today, it’s almost impossible not to build a mobile-friendly website. Themes and page builders are almost always responsive these days. Google made it clear several years ago that user experience is paramount and users of mobile devices have priority.
We can debate this all day long, but the fact remains, countless number of people access websites today using their smartphones or other mobile devices. Therefore, if you want your visitors to read through your articles or to buy products from you, your website will need to work on whatever mobile device is used.
Keep Your Website Updated
You need to keep your website updated. Google and other search engines analyze the activity on your website to determine if it’s an active website or not. This will keep the search engines ranking your website so that you can attract visitors.
Mind Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Both on-page and off-page SEO are important to help you get more visitors to your website so you can’t ignore it altogether. There is a lot to learn; just apply what you learn as you learn it. It will take time, but once you understand the basics, you’ll find yourself applying the “rules” automatically as you post content to your website.
Make your Website Easy to Navigate
Your website should be easy to navigate. This is mostly common sense. When you visit a website, do you want to struggle trying to figure out how to get to the information you are interested in? Or worse, how annoying is it to visit a page then find it difficult to go back to the home page?
Take this website, for example. The structure is about as bare-bones as it gets; nothing fancy here. Every page leads to other pages, and they all will take you home. Of course, your navigation can be more elaborate with dropdown menus and whatnot; just make sure it makes sense to your visitors.
Should you build a static website or build a blog?
There’s not an easy answer to that question. It depends on what your objectives are. It also depends on the affiliate programs you join and the products you sell. For example, as an Amazon Associate, I use WordPress (an open source content management system) for various reasons.
However, when selling digital products, I prefer a static (HTML) website. If I choose to build it up as an authority site, I’ll just create a blog on that domain. But that’s just me.
Also, I’m not a big fan of WordPress. Everybody and his brother think WordPress is the greatest invention since the printing press, but I’m not among them. A WordPress blog is nowhere near as easy to customize as “they” say.
Unfortunately, I’m stuck with it for now. But you are not. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s user-friendly. Check it out, by all means. But also know there are other well-respected content management systems available to you such as Joomla and Drupal. This article “WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Which One is Better?” gives a fair assessment of three options even though it favors WordPress.
But whatever you do, as an affiliate marketer, make sure you choose a self-hosted option; any one of the hosted options could get you into trouble.
Sign up as an Affiliate
Your next step as an aspiring affiliate marketer is to join affiliate networks. You’ve already determined the niche you want to start with, now you need to determine where the products reside. For example, if you’re in the pet niche you can either promote digital products or physical products, or both for that matter.
For physical products, the hottest tickets in town are Amazon Associates and Walmart Affiliates. For digital products such as “How to Potty Train Your Puppy” (fake report; I just made it up) you could check out ClickBank and sign up as an affiliate.
Other networks you should consider are:
And, by the way, if you’re wondering why you need a website before you join an affiliate program, it’s because they will ask for your website URL. It’s okay that it’s a new site, they just want to know they are signing up a legitimate affiliate.
Once you’re approved as an affiliate, you’ll use your unique link to promote products. You’ll have a different link for each program you sign up with.
Find Products You Want to Promote as an Affiliate Marketer
Finding products to promote isn’t difficult. But there are a few “rules” to consider when making your selections, in addition to the criteria discussed in “Affiliate Marketing is a Lucrative Way to Start Your Business.”
- Is the product in demand; is there a large audience for the product?
- Does the product solve a problem your audience has?
- Is the product high quality or is it fluff?
Some would also include price; they say price matters. That is partially true. However, if people are desperate for a solution to an annoying problem, they’ll overlook the price and hold their nose when they click the buy button, within reason. So don’t let the cost of a product deter you in your selection.
You want to focus on two or three products in your niche that solve problems you’ve identified. Don’t go overboard or far afield… stay focused. And try not to promote different products that do the same thing unless you have a good reason. That will damage your credibility.
These are the basic steps of getting started as an affiliate marketer. I completely understand that you still don’t know what you don’t know. For example, we haven’t talked about methods of generating traffic to your offer. We also haven’t discussed building a list of subscribers and customers and why you would want to.
Nevertheless, starting a business as an affiliate marketer is a real business; it’s doable on a part-time or full-time basis. It all depends on how dedicated you are to achieving success.