by Cameron Douglas

The first step to building a successful affiliate marketing is choosing a suitable industry and narrowing it to the right niche that appeals to your audience…

The internet has endless suggestions on how you can make passive income online. Affiliate marketing is probably one of the most rewarding and flexible ways to make money online. The affiliate marketing industry is constantly growing, offering professionals the opportunity to earn lucrative income.

 Statista showed that 2.14 billion people bought goods and services online in 2021, and e-retail sales were approximately $4.9 trillion globally. A huge chunk of this revenue comes from people who bought products via affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing allows you to make money by creating content that promotes other companies’ products via affiliate links. The company will pay you a small percentage of the purchase if someone buys from the link in your content.

Affiliate marketing programs are often free to join, meaning you will not part with a dime to join. Furthermore, it can become a stable source of passive income with time.

This article aims to explain the basics of affiliate marketing, how it works, and how you can make money through it. Let’s get right into it!

How affiliate marketing works

If you are new to affiliate marketing, here is how it works. It is an advertising model in which a company contracts a third party to sell its products and services for a commission. For instance, you may see a social media influencer or listen to a podcast promoting a product. These individuals are affiliate marketers paid a commission every time their audiences purchase the product due to their referrals.

You have an array of affiliate marketing programs you can join. After choosing a program, you will be given a unique code or link to help the company track a customer that comes from your content. If the customer completes a purchase from your link, the company will pay you a commission.

In a nutshell, a standard affiliate program takes this cycle:

  • You promote products from store A on your social network, blog, or website
  • Someone from your website clicks the unique link in your content
  • The person follows up and purchases in Store A.
  • The affiliate network of the company records the transaction
  • Store A confirms the purchase
  • The company pays you a commission.

How a beginner can start an affiliate marketing

You can take several steps as a beginner to succeed as an affiliate marketer. You can follow the following steps if you already have a blog, website, or active social media account.

  • Choose an industry and decide on your niche
  • Choose the right platform
  • Join a relevant affiliate marketing program
  • Create informative content
  • Build your audience
  • Follow FTC regulation

Choose the right industry and decide on your niche

Before making any headways in your affiliate marketing career, you need to know the ideal content for your audience. This will help you choose a relevant industry. For instance, if your blog is about the real estate industry, you will likely not promote any fashion products.

You could only convince your audience to buy a product you are knowledgeable about. After choosing a relevant industry, you need to narrow it down to a niche, a portion of the larger market with unique characteristics.

A niche will be your specialty, what your audience knows you for. A niche helps you focus on a specific customer base, thus helping you create a unique, loyal audience. Some of the best affiliate marketing niches include:

  • Technology
  • Pet care
  • Lifestyle and wellness
  • Personal finance

Nevertheless, you have numerous options available at your disposal. To find a profitable niche, ask yourself the following question:

  • Are you knowledgeable about the niche you choose? You could continue learning to become an expert in your niche.
  • Does your niche solve real problems for your audience? Use your expertise and present your content in a way that solves specific problems for your audience.
  • Is the niche profitable? You can search on Google to determine your niche’s popularity and competition. If your niche is busy, it could mean you have a potential customer.

You ask yourself these questions to help you choose a niche you love. Remember, affiliate marketing takes time and commitment before you start seeing financial gains.

Choose the right platform.

Affiliate marketing requires choosing a platform to promote the company’s products. For example, you could use your social media account or blog as a platform. Some successful affiliate marketers use their Tik Tok or Instagram accounts to promote products and earn affiliate commissions.

 As a beginner, you can choose:

Product review sites– These sites review various companies’ products by comparing products. You could also publish product tutorials and buyer’s guides, thus helping shoppers to make informed buying decisions.

Digital content– A beginner can also create content as a social media influencer, YouTuber, or blogger. You will likely encourage clicks as you progressively create entertaining and educative content.

You will also need to promote audience engagement and authenticity to build a rapport with your audience. They need to trust you as an expert; otherwise, they will not buy what you recommend.

What platform do you feel comfortable with? If you are an excellent writer, you could venture into blogging. On the other hand, if you love creating social media videos, you could use Instagram as your platform.

Join relevant affiliate marketing programs

Mediakix indicated that approximately 80% of companies employ affiliate marketing globally. Therefore, you do well to find a program that works well for you. Your focus should not be on the highest paying affiliate program but on one with products that resonate with your audience.

When you are looking for an affiliate program, consider the following questions:

  • Is the program known to have a good reputation? The last thing you want is to work with brands people don’t trust. Check out ShareASale and Clickbank for vetted, reliable, and profitable merchants.
  • Does the affiliate marketing program have a reasonable commission rate? Your long-term goal is to earn some money for your effort and time dedicated to the program. Most platforms offer a range of 10% to 20% commission for every sale.
  • Do its links have a high EPC rate? EPC is a metric that tells you the program’s average earnings per 100 clicks. You can get this information from networks like ShareASale.

You do well to research and settle for the right program that will enable you to run your affiliate marketing business effectively.

Researchers show that people spend approximately 7 hours online, meaning content is king when marketing products. However, to stand out from thousands of content published every day, you need to make yours informative and valuable to the audience. One to stand out is blogging, with the Findstack report showing that a majority (65%) of affiliate marketers rely on blogging to generate traffic. Beginners can do well by creating high-quality content to improve engagement.

Create informative content

Fortunately, you do not need a website to earn from affiliate marketing. Statista reports that social media users spend an average of 147 minutes daily on social platforms, meaning you can promote products on these sites.

Build your audience

You need an audience that will consume your content. One way to create an audience is by email listing. You can directly send new content, newsletters, or exciting offers to the target audience with an email list.

If you are using a social media account, you could tag or follow influencers interested in your niche. You aim to heighten traffic to your page or website. You can also achieve this goal by building trust with your audience so that they can come back for more.

Follow FTC guideline

The FTC was formed to protect consumers from marketing malpractices. Unfortunately, some affiliate marketers are champions of misleading products and scams to make quick money.

FTC guidelines prevent malpractice by requiring that affiliate marketers explain their relationship (financial) with the products or brands they promote. As an affiliate marketer, your audience needs to know that you will be compensated for the product you are promoting. Additionally, the guidelines require that you reveal when the link on your content is an affiliate.

Benefits of affiliate marketing

 Some top benefits of affiliate marketing include:

  • You do not need to own a product you are promoting

Since most public affiliate programs like Amazon Associates are often large, you are not required to purchase the product you are promoting. You will only join the program, pick your computer and begin posting on your website or blog. You can begin even with zero budget since no investment is needed.

  • It is a source of passive income.

Once you have laid down a workable groundwork and generated enough traffic on your site, you can begin to see results. Ensure you choose the correct affiliate partners that resonate with your audience. Your affiliate links will be a source of recurring commission as long as they are visible on your site.

  • It has high earning potential.

Newcomers can set their eyes on a six-figure earning. Though you may not make that amount immediately, you have the real potential of replacing your 9 to 5 jobs with affiliate marketing. For instance, Pat Flynn once told Business Insider that he makes $170,000 a month via affiliate marketing.

The Bottom Line

Affiliate marketing is a unique way to make money online. You only need to dedicate time and effort to build an audience that will help you earn consistent commission from your affiliate codes or links. You do not need a huge capital investment to build a successful affiliate marketing business.

Which affiliate marketing program has worked well for you?

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