If you like freedom, flexibility, and control over your earnings, affiliate marketing might just be the right path for you. In this guide we’re going to share some of our best affiliate marketing tips, so keep reading.
What Is Affiliate Marketing
At it’s most basic level – affiliate marketing refers to recommending other people’s products for a commission. If you tell your neighbor to go to your hairdresser, and she gives you a referral commission, that is technically speaking “affiliate marketing”.
In reality, though, the term has become synonymous with a specific way to do this – and that’s through the internet. While it is still possible to make money by referring people offline, most affiliate commissions are now made online. This is due to a variety of factors including flexibility, the ease of tracking things and access to a global market.
Why Become An Affiliate Marketer
If you’re reading this, you’re already considering becoming an affiliate marketer. But becoming one will take some effort and work, so you might need that extra push and motivation to do the work it takes to become successful. So let’s look at the main reasons why mastering affiliate marketing is worth it.
Global Market And Rising Demand
Contrary to what some people might say, the “gold rush” period of the internet isn’t in the past. In fact, all aspects of internet marketing are still growing at a breakneck speed. The number of online purchases is constantly increasing and it shows no signs of stopping or slowing down any time soon. This means there is still a lot of space for new affiliate marketers to make a lot of money online.
A lot of this has to do with emerging markets. As an affiliate marketer online, you can target customers from any country in the world. This includes countries where people are still getting used to buying online and they’re far from hitting their peak. Many of these countries are also rapidly increasing in terms of purchasing power.
Cost Effective And No Fees
The best part of affiliate marketing is the low barrier to entry. You don’t need to spend months or years developing a product. In fact, there are none of the costs associated with becoming a seller. All you have to do is get an affiliate link associated with your affiliate ID. When people click on this link and purchase, you’re automatically credited for all sales that they generate.
You are not the one who has to set up fancy tracking software or a shopping cart. The vendor does all the hard work and investments. And they give you a ready-made link that you can then promote.
Of course, there are investments you can make as an affiliate. The more you grow, the more you will find that you invest in different tools and resources. However, the fact is that as an affiliate you can start to make money online without spending a dime. You generally only have to invest money in order to speed up the rate at which you make money.
To give you a very simple example
As an affiliate marketer, you want to get people onto an email list from where you suggest different products they can purchase. This is because email lists are still the best way to create a relationship of trust, which is crucial for affiliate marketing.
Now, as you’re starting out, you can actually just get a forever-free emercury account. We include almost all of our features, even most of the super-advanced features, and the plan includes up to 2000 subscribers. This more than enough to start making some good money from affiliate marketing.
It’s only when you grow past those 2000 that you need to go for a paid plan. But by that time you should already make more than enough money as an affiliate marketer. You would reinvest from the money you’re already making so that you can make even more money as an affiliate marketer.
Passive And Steady Income
Most affiliate marketers make most of their money passively. This means that they spend some time to build something and then they can leave that thing alone and it automatically produces money for them.
To give you a simple example. A marketer might, for example, create a bunch of quality tutorials on YouTube. Those tutorials get people to subscribe for the email list. And then, this marketer would have built up a rather nicely done automated email sequence that gets them to buy different products.
Once she creates those videos and the email sequence, she can even take a break from doing any work for several months, but she’ll still make money as an affiliate marketer. People will still find and watch those videos and join that email list. The automated email sequence will get them to click on affiliate links that make money for her. That’s what passive income is all about.
Working From Home And Being Free
If you hate the idea of commuting to work, you’re not alone, most humans hate it. Affiliate marketing can be done entirely from your home computer, there is absolutely no need to be anywhere else in a physical capacity.
Not only does this save you the time you otherwise waste on commuting, but it also gives you lots of flexibility in how you structure your day. You may choose to work 2 hours in the morning, then spend a couple of hours on your hobbies, then come back to work some more in the afternoon. Or you might do all of your work in the evening if you so prefer. It is you who sets your schedule.
It also means you decide your days and weeks off to fit personal goals and desires. Given the fact that most of your income will be passive, you can just decide and travel doing no work for 3 weeks if you so choose. As an affiliate marketer you mostly work on building up your base, but then that base produces money for you in a passive manner.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing (What Are The Steps)
Pick A Niche To Focus On
In the early days of affiliate marketing, you could just pick a general market like “weight-loss” and immediately start making money in the big leagues. Those days are long gone, and nowadays you would need a huge budget to be able to break into such a big, general market. Affiliates today have to “settle” for starting out small.
Don’t worry though, you can still make a lot of money as a new affiliate marketer. You can still work up to the big leagues and big markets. It just means that you have to start with a more accessible first-step. The ladder is still there if you want to make it to the big leagues.
To start out you want to pick a niche. This is basically just a more specific narrow-part of a market. To go with the example of “weight-loss” as a market, a niche would be something like “Losing weight post-pregnancy” or “weight-loss for middle-aged men”.
It really helps if you stand for something
There are affiliate marketers who are successful by promoting things they have no passion about. These affiliates can pick a niche that they have absolutely no personal interest in at all, and still make a profit. To them, it’s all just business. The fact, however, is that it’s a lot easier to succeed if you genuinely care about the subject and stand for something.
For example, let’s say that you’re really passionate about a holistic approach to health and believe people should use fewer meds and instead go for lifestyle changes. If you make this a part of your affiliate marketer persona then you will be better at everything it takes to be a marketer.
Your copy will be a lot more persuasive and people will trust your recommendations for products when you give them. In fact, all else being equal, people always spend more money on people who are passionate. Or in your case as an affiliate marketer, they will buy more of the products you are promoting and recommending.
Figure Out Your Marketing Content
Most effective marketing today is based on doing “content marketing”. It doesn’t matter if you’re an “affiliate marketer” or selling your own products. The same holds true if we’re talking about utilizing the most out of email marketing or social media channels. In all of these instances, your success will ultimately depend on the quality of the content that you provide to the target audience.
Years ago it was actually possible to make money as an affiliate by just placing affiliate links inside of paid ads. It was actually possible to produce decent profits by just being an invisible intermediary driving traffic to the merchant for a commission. That was a long time ago though.
Today, an affiliate marketer has to be a visible brand or an authority figure that openly recommends other people’s products. And for people to take you up on your recommendations, they need to trust and like you. How do you achieve this? Produce lots of super-valuable high-quality content that establishes trust.
I would argue that as an affiliate marketer, your content is your product. You don’t charge for it directly, but it should be just as valuable as a paid product. Whether it’s a free-course you give to get people on your email list or a series of video tutorials, always produce content with the same level of effort as if you were creating a paid product.
Take the time to decide on and craft your content marketing strategy
In the “good old days” you could get away with a scattershot approach to your content production. You would just identify a bunch of keywords related to your niche or even the more general market, and just write a bunch of content, stuffing it with a bunch of keywords.
Nowadays you want to really focus on delivering good quality value and being strategic in how you go about it.
- First, you identify your niche, let’s say weight-loss for women
- Second, you identify the major topics that you want to tackle inside of this niche, for example, things like “weight-loss exercises”
- And then, you identify specific things to write about inside of each topic. For example “the 10 best weight loss exercises that you can do during the winter”
It helps if you choose topics that you’re really passionate about and can contribute great valuable content about. And it’s also quite beneficial for SEO if you focus on a limited set of topics. Pick at most a half a dozen or dozen topics, and then create quality content on these topics. In most cases, there will be hundreds of angles or things you can write about on each topic.
Determine Promotional Channels
People have to find you and your content before they can consume all of this value that you’ve created. There are a ton of ways to promote your stuff, but let’s look at the main channels used by most marketers.
Your list of options includes, but isn’t limited to, the following…
Search Engine Marketing
Social Media Posting
If you’re just starting out with internet marketing, you might find this list overwhelming. Especially if I tell you that you will probably need to use all of these in your strategy. Do not worry, however, you don’t have to be an expert at all of these to get started.
To give you an example. When you’re starting out, you can simply produce a lot of good quality posts on your blog. Obviously of these posts would have a nice amount of affiliate links thrown in. Let’s say you want to use search engine marketing to get some traffic on there.
You don’t actually have to become a grandmaster SEO expert. All you would need to do for starters is just install a free SEO plugin on your blog, and follow it’s recommendations. If your content provides a lot of great value, this will be sufficient to get you going with getting traffic from the search engines.
The same is true when tapping into something like online communities and forums. If you give lots of good valuable advice and then link back to your valuable blog, that should get you some decent traffic to get you started.
Bonus Tip: Prioritize your blog and email list
Creating content on established platforms is very attractive in many ways. You can often get a lot more views if you put your valuable content on YouTube, Facebook, a big community forum or by guest posting on a highly-trafficked website. Don’t forget that putting all your eggs in such baskets can be quite dangerous. You do not control these mediums, and it’s within their prerogative to change things as they please.
For example, you may spend years creating awesome YouTube content that links to your product-recommendation page and then wake up one day to learn that YouTube removed all of your money-earning links due to a new TOS. The same is true with any platform that’s owned by somebody else.
That’s why you want to look at what smart affiliates do. You want to put the bulk of your best public content on a blog that you own and control. And the primary objective of your blog is to get people to join your email list. And then, it is inside of their inbox that they get “private” access to your most exclusive content. Just realize this: email marketing is still the best way to develop relationships and trust, and it still has the highest conversion rates for all marketers, including affiliates.
And again, you don’t need to be an email marketing expert to see amazing results from running an email list. When you register for a free Emercury account you get access to all of our best tips to get you started as an affiliate email marketer.
Here’s how to get started with promotional channels:
- Create a blog
- Optimize your blog to convert visitors into email subscribers
- Use the other promotional channels as a way to drive people to your blog and email lists
Don’t be in a hurry to become an expert at all those other channels, as they are secondary in nature. If there’s one thing you do need to be “in a hurry” about – it’s gathering email addresses. Every time a visitor comes to your blog and you fail to get their email, it involves missing out on a lot of future earnings. What good is it if you’re working on 10 different channels but you still don’t have a proven way of getting their emails and getting them onto your email list.
Once you’ve made sure that you’ve got steps 1 and 2 down pat, you can then start exploring all these other channels. It can be fun, and diversification has a lot of benefits, but try not to go too crazy about it. You want to apply the 80-20 rule to each of these channels. That is until you grow your business to the point where you can hire specialized employees or outsource the management of these channels to someone else.
Build Partnerships And Network
The fact is that like with most business ventures, those who do the most networking tend to get the best opportunities. The same is true when it comes to doing affiliate marketing. You will want to connect with others and make connections. And you want to do this with 2 different kinds of people.
- Vendors in your chosen niche, and especially those who have great products to promote
- Other affiliate marketers who aren’t in direct competition, but face similar challenges in mastering affiliate marketing
There are many benefits to doing this
- When you partner with other affiliates, you can learn from their experiences, and speed up your learning curve
- You may find and hire mentors that will cut years off of your path
- Sometimes you can share revenues and create joint ventures and projects
- If you’re lucky, you may gain a really great mentor that helps you go faster
- And if you’re really clever, you can find ways to share costs with other affiliate marketers and buy things together
- As you grow, you’ll get more of a personal access to the big names in your market. This will give you access to special deals, product launches and other opportunities which allow for much larger revenues
Research The Tools
There is one thing we’ve taken for granted up until this point in the guide. And that is the fact that you will need to utilize different kinds of tools to effectively implement these affiliate strategies and tips.
When it comes to building a blog, you will need a blogging platform.
Your best bet will be to go with WordPress. While there are free ways to host it, we recommend getting some cheap shared hosting to get you started.
After you do this, you will want to do some basic research to understand how WordPress works and how to write blog posts and create pages.
Don’t go too crazy in terms of trying to become a complete WordPress expert. A good 20 minute tutorial will be enough to get you started in terms of blogging as an affiliate marketer.
In terms of getting started with an email list, you will want to go for an ESP
While it is possible to send emails from your shared hosting, it’s a very bad idea. You want to get an account with an email service provider. One that specializes in email marketing.
Oh, and the moment you register you get access to all our best tips on using Emercury, running an email list and doing email marketing. So we got you covered with the research part as well.
Aside from these two, there are plenty of other tools you can utilize as an affiliate marketer
But as with everything else, try not to go too crazy as you’re starting out. Sure, there are hundreds of cool tools to help with all aspects of affiliate marketing. But to get started the only two that are a must are your blogging platform and your email marketing platform. Aside from that, you want to learn about and research other tools as you go. Let’s look at some categories of tools, and a free suggestion for each category.
On-Page SEO Optimization Tools
Keyword Research Tools
Content Idea Generation Tools
Social Media Update Tools
Tracking and Organizing Affiliate Links
Stock Photos to Utilize in Posts and Social Media
Create Graphics to Use in Posts and Social Media
Tracking and Analyzing Your Blog Traffic
Succesful affiliate marketing is really simple. It’s about building relationships with and providing value to people with real problems. Those people, in turn, will reward you with their trust, which results in lots of commissions. Remember a few key things though.
- It seriously helps if you pick a niche which you’re passionate about and understand deeply.
- And people are far more likely to buy if you promote products you genuinely would use.
- But none of these tips matter if you forget to “get that email address”.
- Remember, email marketing is still the number one way to build relationships and trust, so you want to get emails from everyone starting on day one. You can’t go back in time and ask your old traffic to come back and give you their emails.
- Oh, and remember, if you send someone to buy a product, you might get that commission, but the vendor gets their email address and gets to market to them forever. If you forget to get this super valuable buyer’s email address, all you get is that first commission.
Bonus Tip – Start Small, Be Consistent
Just get started and develop consistency. It’s much better to have modest goals and start out by working (for example) just 20 minutes a day – if you do it every day. Don’t burn out by setting unrealistic goals like I’ll work on this affiliate stuff for 18 hours every single day and get to $10,000 a day in earnings within a month. You’ll just crash. Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.
Make your initial goals really easy and within reach to get started. Prove to yourself you can make money as an affiliate. Your first goal should be to just make a single dollar online. In terms of your blog, your first goal might be to get to just 10 visitors a day. Keep it simple. Once you start seeing some profits, you can start reinvesting, for example, look into paid sources of traffic like PPC, purchasing a paid Emercury plan etc.
I hope you liked this guide and it gives you a good idea and motivation on how to start. But remember, Emercury is here to help you on every step of the way. It’s not just that we’ll give you the best free-plan to get you started. You also get first access to our treasure trove of affiliate tips as they are produced.
And then as your affiliate business grows, we’ll always have the best solution for you on each step of the way. Even when you have a huge email list and you’re making serious bucks, Emercury will be here to offer you the best high volume mailing, delivery management and everything you need to keep growing. So be sure to sign up and lock-in your forever-free account today, before we change our minds. It takes just seconds to do, and within minutes you can be having fun with our cutting-edge features, such as the fancy new automation builder and so much more.