As I’ve mentioned in the past, affiliate marketing has saved my financial bacon on more than one occasion. And because it’s so easy to get started I’d really like to show you how.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In short: affiliate marketing is helping sell products and services through word of mouth.
Google has the definition as:
…a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals…Definitions from Oxford Languages
That means if you can convince someone to buy the product you get a commission. Just as if you were a hired salesperson.
If you think about a standard sales funnel, your job is to help lead people from the top through the steps to purchase.
This is done through the content you produce and publish.
With that said, let’s get started!
5 Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success
5. Select Your Platform(s)
You’ll need a platform suitable for the content you produce.
Do you enjoy writing articles and researching? Blogs are a fantastic affiliate marketing platform. WordPress websites can be hosted for cheap, or even free.
Do you really love interacting with others? Social media provides access to billions of potential customers.
Do you have a podcast or other medium with an audience? Fantastic! You can share the good word about your products anywhere!
But before you can get started, you have to choose at least one.
Personally: I prefer blogs with a mix of social media.
4. Select Your Topic(s)
There are affiliate marketing programs for every type of product and need imaginable.
Which topics, or “niches,” you choose are up to you.
In my experience: people make better affiliate marketers for products they use. More than that, though, they come off as more genuine and trustworthy.
It really comes across clearly when you don’t believe in a product that you are repping. Don’t try to make money by faking it, you’ll make far less in the long run.
Personally: I always select topics that impact my life.
My first successful affiliate marketing site was about Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), because that’s something that impacts our daily life.
3. Get your Links
You have a platform and a niche, now it’s time to find your affiliate program and get some links!
The popular affiliate programs out there are easy to find and expansive, but my go-to choice is ShareASale.
ShareASale offers an incredibly vast array of programs to choose from in every category imaginable. Programs are easy to search and sign up for, links are easily generated, and the reporting is intuitive.
As a Boise-area native I also have a soft spot in my heart for ClickBank, even though I almost never affiliate for their programs.
Go sign up and start finding your ideal offers!
2. Create your Content
Well, there’s nothing for it but to do it!
Once you have everything else in place it’s time to start creating your content.
Remember that sales funnel: you are trying to create content that gets people from not knowing anything about a product to purchasing that product.
That means informative articles with no sales pitch to help make them aware of your product. Make them interested in what you’re repping.
How-to articles to generate interest and draw them into purchasing consideration. Help them solve problems, and show them how easy it could be with the products you believe in.
You’ll also need some ratings and best-of articles to help them choose between various similar options and offers.
Remember: you can be an affiliate for multiple competing products so it pays to be genuine. Your readers will be more likely to purchase if you are.
Come up with new and interesting ways to help your readers learn and solve their problems.
They will reward you by converting into customers.
By far the most difficult part of affiliate marketing is producing traffic.
You can write the best content every day for a year but never make a dime without traffic.
Generating traffic and traction to your site, or social media, is a little beyond the scope of this article.
There are doctoral level theses on how to get people to come to your website or social media page and I’m just a college dropout.
This is where you should absolutely read this article on traffic generation by Neil Patel.
His advice on generating traffic, and affiliate marketing in general, has helped me enormously.
Hopefully I gave you a decent affiliate marketing primer.
If there’s one thing I will always say about it: I was making money with affiliate marketing when I couldn’t do anything else.
I was struggling with mental health issues and unable to keep a job.
But I was still able to make a few hundred each month to help us get by.
That’s some incredibly awesome shit.