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Get started with affiliate marketing with these basic steps

Aman Jha
16th Feb 2018
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The lure of affiliate marketing is indisputable. Earning passive income is a dream for most bloggers or, in fact, anyone out there. Who wouldn’t like to make money even while sleeping? Fashion photographer David Bailey said it best, “To get rich, you have to be making money while you’re asleep.” For 99 percent of people, affiliate marketing is the key to generating passive income.

Before diving deeper into the nitty-gritty of affiliate marketing, first we must know what affiliate marketing actually is, and the best definition can be found on the website of the American entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster Pat Flynn, “Affiliate marketing is the process of making commissions by promoting a company or people’s products. You pick a product you like, promote it on your website or networks, and get a share in profit for each sale you make.” 

Generating passive income has never been easy and a number of crucial steps need to be done before you earn your first affiliate commission. How to get started is the first big question. Here are five steps that will help rookies identify the right way to get started with affiliate marketing:

Image: Shutterstock

First things first – what’s your niche?

Before entering into the world of affiliates, you need to decide which niche you want to target. This is undoubtedly a difficult task, but one can figure it out by considering three simple steps:

The topic you are passionate about: You must choose a product niche which relies on your passion. For example, if you have a passion for digital marketing, your niche of choice might be related to digital marketing too.

Depth in your product: The product you promote must have enough depth so that you can create lots of content for it. If you don’t generate enough content, you’ll be dismissed even before you have a chance to establish yourself as a domain expert.

Aim for the evergreen: The niche must draw enough interest for readers to keep coming back to your portal over a prolonged period. The more visits you have, the better your chances of converting them to affiliate sales. For example, health and wealth are evergreen niches, and the majority of users have a question about these sectors (how can I make money online, ways to make passive income, reduce fat quickly, dieting plans, etc.).

Affiliate marketing success is based on the market you have for your product. Well-known guru and investor Tim Ferris says, “Choose market first, then the product.”

Target the right affiliate programme

Once you’ve got your niche, it’s time to choose an affiliate programme that fits your choice best. Let’s understand with an example. If you have a passion for writing product reviews then Amazon Associates is the best platform out there for promoting products like clothing, electronic gear, apparel, and more. If you are promoting health and fitness products, the ClickBank affiliate programme is probably a better choice.

When choosing affiliate programmes, keeping things like commission rate, quality and availability of products, the trustworthiness of vendors, etc. in mind will help you generate a better return on investment (ROI).

Setting up your website

While step one and two are all about research and figuring out the profitable product and right affiliate programmes, step three is about putting your efforts into action. Platforms like WordPress have transformed the way of creating websites. Now users can easily design custom websites without needing any coding knowledge, which means you can have your business up and running quickly.

Keep the following steps in mind when pushing your website live:

Purchase a domain name: You should choose a great domain name related to your products. There are a variety of great domain name sellers like GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Big Rock to choose from. Hunt a little till you find one that has the domain name you want.

Set up web hosting: Like the domain name, you also need to buy web hosting to keep all your website files live. Most domain name sellers like GoDaddy, HostGator, and Bluehost will also offer web hosting services.

Install a suitable CMS: After setting up your hosting, you need to install a CMS for your website. One of the most popular ones is WordPress, with easily customizable layouts with drag-and-drop features that are ideal for beginners. Once you’ve picked an appropriate CMS, finally install a suitable theme for your website. There are thousands of themes to choose from; pick the one that best fits the tonality you want to convey – informal, serious, friendly, etc.

Create awesome content

Now that your website is up and running, it’s time to create some great content based on your niche. As we know, “content is king”. You can create content in the form of product reviews or blog posts according to nature of your products.

For example, The Wire Cutter writes product reviews on various products to help their readers make the best buying decisions. Other websites like Shoutmeloud or Blogging Cage write blog posts to help buyers for a single product, like choosing the best hosting plan, selling online courses, and more. Remember, that the content has to be engaging and should excite the reader to buy the product you’re discussing without coming across as a blatant endorsement. If you’re being paid over and above the affiliate programme to endorse a specific brand or product, be sure to mention that clearly. It’s only good ethics.

Last but not least – building audience

Building an audience base is as important as creating great-quality articles, and so it’s important to drive traffic to your site. You can do that quite easily by following some simple steps:

Promoting reviews or blogs on social media: The simplest way to engage your audience is via social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest are some of the most widely used social networking sites where you can promote your content. Given general consumer browsing patterns, it is likely the majority of your readers will come in from social media.

Building an email list: You can opt for free email marketing portals like MailChimp or MailerLite to collect email ids of your readers. You can then send content via email to them, increasing chances of conversion. However, be sure not to flood their inboxes with too many emails or they might just block you as spam.

Basic SEO techniques: For organic traffic, understanding and cracking SEO is a must for every blogger and affiliate marketer. Many CMS offer plugins that can help you get a better handle on your SEO and you can also use independent third-party tools. Crack your SEO right, and you’ll have organic traffic coming in before you know it.

As with any marketing channel, there are no guarantees of success or “magic bullets” to get it right on the first go. But do your research and put in the work, and you’ll soon be winning the rewards of your first affiliate commission.

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