Affiliate Marketing Strategies For Beginners
Affiliate marketing is a great method for making money on the internet without having to have your own products or services for sale. Even if you do offer a product or service, affiliate marketing can add an extra revenue stream with only a very small investment. It can be very lucrative, but like any business venture you need to know what you are doing. This guide will get you started on affiliate marketing quickly and painlessly. So here are the basics of affiliate marketing for beginners.
What is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way to earn money by promoting another company’s products or services. You attract prospective customers to your platform, usually a website. They click on the ads on your website which send them to your affiliate merchant, and you collect a commission. For example, if you go to a camping website and they have links to camping gear on Amazon, that is an example of affiliate marketing.
Becoming an Affiliate
There are two basic ways to become an affiliate.
The first method, and the one recommended for beginners, is to join an affiliate network. An affiliate network is a company that serves as an intermediary between the merchants who actually sell products and you, the affiliate. The major networks have hundreds or even thousands of affiliate programs available for you to choose from. Most of the logistical work is taken care of for you. All you need to do find the merchants most relevant to your website, put up your links, and sit back and collect commissions.
Here is a list of the largest and most popular affiliate networks. Going with one of the big fish means that you can rely on things like service and timely payment. Each of the major networks have advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you do your research to see which is right for you.
・ Commission Junction (CJ)
The second method is to contact advertisers and see if they are looking for affiliates. If your website is about artisan combs made out of exotic materials, it’s a good idea to contact artisan comb companies and ask if they offer an affiliate program. That way your content directly matches the ads on your site. This method also often has larger commissions than going through a network, where a third party is taking a slice of the pie. However, this method is more complicated and has more pitfalls, so if you are beginner it’s best to stick to affiliate networks until you’ve gotten some experience.
Do Your Research
It can be tempting to just latch on to whichever affiliates pay the best or offer the most exciting programs and stick their ads on your website. Not so fast! That way there be dragons! There are a lot of different methods of affiliate marketing with different advantages and disadvantages. If you don’t understand them and choose the affiliate marketing strategy that is best for you, you won’t be successful. Take some time to do the research first so that when you start your affiliate marketing you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t take that long, and I promise it’ll be worth it.
Choose the Right Niche
You might see that a lot of people are making money as affiliates for companies that trade gold derivatives, and decide that you want a piece of that. The problem is, you don’t know a future from a put option from a hole in the ground. It’s not enough to just have ads popup on your site. If you want to make money with affiliate marketing you need to both attract people that want that product and make them want to click through the ad when they read your website. You don’t need be an expert on the niche in question. If you are willing to put in the time to learn about gold derivatives, by all means do it. But if it’s going to bore you to tears you won’t be able to create the kind of great content that attracts the right audience.
On the other hand, you need to choose a lucrative niche. You might be able to write the best content in the world about whittling flutes out of hardwood. But unless there are a lot of people buying hardwood flute whittling tools, and someone selling them willing to make you an affiliate, you won’t make any money. The ideal niche is a cross section of your interests and the lucrative markets with the best affiliate programs. It’s a myth that only wildly popular niches can work for affiliate marketing. Plenty of people have made a lot of money on smaller and more obscure niches. But at the same time, you need to make sure the customers are out there.
Join An Affiliate Community
There’s a good chance you’ll need specific information that you can’t find on any affiliate marketing guide or website. Fortunately there is a thriving affiliate marketing community full of people who are more than happy to give you advice and point you in the right direction. Three of the top affiliate communities are Affiliates4U, ABestWeb and WickedFire.
Many affiliate programs that you join also have strong support communities. These programs are only as successful as their sales people (that’s you!) and so they provide a great number of tools and advice for boosting revenue and tracking your performance.
One of the keys to succeeding in any venture is to find the most successful people in the field, see what they’re doing, and then do it yourself. You’ll be surprised how many expert affiliate marketers are happy to help out beginners. They were beginners too, once, and they crave the opportunity to pay the help they got early in their careers forward to the next generation.
Start Small (and Cheap)
Sure, you could sink 5 grand into a professional website before you have any idea what you’re doing or how to successfully market it or create content. But I don’t recommend it. The fact is, one of the great appeals of affiliate marketing is the minimal start up costs. You can build a successful business using a free WordPress site and the many free traffic generation methods and tools out there.
Once you have an established audience and you’ve built your skills, the pay per click methods such as solo ads can become a powerful part of your marketing strategy. But don’t buy a Gibson Les Paul guitar signed by Eric Clapton before you know how to play an A chord.
The good news is that learning the ropes in affiliate marketing doesn’t take very long compared to many traditional businesses. It’s up to you to decide when you are ready to incorporate pay per click into your marketing strategy, but it’s important to have a grasp on the basics before you start to spend money.
Focus On Content
What’s the difference between a great website and a great affiliate marketing website? The affiliate marketing website has affiliate marketing links.
There was a time a few years ago when you could drive a lot of traffic to your site with thin content written just for search engine bots. SEO (search engine optimization) is still important, but you also need to have good content. If people don’t enjoy going to your website for its own sake, you won’t get high page rankings and people won’t stick around long enough to click through your affiliate links. In short: you won’t make any money. Create content that people value, put in the work to keep it fresh, and your affiliate marketing business is sure to take off.