Affiliate Marketing is as old as it can get. When you recommend a product to a person and he buys it, you earn a commission. In today’s digital world, the purpose remains the same but the context has changed.
If you are a blogger or an internet marketer/influencer, you can earn huge chunks of money through affiliate marketing. Here is how it works. You write about a particular product and recommend your followers or readers to buy it. For every purchase that materializes, the brand which you are promoting pays you a commission.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that anybody can do it. You don’t need any specific qualification. However, if you have undertaken any digital marketing course, it will surely work to your advantage. The fact that more than 80% of brand leverage affiliate marketing as a part of their overall marketing mix presents several opportunities for you to make income from your blog, website, videos or social media profiles.
So, if you are a newbie to affiliate marketing, this step-by-step guide is all you need to refer to become successful:
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Terminology
Let’s start with the basics. You need to about these three parties are involved in an affiliate program:
- Merchant: The brand which has a product to sell and wants to promote/advertise.
- Customer: The person who wants to buy the product that a merchant wants to sell.
- Affiliate: The person who will be promoting the merchant’s product on your publishing site and persuade the customers (your readers) to buy it. That’s you!
- Affiliate Network: This is a marketplace which runs paid affiliate programs to attract Affiliates. For example, Amazon has Amazon Associates which lets its Affiliates earn up to 10% in advertising fees.
You can become an affiliate marketer by contacting the merchant directly or via affiliate networks.
Step 2: Understand the Commission Models
Unless you are a blogger or an influencer with a decent number of followers, the beginners do not have much say in how the merchant wants to pay. However, it’s always advisable to know various affiliate marketing fee models.
- Pay for every lead that converts into an order.
- Pay for every click on the merchant’s banner on your content site.
- Pay as a percentage of the total order value.
Step 3: Find Your Niche and Affiliate Programs
In case you are starting from scratch, you need to decide what is it you want to publish about. Is about cars, beauty, home decor, finances, travel or gadgets? The next step is to choose the right publishing platforms. Do you want to do a text or a video blog? If you want to build a website, you have to consider buying a domain and hosting it. WordPress is one of the most popular open-source free website creation tool.
After your publishing platform is taken care of, you should promote products which weave in with the theme of your blog, website or videos. For instance, if you are a parent blogger, you can become an affiliate for brands dealing with toys, diapers, education, etc. You can search for suitable programs by typing various combination of keywords in Google. For example, toys+affiliate programs, children’s books+affiliate, etc.
Step 4: Publish and Share Regularly
No matter how popular you are, your readers may forget you if don’t publish content at regular intervals. Also, spread a word about your content on various social media networking sites and forums. The more you publish and share, the higher are the chances of securing readership or viewership and new followers. Merchants always prefer affiliates who have a good number of readers.
Step 5: Build Affiliate and Deep Linking
Every product that you promote should have a link to the merchant’s website. This is called affiliate linking. However, you can get more conversions if you build deep linking which is basically creating a link to the specific product or page. This is especially useful if you are promoting multiple products in the same content.
Step 6: Use Short URLs
This is known as URL masking. You don’t want to confuse the readers with a long, weird link that looks like ‘XYZmerchant.com/abcdeabcdepqrsbuypizzaabacide3908abcade. There are various URL shorteners which will minimize the number of characters in the link and make it look more clickable. A few of the popular ones are bitly.com, goo.gl, ow.ly and tinyurl.com.
Step 7: Focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In a survey, around 70% of affiliate marketers confirmed that they use SEO to generate traffic. SEO helps your target audience find your blog or website. These are the basic SEO guidelines to follow to drive more traffic:
- Incorporate popular keywords in your content. You can find these keywords using Google AdWords.
- Use Meta tags for title and descriptions.
- Use Alt Tags for images.
It may take some time for you to build your credibility as an affiliate. So, don’t expect instant results. Before you begin affiliate marketing, you may want to look up online courses in digital marketing to acquaint yourself further.