Affiliate marketing is a great way of earning a full-time wage online, but it can seem really complicated when you are looking online and seeing all these different ways of learning it. I wanted to create a guide that keeps it really simple and ensure anyone can understand what affiliate marketing is, how you earn money through it and how you can get started for free. That way anyone can know the benefits of it and actually, how simple the premise is.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s start with the word affiliate, if you are affiliated with someone it means you have a relationship, so in the case of affiliate marketing you have a relationship with someone who is selling something (Amazon, for example) and receive a commission if you introduce someone to a product that person is selling. Rather than you having a product to sell, you sell someone else’s product or service and get a reward if someone buys it via you. Check the image below to see the cycle before we delve into it a bit more.
It Starts With Helping People
One of the first things you need to understand about making affiliate marketing work is it starts with helping people, NOT selling to people. There are 3.75 billion active people online and a number will already know what they want to buy and will go straight to the retailer and buy it.
But actually, there are a high percentage who are looking for help on subjects, and then want to understand a product before they buy it. With better deals online, more and more people are shopping online – but as they cannot see the product first hand, they rely on reading up on reviews, what other people think about the best product for their particular needs – that is where you offer that help and in return earn from ‘referring’ them to that product via a marketplace, such as Amazon.
I must stress, you are there to help them. Take the example of Digital Photography (One of my hobbies). I need to help them with any questions they have on that topic and build trust with the readers, before they decide to trust one of my reviews on a great starter DSLR camera. They will not just buy it because I say it is good, if they just see it as a sales technique and not helping them get the best deal, best features, etc.
You will be surprised at how beneficial it is to take this route – Think about it, if someone is too salesy in a shop, you are inclined to walk away and possibly shop elsewhere. It is easier to walk away online as you are not in a verbal conversation.
The next stage is…
Building a Niche Website
There are ways of doing affiliate marketing through social media channels, but it is a more difficult route than creating your own website where you channel the traffic from your social media channels and through content creation.
Building your own website allows you build your own brand. Affiliate Marketing is a great way of earning a full-time income, but you will restrict your earnings without a website where you can create your own business identity. That is key, This is a business model and an effective one.
Let’s talk about why a niche. If I targeting the general category of digital photography, I would not get very far as a new website as I would be trying to compete with all of the established authority sites – which in short would not be as successful as if I targetting a specific sub category from digital photography. I targetted DSLR Cameras. I am more likely to get my foot in the door with targetting a specific niche. Starting out this ways allows you to build trust with the search engines, such as google and allows you to start building up an authority on that specific niche. Later on, you could always expand into the world of (in my example) digital photography.
You will also find that you will require a domain to register with some of the affiliate programs out there.
Once you have your website up and running, the first stage is creating content. Relevant Content to that niche. Help people understand topics in that niche, how to guides, news in that niche. You need to build up an audience and have regular traffic before you join an affiliate program. Learn how to target the right keywords for your niche here.
Becoming an Affiliate or Associate
Once you have regular traffic, you can then register with an affiliate program. Many retailers have an affiliate program, but the one that you are probably going to recognise is Amazon.
It is the world’s biggest marketplace and they reward you for introducing a customer to their products.
But there are many affiliate programs out there – Companies understand that more and more people are buying online, but they want to research the products or services prior to buying it. So they allow small website owners to register with their program to become affilates or associates.
Once registered, they give you an affiliate link to use when promoting a product or service. This affiliate link tells amazon you were the one that introduced this customer. It is like a digital signature. Amazon sees this digital signature and pays you.
Using Your Affiliate Link
Once accepted into the Amazon Associates program, you will notice that when you are browsing amazon you get a SiteStripe at the top of your browser window, like in the image above. This makes it really easy to get an affiliate link to add to your website.
Browse for the product you want an affiliate link for – I did Nikon D7200 in my example.
Once you are on that page, use the sitestripe to get your affiliate link.
By clicking the text option, it gives you a short link to that product that includes your (digital signature) affiliate link. Copy and paste this into website post about that product.
You Earn Commission
SO, you have a niche website that helps people with that subject, has relevant content and also includes prudent reviews of products in that niche.
You gain traffic and visitors to your website meaning that you can now take the opportunity to monetize your website.
You register with an affiliate program, such as Amazon.
Visitors to your website likes the look of your review and decides to click on your link to Amazon.
That customer goes through to Amazon and decides to buy the product.
You just earned commission!!
In a nutshell that is the premise of affiliate marketing.
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
It can seem quite daunting, as there is a lot to do and I will be honest, you will not see the rewards straight away. But the feeling you get when you receive your first commission and then it becomes a regular occurence and the you are earning a real wage out of it is an awesome feeling. The way I got started was by joining Wealthy Affiliate. They offer the 3 key things you need to get started and all the strategies you need to turn it into an income.
Those 3 things are: Education, Websites & Expert Support. When you first get started, there all the worries of how do I set up a website and all the worries that come with it. Not with Wealthy Affiliate – They hold your hand all the way through. Not sure about something, ask and they will help you. Their training is perfect for newbies and someone isnt too sure around a computer can still benefit from their training. I will also offer my full support in getting you started and answering any questions you have throughout your journey.
Affiliate Marketing is simple, if you have the right support network around you. See how I got started, read my Wealthy Affiliate Review. If you want to see what the training is like, they offer a Starter Membership that requires no credit card, no cost at all. Experience 10 lessons that will take you through the stages of getting started in Affiliate Marketing. Try the 10 lessons, if you feel it isn’t for you after that time, no hard feelings – but i guarantee you will want to progress further and watch the money come in.
Hopefully, now you understand what affiliate marketing is, how you can utilise it to earn an income from a passion or interest you have and also the best way to learn and earn from affiliate marketing. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and good luck in your affiliate marketing journey.
Thanks for reading, John