How to start affiliate marketing for beginners

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online as a beginner with or without a blog or website. According to Google, the keyword “Affiliate Marketing is on the rise.

According to AM NAVIGATOR, 38% of marketers call affiliate marketing one of the top customer acquisition methods but the problem is that 99% of people who get into it fail or give up in their first months of getting started.

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38% of marketers call affiliate marketing one of the top customer acquisition methods

Affiliate marketing seems easy from the beginning but it’s really not that easy and it will take some strategy and consistent practice to get a hang of it.

Most people fail or don’t make any money because they don’t have a strategy and there are certain things that they are doing wrong.

To be successful with affiliate marketing you need to master the art of making people pull out their credit cards and buy the stuff through your affiliate link. It’s really that simple!

That said, let’s make sure you understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

The whole concept behind affiliate marketing is actually pretty simple.

Affiliate marketing is just when you sell other people’s products in exchange for a commission.

One of the reasons why I love affiliate marketing so much is that you don’t have to deal with customers face to face. Everything happens online at the comfort of your own home.

And what’s also really cool about it and why I was initially attracted to it is because you don’t need to have your own product, you don’t need to ship anything yourself, you don’t need to accept any payment yourself in fact you don’t need to do any of those annoying and complicating tasks.

Why do some people have success with affiliate marketing while others don’t?

  1. The Shiny Object Syndrome: Most people who fail are diagnosed with this disease. It can be likened to chasing after a white rabbit. Affiliate marketers with this syndrome chase after new and trendy products. They hardly ever focus on one niche till they make it and because they are after every new and shiny product, they hardly ever succeed.
  2. Selling Products instead of offers: The competition in the marketplace is very stiff. A brand can have hundreds or even thousands of affiliates promoting the same product. The only way to stand out of the crowd is to create irresistible offers to go internet marketing with the product you’re promoting. Sadly most people who fail,  promote the products as it is. No wonder they hardly ever have success.
  3. Email Marketing: Email marketing is the backbone of internet marketing as a whole. The only way to follow up and stay in touch with customers who don’t buy the first time is by email. Sadly, most affiliates who fail hardly ever use email marketing.
  4. Paid Ads: The group of people who succeed with affiliate marketing use paid advertising methods to promote their offers whereas those who fail stick to free traffic methods. The most popular forms of paid advertising they use are display advertising and Facebook ads.
  5. Selling Instead of helping: People tend to trust those who help them and when people trust you, they easily buy products that you refer. The people who succeed with affiliate marketing tend to build trust by helping people first before asking for the sale.
  6. Affiliate Marketing is easy and you can make 10k in your first month: Affiliate marketing is not as easy as gurus make it sound. It’s not easy to make 10k the first month(I’m not saying it’s not possible, it’s not likely.)
  7. Follow Up: Following up with customers who don’t buy initially is very important…Most people need to be reminded multiple times before they can make up their minds to buy. People who have success with affiliate marketing understand that following up with a customer increases the  Lifetime Value of that customer. The Lifetime Value of a customer is the present value of the future cash flows of that customer.
  8. Data: Some people who fail don’t know their numbers. What’s your email open rate? How many people clicked on your link and what’s the conversion rate? Understanding your metrics can help you select the best affiliate offer, that’s not all, will also be able to know when a campaign is failing or when you need to tweak something etc.

How to start affiliate marketing for beginners step by step

  1. Identify a problem in the marketplace
  2. Join an affiliate program
  3. Create an Offer
  4. Create A Funnel
  5. Promote
  6. Tweak
  7. Earn
  8. Rinse and Repeat

Identify a problem in the marketplace

If you want people to buy your affiliate products, you need to make sure whatever you’ll be selling should solve an existing problem.

To identify problems, ask yourself this question, What are my target customer’s greatest problems or pain points?

The answer shouldn’t come from you. Go out there and do some research. Use various methods including interviews, keywords research, surveys etc.

Do whatever it takes to uncover their problems! For example, Most of my group members greatest challenge is making money from their blogs. If I have to promote a product, it should be a product that solves their problems.
sample poll

Join an Affiliate Program

All you need to do to get started after identifying a problem is to join an affiliate program which is free and takes just a few minutes to sign up. Many big online retailers actually have affiliate programs.

Example

  • Amazon.com
  • ebay.com
  • thinkit.com and thousands of others.

There’s always a link to the affiliate program somewhere at the bottom of their page. And once you know where to look for this affiliate programs you’ll be surprised at just how many sites actually do have an affiliate program.

Affstat published an affiliate marketing survey in 2016(2018 survey is ongoing. I’ll update the stats as soon as it’s published), part of that survey showed the affiliate programs that people were a part of and shareasale.com had the highest bar with 58.78%.

I can conclusively say that Shareasale is the affiliate network with the most amount of affiliate marketers. I will show you how to get started with them and

So let’s say I wanted to make money promoting stuff at shareasale.com

First, I need to join their affiliate program by heading on to their website and click on the “I want to promote this merchant on my website” OR “Affiliate Sign Up” and enter my details.

Join shareasale.com, Start Earning Cash!

ShareAsale affiliate signup page

The process to setup an Affiliate Account is a simple 5 step process that begins with a selection of your username and password. In the future, you will use these selected words to access your ShareASale.com Affiliate Account.

shareasale signup step 2

Now, I have got my account all set up, I can just log in and search for any product.

shareasale login page

 

shareasale.com is a platform with different categories of affiliate programs. There are thousands of merchants there. To promote a product, you must first search for a merchant and then request to join their affiliate program. You will have access to your affiliate links and banners when you’ve been approved.

Search for merchants

keywords are important in everything you’re looking for online. They help you find stuff. After you click on “Search for merchants”. You need to enter a keyword related to the product you’ll be promoting.

for example,  Sophia wants to promote computer accessories because she’s in the niche of solving computer related problems for her audience.

To find products in ShareASale, she enters the keyword “computer accessories”. Looks through the list displayed, decides on what she wants to promote and apply to join the affiliate program.

Computer accessories

Once you’ve been approved, you can get a special link and banners to use for your promotional campaigns from your dashboard.

Create an Offer

Once you have your affiliate link, the next logical thing to do is to create an offer. This is one of the most important steps that differentiates the successful affiliates from the unsuccessful ones.

What is an offer? Think about it like this! John just signed up to a weight loss affiliate program. The product he’ll be promoting is called “Molyko Diet”. It appears John is not the only affiliate selling this weight loss product.

In order to stand out of the competition, John has to reduce the price of the product but he can’t reduce the price because that’s the standard price from the merchant.

And to be honest I can’t even advice John to compete on price. “If you can’t be the lowest priced product on the market, then it doesn’t make sense to reduce the price”

On the flip side, instead of trying to compete with price,

John could create an offer that looks like this.

Here’s what you get if you buy this “Molyko Diet”

  • Weight loss calculator: $200
  • Molyko Diet meal planning Template: $150
  • Diet tracker: $250

You can get the entire bundle for $600 $99

You get the idea? When you create an irresistible offer like this one, you not only stand out in the marketplace, the sky too become your starting point.

Create A Funnel

The word funnel is a very common word in the sales and marketing sphere but many people don’t understand what it means or how to use it in their marketing.

Many gurus make funnels sound complicated but it really isn’t complicated at all when you understand the basic principles. Think of a sales funnel as a sequence of steps a customer goes through before making a process.

The marketing funnel got its name from the cone-shaped tool you use to pour a liquid into a small hole. See the image below of a sample funnel.

 

 

This sample funnel starts with facebook ads. When the ad was run, 10000 people saw it and only 1000 clicked on the link to the landing page. 100 people downloaded the free offer(ebook). Only 10 people clicked on the offer on the sales page(tripwire). Only 1 person ends up buying the product. You can see that the number of people keeps reducing as you go further than the funnel.

How do you represent this in real life scenario?

let’s assume that your traffic source is going to be Facebook ads.

The first step in your funnel should be your squeeze page. The function of a squeeze page is to collect a visitor’s email address by offering something valuable in return — like a free ebook. Squeeze pages are extremely important for your marketing campaigns because they allow you to start building a lasting relationship with your visitors.

Squeeze pages come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t worry if you see something different from this one in the future. Here’s an example squeeze page from www.backlinko.com

Sample Backlinko squeeze page

The next step should be the sales page where you list your affiliate link plus your offer bundle. I could not snap the sample page because it was too long. I did snap the offer bundle section. See it below. See the example sales page by clicking on this link

sales page offer

 

 

 

The third step in your funnel should be your follow up email sequence. You can use a tool like Mailerlite to set that up.

That initial step of collecting emails is very important because later, you can also offer another product to this same list and make a profit. Sounds good?

The funnel example I have shown you above is a very simple funnel. Some funnels can really be complicated but if you’re just starting out, you want to keep thing simple!

Promote

Promotion is the most important step in affiliate marketing. If you don’t get people clicking on your links, you’re just not going to sell. As simple as that.

Many people grab a few affiliate links, put it here and there on their blogs and expect huge checks. That’s not going to give you enough income to sustain yourself and your business even if you earn. Here a few more ways to do it right and earn more.

  • Do a Product/Service Review.
  • Interview someone who uses the product and share the interview with your audience.
  • Create a “resources” page and include your affiliate links
  • Do tutorials/how to guides
  • Share your links on social media with a killer copy
  • Put links in your email signature.
  • Put links In-content. This is the most popular way people promote affiliate links. They place their affiliate links in blog posts when someone clicks on it and makes a purchase, they earn a commision. To succeed with this method, you need to monitor your links to see which ones get the most click and at what positions?
  • Use Banners at the sidebar, footer, and in-content. Banners are old-fashioned and people have become blind to them. The way to succeed with this method is to place your banners on positions people see the most. Also, make sure to use only the banners that are related to the article or blog.
  • Promote your affiliate links on youtube and quora
  • The best promotion method is to use Ads such as google, facebook, Pinterest or Instagram to promote your products. Follow the steps from one to seven and the sky will be your starting point.

Over To You

The first steps to affiliate marketing success start with Taking Action!

A lot of people spend money on courses! (even though some of the courses are good) but the problem here is we sometimes spend too much time”learning” rather than taking action on the little knowledge we have
Instead of spending money on courses or spending too much time on youtube watching videos, Take action, AB Test, tweak as you and save money to pay for the ads.

Phew! That was a long read. Thank God you made it to the end. If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below and tell us what caught your attention. If you think there’s something we missed, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re always looking to learn and grow. Thanks.

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How to start affiliate Marketing for beginners
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How to start affiliate Marketing for beginners
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Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to make money online as a beginner. However, many people fail or get discouraged in their first months of getting started, this is because they don't have a strategy. This article will teach you all you need to know about how to get started with affiliate marketing the right way
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Blog Tools Corner
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