Affiliate marketing is a dream come true for those who don’t want to stock inventory or get stuck with unsold products or don’t like to take on big risks. If you are producing content, then there are definitely products related to your content that will sell. You don’t have to keep inventory or bother with shipping!
You simply sell another business’ products and make a commission for marketing them as an affiliate. Using affiliate marketing, people like content creators, bloggers, and publishers can monetize their traffic by selling other people’s products.
You become a promoter of another person’s products and as a promoter, you will be reviewing or writing “how-to” guides on how to use these products or services.
What you are talking about will eventually convince the digital audience to click on the links on your site which will lead them to the merchant’s site and hopefully a sale. Your site acts as a gateway to the merchant’s site.
If you are happy to act as a middleman and sell products for others, then you are probably curious as to how the whole thing works.
How does an individual know that you are selling the person’s product? How does the person know that you helped the sale? How do you get paid by this merchant? What is the connection between the link on your site to your bank account?
The answer is there is an intermediary between your site and the merchant’s site. This intermediary is known as the affiliate marketing program. Affiliate programs act as middlemen and help bring the merchants and affiliates together.
Since it is hard for merchants and affiliates to find each other, these sites act as a gateway for the relationship to begin. These programs track the traffic from the affiliate’s site to the merchant’s site via a tracking link. This tracking link is a code that is provided by the affiliate program.
You have to insert this code into your site and this will enable the merchant to record details of visits from your site and track any sales that have resulted from any visit from your site.
You are then paid a commission based on the commission structure of the affiliate program, which could be either a fixed amount or a certain percentage of each sale.
The Product, the Funnel, and Traffic
In a nutshell, the three most important components of affiliate marketing are the product, the funnel, and traffic. The product is what you will be promoting.
The funnel represents the journey a visitor takes from the point they’re exposed to your website/ad/link down to where they are able to purchase something through your affiliate link. The traffic is the number of visitors coming through to your funnel.
There are hundreds of affiliate programs and it would be impossible to cover all of them in this article. Here are some other affiliate marketing programs that you can consider.
Each program will have a different commission structure and will have different rules that they impose on affiliates. You also have to be upfront with your digital audience, and you will need to disclose something somewhere on your site to let them know that they may come across affiliate links. This disclosure adds to your credibility, and your digital audience is likely to trust you more.
Finding The Correct Affiliate Program
Choosing the correct affiliate program requires some research, and it is essential that you run through this checklist before you proceed with a particular program.
Affiliate Marketing Program Checklist
Which merchants are on board the affiliate programs that you are looking at?
Does this affiliate program specialize in a certain niche?
Do you want to be associated with these merchants or brands?
What sort of commissions do these affiliate programs payout?
Does this affiliate program offer you any kind of support?
Some Suggested Affiliate Programs
Here are a few of the more well-known affiliate programs. These are the most trusted affiliate programs and will definitely be useful to you to connect to your digital audience.
Amazon is an e-commerce affiliate program and offers a wide variety of products. There is a high chance that you could easily specialize in a niche that links to hundreds of products on Amazon.
You can promote products available on Amazon with your audience through customized linking tools and earn money on qualifying purchases and customer actions like signing up for a free trial program.
Amazon pays a 10% commission to affiliates, so it is worth studying Amazon’s affiliate marketing program called Amazon Associates. Simply go to the “Amazon Associates” link, which provides more information about the program.
You then go to the link that says “Sign up to the Program,” which will take you to the sign-in page. You should already have started your site by now as they will require your site details such as your URL address.
Udemy is an online course provider and provides courses on hundreds of different topics and subjects. It is useful to be affiliated with an education site as you could offer recommended products as well as recommend courses on how to use these products.
This adds value to your site and will earn you income twice, one from the product affiliate and another from the education affiliate if the audience to your site buys the product and attends the course.
You need to sign up for a ClickBank affiliate account and browse their marketplace to find all the available products from their partner vendors.
Once you are done finding out the good product, ClickBank will give you a unique “affiliate link” that will lead you to the vendor’s sales page. You then get people to buy through that link. It is that simple. You can then start earning a commission for any sale made through your affiliate links.
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Affiliate Content Tips
As an affiliate, you should ask yourself why people would buy someone else’s product through you instead of going straight to the source? The digital audience could easily access the merchant’s site as the merchant would be already quite well known.
It is therefore important that the content that you have on your site offers information over and above what is already on the merchant’s site. You should become the go-to expert in your niche and someone the digital audience can trust.
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In addition to what you are saying, it is also important to look at how you are saying it. There are also some language rules that are essential when putting up content on your site.
1. Blending Copywriting and Content Writing
When putting out content on your site, you have to have a mixture of writing to sell (copywriting) and writing to inform (content writing). Too much of either will result in the digital audience turning off and walking away.
You have to find that sweet spot, where they don’t realize they are being sold something and they go ahead and buy what you are talking about because what you are writing is targeted at them, gives them sufficient information for them to make a decision, and makes them appear to be smart and savvy shoppers.
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2. Identifying Your Target Audience Persona
Identifying your audience persona is probably one of the most important starting points to build up traffic to your site. The audience persona is a representation of the customer you are trying to sell to.
Once you know the type of person you want to sell to, you can produce your content accordingly, and it will be much more effective in drawing the right audience to your site.
The way to visualize your target audience persona is to ask the following questions. As an example, let us say we are writing a book on how to make money from affiliate marketing. We have to imagine who we are writing this book for:-
a. How Old is this Person?
He or she is between 20 – 30. Not yet married but planning to in the future.
b. How do They Earn a Living?
They are probably doing routine, dead-end jobs.
c. What does Their Average Day Look Like?
Working 9 – 5, free in the evenings and weekends spent going to the mall or café.
d. What Challenges Do They Face?
How to earn more money, how to do something more interesting with their lives but not having enough capital and not wanting to take on too big a risk.
e. What are Their Dreams and Aspirations?
To be more excited about work and life and to have enough money to buy a house and start a family.
Your questions can get more detailed than this but eventually, you will get a crystal clear idea of who you are trying to target. Your content can now be tailored for this particular segment of the digital audience instead of the entire digital audience.
The person who comes to your site will feel that you are talking directly to them and they will be more willing to listen to you and buy what you are selling. If you write in broad generic terms you will probably lose your target audience as you will not be connecting to them.
In this case, you are going to write in such a way that you are selling them a way out of their mundane, dead-end jobs into something more exciting that they love that will enable them to earn an income and hopefully this will be sufficient enough to enable them to leave their jobs for good.
So your language will be one of hope and optimism and to encourage them to try out this amazing way of earning a passive income initially and finally running a viable business that they are passionate about without taking too much risk. Precisely what I am doing right here with this article.
3. Sound Authoritative
There are some secrets to sounding authoritative and with the clever use of words, this can be easily achieved. Words like “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine” can be very persuasive when you are trying to convince someone to buy something.
“I would buy this car if I were you,” said the car salesman to the buyer who was about to turn away. This line almost sounds like a threat but if the salesman was sincere and the care was value for money it can be pretty persuasive and chances are the salesman would have caught the buyer’s attention.
4. Draw Them into the Conversation
Your content should speak directly to the audience and the best way to do this is to use words like “you” and “your”. “You tell me what is wrong and I will fix it for you,” said the plumber to the frustrated house owner.
Lines like these don’t cast a shadow of doubt on whether the job will be done properly or not, provided the plumber knows what he is doing.
5. Focus on the Audience, Not the Product
It is better to write content that talks about the outcomes of using the product rather than the product itself. The digital audience buys products that solve their problems. A product’s features, while important, are not as important as what these features can do for the digital audience.
That’s a long list. That’s probably enough for now. If you need any more language tips there are dozens of sales books out there that will provide tactics and strategies that you can incorporate into your content. But these alone should work. And always remember the golden rules:-
1. Choose Your Product Line
As an affiliate marketer, you will still need to have a niche to operate out of. Some study is needed to identify the demand for the products that you want to link to. The higher the demand the easier it is to sell. It is as simple as that.
If you are operating in the consumer goods space a simple check on sites like Amazon will provide you with plenty of clues on what sells and what doesn’t.
You will be surprised to learn that the products that you are interested in are nowhere on the list. Similarly, things that you would not even think about could be selling like hotcakes.
You should also evaluate whether the product you are trying to market has a demand. It is easier to sell something that everybody wants rather than trying to sell something that nobody wants. You could use a tool like Google trends to see how often users have searched on a particular topic on a 0-100 scale.
You can also determine the level of competition in your chosen niche by using a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to see how competitive particular Google searches are. On the right side of the results, you’ll see an indicator that says Competition which ranges from 1-1 with 1 being the highest level of competition.
Another tool you could use to research competition levels is to use Clickbank. Click on the “Affiliate Marketplace” option on the home screen and you go to the section of “Gravity” which measures how high demand is for a product that’s on a 100 point scale. The lower the Gravity the harder it will sell the product.
2. Believe in the Product You are Affiliated with
Be passionate about the product and enjoy writing and talking about it. You also have to genuinely believe that the product or service you are promoting will improve people’s lives.
You probably use it regularly and find it better than anything else in the marketplace. You might have a personal story to tell about how the product solved a persistent problem that was bugging you for years! This makes your recommendation personal and adds to its authenticity.
You know the difference between the product and the competition and are happy to recommend it. You have done the necessary research and tried out the product and have found it to be a great product. You express this belief in a way that will convince the digital audience to finally buy the product you are reviewing.
3. Provide Valuable Content
We have already covered this topic extensively but we shall repeat it again in case you didn’t take notice of it the last time around. The content that you put out must provide value and is the reason why the digital audience will come to your site.
If you are creating content as an affiliate you will be looked on as an objective third party who can offer great advice on a product so you would probably create content in the form of product reviews, compare the product against another or create an in-depth guide for the benefit of the user.
To succeed in affiliate marketing you need a congruence of 3 things – top selling products, love or passion for these products, and an authority on these products. The most successful affiliate marketers have these three things coming together nicely.
It is a great way to start monetizing your site quickly and to get you plugged into the commercial side of things.
Other Ways to Participate in Affiliate Marketing
Running product reviews and sharing testimonials is just one of the ways to participate in affiliate marketing. You could also run paid ads to push the digital audience to the merchant’s site.
You will have to use Google Ads and head over to the Google Ads homepage and click the “Get Started” button. You could do the same thing with Facebook ads.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing model which involves an affiliate sending leads from their sites to a merchant’s site and for every sale that the lead generates a commission is paid.
2. How do you become an affiliate?
There are many affiliate marketing programs out there which you can sign up for. There are plenty available for all sorts of products and services.
3. How do you earn a commission?
When you sign up to become an affiliate through an affiliate marketing program, you are provided with a tracking link that tracks the traffic from your site to the merchant’s site.
This tracking link enables the merchant to record details of visits from your site and tracks any sales that have resulted from the visit from your site. You are then paid a commission based on the commission structure depending on the affiliate program.
So these are some of the ways to make money by playing the role of an affiliate marketer. I hope you have gained some insights into the techniques that can help you to make money out of this.