I can almost guarantee that you've heard the term affiliate marketing, but you may be wondering what it is exactly. One thing is for sure is it's not a multi-level marketing scheme that makes you work for pennies, while torturing you through endless hours of trying to sell to friends and family.
Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows you to escape your traditional job once you get the business up on solid footing. It is a new way to make money and potentially support the ones you care about.
To find out all about affiliate marketing, just continue on with the article and find out if it is a good business model for you to explore. Affiliate Marketing is not for everyone but it's the perfect opportunity for those who like to work for themselves.
Let’s start with the fundamentals of affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing
While the phrase uses the term marketing, affiliate marketing should never be mistaken with network marketing or the hype that comes with it. It does however have to do with the sales of varying products and services without the risks associated with the MLM business model.
There are no products to purchase or create yourself. Instead you are acting as a middle-man. You present the products in their best light and make a commission every time someone buys through you.
Those sales are recorded through the affiliate marketing link that is unique to you and no one else can take your commission. It does help if you already use the products you represent or know something about them so you can bring the best content to your website visitors.
The best part about affiliate marketing is that there is that requires no uncomfortable direct face to face sales. You can remain anonymous while representing the different products. That way you can still make money as a introvert like myself!
Affiliate marketing is a growing industry that gives you plenty of revenue potential just by creating good content for your audience through affiliate websites or YouTube channels. The key is to choose the right affiliate offers, and you do that by finding the best marketplace platforms.
Choosing the right affiliate marketing platform
Now that you have an understanding of what affiliate marketing entails, it's important to learn how to choose the right platform to work through. If you pick the wrong platform, your business may be over before it gets started.
Well maybe it's not that extreme..but you'll waste a lot of time.
Some platforms provide training and are great for beginners, while others work with beginners and make sure you are on the road to success with the right education and training materials.
Here are some keys to choosing the right platform for you:
- Training and Education- this should be practical, informative and prepare you for the challenges that come with this industry.
- An easy to use dashboard- some people call it an interface but no matter the label, it should be easy to understand and use.
- Products & niches- there needs to be a wide range of both of these so you have plenty of options. Finding the right niche and products is vital to your affiliate business success.
- Payout- should be straight forward and clearly explained. Each platform pays differently so pick the one that fits your lifestyle and needs.
- System reliability- the affiliate platform should have the best up-time possible. You can't make money if no one can see your website.
- Support- you need the best possible support in all areas of affiliate marketing. From website building to niche selection to questions needing answers, pick the platform that covers these areas and more.
Top affiliate Platforms to consider
There are tons of affiliate marketing platforms on the internet. Finding the best one takes some time and research. But unless you want to be reading all day, we're just going to go over a few notable ones that should get you on the right track.
- Amazon affiliate marketplace- it has name recognition and people trust it. You should be able to get a lot of sales using this platform but the drawbacks are the rules are tough & very strictly enforced and Amazon pays the lowest commission of all the platforms out there.
- Clickbank- very easy to sign up with and the commissions range from low to very high. The only issue with Clickbank is that there are a lot of unreliable sellers that take advantage of unsuspecting people. If you sign up with them, you have to be able to vet products wisely.
- Commission Junction-now goes by CJ Affiliate. This company represents a lot of well known companies and has a multitude of niches and products for you to choose from. It also provides some training.
- Legendary Marketer- has a great training, education and support system. It also has dozens of products and offers to work with. There is a free and a paid affiliate option. I recommend you use the paid to earn the most money for your affiliate sales.
- Shareasale- is a lot like CJ affiliate and it has a lot of legitimate and well known companies that use it to manage their affiliate programs.
The pros and cons of affiliate marketing
To understand affiliate marketing, you need to learn the positive and negatives about the industry. These two lists should help you form a proper perspective on the industry while helping you make the best decision possible.
Affiliate marketing Platforms
Most affiliate platforms help you get started in the business and give you information you need to select the right marketing platforms for you to use. Here are some of those options that you can try.
This is the most popular method of doing affiliate marketing as it is the most flexible. You can write reviews, create a blog or write personal stories to help convince your visitors to click on your link and buy through you.
Some people like this method because they can’t write. They know how to talk and YouTube is a great place to provide your great content in a visual manner that compels your visitors to buy.
This is a question and answer website that helps you draw attention to your online business. But there are strict rules governing how you use this format and you have to be careful or you may lose your account.
Facebook & other social media
These options help you drive free traffic to your website. The key here is not to use popular social media outlets as they have the traffic. Checkout this TikTok training
Affiliate marketing tools
To do affiliate marketing right, you can't only depend on hard work, dedication and patience alone. You need the right tools if you are going to be effective and have a shot at success.
There are a lot of good tools you can subscribe to, some even have free trial options that'll help you implement the right strategy for your affiliate business. It will take some research but it can be done.
You want the best one that has the most up-time at the most affordable rate. Some good web hosting companies are
There are more, but those are good to get started with.
These tools are important as they help you build a list of subscribers that you can nurture a relationship and send out promotions, etc. Some of the best companies to work with on this issue are
To attract and keep the attention of your website visitors, you need a good theme. Some of the best are free WordPress themes but there are also premium ones like
You may not be a website designer or graphic artist but that's okay. There are plenty of tools out there that help you create a great web page. Look up
Along with content, the keywords you use are very important to the success of your affiliate marketing business. Some of the best tools are
The affiliate marketing strategy
This is the next step in affiliate marketing.
The strategies you decide to use will make or break your online business. There are a lot of different strategies and the reason for that is the industry is forever evolving, and at a rapid pace.
What worked 6 months ago is out of favor today. Then what works today may not work tomorrow. This is an area you have to stay on top of if you want to be competitive and make money.
Here are some strategies you need to use:
- Content- your content has to be good, know what it is talking about and most importantly...honest. Nothing kills a business faster than not knowing what you are talking about and being untruthful. This topic is placed number one to show you how important it is.
- The right platform- working with the right platform supports your business as your visitors will have a good customer experience. If they have a bad experience, they simply won’t return. Picking the right platform is a step in the right direction.
- Choose the right niche and products- if you do not like sports, do not pick a sports related niche or product line unless you want to learn about that industry. Pick a niche and product line you know something about.
- Choose the right method- you can earn commissions in those niches and products through writing reviews, recording personal experiences or writing a blog about them. Pick the one that works best for you or mix them up and use them all at different times to keep your visitors from getting bored.
Also, your content should provide solutions to problems, be a how to use or how to do informative blog and so on. You have a variety of ways to present those products and get people to buy them.
Driving affiliate marketing traffic to your website
There are tools and strategies for this important aspect of affiliate marketing. You can’t sell if you do not have the traffic beating a path to your internet doorstep. The good news is that there is almost an unlimited amount of ethical and practical ways to drive traffic to your website.
Here are a few of those methods:
- Use display ads
- Use paid advertising
- Use social media ads
- Work with influencers
- Optimize headlines
- Practice good SEO strategies
- Use great keywords
- Create a community
- Write a guest post
- Add images to your pages
- Start a podcast
- Start an e-mail newsletter
- Conduct interviews with credible people
- Offer discounts and other promotions
- Create an e-Book
How to use email marketing to boost affiliate sales
I’ve mentioned multiple ways to get traffic to your content that can potentially lead to a purchase.
However, I can't discuss affiliate marketing without mentioning email marketing. These two go together hand and hand.
Building an email list is one of the best ways to get sales, yet most beginner affiliates make the mistake of ignoring this method early on.
You might not get a sale when people subscribe to your email list, but they’re there, and they will continue to be there as long as you send them helpful emails.
So how do you get people on your list? These days, no one subscribes to a newsletter.
Instead, create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a freebie that a person gets in exchange for subscribing to your email list.
Setting up email automation
Building an email list is just a portion of what needs to be done. The rest is creating the content — the emails themselves.
So what do you write in your emails? It can be a tip, a link to your latest blog post or video, and an affiliate offer. The key is to provide value and not always try to make the sales. Always selling comes off as spammy to your readers.
You are building a relationship with your audience. Deliver content that is designed to help them solve a problem one step at a time. Then you can recommend an affiliate product if it makes sense.
How to track affiliate links
Another crucial part of affiliate marketing that is often overlooked is tracking. Tracking your links are done for several reasons, but the most obvious is that you need to know which source of traffic led to a sale.
You can use link tracking software like ThirstyAffiliates or PrettyLinks. All these not just track your links but shorten and/or cloak your long affiliate links and make them look more beautiful.
They work very similar to bit.ly, but instead you're using a URL you own instead.
Some final words
Now that you know what Affiliate marketing is, I'm sure you understand that it isn't for everyone.
It is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes the same amount of tenacity used to get a traditional brick and mortar business off the ground.
You have to put the research in, the work in and use the right advertising to get people to come to your website and buy through your affiliate links. Once you get a feel for it, you may have found your calling.
With the low start up costs affiliate marketing is a better way to earn money than trying to start your own traditional business. It is a great business model to help you improve your financial situation and reach your financial goals. That is if you do it right.
Affiliate marketing is a growing industry with millions of new customers online every month. You should consider getting in on the action and grabbing your piece of the affiliate marketing pie.
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Mike Garvey Jr
Founder of BrandTheBoss.com
Start Your Online Business
Want to learn how to start an online business and work from home like I do?