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Affiliate Marketing Tutorial

affiliate-marketing-tutorial

Affiliate marketing is a great way for beginners to star an affiliate marketing business with little to no skills or experience.

It’s the perfect choice for beginners because affiliate marketing is growing rapidly every year and it’s becoming one of the best ways to earn money online.

If you’re looking for a way to make some extra cash, this affiliate marketing tutorial will show you a step-by-step process of how to get going with affiliate marketing and start creating a decent income.

Ready?

Let’s begin!earn earn

Affiliate Marketing TOC

What's Affiliate Marketing (and How to Get Started)?

Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising where an affiliate (a website owner) will add affiliate links on their blog or YouTube channel, in order to promote products on the web.

When customers click these links and buy something, the affiliate gets paid.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it can be done for little or no cost at all! you don’t have to manufacture a product.

You don’t have to create a service.

You don’t have to be the expert.

You don’t even have to really sell the product because basically what you’re doing is you’re sharing a product or service with people that you might know such as family members, friends, your list of subscribers, or followers, whatever it might be.

All you have to do is find some good products, ones that are priced reasonably but also have a high commission rate, and start telling people about them via your social media channels, or write reviews, produce video content, email marketing, etc.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

How-Affiliate-Marketing-Works-min

If you read the definition I provided above, then you have an idea of what affiliate marketing is, but I am sure you are wondering how the whole thing works.

But before we jump in, there are two terms I think you need to become familiar with. They are Affiliate and Merchant.

There are some more terms discussed later in this article, but I believe these two are the most important to know when you are getting started with affiliate marketing.

An Affiliate in affiliate marketing is someone who promotes other companies’ products and services for a commission. 

Simply put, the affiliate is the middle-man between the company that offers these items for sale (known as merchants) and potential customers, aka their audience.

A Merchant is one who offers a product for sale. This person or company bears the burden of creating the product and any of the overhead associated with it.

They use affiliates to advertise their products in exchange for a commission.

Now with that out of the way, affiliate marketing basically works in the following four easy steps:

Step 1.  You, the Affiliate, find a Merchant that provides consumer products and has an program for you to join.

Once you are approved as an affiliate for their program, you will receive a link that tracks purchases associated with your account.

Step 2.  You build a website, then add content or use a social media platform such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, email marketing, etc… to place your link.

Step 3. As people come to your site or social media, they will see the link and click on it.

Step 4. If they purchase a product you have promoted, the merchant pays you a commission for the sale.

The key is to generate traffic (ideally, high search volume on all the major search engines) to generate more sales and earn a nice affiliate income.

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

thumbs-upDid you know according to the latest statistics for 2021 are that there will be more than 230 million people in the United States that will be participating in some type of online shopping?

With so much growth potential, there are several advantages I believe that makes this an ideal business for a beginner affiliate marketer to start doing affiliate marketing.

Below I have listed a few of them that I am sure you will agree with:

  • It’s one of the most popular ways for people to earn online income
  • You can work from anywhere in the world
  • You don’t need any experience or qualifications 
  • There are plenty of resources available online about how to be successful at affiliate marketing
  • There are no limits on how much you can earn 
  • You’re not limited by time constraints – you can work as little or as much as you want
  • No inventory to store
  • You don’t need to establish a costly marketing budget

This is not the end-all-be-all of reasons but I believe it is a good starting point for beginner affiliate marketers to investigate further and learn more about it!

Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

thumbs-downOf course, with the positives, there are some negatives.

Some of the disadvantages of affiliate marketing are:

  • You don’t own the products you are promoting
  • The competition is tough, so you have to work hard at making your affiliate site stand out from all the others 
  • Affiliate marketing takes time and effort – if you’re not willing to put in the work, affiliate marketing isn’t for you
  • There’s no guarantee that you’ll make money 
  • Your website needs traffic in order for affiliate marketing to work properly 

Despite these disadvantages, they don’t outweigh the benefits and positives associated with them.

In my humble opinion, affiliate marketing is still a great way of making money online as a beginner.

As long as you go into it with both eyes open, you’ll be set up for success along your affiliate marketing journey.

How Much Money Can I Make as an Affiliate Marketer?

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How much money you can make as an affiliate marketer depends on the amount of hours and effort you put into as well as what you choose to promote and market.

It is a common misconception that all it takes for an affiliate marketer to make money is to write a bunch of review articles or cheesy blog posts about products and services, but the reality is there’s so much more to it than that .

You also need to be able to drive traffic from search engines such as Google and Bing in order for your affiliate marketing business to succeed.

To give you an idea of your earning possibilities, check out the earnings from some of the top bloggers who have earned affiliate marketing income over the years:

blogger-income-reports
Image courtesy: Bloggers Passion

Here’s Alex and Laurens’s (Create & Go) 2021 earnings to date:

Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable In 2021?

make-moneyYes. Affiliate marketing is still profitable in 2021 for four reasons that I can think of off the top of my head (oh, and look again at those pics above):

First, with the advent of social media, people are more related on many levels than ever before and it is common, if not expected, to promote products through their pages or videos on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel, or Instagram to name a few examples.

Affiliate marketers can leverage this by simply using these platforms as well as others (including email notifications) to attract consumers to product links with attractive consumer advertising messages.

Second, people who use affiliate marketing programs are usually happy with the ease of setting up an affiliate account and getting started within minutes instead of having to embark on an uphill struggle towards making money.

Third, is the fact that most affiliate marketers, even the beginners with no experience, are able to earn a few dollars without spending anything out-of-pocket upfront.

Lastly, this business model does not require any investment (or very little if you go the premium route) unlike traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

Terminology of Affiliate Marketing

affilate-terminology

Earlier, I mentioned two terms associated with affiliate marketing, and as you delve deeper into affiliate marketing, you will see a bunch of recurring terms.

Below are some more important terms that I think you should be familiar with as well:

Affiliate

Past-Year-Blogging-Revenues-2020-2021-through-09-2021
Image courtesy: Create & Go

Someone who promotes products or services for another person or company in exchange for compensation. They usually make commissions on sales made through their promotion of products on their blog or website.

Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are programs that companies (Merchants) have that allows people to join for free and promote products and earn a nice income.

You would be surprised how many companies have an affiliate programs, and how many affiliate networks that have consolidated affiliate programs for you to choose from.

Affiliate Link

This is a special link that the merchant provides you to track the referrals you generate from your website.

When a visitor to your site clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you get a commission from the sale of the product you promoted on your site.

In the image below, you can see my link highlighted in orange. Just above that is my tracking ID.

I then paste this link on my website or blog which will take the user to the product that I want to earn a commission from.

Clicks

A record of the number of times that people visit your site.

For example, if you place an affiliate link on your website and someone visits the site using that link and makes a purchase within 30 days, this is recorded as 1 click.

Commission

The fee that is paid to affiliates for selling products or services on behalf of merchants.

This commission is usually calculated as a percentage of the total sale amount, including any taxes and shipping costs.

Conversion

The number of people who visit links to affiliate offers and then make a purchase.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two tools that are free for you to use to track your conversion rates.

Cookie

A small text file that is stored on a visitor’s computer by a web server. Cookies are used by affiliate marketing programs to track affiliate referrals and sales.

Cost-Per-Action/Acquisition (CPA)

CPA is a form of affiliate marketing where you are paid when someone completes an action, such as filling out a form or signing up for a service.

This is a great option for beginners because it doesn’t require any skills or experience and it can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)

A metric that is similar to CPA is cost-per-lead (CPL).

With CPL, you are paid when someone provides their contact information, such as an email address or phone number.

This can be a great way to generate leads for your business.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

The Click-through rate is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it.

This is a valuable metric to track because it can help you determine how effective your ads are.

Passive Income

The money you earn when your traffic is not directly related to the activity of a sale.

This is most commonly associated with bloggers who monetize their sites through advertising, affiliate marketing, or other forms of passive income generation.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is a type of advertising where you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. This is a great way to get traffic and leads quickly, but it can also be incredibly expensive.

Pay-Per-Sale (PPS)

The merchant pays affiliates a commission for every sale that they generate. This is the most common type of affiliate marketing and can be a great way to make some extra money.

There are certainly more terms that are used, but these are the ones I think you should become familiar with before you start promoting products.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

The best way to begin affiliate marketing is by finding offers that suit your niche and promoting them online. Below are the steps to get going in affiliate marketing:

  1. Find affiliate networks or affiliate programs to join
  2. Create an affiliate marketing website
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  4. Research and select Affiliate Products
  5. Create high-quality content
  6. Drive traffic to your links
  7. Build a list of emails
start-affiliate-marketing

Look for affiliate networks or programs to join

affiliate-programThe first step in getting started with affiliate marketing is to find a company that has a program for affiliates or look for a network to join.

You would be surprised how many companies have affiliate programs for affiliate marketers. For example, I am an affiliate for the Amazon affiliate program, the Canva affiliate progam, the Walmart affiliate program, and the Target affiliate program.

 Let’s take Target, which is one of my favorite places to shop! 

If you wanted to join Target as an affiliate, their program can be found by going to Target.com and looking at the footer of the site for “Affiliate & Partners“.

If Target isn’t your thing, then try Amazon.

By far, Amazon is one of the most popular programs for beginner affiliate marketers. The reason why is because it cost nothing to join and only requires you to have a functional website.

Once you’re accepted as an affiliate and you can get your affiliate tracking ID for any product that is sold on Amazon, you’re no longer limited to just having one universal link for the whole company.

An affiliate network is another option for affiliate marketers. The idea of an affiliate network and a company that has a program for affiliates aren’t very different.

It’s just the name and how you get paid might be slightly different depending on which one you choose to join.

The reason why I recommend joining an affiliate network instead of signing up directly through Amazon is that if it’s your first time trying your hand with affiliate marketing, there will be times when some products for your selected niche will not be available from Amazon.

Create your affiliate website

create-websiteOnce you’ve found a company that has a program that you can join, the next step is to create your website.

Making websites can be overwhelming at first, but it’s not impossible. I created my website in less than 5 minutes with no experience so have no fear!

First, you need to buy a domain name and some hosting from a company like HostGator. There a plenty of other hosting companies out there, but Hostgator was the cheapest hosting for me when I started building websites.

Once you have those two items in place, then it is time to install WordPress on your site.

I recommend choosing a theme from WordPress because they offer some great-looking affiliate templates that are free to download.

There are many other options available if you look around though so play around until you find something that works well for what you’re trying to accomplish.build 

SEO

After you pick your theme, the next step is to start optimizing your website for the search engines.

This is something that can take a little bit of time, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

The easiest way to get started with SEO is to use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. It is free and easy to use. You can find it by going to your WP dashboard and going to Plugins -> Add New.

Once you find the Yoast SEO plugin, go ahead and install it and activate it on your website. It’s as easy as that!

This plugin will help you with both your on-page and off-page SEO. Go through the settings and configure them to best suit your website.

Additionally, you will also want to set up a Google Analytics account and connect Google Search Console to your website.

Both of these are free tools that you can use to give you great insights into how your website is performing from a traffic standpoint.

Research and select Affiliate Products to promote

research-topic

Once you have your website up and running and fully optimized, next is to find products that match the interest of your audience.

The best way to do this is by researching what people are searching on Google related to topics relevant to the programs you’re considering.

By doing a quick search in Google looking at keywords like “Canva program for affiliates” I was able to find pages from other blogs offering information about how someone can earn money with Canva.

Once you’ve found your products from your selected affiliate marketing program, it is time to create content for your awesome affiliate site!

Create quality content

affiliate-marketing-requirements

In affiliate marketing, they say “content is king” which is true. You have to focus on creating content that your audience will want to read and will actually help them solve a problem.

If you spend time writing a high-quality article, chances are it’s going to be well received by your visitors and shared around the internet, which will help build your traffic over time.

So, how do you go about creating great content? Here are a few tips to help get you started:

1. Know your audience

Before you even start writing, it’s important to know who your target audience is. What are their interests? What are they struggling with? What do they want to learn more about?

Once you know who your the audience you want to target, you can start tailoring your content to fit their needs. This will help make certain that your content is interesting and useful to them, which will, in turn, help you attract more traffic to your site.

2. Keep them interested

Now that you know what your audience wants, you now have to deliver. Write about topics and issues that they’ll be passionate about reading.

Try not to ramble on and keep things interesting for them by addressing common problems or providing helpful tips.

Make sure that you’re always keeping an eye on the uniqueness of your content as well. If everything on the internet looks the same, chances are your readers won’t stick around for long.

3. Research your topic

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s still needs mentioning. Before you start writing, make sure to do your research and gather as much information as you can about the topic at hand.

Not only will this help make your content more informative, but it will also help you come up with new ideas for future articles.

4. Write, rewrite, and then rewrite again

This one can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s definitely a must! No one is perfect, and chances are you’ll have to rewrite your article a few times before it’s ready for publication.

This is normal, so don’t fret about it!

Just make sure that you’re taking the time to revise and polish your work before hitting publish. This will help ensure that your content is of the highest quality possible.

5. Use images and videos

Including images and videos in your content can be a great way to capture your readers’ attention and help explain your points more effectively. Plus, it makes things more interesting and engaging for them to read.

So, make sure to use photos and videos whenever possible to break up the text and help illustrate your points.

Creating content isn’t easy, but it’s certainly something you must do! By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating content people will love and want to share.

6. Add a Policy Page

Adding a page about your policy to protect your  reader’s information is important because it helps reassure them that their information is safe with you.

Plus, it’s the law in some cases, so it’s important to have one on your site.

Drive traffic to your affiliate links

Once you’ve created your content, you have to add affiliate links and bring in some traffic!

What is traffic?

Here are a few traffic strategies for driving more people over to your affiliate product page:

1. Make sure that your links are noticeable and easy to find on every page of your site. This means placing it above the fold (where someone can see it without having to scroll down) and in a noticeable spot.

2. Share your content on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Make sure to include a link to your landing page so that people can easily find it.

3. Add a banner or widget linking to your affiliate page on your website or blog. This will help advertise your product to your customers and increase your chances of making a sale.

4. Include a link to your homepage in your email signature. This is an easy way to let people know about your product and direct them over to your landing page.

5. Write guest posts on other websites related to your niche. In your guest post, include a link to your homepage as well as a brief description of the product.

By using these tips, you’ll be able to drive more traffic over to your affiliate page and increase your affiliate sales.

Build an email list

Another strategy that you should use to help promote your affiliate product is to build list.

Make sure that everyone who visits your website and blog has the option of signing up for your mailing list, and make sure to add a sign-up form (a.k.a. squeeze page) on every page of your site.

If someone subscribes to your list, you will be able to email them whenever you have a new product or offer. This is an excellent way to increase your affiliate sales even further.

An email list will allow you to build a relationship with your readers and help promote all of your products.

Which Affiliate Marketing is Best for Beginners?

As with most things in life, there are no hard and fast answers. After all, the best affiliate marketing will depend on goals, skill sets, time constraints, and so on. 

That said, I would advise looking into Amazon.

Amazon is the world’s biggest retailer, with about $61 billion in sales last year. And it’s arguably the easiest to make money from affiliate marketing due to their expansive audience and the amount of products listed.

The reason why this is the most popular program for beginners is that it’s free to join and only requires you to have a functional website.

Once you’re accepted as an affiliate and you can get your affiliate tracking ID for any product that Amazon sells, you’re no longer limited to just having one universal affiliate link for the whole company.

This is because all links to Amazon will point to your unique affiliate link. This way, if people click on it and buy the product or anything else from Amazon within a certain time frame (usually about 24 hours), you get a commission for it.

How to Become an Affiliate for Amazon

To become an affiliate for Amazon you need to do the following:

  • Sign up for Amazon Associates Account
  • Fill out your profile
  • Create your Affiliate Link
  • Research and select Products

Sign up for an Amazon Account

amazon-associates

In order to become an Amazon Affiliate, you will first need to sign up for an Associates account.

To do this, head over to the registration page and fill out your information.

Be sure that both of the boxes below “Associates Program” are checked so that you’re in compliance with their terms and conditions!

Next, click “Join”. You’ll be taken back to a confirmation page that includes a link to your Associate ID as well as some basic instructions about how to begin affiliate marketing.

In particular, it’s an important factor at this stage if you want to includesome pictures or banners from other sites within any promotional content – otherwise, they may flag you for copyrighting infringement.

Fill out your profile

Next, you’ll want to fill out your information on the Amazon profile page for affiliates. Make sure to be as detailed as possible so your prospective customers can know exactly what they’re getting if they buy that product!

Also, don’t forget to pick a unique and professional-sounding name for yourself! This is the name that will show up on any Amazon links you share.

Now you need to create your AA affiliate link.

Create Your Associates Affiliate Link

amazon-affiliate-link

This is easy – all you have to do is head over to the AA home page and log in. Once you’re logged in, you will see your Associate ID in the top right corner of the screen.

To get your affiliate link, just type that number into the “create links” box on the main toolbar and select the option you want. You can create text, images, or banner links.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll be using a text link.

To do this, just copy the link that says “Text Links” and paste it into your blog post. When someone clicks on it, they will be taken to your AA affiliate page.

They can purchase the item from there and you’ll make money!

Research and select Products

Now it’s time to find products!

The best way to do this is by typing the name of the product you want in the top search bar and selecting “see all” when it pops up.

This will show you a whole list of different categories that your chosen item might fall under.

For example, let’s say I have a website where I share my favorite recipes and cooking tips and I write an article about an awesome hot wings recipe using the Uten Air Fryer.

amazon-air-fryer

I go to Amazon and get the affiliate link for the air fryer and place it in the article using some sort of call-to-action like “Click here to check out the Uten Air Fryer”.

Ideally, anyone who comes to your site will click on the link and be redirected to the page on Amazon and buy the air fryer. What’s even cooler is that even if they buy something other than the air fryer I recommended, anything that they add to their cart and purchase within 24 hours of clicking that link,  I will get a commission for that particular product on Amazon.

Not many other programs offer this.

How Much in Commissions can I Earn?

Commissions will vary depending on the program you join. In the case of Amazon, their commission fees range from 0% – 10%. They also have special program fees that payout in dollar amounts.

Using Amazon’s Standard Fee Schedule you can see the different types of products and what you could expect to make per sale. In my example above I used an air fryer as the product to earn a commission on.

On Amazon, the air fryer falls under Home & Kitchen and it has a price of $76.99. Looking at the fee table below, this air fryer would fall into the “All Other Categories” at 4%.

amazon-affiliates-commissions-table-min

Now I know 4% isn’t a whole lot for this particular item. In fact, you’ll only make about $3.

Seems like a chump change, but there are plenty of programs out there that offer a higher percentage of payouts.

But don’t solely concentrate on the big payout. Place your energy into researching the products in your particular niche, writing quality articles, and providing value to your readers.

At a minimum, if you do those three things, you will be well on your way to becoming successful as an affiliate marketer.

Final Thoughts

In this post I have presented a simple primer into what affiliate marketing is and how it works.

The key thing I want you to take away from this article is that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick method of making affiliate income online.

You will have to invest a lot of time to do all the things necessary to be successful.

Feel free to continue to look around my site. I am sure you will see that there are a few aspects to this business.

But don’t worry, I’ll do my best to put you on the right path to success.

Well, that’s about it for this tutorial, but feel free to look around the site and learn so much more.

FAQs

Why do Affiliate Marketers Fail?

First and foremost, affiliate marketing is just like any other business, it takes work to be successful.

With this kind of digital marketing industry, there will always be people who don’t take their business seriously enough and just expect to make money without putting in the effort.

What’s worse than someone not taking their business seriously? Someone who doesn’t take care of their customers.

If you want to be successful with affiliate marketing, you should invest time and energy. If you’re not willing to do that, then I would suggest not starting with affiliate marketing.

It’s better to go into it knowing that there is work involved and then later down the line, if you decide that you don’t want to put in the effort, then find something else.

Is There an Affiliate Marketing Course I Can Take?

There are a myriad of online courses you can take to learn affiliate marketing.

When I first began doing affiliate marketing, I initially took a course offered by Chris Farrell Membership, Udemy, Skillshare, and Wealthy Affiliate.

These courses will walk you through the whole process of setting up your website, writing content that people want to read, and then sending visitors to a relevant product on an affiliate’s website.

If you’re just starting out with affiliate marketing, and you want to really learn the basics, I would definitely recommend taking a course first.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

In short, yes, affiliate marketing is worth it!

However, you will not be an instant millionaire from doing so. Always remember that there are a lot of people out there trying to do the exact same thing you’re doing!

This means that it will take a while and require some effort to break into the industry and make money.

The beginning stages of your affiliate marketing career probably won’t see you making a whole lot but it’s imperative that yo do not to get discouraged or think of the process as a waste of effort because eventually after a few hard months/years things can really start picking up.

Trust me when I say this though- once they do pick up just imagine how great those commissions will feel at that point in your career :).

Which Is the Biggest Affiliate Network That is Best for Beginners?

If you want to maximize your chances of success as a beginner affiliate marketer, it is important that you join a large and reputable network.

These networks are home to thousands of merchants and offer a wide variety of products that you can promote.

Some of the biggest networks include:

Commission Junction (CJ) – CJ is one of the largest and most well-known networks. It has a large selection of merchants and products to choose from, making it a great option for beginners.

Clickbank – Clickbank is another popular network for affiliates with a wide assortment of digital products for you to promote. This makes it a great choice for beginner affiliate marketers who want to focus on selling digital products.

Amazon – We highlighted this one before. AA is the network that Amazon has built, and it offers a huge variety of products available for you to promote, making it a great option for beginners.

Of course, there are plenty more, but I think these are the 3 biggest options for beginner affiliate marketers. If you want to find other networks, just do a Google search and you’ll find plenty more.

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