Using affiliate programs to make money can seem like a dream come true. You are promised a lot of money for helping sell products from the comfort of your own home. This may seem like a get-rich-quick scheme, but nothing comes easy. With hard work and dedication, however, you can build a solid source of side (or even main) income.
STEP ONE – FINDING AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
- Understand affiliate marketing
Companies create affiliate programs to help push their products. When you become an affiliate program member—which is usually free—you will be given an affiliate link, you need to promote this link on your website or another site. When people buy the products through your links, you will get a commision. As a member of an affiliate network, you can choose to promote any of several thousand products. It is possible to make up to 50–75% of the profit on each sale that results from your promotion.
- Know what sets each program apart.
Affiliate programs are everywhere online, and it can be hard to tell them apart. Each program distinguishes itself by the products it sells. Some affiliate programs only require you to post links; others will ask you to pay money to learn about how to sell the product you are selling. As the latter type of affiliate, you can make commissions by getting others to pay—by bringing other marketers into the fold. Beware of any program that asks you to pay money before becoming their affiliate member.
- Understand the usual pay models
There are a few ways that you can make money from online affiliate marketing:
- Cost-per-click: you get paid a very low amount every time someone clicks from your content onto the advertiser’s site. This is good for high-traffic content.
- Cost-per-lead: you get paid a low amount (but slightly more than cost-per-click) every time someone signs up or fills a form with the advertiser using a link from your content.
- Cost-per-acquisition: you get paid a fixed or percentage-based commission every time someone buys from the advertiser using a link from your content. Cost-per-acquisition marketing is good for focused, high-quality content.
- Choose an affiliate program
First, you must decide which affiliate program to join. Affiliate programs often have a theme, such as gardening or weight loss, and you should find a theme that interests you. Look for a network with a lot of product codes that are relevant to your topic. Consider networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareaSale, Jumia, Clickbank, and Amazon. Remember, it isn’t really about the network – it’s about whether the network is relevant to the content of your website.
STEP TWO- AFFILIATE MARKETING ON YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE
- Research a topic or niche
Choose a popular trend or market – something that a lot of people are searching for, and something that a lot of online readers will find interesting (See Google Trends).
- Use the Google Keyword Research Tool to break down your chosen niche into more specific niches
Weight loss is a popular topic, but it is too broad. People want to lose weight for many reasons: vacations, weddings, summer, the new year, birthdays, and other special events. Choose a specific niche, such as “weight loss for summer” or “weight loss for weddings.”
- Consider the search volume for your chosen topic
Find out how many people are searching for that topic by running a web search for, say, “quick weight loss.” The quotes will make your search specific, so that the only results will be sites that mention the exact phrase “quick weight loss.” Your search engine should list the number of search results that turn up for your query. Try to find a topic that turns up fewer than 5,000 results.
- Create a website about the topic that you have chosen
The key to succeeding with affiliate programs is to build a content-rich website with useful information built around a specific theme. Don’t just lazily throw up a quick site or blog and string a bunch of affiliate links all over your pages. You have to start by building credibility, and the best way to do that is to write about something you know a lot about.
- If you know a lot about the newest smartphones and tech products, try setting up a site that reviews and catalogs new products.
- It’s also a good idea to own the products you promote so that you can appear more credible to your audience.
- Find affiliate codes and paste them into your site
Once your site is well-established and respected for its content, you can begin to link out to affiliate programs. Search the various affiliate networks and look for products that relate to the theme of your website. Grab the affiliate code from your account and paste it into your site. As people visit your site and click these links, you can begin earning money from the referrals in your articles.
- Mention products in your articles or blog posts, and use the affiliate code to link out to each product. Use your articles to subtly convince readers that these products or services are worthwhile. Do not sell too hard.
- Send out an email newsletter with product links. You can set up a pop-up that prompts visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter.
- Avoid sending out spam. If you send out daily newsletters or aggressive messages, your emails may be flagged by spam filters, and your visitors may even unsubscribe.
- Avoid hard-selling
The key is to subtly recommend products and services that fit in with what you are writing about in your content. If you try to market your affiliate products too aggressively, you may mar the credibility of your site.
- Try not to come off as a salesperson. Present yourself as a knowledgeable, trustworthy third-party reviewer. Readers can be wary of online marketing tactics, and they may be more likely to click links if they don’t think you’re trying to sell them anything. Let the interested folks click, and don’t force anyone to click on the ad.
STEP THREE AFFILIATE MARKETING WITHOUT A WEBSITE
- Promote affiliate programs through article marketing
Write articles on a given product and find free places online to post them, such as review sites and article directories. Be sure to check if you are allowed to include an affiliate code link to the product you’re promoting. Some sites only allow you to link out to a non-commercial website.
- Use strategic keywords in your articles. Place links in the headline, the first few sentences, and throughout the body of the article to attract the search engines.
- Research long-tail keywords to target. If you are selling a weight-loss product, the phrase “weight loss” will pair you with tons of competition. Instead, break your topic down into more specific phrases like “lose weight in two weeks” or “lose weight for wedding.”
- Locate online communities relevant to the affiliate you are promoting
This might include forums, discussion boards, chat rooms, and blogs. Post often on the forum, and build a good reputation among the community members. Once people trust your judgment, you can start to include affiliate links in your posts. Do not simply spam the forums with product codes. You should sprinkle the affiliate links within genuinely useful content.
- Review member policies on every community website. Verify whether you are allowed to post affiliate links to a site. Some online communities may prohibit affiliate links and consider the links advertising spam.
- Review your account settings on every website. If you belong to a forum or discussion group that requires you to register for an account, you may be able to take advantage of a signature box in which you can post affiliate links. You can choose to display the signature box each time you reply to or write a post on the website.
3.Write an e-book on a topic that is related to your affiliates
For example, if you team up with an affiliate that sells fitness equipment, you may want to write an e-book about different workout techniques that involve the fitness equipment. Embed affiliate links into sections of your e-book. For example, if your e-book is about fitness, you can write about the importance of wearing appropriate running shoes during your workout, then embed affiliate links for a specific brand of running shoes that you recommend to your readers.
- Choose a topic you are knowledgeable about. You may earn more from your affiliates if readers gain value from the information you are providing.
- Include affiliate banners and pictures within your e-book. Banners and pictures that contain affiliate links may catch the eye and draw clicks.