Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. The internet provides a platform for businesses and marketers alike to advertise their products and services, which means there are always new affiliates looking for programs they can promote.
If you’re interested in joining the affiliate marketing world, this blog post will give you everything you need to know about how to get started with affiliate marketing.
You will learn how to get started with affiliate marketing, how to make money with affiliate marketing and how much money you can make, types of affiliate marketing blog posts, products you can recommend and a affiliate aggregators you can sign up to.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
For beginners affiliate marketing can seem complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Affiliate marketing is simply a way to earn money for promoting products or services from third-party companies or brands on your blog, social media and to your email list. If someone buys that product or service on your recommendation you will receive a commission from the business that is a percentage of the sale price.
These promotions typically come in the form of affiliate links, a link to the company’s website or a specific product that is tracked. Every time someone purchases something through that tracked link you get paid a small commission.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a passive income from your website in addition to things such as advertisements.
Why Join The Affiliate Marketing World?
There are many reasons why people want to join the affiliate marketing world:
- You have the opportunity to make money from the recommendations that you may already be making in your blog posts and in your social media content.
- You don’t need to create or produce a product.
- You don’t have to worry about shipping, fulfilment, inventory etc.
- You have little to no cost to set up the affiliates. Most affiliate marketing programmes are free to join, so the expense is your time.
- You can do this from anywhere in the world.
- You can add affiliates to an existing website at any time or to a new site when you get started.
- There are usually no specific time contracts, so if the affiliate programme isn’t working for you, you can stop anytime.
- You can select products or brands that you truly think will interest your readers.
- Even though you’re not running your own business or selling your own products, you’re still building up a business that can generate income for you and have the potential to be an asset that you can sell later. If you blog generates thousands of dollars in affiliate income per month, this turns your website into a valuable and sellable asset.
- If done right, affiliate marketing is passive income where you can eventually outsource much of the work to content writers.
There are also a few negatives that can come with affiliate marketing that you should be aware of and consider when you get started.
- Can requires high web traffic to your site to be able to generate enough clicks and purchases to make the affiliate relationships generate income.
- You may miss out on sales. For example, consider when you are planning to make a high value purchase – you would typically do some research, find a few options, think about it for a while and then decide to purchase. It is unlikely that you immediately make the purchase from the first place you read about it. If that happens, the buyer may have first seen it from you, but they don’t go back to your affiliate link when they make the final purchase. Some affiliates will have a tracking cookie, which could be 7, 15 or 30 days meaning you will get credited if the buyer purchases at a later date. But some programs do not have the tracking cookie and the purchase must be made in the same session for you to receive the affiliate commission.
- You have no control over the business, the products, the quality or the customer experience. If the customer has a negative experience buying a product or experience on your recommendation, they may associate this to you. This is why it is important to endorse products and companies you have personally used or are familiar with.
- There is a risk the company does not pay you. This is less likely with big well know companies that run affiliate programmes but could happen with smaller affiliates you work with.
- If you find a great affiliate programme, chances are many other website owners, bloggers and influencers have too and your followers may already be buying through the links they have been promoting. This can also make it harder for you to rank your blog post about the product or service against other more established bloggers.
Overall the positives outweigh the negatives in my opinion. As long as you are aware of some of the possible negatives and seek
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Getting started with affiliate marketing can seem like a daunting task, but there are lots of different ways to incorporate it into your website.
Typically there are three or four different parties involved in the process – the product creators, affiliates, and consumers.
The product creators create a product or service to sell, the product creator then pays an affiliate to promote the product, and the consumer makes a purchase. The affiliate then receives payment for promoting the product.
Product creators can be anyone from hotel chains, airlines, car rentals, shopping portals to individual products. Many of them will often have affiliate marketing programs, which you can sign up for. The company may have an online portal of their own where you can create your unique trackable links or codes or they will be part of an affiliate network such as CJ Affiliates (which I come to later in this article).
These companies recognize the importance of using bloggers to promote their products to their followers and viewers and reward them with a small commission for doing so. Small commissions can add up quickly and you can generate a passive income from visitors coming to your blog.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing has uncapped earning potential, depending on your followers or website visitor numbers. Top affiliates can earn up to $100k a month or more, sometimes just from one program, product or service that they promote! The amount you can earn depends on your website traffic, your marketing skills, email marketing, and other things such as SEO that bring people to your website.
Earning potential also depends on your website niche and your industry. For example, if you are a budget travel blogger promoting hostels and budget hotels, your earnings will naturally be lower than a luxury travel blogger promoting hotels that cost several thousand dollars per night.
When Should You Start Affiliate Marketing?
You don’t need to have millions of monthly views to get started with affiliate marketing – you can get started right away! In fact I recommend that you start implementing affiliate links into your blog posts from Day 1 whenever you are making a recommendation for a product of service that you have used.
Unlike advertising on your website (where I typically recommend you wait until you have at least 10,000 monthly visitors before you implement ads), affiliate links won’t disrupt the reader experience or slow down your website as they can just appear in anchor text within your blog posts.
What Products and Services Should You Promote?
When you are getting started with affiliate marketing you have to understand the fundamentals of marketing – your audience will notice if you are promoting constantly and are less likely to click through your links. They are also less like to take note of your recommendations if you are not being authentic and are promoting products you don’t believe in.
The best way to get started with affiliate marketing is to only promote products you love that will help you create authentic content that your audience will love.
Types Of Affiliate Products To Promote
Affiliate products can come from anywhere and everywhere. A simple Google search of your favorite brands, products, or services followed by ‘affiliate program’, will give you an idea of the affiliate programs available.
There are many different types of affiliate products, including:
- Physical products
- Digital products
- Online courses
- E-commerce stores
Lots of companies offer affiliate programs even if you haven’t heard about them before. No matter what industry your niche is in, there are hundreds of affiliate programs available for every type of product. Companies have noticed the importance of these programs and created them as a sales and referral technique.
Questions To Ask Before Promoting An Affiliate Product
Before you commit to signing up to an affiliate program, choose products or promote them on your blog, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I use this product?
- Will my readers use this product?
- Is it easy to purchase the product?
- What is the affiliate commission rate?
- Do I agree with what the product or company stands for? Do my values align with theirs?
- Am I confident in this product?
- Would you recommend this product to your best friend?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the affiliate product is not for you. There are a large number of affiliate products and networks out there for you to choose from, so it’s important to find the correct one for you.
How To Make Your First Ten Dollars Through Affiliate Marketing
Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy and making your first $10 is not as challenging as you may think.
Step 1: If your blog is already up and running, go through your existing blog posts to see what products and services that you are already promoting. Then look into whether these have an affiliate program you can sign up to.
Step 2: Sign up for an affiliate network like Amazon Associates, Shareasale or Clickbank. These platforms aggregate hundreds of products and services in one place making it easy for you to find products to promote and track your sales and commissions.
Step 3: Once you’ve signed up for the network of your choice, add the unique link into your existing blog posts so that your readers can buy the products you are recommending.
Step 4: Create a blog content strategy centered around specific products and services that you want to promote. I personally recommend that you choose a smaller number of products or services that you promote and really focus on marketing these through dedicated blog posts rather than trying to promote hundreds of different things.
Affiliate Aggregators To Get Started With
Another way of getting started with affiliate marketing is through affiliate aggregators. These are singular platforms and networks that have lots of different affiliate programs in one place. This allows for all affiliates to be under the same program instead of multiple programs across networks.
Some examples of affiliate aggregators to get started with are the following:
Where To Market Your Affiliates
Once you have selected your affiliate programmes and signed up to these, its time to start implementing these onto your website. There are plenty of places that you can include your affiliate links to make sure your readers see them.
- Blog Sidebar Create custom graphics which sit in the sidebar and link directly to the affiliate product. Or you can use HTML code from the partner site to design a search box that matches your site colours.
- Resources Page See example of my Travel resources page on my travel blog. This is a helpful page for our readers, sharing some of our top travel resources and planning tools. We also have a Blogging Resources Page sharing our top blogging tips. These resources pages are great for affiliates and also for promoting some of your top useful blog articles that you would like your readers to see. For example, if you are linking your favourite travel insurance affiliate, why not link a detailed blog post that tells your readers why they should buy insurance and why this one is your favourite.
- Gear Page A gear page shows all your favourite gear in your niche. For travel this could include your luggage, packing cubes etc., for photographers this could include cameras, camera bags, tripods etc.
- Within blog posts and pages as text links. Using affiliate links within your blog posts with text links is one of the most effective ways of getting your readers to click through because the article explains why you like it or use it. These links also naturally flow with the article content, for example in the sentence “when we landed in Paris we went straight to our hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Paris, we dropped our luggage and went straight to the bar for a cocktail. In every city I stay I always love to stay at the Mandarin if there is one, because of XYZ…” I could add affiliates links for the Mandarin Oriental hotel and to the luggage we use.
- At the end of your blog posts and pages as embedded links or graphics Create a section at the end of your blog post that includes relevant and related affiliates. For example, in a blog post about the best things to do in Paris, I might include a section at the end with several hotel options within different budget categories or a guide about how to take your first solo camping trip include all the gear that you recommend at the end.
- As a Shop Now widget within the article. You can create these widgets on the affiliate partner websites, and they will provide a line of HTML code to insert on the page which will create the widget.
- To your email list in a newsletter or other email updates you share.
- On your social media channels telling your followers why you love the products. On Instagram you could write these into the caption or on stories with a swipe up link.
- eBooks or Guides If you are creating any eBooks or downloadable guides you can include relevant affiliate links.
- Courses If you are creating an online or in person course add your affiliate links into your key recommended products
- To your customers for example if you host retreats or plan group trips you could recommend specific travel insurance providers to your customers when they book onto your trip.
- YouTube is the perfect place to promote your affiliates as you can tell your audience exactly why you like them! You can link all the affiliates in the description of the video
Types Of Affiliate Marketing Blog Posts
Once you have decided on the products you want to promote, signed up to the program, and created your links, it’s time to create some blog posts. As I mentioned earlier I recommend creating a content strategy that supports your affiliates in order to see results.
By this I mean created specific blog posts with the intention of promoting one or more products rather than randomly dropping in links here and there and hoping someone will buy something.
There are many blog posts you can create to place these links into, but the most popular types of blog posts are:
- Product or service review posts
- Comparison posts
- Review posts
- Service reviews
- List or wrap up blog posts
- Gift guides
- Information articles
- Basic text links
Product Or Service Review Posts
Product or service reviews are a great way to use affiliate links. You can honestly review products for your readers, this works especially well if your readers trust your opinions.
You can create these review posts for physical products or things such as hotels or travel insurance for example.
Comparison Posts Of Two/Three Products Or Services
Another great way to use affiliate marketing is by creating comparison blog posts comparing two or three items, with links to each item.
This works great when you have two or three products that are very similar and you are giving your readers the pros and cons of each product.
A great example of this could be comparing two or three similar email marketing platforms or two hotels in the same location.
List Or Wrap Up Posts
You can create listicle articles or wrap-up posts for different types of products. For example this could be Top 10 Reef Safe Sunscreens, or Top 10 Luxury Hotels In Paris or any other listicle articles that fit your niche.
For something a little unique you can create gift guides for events or celebrations such as holiday gift guides, or gift guides for travelers, etc. These are a great way to create seasonal content for your blog that promotes your affiliates. Every year you can update the blog post with new products and reshare with your audience.
Information Articles With Affiliate Focus
Information articles are a great way to get started with affiliate marketing as you can create blogs like ‘where to stay guides’ with detailed information on a destination and specific neighbourhoods that also includes hotels in each of the areas.
These articles are a great way to add affiliate links while also giving you reader valuable insight and information about a destination.
You can also just add links into your existing blog post wherever a product, service or experience is recommended.
Disclosing Your Affiliate Relationships
You must disclose any affiliate relationships that you have and when you receive a commission from a link that is on your website or shared on your social media. On your website you should have a disclosures page that your readers can easily find which details affiliate relationships. In addition you should disclose at the top of a blog post (or before the first affiliate link) that affiliate links are included in the article.
The NEW Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers from the FTC is a good place to start to understand how and where you should disclose your affiliate relationships.
Now you should have an idea about 1) Affiliate marketing, 2) The different types of blog articles you can create and 3) How to get started.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you can find companies or products you love, that suit your niche and aligns with your blog, and recommend them to your readers.
If you start using affiliate marketing, you will begin earning a small commission from your audience and community within your blog posts and recommendations, a great way to start earning a passive income!
I hope you found this article helpful to understand more about affiliate marketing, how to get started, and why you should use them. If you have any questions about affiliate marketing, drop them in the comments.
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