You may have been wondering how you can make money online, and that’s probably why you stumbled on this website in the first place. If you’ve struggled so hard to understand some of these “easy to follow” guidelines that not only waste your time but also end up ridding you of your hard earned cash, then you’re not alone.
After struggling for several months to find a true and sustainable way of earning money online, I came across a material that got me started on affiliate marketing, and that made all the difference.
In this affiliate marketing for dummies, I will show you how to launch your affiliate marketing business, and also how to run it successfully.
What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing?
I’m sure you’ve seen this term come up online more than a million times, and now you’re probably asking yourself what the heck it means. Affiliate marketing is a sales agreement where a website gets a commission by generating traffic or sales for an online retailer.
There are so many cases where people do affiliate marketing online. In fact, most people do it.
Have you ever read a blog where some dog enthusiast was talking about dogs and then he jumps right to the section that talks about their nutritional requirement, only to find a link that directs you to a website where you can buy dog food?
The last product review you’ve read or watched most likely contained a link that visitors can click to buy the product. This is just what affiliate marketing is all about. It’s about you getting buyers for a particular product and earning commissions from it.
Affiliate marketing is not affiliate networking
Really. It isn’t some kind of pyramid scheme where you bring people to join a platform as a downline and then begin to earn as your downlines get more referrals.
An affiliate marketer is person (or a website) that refers prospective customers to another retailer. So instead of driving around and selling food supplements or some other products, you’re basically telling visitors to click on a link to check out (and buy) a product. That’s all there is to it.
Affiliate marketing in four simple steps:
- First, you decide on the product you want to promote.
- Then you search for “[name of product] affiliate program” and sign up for their affiliate program.
- Save the special link they give you and use it to market the product.
- Include the link in your articles, YouTube videos, and your social media posts.
Then you’re ready to go. The link enables them to track your stats and then you get a commission every time someone buys the product through your link.
I’m sure you already feel like you could do affiliate marketing, and you want to jump right to it. Well, let me give you some actionable steps to get you started.
But before then, here are two important questions in building an online business
Question 1: How do I choose a niche?
To have a successful affiliate marketing business, you need to make sure you sell products that address a specific set of problems.
It would be a bad idea for you to advertise headphones, then go on to post your next video or article relating to baby products, and then move on to shoes the next week. So it’s very important to make sure you choose a specific category of products you want to sell.
Now when trying to choose on the specific niche you want to focus on, you’re always faced with the option of choosing the niche that has the highest profit potential or choosing one that you’re really passionate about.
When faced with the temptation of choosing profit over passion, you need to understand that there are lots of hurdles to overcome when starting an online business. You need passion to keep you going.
The reason why online businesses fail is that most people give up on businesses before it starts to gain traction. So you should always consider choosing a niche that you’re passionate about when it comes affiliate marketing, at least for the FIRST time. This way, you won’t get burned out with all the stress and challenges you encounter.
You’ll be able to serve your audience better if you’re very knowledgeable about a certain subject. You have to know enough to teach someone else, to help someone else.
This subtle idea is what would make a whole lot of difference and will easily set you apart from the competition.
Question 2: How much do I have?
Well, I have news for you: no matter how much you have, even if it’s zero, you can get started for free and walk your way up the ladder within a very short time.
Even with just $100, you’d be able to setup your own website, or run an advertising campaign. But if you don’t have anything to invest right away, don’t get discouraged from taking the steps needed to start earning. These steps include anything from creating a Facebook Group and getting people to join, blogging, or posting social media videos via Instagram Stories, FB Live, etc.
With that said, let’s jump right to the actionable steps that can get you started right now.
Step 1: Start a YouTube Channel
This is completely free. You don’t even have to get a professional camera to get started. You can start recording on your phone and posting it on your YouTube channel.
Not only will you be able to make money when people click your link to purchase a product, you will also make some money if you allow ads on your YouTube videos.
Once you have created a channel, you can start to upload videos that are related to affiliate products and content that you want to promote. From there, you’ll want to insert your affiliate link in the description and encourage people to follow that link to purchase whatever product it is you’re recommending.
Even if you don’t have any subscribers at the beginning, YouTube would make sure to suggest your videos to a new audience if you upload informative and high quality videos to your channel.
To start a YouTube channel, you need to have a Google account.
- Go to YouTube website and click on the user icon at the top right corner of the screen.
- Click on settings.
- Click on “Create a new channel”
- Type in your brand account name
- Then click create
Your account is now created. Now you can fill in your channel description and other information. Once you have these set up, you can go ahead to upload your videos.
And if you have $100 to spare?
Step 2: Create a Website
With less than a hundred bucks, you can set up a good looking website where you advertise your products.
In fact, you could get registered for some affiliate programs if you don’t have a functioning website.
Websites help you reach a new set of audience and would also help complement the efforts you’re putting into social media. The best way to do this would be to run a blog that offers solution to people’s problems. You can start a blog that talks about skin conditions, and then insert your affiliate link in the call-to-action of every blog post you write.
You also have to make sure that you drive traffic to your blog. To do this, you have to follow some SEO principles to get more traffic to your website.
More specifically, I’ve even published a simple blog post that shows you how you can get your blog/website started in under five minutes. Read it here.
Step 3: Get Your Target Audience to Your YouTube Channel
Every time you upload a new video on YouTube or write a new blog post, you should post it on your other social media accounts (e.g. FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc.).
You can also take it a step further by opening a social media page from which you can run a paid social media campaign. For example, with Facebook you can target the people you are going after and test ads to see what type of messaging drives people to make purchases. This would also enable you to get a much wider coverage.
You need to be a good salesperson. When affiliates struggle to make good money through affiliate marketing, the problem is often not associated with the way they set up their account, but in their inability to get people to buy their products.
The secret to a successful affiliate marketing business is to have a platform—either your YouTube channel, blog, social media accounts—that genuinely engages with your target audience.
You don’t want to force your products onto your audience as it won’t work. What you want to do is address the problems that people are struggling with, and then recommend a product that addresses this issue.
Welcome to a journey of making your first $1000 online. Sure, it won’t happen overnight, and if it did, everyone would be doing this successfully. Here are a few takeaway items to keep top of mind:
- Dedicate at least 90 minutes of work per day to building out your affiliate business.
- Be willing to do things that many people consider boring and difficult.
- Generate high-quality and authentic content (e.g. blog posts, videos, social posts, etc.).
- Fine tune and test… In fact, never stop testing! The more data you collect, the easier it’ll be to make the best decisions that will yield positive results.
- Stay at it until you make your first $1000.
This could take 10 days or 100 days or more, but don’t give up. You’ll gain more traction and things will get much easier with time.