Affiliate Marketing for Newbies – What is it?

With most of us working hours at end, or per project just to ensure that we make enough to support our living, passive income is a rage and rightly so to help us break that grind.

Affiliate marketing seems to be the most popular and successful business model for passive income in terms of web businesses.

The reason for affiliate marketing being popular is that it is how most people looking to earn some bucks online get started. So if you’re into the business and looking for some business, here’s to making you a bit more literate about this source of online revenue.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is selling someone else’s product and earning a commission for it. What made it popular is the fact that you do not require the infrastructure for manufacturing or trading as is with most products based models. You don’t need to have your own physical product, and neither frame your product information, just sell someone else’s product with the right strategy.

While that sounds simple, it is tedious and time-consuming to get to profitability. The model generally has multiple level of parties involved with no get-rich-quick scheme. Mostly it is a three-person model with the merchant, the affiliate (you) and the consumer. Some affiliate businesses work on network models that offers commission at every level in the network.

The mission you have at hand is to maximize sales for someone else’s product to maximize your own commission earnings that you’d accumulate per sale, or in some cases, per action.


Affiliate Marketing Networks

Amazon Associates is the most common network associated with affiliate marketing. While it may pay low, the perk is that Amazon has a huge variety of products and is a trusted vendor that happens to be the largest retailer on the planet today. Currently, you’re likely to earn around 4% for most sales but just if your conversion rate is good with the copy and business in place, it could add up to good numbers.

CPA networks too are popular and they revolve around selling leads or other actions to earn a commission. These could involve information products or even physical goods.

While most people build their sites around one form of affiliate marketing, some combine the two. The factor that plays a major role in this decision is that which type would best perform with your niche.


Building your Affiliate Empire

If you’re new to the business, things would look simple on paper, though at times tedious but if you know how to do business online, you’re pretty much equipped for this form of passive income. Here’s what you need to do :

  • Create a website and upload content, preferably review based to make the venture more profitable.
  • Through various SEO and advertising techniques, try to attract traffic to your website.
  • Get your hands on an email list to promote your content and certain products directly through email.
  • Accumulate money as commissions add up.

While that seems easy, the first two steps may require much effort and time, especially if you’re a novice to the business.


Creating Content

It’s a good strategy, adopted by most people; to create lots of reviews so as to monetize your site immediately with affiliate marketing. However, you’d need to make sure that the keyword research is on point.

However, not only do you not want to limit yourself to reviewing, but Google may as well penalize you if you have too many affiliate links. Moreover, the site may look sponsored and at times too commercial for people to believe that it is credible.

Thus, you have to look beyond standard blog posts. Video channels tend to perform well, or perhaps a comparison of products to keep the visitor intrigued. However, the most important part is offering your viewer some real value to gain a loyal customer.

Some people look for niches that appear easier for conversions and affiliate sales, however if the niche interests you, you are more likely to be involved in the project and create better content. You could also outsource content for a niche that is better paying but less interesting to you personally, as long as you make sure that you are offering to the reader what keeps them engaged.


Here is what to do if you’ve run short on ideas:

  • Providing information on the subject at hand paired with a buyer’s guide is the best bet and much tested too.
  • If you have the product you’re selling at hand, video reviews work really well too.
  • For electronics, a tabular comparison with lots of data is great way to drive sales
  • If you’re working with CPA products to generate leads, personal testimonials about the service or product in question can work wonders too.



Getting Traffic

Almost all online business models are driven by traffic and content. While you could gain traffic in multiple ways, the most effective remains organic traffic, especially if you’re on a budget. You could then avoid the costs of advertising through social media or Ads.

For organic traffic, you need to have your on-page as well as off-page SEO in order. Also, it can take time for Google to rank your content and then for you to maintain the ranking for those keywords can be tedious.

If you’re in a rush to get started, social media is the key. Having a Facebook page can work essentially well to reach more customers. If you’re savvy with social media, direct social media advertising could prove effective, and a little amount of creativity and skill could play the game changer!

Great on-page SEO alongside snagging backlinks through guest posts is the best route for beginners. With a bit of traffic and probably some start of a fan base, you are likely to see success with the list.


Building your list

Marketers often talk about building their lists. While it may be among the most relevant assets for your page, you need to look for the optimum time to spring it.

Opt in boxes are often ignored, more so if they have nothing of value to offer. Thus, it is essential to provide some value to your list, that isn’t available on your page already. You could look to outsource a small e-book about your niche for an added information product. It could help get people to sign up, even if they intend on disconnecting as soon as they get what they were looking for. Do not avoid the opt-out button to avoid getting a bad reputation.

Through the sign ups you are working with an actual base and can hence get into email marketing. Try however to not try too hard to sell and rather focus on adding hidden affiliate links to retain customer loyalty.

A great way to know how to market through emails is by subscribing to other platforms of the same niche and then analyze as a visitor what attracts you the most. Then you need to focus on maintaining the balance between customer retention and conversion rates for your own emails. The size of your list matters, as chances are a large number of people will never buy anything.



Keep it Up

If you’ve reached this stage, your work is almost done and you just need to keep it up.

You may want to consider selling the site once it becomes profitable, if it deals with a smaller, less personally interesting niche.

However, you need to be personally invested in the project and the niche to build a truly successful affiliate marketing empire. Your personal interest will help not just with content generation but also consistent marketing and maintenance. The secret is, the more you put into it, more you gain from it.

Also, you may be looking at paid advertising for which you could decide on a percentage of revenue to re-invest in your marketing.


The Dirty Little Secret

You may fumble through and want to give up entirely. Not every website is destined to see success with affiliate marketing at all times. However, never give up and work on it consistently, learning from every mistake you’ve made all along. That really is your key to success.

Passive income can surely be your best goal till date if you’re willing to invest time and effort into it. Affiliate marketing is one of the best passive income sources and you can begin building your empire today. All you need is a bit of knowledge, a domain and an appetite for success to keep you striving till you achieve the dream into reality.

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain

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