If your affiliate marketing experience up to now has been those people who claim to make a lot of money without actually ever telling you what they do, you will be forgiven for being a bit wary of the whole thing.
In fact, affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online either via social media, your own niche site or blog. You don’t need to be a sleezey salesperson to create a passive stream of income by promoting affiliates and making money on any sales you refer.
This post contains affiliate links (of course!). Please read my Disclosure for more information.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply the act of recommending or referring business to a product or service and making a “cut” of the sale.
As an affiliate, you sell other people’s products for a commission. So you don’t have to create a product or offer customer support. Your only real job is to promote the product.
If you have ever referred friends and families to a service or business you love, then affiliate marketing will be natural for you.
What’s even better is that you can set up your business in a way that everything practically runs on autopilot. Once you set it up, you can make money for several months, or possibly even years, without touching the website again.
Tips For Making Money With Affiliate Marketing
Choose your niche
This is certainly one of the most critical steps for success in affiliate marketing. If you choose a niche that’s too large, there’s likely to be too much competition for success to come easily.
Choose a niche that’s too small and you’ll never have enough customers to be really profitable.
Tips for choosing a niche:
What is a common challenge that many people have that you know how to solve? If you’re familiar with the dilemma, it will be easier to market products that offer a solution.
Cater to cherished hobbies
What topics are you knowledgeable about that many are fanatical about? Promote products related to popular hobbies and activities.
One of my most visited sites is a website that focuses only on the best baby gear. I trust their shopping guides and often buy on their recommendations. Another friend swears by a niche tennis site for her kids’ equipment.
Meet an emotional need
What are people afraid of? Most of us are afraid of being alone, missing out on the good things in life, or not being successful. Sell a product that resolves those fears.
The three most successful niches tend to be love, money, and health. Narrow one of these broad topics down to a sub-topic. For example, in the love niche, sub-topics can include getting back your “ex,” finding “the one,” dating success, and many more. You can narrow it even further by catering to one gender.
Find your keywords
Spend some time researching good keywords in your niche. I use a Chrome extension called Keywords Anywhere for discovering popular keywords that people use when looking for information or products. It’s not free but a $10 credit will last you forever.
What you’re looking for is a keyword related to your niche that is getting a significant number of searches, but for which there is not too much competition.
Your keywords will be the cornerstone of your marketing plans. All of your marketing efforts will revolve around these keywords.
Choose a product
You need to choose products to promote. There are two ways to do this:
- Visit the websites of products you love and see if they have an affiliate section on their site. You can normally find it at the bottom of the website in the fine print.
- Join an affiliate network that will let you sign up for many affiliate programs in one go. The advantage here is that payment will be centralized and there is less chance of you not getting paid (it happens).
There are several affiliate network sites you can sign up with – my favorites include:
The Grandaddy of affiliate networks. Amazon is awesome because, of course, everyone knows it as a place to buy almost everything. The only negatives are the commission rate is pretty low and the cookie is only 24 hours. The cookie is how long the click from your link is valid before it is overwritten or expired.
Shareasale is a great network because they have so many different companies under their umbrella, from tech companies to fashion brands.
Awin and ShareaSale are actually the same company but they have different affiliate programs under each one. I mainly like Awin for travel related products and Etsy.
Choosing An Affiliate Program
Obviously, you want to consider how much you will earn per sale, but that’s not the only important detail.
Take a look at the sales page. How does it look to you? Does the sales page peak your interest and make you want to buy the product?
If you wouldn’t buy it, you shouldn’t expect anyone else to either. Ensure the sales page looks professional
Does the product have a guarantee or a warranty? How good is it? Would you be wary of buying this product with the guarantee or warranty that is provided?
Perhaps most importantly: is this a product that people in your niche would be willing to spend money on?
Creating Your Niche Website
Get a domain name
Your domain name also contributes to your sales success. This is the first place your keyword will come into play.
Include your keyword in your domain name. For example, if your keyword was “lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” your domain name could be “lose30poundsin30days.com.”
It’s very likely that the domain name you want won’t be available, but there are ways around this issue.
For example, the domain name “lose30poundsin30daysnow.com” might work for you. Or perhaps, “lose30poundsin30dayseasily.com” would work well too. Just try to be sure that your keyword comes first in your domain name. Add anything extra at the end.
Most studies have shown that .com endings are best. Most top affiliate marketers avoid other suffixes, with the exceptions of .net and .org.
There are many places to register domain names. Namecheap.com is my preferred site.
Build a website
The easiest way to a full-blown website is by using WordPress software. You can follow my step by step guide here.
Post content on your site every day for the first couple of weeks, and then 2 or 3 times a week thereafter. This will keep your readers and the search engines coming back for more.
Start An Email List
Put a newsletter sign-up form on your website and communicate with your subscribers regularly. Your subscribers are your list and your list is like gold. Cultivate a relationship with them and they’ll buy from you time and time again.
The most cost- effective email service provider is one that you only need to pay for once. I use SendFox because you just pay one time and you have lifetime access. It costs $49 for every 5000 subscribers you have as opposed to $50-200 per month for some of the mainstream email services.
Create lots of backlinks
One way to make your website more relevant is to create a lot of backlinks. These are links that point back to your website. Search engines place a high value on these.
Ways to create backlinks include posting on forums, posting on blogs, and registering your website with the numerous website directories. Don’t forget to create a Facebook page and Twitter account.
Utilize websites like Squidoo, as well.
Rinse and Repeat
One website and one product to promote are unlikely to create a large amount of income. It will be necessary to promote several products, each with their own corresponding website. You can stay within the same niche or you can use a new niche each time.
Once you have a process that works for you, it becomes easy. Simply repeat the process over and over again. Keep in mind that some of your websites might fail to make money. But a few of your websites will make a lot of money. So it only makes sense to create multiple sites with multiple products.
As you can see, making money with affiliate marketing is not that difficult. It can be time-consuming, but it’s also possible to outsource a lot of the work.
Many successful affiliate marketers hire someone to build their websites. They also hire people to write their articles. The most important part of the process is finding profitable keywords and products.
Always ensure you are in a niche that appeals to have a sufficient number of customers. Remember that someone has to actually buy the product for you to make any money.