what is affiliate marketing - How to get started in affiliate marketing

How to get started in affiliate marketing

Making a consistent passive income is the dream for most people.

It could give you the chance to ditch the day job, have a more leisurely lifestyle – maybe even work from far-off white sand beach with your laptop open beside you.

But how do you get there?

Well, for most people, it’s about affiliate marketing.

We’ll explain steps you can take to start making that daydream a reality…

What is affiliate marketing?

Essentially, affiliate marketing is about doing marketing activity on behalf of other people.

When they get the result they’re looking for (because of the work you’ve put in) you get paid. It’s this ‘paid on results’ model that makes affiliate marketing a bit different to standard marketing. I.e. you get to put a load of work in before you’re likely to see any money hit your bank account.

Who and what’s involved?

There are usually 3 parties involved with affiliate marketing:

  • The product creator or seller
  • The affiliate network
  • The affiliate marketer (you)

Now of course, there are customers too – but they’re not guaranteed – so, this is where you’ve got to put the work in.

The product creator or seller is someone who’s looking to sell more of their product – which means they approach an affiliate network. The network is a little like a job agency – so, they have a bundle of affiliate marketers that they’ve somewhat vetted and feel are right for the tasks. When an opportunity comes in, they’ll pass it to people on their network.

This opportunity generally comes in the form of a link that’s unique to the affiliate marketer. You put that link out there into the world of customers – and you’re rewarded when people take the action that the product creator or seller is looking for.

That action could be completed sales, it might be mailing list sign-ups, it could be brochure requests – it might even just be the clicks that take someone to their site. They decide what they’re looking for and an amount of money that they’ll pay you for making it happen.

Making money

So, people start hitting the link that you’ve put on your site. Nice work. Some of them go on to buy the product. Awesome.

Every time the desired action takes place – bing, there’s a sophisticated tracking system behind the links you’re publishing that sees to it that you make some money. But it’s not just links from a website that generate traffic to the product creator’s site – there’s a ENORMOUS number of other route you could take.

The message is this:

Anything that generates traffic can be monetised with affiliate marketing.

Got a big Instagram following? Run a great blog? Answer questions on Quora? Write e-books? Run a forum? Pretty handy at ranking a site on Google? If whatever you do generates traffic or gets looked at by a lot of people – there’s a chance it could be generating you some affiliate income.

Reverse engineering

Okay, so, the absolute truth of the matter is – very few affiliate marketers started out by monetising their current internet real-estate. Instead, they see a lucrative offer and create or adapt their infrastructure to push traffic in its direction.

So, instead of creating the demand then sourcing a relevant supply – they find a lucrative supply and work on harvesting a demand that already exists somewhere on the internet. And they do this in some interesting and innovative ways.

With that in mind, what are some of your options for finding people for your offers?

Social Media

You’ve seen adverts in your social media feeds right? Well, there’s a chance they’re placed by affiliate marketers. When you place advertisements on social media you pay for the amount of impressions you get, i.e. the number of times your advert is shown to the audience you’ve specified.

Content sites

People love to consume information – whether it’s long form reviews of philosophy books, cat memes – or anything in between. Affiliates often create sites that provide desirable content – then place text links or banners that direct their audience to the offers they’re promoting. 

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Often, affiliates who concentrate on PPC advertising don’t have their own websites – instead, they opt for platforms like Google Adwords and services that will place your adverts into a vast network of sites.

Shopping services

There’s money to be made helping people to find the right products for them. Comparison sites and review sites are commonly found shopping services that receive a financial incentive when one of their audience goes on to make a purchase from a partner company. Promoting products such as the maclaren stroller triumph are also popular, these products are aimed at the new parent market which is a great niche to be in due to the vast number of baby and children products that you can promote through your site. 

Email newsletters

If you’ve got a large mailing list – or the means the generate one – then you can place advertisements and links in the information you send out. This is tricky territory at times – as you’ve got to provide value rather than just obviously be marketing – but offers and promotions can work well.

What does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?

Now, you’re not going to get so far without some technical skills. At the very least you’re going to need to know how to set up basic websites – and optimise the tracking software that you’ll need to monitor all your activity.

Those skills aren’t rocket science to get your head around on a basic level – that said, if it were a real piece of cake to get successful at affiliate marketing the whole world would be working a few hours a day from whichever beach or boutique holiday resort they chose. But they’re not.

Instead, people tend to dip into affiliate marketing, get disheartened and abandon ship – looking for the next ‘magic bullet’ way of making a fortune. Hence, the first characteristic you’re going to need is patience.

No one gets rich overnight at the beginning. You’re more likely to lose the time or money you put it when you’re starting out – and that’s where the second vital characteristic of an affiliate marker comes into play – an analytical mindset.

You never lose in affiliate marketing – you only ever build you data. If you spend a few hundred pounds and only work out what people don’t want – congratulations, you’re one step closer to working out what they do want.

The very best affiliate marketers are self-motivated, smart with their spending, good with the people at the networks that provide the offers, creative and have a head for problem solving – if you’ve got those things – you might have just found your new favourite job…

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