Affiliate Marketing Complete Guide (Step by Step)

affiliate marketing complete guide step by step

Affiliate Marketing is an agency business on digital surface. In affiliate marketing, the marketer endorses the goods and services of others for some consideration in term of commission. As an affiliate or publisher you send people to the product or services page and if the person buys that, you make the sale and thus leverage the commission out of it.

Affiliate Marketing is not a quick rich business. In fact, it is as you sow so shall you reap.

Affiliate – People engaged in recommending the products in quench of commission are called affiliates.

Affiliate Platform or Program –  Affiliate Program is a program designed by the sellers who contend its marketers (affiliates) to give certain commission on the sales made by them.

Amazon has its own affiliates program where they refer their affiliates as Amazon Associates.

Audience – Audience is one of the important parameter in affiliate marketing as your revenue will depend on the audience that you have.

That’s why Affiliate marketing is not quick rich business like other agency schemes as you have to break your back, build audience, engage audience and eventually recommend audience. However, the difficulty decreases with advancement in level.  But remember, your audience is not foolish.

Who they think so are lag far behind the story.

Although, affiliate marketing is one the cheapest and quickest method to start making money online. You do not have to make products, deliver products, store the products and you make money by just recommending valuable stuff to your audience.

How To Do Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a straightforward and easy marketing method. However, as it comes on online surface many people are unaware of its applications and implementation. Don’t worry I shall tell you step by step how you can start making money with Affiliate Marketing.

#Create A Website

In affiliate marketing you recommend products to the audience. In order to build online audience, you will need to build your online centre for the audience to stay.

To do this, creating a blog/website is the best option. (Link on : How To Create A Website)

#Write Valuable Content & Engage Audience

The next step after you create your website is to create content for the audience that is useful to them. Audience creation and retention is essential part of affiliate marketing.

No business can run in vacuum. You actually need customers to do business. To attract people to be potential customers, you will need to give them valuable content.

For say, if you have a lifestyle blog, you will need to write a lot about lifestyle and fashion. People will constantly judge you through the process so be natural, reasonable and efficient.

Once you will have enough content on your blog for your audience to allure with. You are ready to recommend affiliate products. However, this is the stage where people themselves will ask you for the recommendation.

Don’t we ask from a healthy and robust person of group as to “What the heck you eat bro? Any secret .. ?? Ahh.. tell.. tell… tell..  

#Join Affiliate Programs

Once, you have followed the above steps, it is the time to join affiliate programs. You need to join the appropriate affiliate program that may suit your audience.

You can search on Google for “affiliate program for” + [your category]

Looking up first page you will figure out list of available affiliate programs for your category that you can join.

(Link to: How/Best_Practices To Join Affiliate Programs)

#Choose Product and Services

After joining affiliate program you have to find out the best products that your audience will like to purchase. Don’t look for high profit product but high value products.

The more you care your audience the more potentially you convert them into buyers.

Choose the product by going through its overall reviews by the buyers of the product. However, the best practice of recommending products is endorsing those products which you have personally used.

#Drive Traffic

You can not get sales and commission until you allure the audience to come on your website. To create audience base, you need to write good content consistently.

Easy, right ?

But wait, while you write for your audience, it is not sure that you will get audience overnight. There are lot others writing too. So, you may wait for your audience to grow.

You will need to continuously promote, share and enrich your content for the audience to roam around it.

(Link to : How To Drive Traffic)

How Affiliate Marketing Works

It is good opportunity to talk little bit more about affiliate marketing glossary.

We have already discussed about Affiliate, Affiliate Program and Audience. Let’s spread it further.

Terms Used In Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Network –

Affiliate network is a place where merchants list their products and affiliates can find those listed products to sell, promote or market.

Affiliate Link –

When affiliates join any affiliate program they generally get an unique Affiliate ID. Affiliates have different affiliate IDs. When they want to sell any product of the Network, they get an Affiliate Link for that particular product.

This is actually a trackable URL which can identify the Affiliate.

Affiliate Commission –

When any person buys something through the Affiliate Link of the affiliate, it counts as sale for the affiliate. Now, for that sale, determined amount of commission is credited to the Affiliate Account which is called Affiliate Commission.

Cookie –

Cookies are used to assign a unique ID to the buyer in order to affix the purchase as referred by you. Interestingly, cookies have a life span or say they are stored for a predetermined period so that if the person browsing the product page through your affiliate link does not buy it right at that time, the sale will be counted if he buys within the predetermined time.

Merchant –

He is manufacturer of the product that you as an affiliate market on your website.

Referral –

The visitor of your website when turns into a potential buyer by purchasing the affiliate product is referred as referral.

How Affiliate Marketing works

Everything starts with you as an Affiliate where you join the Affiliate Network for earning Affiliate Commission. After joining the program, you are provided with a dashboard, affiliate ID and affiliate links.

Now you retrench the best products which you feel will suit your audience. This process needs to be done with proper attention and care.

After selecting the products, you provide the links of these products or services on your website. Now, when the visitor of your page makes any purchases via your affiliate links, you make a sale and provided with the determined commission by the Affiliate Program.

Why Affiliate Marketing is One of the best ways to make money online?

Affiliate Marketing is done by millions of people around the world. There are many attributes that make affiliate marketing one of the best ways to make money from your blog.

No Fees

In order to start making money with affiliate marketing you don’t need to give any money to the affiliate network or invest in anywhere. Even if someone asks you for money to make you affiliate or contends something alike, check yourself, it may certainly be a scam.

No Storage

In affiliate marketing, your job is to market the products of the merchant and not of storing the products for further delivery.

No Customer Support

As an affiliate, you recommend valuable products to your loyal audience. Customer support is given by the merchant or selling website. You don’t need worry about these.

Example: Your blog is about fitness. Now, you are recommending a product about weight gain to your audience. In such case, the person who buys the product will ask for support from manufacturer of the product and not from you.

Note: With the term customer support, we mean support with respect to wrong delivery, after sale services, damaged product delivery and alike.

International Market

Online Market gives you opportunity to reach the audience world wide. The broader market as a result increases the possibility of sales.

Cost Effective

Affiliate Marketing is very cost effective. You need not worry about product making, product planning, product pricing and other thing like that which require capital.

You can save production cost easily by promoting other people goods and earn huge commission from it.

Passive Income

Affiliate Marketing allows you to earn passively. Most of the jobs will permit you to earn while you are doing the work. Alternatively, you can earn even when you are not on work from affiliate networking. Because your words of mouth are on work.

We watch TV programmes, serials and movies. Apart from content, they show us regular ads and recommend products.

How many times have you seen Suryavansham? Did they make it multiple time?

They made it once and it is shown on TV’s and it generates revenue.

However, revenue earned by TV’s are pretty different from Affiliate Marketing but for the purpose of understanding we can relate them for while.

Work From Home

In Affiliate Marketing you don’t need to reach the customer individually like in other offline agency businesses. In fact, you write at home valuable content for the audience, on the base of which audience makes a connection with you and buys the product from your link.

In short, you don’t to go out to market the products of the merchant and online market suffices your needs.

How To Choose Affiliate Program

Your affiliate marketing success depends mostly on the affiliate program that you choose. Obviously, this is one of the most overlooked topic which needs consideration in order to make guaranteed money through affiliate marketing.

#Products and Services

Before you join the affiliate program, check the products and services listings on their website. If you don’t trust their product and services, one will not trust them too. You need to check, check and check not as an affiliate but as a buyer. Check the delivery system, overall reviews and everything as a buyer. Also, check the track record of the affiliate program.

Once you feel as a buyer that the stuff provided by the merchants on the site are trustable, you are good to go.

#Commission Rate & Payment Schedule

Further you need to consider commission rates. Obviously, commission rates influence your earnings. But at the same time here you need to play smart.

If you are promoting highly profitable products with no demand as such you may earn 1000$ if you sell 100 products at 10$ commission rate each. However, if you are marketing the demandable product even though its commission is less, you will earn more like 2500$ even if you sell at 5$ the quantity of 500 products.

At the very same time with the forth you will maintain a trust with your audience which will help you time coming ahead.

Apart from commission rate you need to study their payment schedule like how often they release payment.

#Affiliate Tools and Training

You need to see if their affiliate dashboard is well maintained and easy to navigate. Apart from Dashboard find out the answer of following questions too.

Do they give better analysis of click records ?

Do you get any email notification when someone buys through your link ?

Do they have quality banners and linking tools ?

Are they having tutorials on how to get started ?

#Affiliate Terms

You also need to understand the terms of affiliate partnership. You actually don’t need to go through all the terms and services. However, you need to satisfy yourself of few important things like lifespan of affiliate cookie, chargeback procedure and all.

Tips To Be A Successful Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate Marketing is an art of influencing positively the audience to do make a purchase. Some people, in after having huge audience base, fail to be successful in affiliate marketing. In order to be successful in affiliate marketing you will need to follow the essentials below.

#Few But Good Products

Surprisingly, many marketers join many affiliate programs. They disturb themselves with large number of products. Eventually they end up with nothing.

So, it is advisable to choose few, demandable, valuable and good products.

#Choose the Demandable Products

You must choose the demandable product to promote on your blog. If your product has no or very less demand, your audience too will find it of no use.

However, it may not be the case all the time. You may introduce new products which have value instead of demand. Here in this case, you are focusing on point 1 overriding point 2 which is viable.

#Relevancy

Don’t be irrelevant. Your irrelevance will go fruitless. For say If you are writing about how to setup your hosting account, then, it is relevant if you promote Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostinger or any other hosting beneath. However, it would be irrelevant if you show Food product beneath.

Relevant assignment of affiliate ads have far better CTR (Click through rate).

Determine What actually need to get ahead.

#Stories

People love stories. Yeah, it’s a plus point if you have an influencing story to tell your audience.

In fact, that is why you need to choose only few products so that people may trust you. Most often your audience buys through your link only if it trusts you. It is your onus not to confuse them with too many product recommendations. Or, they may find you foolish.

#Don’t Be Tricky

Don’t join the misleading gang of bloggers who don’t deliver nothing of value but redirect their visitors on scam pages. Which leads them to nowhere authentic.  

Your audience will not trust you anymore if you do this. Even they will see your page with monotonous eyes the next time they visit your page.

In order to make a long term understanding with your visitors, you will need to build trust by not tricking them.

#Analyse Your Affiliate Campaign

In order to be successful in affiliate marketing you need to analyse your affiliate campaign. Analysing the campaign will allow you to understand the behaviour of audience coming on your blog. You can implement necessary changes after knowing their behaviour.

#Stay tuned with other methods and techniques

You need to continuously observe the other marketers around the globe to see what unique they do to get the attention of their audience and drive sales.

On the contrary, if you don’t do this, you may find yourself behind the race. And, that is pretty natural. In every field off course you have to implement the change and work with the pace of others and even better.

#Employing Various Sources Of Traffic

A single source of traffic may not always work for you. In start, you may need to employ all your weapons to see the change happening.

You can take recourse to social media posts, campaigns and other content sharing platforms where people come online and stay.

#Partner With Influencers

You can do partnership with the influencers in your niche. The best way to start partnership with brands is to start off by promoting their products.

Before you reach them, check their product thoroughly, investigate its value, pricing reasonability.

You can reach them via email, social media or through their contact page or any other media.  

#Differential Offerings

The best part about partnering with influencers is that you can sell differentiated or say exclusive products to your buyers.

Your audience will really love to find exclusive offers from you. By doing so you can easily maintain your audience keep coming on your site for further offers.

#Create and Build Relationships

In order to be the long term player in affiliate marketing, you need to create and build relationships with the audience and brands. Allure your audience to subscribe to your email list.

Later on, you can send them mails with product recommendations and other cool stuffs.

#Content, Content and Content

In order to come out successful in affiliate marketing you can’t overlook the content aspect. Your audience is your audience for your content and not for advertisements.

To become successful, you will need to provide valuable content to your viewers which should look written with heart. Put your soul into your words.

If you have really good content on your blog, you will easily open the doors of success for you.

#Build Trust

To be a successful marketer, you will need to constantly build trust about you and your blog among the audience. It is a slow process which may take time but highly rewarding.

How To Build Trust in Affiliate Marketing

Building trust with your true readers is surely a slow process. You need to follow the below guidelines in order to build trust for successful affiliate marketing.

Use Avatar

Most of the people after arriving at your page are curious to know the person behind this content. You need to show your picture and bio to the audience letting them know about you. This really helps building trust.

Featured In

Let your audience know as to where are you featured. This is like who recommends you. It’s a powerful thing off course. You just need to show a little widget showcasing the big brands or publications you have been featured on like BBC, Huffington Post, Washington, New York Times etc.

Display Testimonials

You can show your audience as to what people think and say about you and your blog. Your audience is keen to know about this.

It is a wonderful implementation where you hint your readers with information before they make any outlook about you.

Don’t you see other people commenting before you write your comment? People generally have tendency to follow the crowd.

It should be, however, emphasised that you don’t mislead your audience with the testimonials part.

Reply To The Comments

Most often, people who comment on your content are your true readers. In order to build trust and be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to reply every single commenter on your blog.

If you don’t reply to comments, people who even want to comment will ultimately stop themselves to do so.

Quality Over Quantity

Don’t overlook quality of the content in run of quantity. Quantity may give you short term satisfaction in terms of revenue or traffic. But in long run you may find it hard to garner views if you don’t sunn off this bad practice.

Let your audience know that you earn

Building trust is not possible until you disclose the facts. In order to build trust and rise sympathy about you among the audience, you will surely need to let them know that you will earn few % if they make a purchase from your link.

Many successful affiliate marketers do that and people appreciate their honesty and loyalty towards audience.

Ways To Refer the Product and Service on Your Blog

Affiliate Marketing is game of mind. Many ways you can refer products and services on your blog. The best combination of effective recommendations makes you the internet marketer. Also, if you play wrong with it, it may take like too much time to give you results.

Let’s discuss the ways you can recommend products and services through your blog.

#Reviews

Reviews have potential to turn the viewer into a potential buyer. Well, reviews are common these days. Most of us make a choice based on reviews of others.

Your mom bought t-shirts for you yesterday because neighbour aunt told her about that shop to be giving high discount and amazing clothes. While in school, you buy certain brand of pen because your friends uses it tells it to be perfectly fine.

So, we all are influenced by the opinion of others. And as a blogger you are a influencer too. What you review can influence the decision making of your audience.

To make a kickstart with affiliate marketing, you can review product and services. But you will need to make sure that what you review, you actually have experienced that thing.

You will lose audience trust if you are on the wrong pavement doing fake reviews just for money and fame.

Understanding audience to be foolish can be the biggest mistake which can hamper all your growth.

#Emails

Sending attractive email newsletters to the people who have subscribed to your blog can dramatically change the game.

You can send freebies, tell them about what you are doing, what is your next mission and all that.

Such kind of informal conversation with the subscribers can help building trust and engagement. Furthermore, you can promote relevant affiliate products and services through your emails.

#Text Links

You can promote affiliate links by hyperlinking it with the text within your content. To be precise, it’s simple way and one of the most used practice too. However, your success depends upon the CTR. And, in order to get better CTR you will need to ensure it’s relevancy.

If the links are hyperlinked on the correct text and it’s reasonable, then, you will get good clicks for sure.

#Sidebar, Headers and Footers

You can Promote your affiliate links in sidebar, header and footer too. Affiliate Networks provide you with plenty of promotional material which may include banners, text or image ads, APIs and more.

On these places, especially, you can use affiliate products or services which match your niche. For say, if your website is about Graphic Designs, then, you can set affiliate ad about any Graphic Designing Services.

However, if you use WordPress, you can use custom sidebar plugin and make your website pretty lucrative for you by showing conditional or say custom sidebar widgets to your audience.

#Congratulation Popup

You can surprise the audience with attractive popup messages. With such messages audience get excited and possibility of click rises dramatically.

Some people, however, have deputed this practice and people fear of clicking it thinking that they would be redirected to some malicious pages.

How Much Can You Earn From Affiliate Marketing

To be honest, how much you earn depends on how much you invest. Investment in term of time, work, passion and persistence is needed.

Depending on the size of your audience you can start it in just minutes and initiate earning money.

Final Words

Affiliate Marketing is a wonderful way to make money blogging if you align the elements practically perfect.

It’s not a quick rich game but a very potential part of making money through your blog.

Audience and trust is the key to make money by Affiliate Marketing.

Serve your audience with the best content and see them paying you back.

In order to be successful in affiliate marketing business, first, start thinking from the audience point of view and do what they love and appreciate.

Without valuable content and nurturing, it is like a shop in the desert.

About the Author: Pawan

I am an Internet marketer and web technology expert working around the clock for the clients worldwide. Let's have a conversation about how we can build an empire together. You can contact me via my social media accounts.

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