How to start as an affiliate?

How to start as an Affiliate?

Do you want to make money with affiliate marketing but have no idea where to start?

Or are you still struggling to get your first affiliate commissions?

If so, you’ve found the right place to finally get you started as an affiliate marketer the right way…

So, let’s start with some basics…

How does affiliate marketing work?

The affiliate marketing process is simple, you’ll need:

  • A Traffic Source to attract…
  • A Targeted Audience to visit your…
  • Web Content to inform your audience about and link to…
  • An Affiliate Product and/or to build your Tribe to whom you can reach out via…
  • A Medium to Communicate.

And the best part… you are free to choose.

You can choose which affiliate products you want to promote, to whom, via which preferred medium (website/blog, email, social media, YouTube, etc.), and what kind and type of content you want to create (blog posts, reviews, (live) videos, social media posts, etc.). Plus of course, you are free to decide how you are going to get your traffic (with free or paid methods).

Hence, in theory, there are endless affiliate marketing methods. You just select one of each of the individual components and put them together…

And the result will be a specific affiliate marketing method.

And that’s where most blog post or courses do fail. They often try to teach you just one affiliate marketing method with one traffic source, a single communication Medium, and/or just one specific Content type.

But to succeed, you’ll need to find your own ideal mix of these 5 elements.

So, let’s discuss the separate elements first before I gave you some tips to put these elements together to get often used affiliate marketing methods.

Traffic Source

Read my post Internet Marketing Essentials for a more basic understanding of Traffic Sources.

The short summary…

A Traffic source is a hyperlink anywhere on the internet where after someone clicks, (s)he will land on one of your web properties.

Traffic can be divided into Free and Paid Traffic sources.

Examples of “Free” Traffic Sources are:

  • Organic Traffic from Search engines (as Google, Yahoo/Bing, and 7Search).
  • Traffic from Social Media Platforms (posts, shares, links in groups and comments)
  • Social Bookmarking and Directories.
  • Other Backlinks (Guest Posts, Comments, Bio Links, and hyperlinks on other people’s web pages).
  • Article Directories (f.e. eZine articles, Medium, Blogger).
  • Video Platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe). Think about links in video description or clickable annotations.

Examples of Paid Traffic Sources are:

  • Advertising (PPC) via Search Engines (or related networks).
  • Advertising on Social Media Networks (f.e. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn).
  • Media Buying (Banner ads) and Native Advertising.
  • Paid links (f.e. Email Ads, Solo Ads, Instagram Shout Outs, or paid Link placements in YouTube video descriptions).

So, your goal is to grab attention so that people somewhere online (on other people’s web properties) click a hyperlink and will visit your web content.

Either to stimulate them to directly visit the sales/squeeze page for the affiliate product.

Or better, to first build your list and get the necessary info so that you can reach out to them whenever you want (via email, messenger, notifications, SMS, etc.).

Targeted Audience

It only makes sense to promote your affiliate products to people with a real interest in these products.

Hence, it’s not about how much traffic you can get to your web properties but can you attract the right source of visitors who you can help with your content?

Ideally, your traffic is laser targeted. You want the right people to see specific content that you created for them.

However, sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to attract a larger audience via paid advertising, and filter and qualify your audience later via your content.

Content to inform about and refer/link to the affiliate products

In my post Internet Marketing Essentials, I discuss content in much more detail.

But with content, I mean everything you can think about and can publish online where you can include your hyperlinks (i.e. affiliate links).

Think about text, images, videos, audio, buttons, and more… published on a medium (see below).

There are 2 “types” of content.

1) Content you can’t (fully) control. For example, content that other people share, SEO and YouTube rankings, ad placements etc. I call this type of content the traffic source. You are dependent from others whether or not your (promotional) content will show up. Your primary goal for this content is to transfer visitors to…

2) Content that you can control (more or less). For example, your own website/blog, YouTube Channel, Facebook page, your emails, and content that you share etc.

As an affiliate marketer your main goal is to entertain and help your audience and build a relationship based on authority and respect (aka know, like, and trust).

Of course, with one major purpose, to help them to solve their problems and give them what they need and want, i.e your recommended affiliate products.

Usually, by adding affiliate links inside your content leading to the sales of your suggested product. But (sometimes) you can also link to opt-in pages or content pages (articles on the vendor’s website).

In other cases, f.e. if you don’t like the sales page (or think it doesn’t convert well), you can bypass the sales page and directly link to the checkout page.

Medium to Communicate

A Medium to Communicate can be any medium that allows you to communicate online. Think about a web page, blog post, RSS Feed, social media post, YouTube video, email, chat message, browser or Facebook notification, app message, messenger message, Podcast, etc.

Some of these are one-way communication media but for most of them, the audience can also respond (via comments, replies etc.).

In my article How to build your Tribe besides via email marketing?, you can find the latest popular media that you can use to reach out to your “Tribe”.

It’s your task as an affiliate marketer to choose at least one main (preferred) medium where you share/publish your main Content.

Main Media used by affiliates:

  • Website or Blog. Often either interest or product related (f.e. review blog).
  • YouTube Channel with “How to…” or review videos.
  • Email for List Building & Email Marketing.
  • Social Media. For example Facebook Fan Pages or Facebook Groups. Or just personal or business social accounts on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.

What affiliate products to promote?

Before you can select your affiliate products, you have to determine your niche/market first.

Here are some guidelines to select your niche/market:

  • Select a niche/market that you’ll find interesting and want to write content about.
  • Select a niche/market where other affiliates make “good money” (as health, wealth, relationships, business, popular sports/hobbies etc.).
  • Select a niche/market with sufficient (quantity and quality) affiliate products to promote.
  • Don’t pick your niche too general but be as specific as possible and focus on a sub-niche. For example, not weight loss, but new mothers who want to get their figure back within 2 months after the baby was born.

Once you have picked your niche, try to stick with it for a while (don’t jump from niche to niche), and try to get as much relevant info about your niche and potential customers.

Some gurus tell you that you have to create an avatar about your ideal client. Anyway, it all comes down to really know your prospects.

The better you know your prospects, the better you can help them with their problems, needs and wants.

Your main task is to find (affiliate) products that help your clients to solve their problems, need or wants, and to inform them about these products.

Of course, I recommend to only promote products that will help your clients and that you have tested yourself (or at least ensured that the products actually do work/help).

It doesn’t matter whether you’ll promote physical or info products. The process is the same…

You refer people based on your experience and knowledge to the best affiliate product or service that will really help them.

So far the 5 elements. Let’s see some examples how you can create your own unique affiliate marketing method (or strategy if you prefer).

Examples of Affiliate Marketing Methods

A common and often used method is this one…

Traffic Source: Solo Ads
Targeted Audience: can be any niche
Content: Squeeze Page + Emails
Medium: List Building & Email Marketing
Affiliate Product: can be anything

So, the idea is that you’ll buy your traffic by reaching out to solo ad sellers in your niche. Let them send traffic to your squeeze (i.e. opt-in) page, where you offer a free gift in exchange for an email address. And from that moment you can send broadcast and Autoresponder emails to your list and promote your affiliate products.

Of course, you can use other traffic sources as PPC (f.e Facebook, Bing), Media Buying, or Social Media. But the idea is that your main income comes from List building and Email Marketing (click on the link to get more Email Marketing tips).

Another often used method is…

Traffic Source: SEO
Targeted Audience: can be any niche
Content: Reviews or how to articles
Medium: WordPress Blog
Affiliate Product: can be anything

Now you’ll get organic traffic to your blog from search engines by using proper onsite and offsite SEO techniques as optimizing your content for (long tail) keywords and getting backlinks.

By the way. This is the strategy that many new affiliates try out because they are afraid to spend money on advertising….

However, ranking a new website and getting sufficient traffic from SEO isn’t that easy. It’s often easier to start with guest blogging on a authority blog that already has the traffic. Or to start with paid advertising (f.e. with targeted ads on Facebook).

Another method used by product creators…

Traffic Source: Affiliates
Targeted Audience: can be any niche
Content: Sales Page + Back-end emails
Medium: Email Marketing
Affiliate Product: can be anything

Now, you’ll get all your traffic from affiliates who promote your own product. And besides making money from your own products, you’ll email your customers with affiliate products.

If you have read my article Top 10 JVZoo Affiliates 2017 and what you can learn from them, you’ll see that all the top affiliates are also product vendors!

So, just 3 common examples. But be as creative as you want…

If you want to get your traffic via Facebook’s new Messenger Ads, and just communicate with your new prospects and sell your physical or info products from within FB Messenger, maybe that’s the perfect strategy for you.

At least, you won’t have any hosting, ESP or other initial costs.

And of course, you can combine methods. I mean to use different traffic sources and ways to communicate with your Tribe.

An often used “combo” model is using a blog with email and social media marketing. Hence, build your email list via opt-in boxes on your blog (f.e. exit popups, or content upgrades etc.), make it easy to share your content, and get traffic back to your blog by emailing your subscribers and sharing your blog posts.

And yes, if you include YouTube videos inside your blog posts, you have another traffic source and medium to communicate with your Tribe.

But the purpose of this article is not to make it complex or to stimulate you to jump from traffic source to traffic source, or from niche to niche, campaign to campaign, or from product to product…

No, try to set up one method that works and that you can scale and…

only diversify if you have properly optimized your current method.

The most often made mistake by newbies is to jump from one method to another without trying and do everything to let the first method work.

So, pick your 5 elements thoroughly and don’t give up too soon.

To summarize…

Step 1. Select your Niche and Audience first and invest time and energy to really understand your target audience.
Step 2. Find affiliate products that can really solve/fulfill your prospects problems/needs/wants.
Step 3. Select your main Medium to communicate with your Tribe.
Step 4. Create and publish content with your affiliate links inside and/or to build your Tribe.
Step 5. Select your Traffic Source and get traffic.

Start small, test and tweak until you make sales and then scale it up.

So, you now know what to do (and hopefully why). The how depends on your unique marketing method.

Choose a method that suits your personality and something you think you are capable of.

Now it’s time to actually take action.

I wish you all the best with your affiliate marketing.


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