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Affiliate Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Affiliate Marketing

Table of Contents

What is affiliate marketing?

An affiliate is a person who promotes products or services of an organization to its audience usually for a commission. Affiliate usually earn their commission through a unique link. When someone uses the link, the affiliate gets a commission based on sales percentage.  It is usually considered significant part of modern digital marketing.

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How to earn from affiliate marketing?

An affiliate marketer primarily earns commission as a portion of sales. Let’s understand it with an example. Imagine you have decided to dive into affiliate marketing and you want to earn from your recipe blog. Suppose your favorite electronics brand Geepas has launched an electric mixer. It will send you a special link to include in your blog post, social media profile etc. If your followers or friends buy new ElectroMix 9000 through this link, you’ll earn commission as percentage on the sale.

Pay-per-lead: You are paid for every lead received by business through your website, social media profile etc.

Pay-per-engagement: You are paid for engagements of the brand, product or services such as clicks, views etc.

Flat or recurring payments: When you are getting flat one-time payments, regular monthly payments and even pre-determined weekly payments

What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?

1. Low barrier to entry

Unlike other marketing fields requiring specialised skills, there are less barriers to entry into affiliate marketing. Also, you don’t need to buy any inventory and affiliate programs don’t charge any membership fee. Also, it can be started at very low cost.

2. Becoming an affiliate is easy

It is very easy to start as affiliate marketer. All you need is to provide your name and email address to sign up for affiliate marketing. You also need to provide a linked bank account for earning commissions.

3. Low-risk

There is a moderate risk involved in affiliate marketing, so one can safely invest in it. You don’t need to purchase any inventory, nor you need to launch any product of your own. There is a least financial risk involved in it.

4. A fantastic source of passive income

As affiliate marketers have to work actively at times, earning money as an affiliate marketer can be incredibly low maintenance and highly rewarding.

Top affiliate marketing niches in 2024

1. SaaS and Technology

SaaS & technology is among top most popular niche for affiliate marketing. Technology is an integral part of our daily lives, influencing almost all aspects of our lives. With the rapid development of new tools and trends, the industry is going to flourish for years to come.

2. Health and Wellness

Health and wellness industry grown tremendously in the recent years. With the growing awareness among people, there has been growing demand for health and wellness-related products and services. These products also have relatively high competition and have emerged as attractive market for affiliate marketers.

3. Finance

It involves promoting the financial products and services that help individuals to manage their income and saving effectively. For instance, in the personal finance sector, affiliates focus on referring people to personal finance products such as personal loans, insurance, investment, credit cards etc.

4. Education and E-Learning

eLearning has witnessed a significant growth in the post pandemic era. As the online education market is extensively increasing, it is providing tremendous opportunities to grow and succeed through affiliate marketing.

5. Gaming

If you want to get into exciting industry with a plenty of growth options, the gaming niche can be great choice for you. The best thing is that gaming has not remained confined to game consoles or apps and also includes AR, VR, smartphones, and the Metaverse. With such expansion, the gaming industry is offering lucrative opportunities to the affiliate marketers.

What platforms can you use to sell?

1. Website 

A website is the ideal platform for affiliate marketers as it allows them to easily control it. On the other hand, social media accounts can be shot down anytime without any explanation.

Website

2. YouTube 

YouTube is not just a great tool for entertainment, but has emerged as worthy supplementary tool for businesses. With more than 2.5 billion logged-in users per month and over 1 billion hours of video watched on the platform each day, You Tube has emerged as a great tool for marketers. Affiliate marketers popularly used it to post affiliate links in the description of their YouTube videos and use it to link traffic back to their site.

youtube

3. Social media 

Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have nowadays emerged as lucrative avenues for affiliate marketers. These social media channels help to establish your brand authority and increase your customer bases. However, it is important to note that you should not rely solely on social media as few platforms are challenging when it comes to adding links to your post or profile.

Social ,media

How to get started with affiliate marketing?

Step 1: Choose your niche

The first step in developing your affiliate marketing strategy is choosing your niche- a specific topic on which you will focus your content. To find your marketing niche, it is always good to begin with industry you are passionate about. Make a list of hobbies, industries you have worked in, your interests and so on.

  • Identify a brand that aligns with your interests
  • Find out the pros and cons of the brand’s affiliate program
  • Does a brand have an affiliate program with lucrative commissions?

It is not enough to choose a niche, you need to find out if it is profitable or not. If no one is searching for your website, it is means it doesn’t attract many visitors and it can be challenging to sell its products and services. There are many keyword research tools that can help you to evaluate the search volume of relevant keywords such as Google Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Planner etc. You can also use Keyword Research tool by eSearch Logix, which is a strong keyword planner tool that provides more precise search volume data.

Step 2 – Do keyword research

Simply enter a search term in a keyword research tool and find untapped keyword opportunities to make your website highly visible in the search results.

Keyword analysis in Ranks Pro

Ranks Pro provide valuable keyword data to help you understand your current keyword performance through rank tracking.

Keyword ideas in Ranks Pro

Look at the keywords you already rank well for in RanksPro. These can be a springboard for brainstorming related terms users might search for. For instance, if you rank well for “best hiking boots for women,” consider broader terms like “women’s outdoor footwear” or more specific ones like “waterproof hiking boots for women.”

As mentioned before, RanksPro’s site audit might reveal organic keywords you rank for unintentionally. These can be hidden gems suggesting user search behavior you weren’t targeting. Analyze these keywords and explore creating content optimized around them.

Step 3: Analyse your competitors

Ranking high in search engines requires you to outrank numerous other pages. Competitive research is a critical aspect of discovering how will make a strategy to outrank your competitors. Ranks Pro competitive research can provide you insights into important factors that will help you outrank your competitors.

  • Organic traffic
  • Keywords for which site ranks
  • Paid traffic
  • Referring domains
  • Backlinks

Step 4 – Choose an affiliate network

Affiliate networks bridges the gap between merchants (brands) and publishers (affiliates like you). They provide a platform where you can find a variety of affiliate programs to join, track your clicks and conversions, and receive your commissions.

A wide array of programs: Networks offer a vast pool of affiliate programs from different merchants across various industries.

Easy management: You can manage multiple affiliate programs from a single dashboard, simplifying commission tracking and reporting.

Payment processing: Networks handle the payment process, ensuring you receive your commissions on time.

However, there are also drawbacks of affiliate networks such as

Lower commissions: Networks may take a cut of your earnings for facilitating the connection.

Approval process: Some networks have an application process to join, and approval is not guaranteed.

Step 5: Design your website structure

A user-friendly website structure is crucial for enhancing people’s experience as well as getting indexed by the search engines. Here are tips on planning your website structure:

  • Plan Your Main Pages: First of all, identify the core webpages required in your website such as an “About Us” page, a “Contact Us” page, and a privacy policy.
  • Categorize Your Content: Group your content into relevant categories and subcategories to make it easy for users to navigate and find what they’re looking for.
  • Plan Your Navigation: Design a user-friendly navigation menu that allows visitors to effortlessly access different sections of your website.

There are several ways to build your website. Here are two common options:

Website Builders: Platforms like Wix and Squarespace offer user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces that make website creation easy for beginners, even with no coding knowledge. However, they may offer less flexibility in design and functionality.

Content Management Systems (CMS): A CMS like WordPress provides more control over design and functionality but requires some technical knowledge to set up and manage.

Step 6: Fill your site with content

High-quality content is the backbone of any successful affiliate marketing website. Your website should have relevant, interesting and engaging content

Create Valuable Content: Publish informative, engaging content that solves your target audience’s problems and provides them with value.

Target Relevant Keywords: Research keywords related to your niche and incorporate them strategically throughout your content to improve search engine ranking.

Focus on User Intent: Understand what information your target audience is looking for and tailor your content to address their specific needs.

How can you get more backlinks?

Ranks Pro’s backlink checker can aid your efforts to create a strong backlink profile. You can reach out sites from which your competitors are gaining backlinks and ask them if they are willing to collaborate with you. You can use guest posting strategies to provide unique content that links back to your website.

Apart from the content and backlinks, you also need to take care of other important things such as improving a website’s technical health, taking care of on-page tweaks, and aiming to reach a top-notch user experience.

Search engines consider backlinks (when other websites link to yours) as a sign of trustworthiness and authority. Here are some ways to improve your backlink profile:

The next step is to choose the appropriate affiliate programs to make money out of it. There are thousands of affiliate programs out there and choose one can be a challenging task. Here are some factors to choose the right affiliate programs:

Commission Rate: The amount of money you earn for each sale or conversion generated through your affiliate link.

Product Relevancy: Promote products that align well with your website’s content and target audience.

Cookie Duration: The amount of time a visitor’s click on your affiliate link is tracked, even if they don’t make a purchase immediately.

Once you’ve chosen your programs, carefully integrate their affiliate links into your website’s content in a transparent way that adds value to the user experience.

Step 9: Evaluate your website Content

Evaluating your content helps you to know if it is pulling the desired outcomes. Split testing, also known as A/B testing, involves comparing different versions of your website elements (like headlines, calls to action, or page layouts) to see which ones perform better. This data-driven approach can help you optimize your website for higher conversions.

Step 10: Convert visitors into customers

The ultimate goal of your affiliate marketing website is to convert visitors into paying customers for the products or services you promote. Here are some tips to improve conversion rates:

Craft compelling CTAs (Calls to Action): Tell visitors exactly what you want them to do next, whether it’s subscribing to your email list, making a purchase, or downloading a free resource.

Offer incentives: Provide discounts, coupons, or free trials to encourage visitors

How to use YouTube channel for affiliate marketing?

YouTube is a platform that brings you a lot of traffic. It is popularly used by affiliate marketers to promote products and services. To use YouTube for affiliate marketing, you need to put your affiliate links in the description of your video and make sure to mention them within the video. Keep in mind that put your affiliate links within the content only if it is relevant to the rest of your content.

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It is not possible to directly post affiliate links on Instagram, you can still use it foryour affiliate marketing business. You can tag affiliate products directly on Instagram or you can use a link in a bio or you can use a service like Link tree and insert your affiliate links there. You can mention your affiliate products and direct people to link in your bio.

How to use email campaign for affiliate marketing?

Email marketing is one of the effective ways of delivering ROI that makes it a great tool for affiliate marketing. When you are sending mail to your subscriber, make sure to send them stand alone without any product mentions. Such emails must include a strong CTA directing them to the product page. Here are some tips to use email campaigns for affiliate marketing

  • Personalize your emails based on subscriber segment
  • Craft attention grabbing subject lines
  • Make sure to provide relevant and valuable content to your subscribers
  • Place your links strategically within your email content
  • Test and evaluate different email formats, subject lines, and CTAs
  •  Track your campaign performance and adjust based on data.
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Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a low-cost way to make money online, perfect for those passionate about a specific niche. One can find affiliate programs offered by companies in their preferred niche, then promote their products through their website, social media, or emails. One needs to include special affiliate links in their promotions to track clicks and get paid whenever someone buys through the link. By strategically promoting valuable products you genuinely recommend, you can build authority and trust with your audience and earn revenue, while businesses gain more customers and revenues as well.

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