What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Do You Start?

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Without a doubt, Affiliate Marketing is one of the most powerful ways to generate an income from your blog. No matter what your niche is, there are affiliate marketing programs that are suitable and profitable for any kind of business. One of the best things about affiliate marketing is that you don’t necessarily have to invest time in creating a product – the product already exists! Take Amazon and Target’s affiliate programs for example. That’s why affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity for anyone and this guide will show you how to start.

But, before we explore the potential of affiliate marketing, let’s go into what it actually is. That way, you’ll know how to start implementing affiliate marketing on your blog or site. Keep reading this guide to determine how to set up your site for affiliate marketing success and find which program is the right for you!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is everywhere around us, and you’ve probably already been involved in some type of affiliate marketing without even knowing it. If you’ve ever clicked on a link at someone’s blog or website, there’s a big chance that the person who recommended that product to you earned a commission from your purchase.

So, what is Affiliate Marketing? It’s the process of promoting another person’s or company’s products or services and earning a commission for it. Affiliate marketing is based on revenue sharing. For example, if you have a product and want to sell it, you can offer affiliate marketers to promote it through an affiliate program. On the other hand, if you have no product and want to make money, you can be the affiliate marketer who will promote another person’s products.

Affiliate marketing is a great option for bloggers, content creators, and anyone who has a website and wants to earn extra money. If you find the perfect product or service that people in your target market are interested in buying, you can become the resource that recommends that product and earn a commission as a result.

The internet has increased the importance of affiliate marketing, which has resulted in many big companies like Amazon, Target, or Google to all have affiliate programs that marketers can join. Below in this guide, we’ll explore some of the big-name affiliate marketing programs you can join to start earning money, so keep following along.

How To Use Affiliate Marketing To Make Money

It’s already clear that affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog and make money. So, how do you use affiliate marketing to make money? The answer is quite simple.

If you already have a blog and have gained a community that trusts you, you’re ready to start with affiliate marketing. But, if you don’t have a blog or any kind of website at the moment, the first thing you have to do is to start a blog, promote it to gather an audience, and then you can choose affiliate products in your niche.

In order to use affiliate marketing to make money, you have to create content on your blog that generates affiliate revenue. Your target audience is someone who wants to buy a product but is not sure whether the product is worth it. Your job here is to ensure that the content you publish answers your audience’s questions and helps with their decision to purchase.

The basics of making money with affiliate marketing include:

• You find a product or service that you want to promote and generate an affiliate link.
• You recommend a product or service to your audience through your blog.
• The readers purchase the product or service using your affiliate link.
• You earn a commission for the purchase made with your affiliate link.

The affiliate marketers can be paid in different ways:

• Pay per sale – the standard affiliate marketing process; you’ll earn a percentage of the product’s sale price after the consumer purchases it.

• Pay per lead – you have to “convince” the consumer to visit a particular website and complete the needed action (for example: signing up for a trial product, subscribing to an email list, filling out a contact form, downloading files, etc.), and then you’ll earn a percentage of the lead price.

• Pay per click – you’ll earn a percentage of the click price after persuading the consumer to move from your blog to the seller’s site, through your referral link.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing On Your Blog

It’s actually easy and very simple to start affiliate marketing on your blog. Just follow these steps and by the end of this guide, you can set up your site to start earning money with affiliate marketing!

Build Trust

Every affiliate marketer, including you, needs to understand the importance of building and maintaining trust with the audience before starting with affiliate marketing. People that follow your blog trust you and are interested in the content you’re sharing with them.

For that reason, make sure to recommend affiliate products you’re familiar with and would purchase yourself. Your readers believe you, so don’t use affiliate marketing as a way to lie to them to earn some extra money – it won’t be profitable in the long term.

Research Products

These days, you can find any product that you can buy online, and there will be an affiliate marketing program that will pay you for referring a sale. But, just because you can promote anything doesn’t mean that you should.
When looking for affiliate products to promote on your blog, always choose something you’re interested in and something that is relevant to your audience. For example, if you own a food blog, why would you promote electronics or video games? It would be best to stick to the products and services that are relevant to your niche.

Sign Up For An Affiliate Marketing Program

Once you’ve decided what products or services you want to promote, it’s time to find an affiliate marketing program. As we’ve mentioned above, there are hundreds of affiliate programs where you can sign up and promote their products.

In general, there are three types of affiliate marketing programs to choose from:

• High-paying, low-volume programs: these are affiliate marketing programs for products that pay high commissions. However, they usually apply to a limited group of buyers. For example, ConvertKit’s affiliate program will pay you up to $700 per month if you convince 80 customers to join them. But, ConvertKit is an email marketing platform, so the number of interested buyers is smaller and only targets those looking for that specific service.

• Low-paying, high-volume programs: these are affiliate marketing programs for products that pay low commissions but apply to a much larger group of buyers. For example, Amazon Affiliate Program allows you to sell anything you want, and you can earn up to 10% commissions. You can target any type of audience here and the opportunities are endless. Amazon has products for every niche!

• High-paying, high-volume programs: these are affiliate marketing programs for products that pay high commissions and apply to a high group of buyers. An example of this is credit cards. Everyone wants a credit card so the target audience is huge. But, people usually purchase these products from the more experienced affiliate marketers.

So, how do you decide which affiliate marketing program to join? There’s no right answer. It depends on your niche and level of affiliate marketing experience. If you’re targeting consumers, it will be best to go with the second type of affiliate marketing program. If you target a business community, you should probably go with the first type. Or, you can even do both!

Create Affiliate Marketing Content

As we’ve mentioned above, the content you share on your blog is the key to making money with affiliate marketing. Your blog is the place where visitors are making the decision to buy something, and then they’ll go to the product website to complete the purchase.

If you want your affiliate marketing journey to be successful, you need to produce high-quality content with affiliate links that fit naturally. There are different ways to promote affiliate products on your blog:

• Resources Page – the visitors on your blog look for help and advice regarding your niche. Therefore, you can create a ‘Resources Page’ on your blog where you’ll put together all necessary information, as well as some of the affiliate products and services you promote.

• Blog Posts – of course, blog posts are an integral part of your blog site. Since you already create informative and quality posts on your blog, you can now also promote affiliate products. Integrate affiliate links into your blog posts where appropriate, especially in the posts that receive high traffic.

• Product Review – if you’ve built up trust with your audience, product reviews are a great way to generate sales with affiliate marketing. You can find a product you want to promote and then write an honest review about it. You can compare and discuss the features and benefits of the product and tell the readers your experience with it.

• Email Marketing – if you use an email marketing platform to communicate with your readers, you can add your affiliate links in your emails where appropriate. Your email list already includes people who are interested in your content, so it’s a great place to share products and recommend them. ConvertKit is a simple and affordable option for new bloggers.

• How-to Videos and Tutorials – if you’re comfortable with making videos, you can use that to promote affiliate products on your blog. Videos and tutorials include a step-by-step guide on how to use a particular product or service. Through videos, your audience can closely see the product and decide if it’s worth buying.

• Online Course – if you’re promoting a more complex affiliate product, you can create an online course to review the product in more detail and cover all aspects. Taking an in-depth explanation of an affiliate product provides your audience with more information about why they need the product and how it works. I use Teachable for it’s affordability but Thinkific and Kajabi are great platforms as well.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and how to start implementing it on your blog, it’s time to find the ideal program for you.

Amazon Affiliate Program

Amazon homepage for affiliate marketing program

Amazon has one of the most popular affiliate programs in the world. It is usually seen as the best affiliate marketing program for beginners, but it does not mean that experienced marketers cannot take advantage of it. Amazon is great because it has every product you can ever think of and it’s one of the most popular and trusted brands worldwide.

Regardless of the niche your blog is about, chances are huge that you’ll find relevant products and services on the Amazon affiliate program to promote.

• URL: Amazon Affiliate Program
• Commission: Up to 10%
• Cookie: 24 hours

Target Affiliate Program

Target homepage for affiliate marketing program

The Target Affiliate Program is not as popular as Amazon Associates, but it’s a great alternative if you’re looking to replace Amazon. Target’s program rewards its affiliate marketers for sales volume, so if you work more, you’ll earn more.

In order to be accepted to the Target Affiliate Program, you need to have a blog with traffic mostly from the USA. Target doesn’t ship internationally, which is the main reason why you need US traffic. Once you get accepted to Target, you will get access to products to promote in different niches and you can use their banners for special promotions.

• URL: Target Affiliate Program
• Commission: Up to 8%
• Cookie: 7 days

Etsy Affiliate Program

Most people know Etsy as a vintage marketplace where people can sell their handmade products. But, Etsy has grown enormously and now has their own affiliate marketing program, so you can make money from Etsy without actually making your own products. You can just promote everyone else’s products! It’s great because you can also help out small businesses. Etsy products apply to a broad group of audiences and they even sells digital products.

• URL: Etsy’s Affiliate Program
• Commission: Up to 8%
• Cookie: 30 days

Ebay Affiliate Program

Ebay, like Amazon, is a giant player in the affiliate marketing industry. There, you can find thousands of products to promote for basically any niche you can imagine. It has an in-house affiliate marketing program, and you can easily join it without any restrictions.

The only downside of the eBay affiliate marketing program is the referral period. Cookies are only active for 24 hours because most of the platform’s products are purchased via auction.

• URL: eBay Partner Network
• Commission: Up to 70% of auction fees
• Cookie: 1 day

How to Join An Affiliate Marketing Program

There are different ways to join an affiliate marketing program. As we’ve mentioned above, some of the affiliate programs have their own websites where you need to register and apply to the program. Then, you have to follow the program’s requirements in order to be accepted.

However, some affiliate marketing programs require you to sign up via the affiliate network they use. While an affiliate marketing program is a direct connection between you and the merchant, an affiliate network is a place where you can find thousands of affiliate marketing programs to join.

Some of the most popular affiliate marketing networks include ShareASale (I use this network!), CJ Affiliate, ClickBank, Impact, Partnerize, and Awin.

Each affiliate marketing program requires different actions that you need to take to be accepted into the program. But, here are some of the general rules that apply to the most popular affiliate marketing programs:

• You need to have an active blog.
• You need to have a few thousand visitors on your blog per month.
• You need to have quality and informative content that relates to the products you want to promote.
• Some affiliate programs require that you have purchased the product yourself.

In Conclusion

As you can see, affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money on your blog and as a result, now has thousands of programs you can join in any niche. Make sure to check out our comprehensive list of top affiliate marketing programs for bloggers and find even more programs than those mentioned above.

Affiliate Marketing is not dead – it’s more popular now than ever before. You can choose to be an affiliate marketer for big companies like Amazon, Etsy or eBay, or you can promote hundreds of different products featured on affiliate networks like Clickbank and ShareASale. The choice is yours and the opportunities are endless. Go make some money!

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