What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is done when promoting products from other companies.
If someone buys them through your affiliate link, you get a commission.
When you become an affiliate, you become a salesperson for a company that is not yours.
You help this other company finalize a sale, and the company rewards you
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that it is scalable.
Usually the sellers do so with the products of one company: as an affiliate, however, you can promote the products of many different companies and earn commissions from all of them.
How does affiliate marketing work?
The merchant gives each affiliate a unique link, in order to keep track of who made the sale. When someone clicks on the link, a small file called a cookie is saved on the device they are browsing from.
Affiliate cookies have two characteristics:
- they help the merchant to attribute the sale to the right affiliate
- They (usually) have an expiration date, so the affiliate gets paid even if the customer clicks the link but completes the purchase later.
Let’s take an example.
Imagine a reader visits your post about the best winter jackets and then clicks on one of your affiliate links that leads them to a product on Amazon.
Then she remembers that she has to pick up her daughter from school.
So he leaves the house, picks up his daughter, has dinner and eventually returns to Amazon where he finds the product.
While he’s on Amazon, he decides to buy some ski equipment as well.
Here’s the good news: At first he clicked on your affiliate link and a cookie was saved on his device.
Amazon’s cookies last for 24 hours, so you’ll get paid for both your winter jacket and ski equipment, even if you haven’t advertised the equipment directly.
Nice but… how much do affiliate marketers earn?
The answer is very simple: there is no limit to the potential gain. The profit depends on the niche and the commitment you want to put into it.
The most successful affiliate marketers can earn hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per month.
How to get started with affiliate marketing
To get started, simply follow these seven simple steps.
- Choose a platform
- Choose a niche
- Find affiliate programs to join
- Create valuable content
- Drive traffic to your affiliate site
- Get clicks on affiliate links
- Convert clicks to sales
Step # 1: choose a platform
In theory, you can do affiliate marketing on any platform. Even on Instagram.
But it is much easier to build an audience and increase affiliate sales with one of these two channels: a blog or a YouTube channel.
Starting a blog these days is relatively easy and inexpensive. There are tons of tutorials online that teach you how to get started. The biggest advantage? A blog will probably cost you a few euros a month.
Once the site is created, optimize it for search engines to have more chances to rank . From there on you are free to add affiliate links to your content. (There is a better way than others to add them, and you will find out by continuing to read this guide.)
The second platform is YouTube. Creating and uploading content to YouTube is free, making YouTube ideal for many. Optimize videos for SEO and insert affiliate links in the description.
One of my favorite examples is on BookTube , a book review channel made by several YouTubers:
Note that you need to make public that your content contains affiliate links. The Federal Trade Commissions ( FTC ) requires full transparency if you receive money in exchange for advertising.
If you use a blog, create a page of its own or insert the declaration in the footer of your site like this:
2021 Atopaz Limited. All Rights Reserved
Step # 2: choose a niche
Let’s face it: if you start a blog today, you will face a lot of competition. Statista estimates that the number of bloggers in the United States will reach 31.7 million by 2020.
To have the best chance of success you need to specialize in a niche.
Choose a topic that pertains to a specific category . For example, the topic “food” is too broad a category. Instead of tackling that, you can try something more specific, such as grilled foods.
Keeping the topic specific helps build a more targeted audience and potentially helps you rank better on search engines .
That’s what I did when I built my first site. Instead of talking about “dance” or “hip hop”, I decided to limit myself to just dealing with breakdance. At that time I didn’t know anything about SEO , but I managed to rank for some keywords and generate about 3,000 organic visits per month.
Then when you have covered all the main topics of the category and have brought traffic to these pages, you can expand to other areas.
Now, if you are going to be the primary creator of the content, pick a topic that interests you .
Many affiliate sites are dying from lack of continuity. At least, if you are passionate about a topic you will find it much easier to move forward when the going gets tough.
If you’re not an expert on what you want to cover, don’t worry. As Gary Vaynerchuk says , you have to “document, not create”. Documenting what you have learned can become great content and attract people interested in following your progress.
Step # 3: Find Affiliate Programs To Sign Up To
You can choose from three types of affiliate programs.
A. Affiliate programs that pay a lot for niche products
These affiliate programs are about niche products with high payouts.
For example, ConvertKit’s affiliate program pays about $ 700 (about € 630) per month if 80 customers are referred to it. However, as the company sells CRM software for small businesses, the number of potential customers is limited.
[Earn with us!
We credit you 30% commission for each person who signs up to ConvertKit using your affiliate link. But not only. That 30% will come to your account every month as long as that person’s ConvertKit account remains active.
Do you want to see immediately how much you could earn?
Move your cursor over our Commission Calculator to see how much you could earn.
PS The scale only shows commissions for referrals on our basic monthly plan. You can earn MUCH more if your referrals have larger email lists.]
Also for high commission programs there tends to be more competition. You are probably starting out, so it will be quite difficult to make a significant amount of money if you are competing with experienced marketers who make a lot more than you.
B. Affiliate programs that pay little for popular products
These affiliate programs advertise products that have a low payout but are capable of grabbing the attention of a large audience.
Let’s take PS4 games for example . Many people play PS4 , but the average cost of a game is around $ 50 ($ 45), and the affiliate fees are usually in the single digits. This means that if you are lucky, you will earn 2 or 3 dollars (more or less 2 or 3 euros) per sale.
The feature that makes us re-evaluate these types of programs is that they usually offer a lot of products to sell. Let’s take Amazon’s affiliate program for example. You can earn up to 10% commissions on almost any product sold on Amazon.
[Take advantage of our experience
Earn up to 10% commissions with a recognized e-commerce leader]
The other good thing is that commissions are often calculated on the total value of the sale, and not just on the product you advertised.
To make this type of affiliate program profitable, you will need a lot of traffic.
C. Affiliate programs that pay a lot for popular products
These are affiliate programs on popular products but which also pay high commissions.
One example is credit card affiliate programs.
We all need a credit card, and most people stay with the same bank for years (some even decades!).
The downside to these types of products is that they attract very experienced and very well paid marketers into affiliate marketing. Some even use spammy tactics that you simply will never be able to compete with.
This is a tutorial designed for beginners, so we won’t go into more detail.
Suffice it to say that this type of program exists.
How to decide which affiliate programs to join
It depends on your niche and your level of experience.
If your target is customers of popular products, you will probably choose the second model, the one with low commissions and high sales volumes.
If, on the other hand, you are interested in a business clientele, you will probably choose the first model: affiliations that pay high on niche products. The most popular programs of this type involve hosting software and services.