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How to Start Affiliate Marketing Today

Discover how to start affiliate marketing today and make money from your blog. Affiliate marketing can be very lucrative, provided you know what to do and have a well-optimized website

Ever wondered how to start affiliate marketing quickly? Now you can. Our course walks you through the basics of getting started with affiliate marketing, from building a website to finding your first products to promote. You’ll also discover how to increase traffic and engage visitors, making your site more profitable for years to come.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting the products or services of another person or company in exchange for a commission on the resulting sale. Affiliate marketers join affiliate programs, find reputable affiliate products to promote, and then share those products with their audiences.

Basically, it’s a modern interpretation of a very old idea — getting a commission on a sale.

If you’ve been listening to us for long, you’ve learned that bloggers make money by building an audience who trusts them, and then by offering products or services that will genuinely help that audience.

Affiliate marketing is really just a quick way to offer products and services without having to create your own products and services.

For bloggers, that means you find a product or service that you like, promote it to your readers, and earn part of the profit on each sale that you make.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing can get pretty technical, even for those well-versed in digital marketing. Fortunately, you don’t need to know all the details to get started.Free Bonus:Click here to get our “cheat sheet” for affiliate marketers delivered straight to your inbox (for free).

The actual mechanics run in the background, thanks to the merchant’s affiliate software.

But here’s a quick look behind the scenes:

  1. When an affiliate joins the merchant’s program, he or she is given a unique ID and a specific URL to use when promoting the company’s product.
  2. The affiliate includes the link in their blog post and/or via their email marketing efforts and invites readers to click it to find out more.
  3. When a potential buyer clicks on the link to visit the affiliate partner’s site, a cookie identifying the affiliate is placed on the website visitor’s computer. The cookie ensures that the publisher is credited with the referral sale even if it occurs days or even weeks later.
  4. Whenever a buyer completes the sale process, the merchant checks the sales record for a cookie identifying the source of the referral.
  5. If the merchant finds a cookie with an affiliate ID, the affiliate is credited with the sale.
  6. The merchant makes reports available so that the affiliate can see their referrals (clicks) and sales.
  7. The merchant pays the affiliate commission at the end of each payment period (i.e. revenue sharing).

Here’s a graphical overview to help you visualize the process:

affiliate links

The flow is pretty straightforward once you understand it, and it works the same no matter what kind of product you’re promoting or how established you are as an affiliate marketer.

So let’s look at the typical progression for a blogger who’s serious about making affiliate marketing a major source of income.

Here’s How to Start Affiliate Marketing on Your Blog in 8 Steps:

  • Step 1: Create a Website or A Blog
  • Step 2: Choose an Industry, and then Niche Down
  • Step 3: Research Products in Your Niche that You Can Review
  • Step 4: Sign Up for the Amazon Affiliate Program
  • Step 5: Find affiliate programs for the other products you want to review
  • Step 6: Create content in the form of tutorials, review posts, resource pages or emails and use your affiliate link
  • Step 7: Optimize the page and track your rankings in Google
  • Step 8: Rinse and Repeat!

We’ll cover all of these steps (and more) in detail in this post, but it’s important to understand the general process from the beginning.

How to Make Your First Dollar Through Affiliate Marketing

There are lots of approaches to making money with affiliate links. But if I was just beginning to learn how to become an affiliate marketer, and needed to say, make a hundred bucks this week? This video shows you step by step, exactly how I’d do it:

One of the things I love about this type of monetization is that affiliate marketing for beginners is actually really easy to jump into (even without a bunch of technical knowledge).

Then as your site grows and your marketing skills grow you can begin to learn more advanced strategies and tactics.

How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?

The amount you can make will vary wildly – it honestly falls somewhere between zero and millions.

Your income will be directly related to the type of offers you promote, how much traffic you get to the site, and your grasp of other online marketing skills like email marketing and SEO.

But in this post you’ll get a pretty good sense of the earning potential from different types of promotions.

How Do You Become an Affiliate Marketer?

Here’s the thing, you can pick just about any product that you can buy online, and there will be an affiliate program that will pay you a finders fee for referring a sale.

However, just because you can promote anything, doesn’t mean you should. 

The most important thing to consider when selecting a product to market is, “is it relevant to your audience?”

For instance, for me to try and advertise for dumbbells on Location Rebel probably isn’t the smartest thing, because 99% of my audience could care less about them.

However, for me to promote, say, WP Engine a WordPress hosting company – makes much more sense, since almost every one of my readers either has or has considered starting a website.

And just recently, we promoted Streak as an awesome tool for freelancers to use to monitor leads right from their inbox. Once again, that’s something that speaks directly to the audience.

Questions to Ask Before Promoting an Affiliate Product

When I’m trying to decide what to promote I always ask myself the following questions:

  • Do I use this product?
  • Will the vast majority of my readers benefit from using this product?
  • Is the buying process easy?
  • Is there a good affiliate commission rate? (Not always necessary)

If I answer yes to each of these questions, then it’s probably a good fit and worth promoting.

Action Item: Make a list of products that you use that you think your blog audience would benefit from using as well. Try to think of as many as you can.

And remember, these can include complementary products as well. If you write about travel, for instance, you can include tons of complementary products like luggage, headphones, backpacks, and clothing too.

Start Affiliate Marketing: Physical Products vs. Information Products vs. Services

Ok, you should have an idea of which products you might want to promote – now it’s time to decide which of those are the best fit for you and your audience.

There are three different types of affiliate products you can promote:

  1. Physical Products
  2. Information Products
  3. Services

Each of these has pros and cons, and we’re going to look at those now.

Amazon Affiliate Marketing: How to Market Physical Products

Physical products are probably the easiest thing to promote for one reason, and one reason only: Amazon.

Amazon has the world’s largest affiliate program, and once you sign up, you can get a link for any product on the site, earn a (small) commission on it!

Check it out using this example from my site Breaking Eighty, a golf bag.

So you see at the very top there I have my Amazon Associates links. What I do is type the item into the the search box and then click on the type of link I want (usually text).

Here it is in action.

I type ‘golf bag’ into the search box.

affiliate marketing amazon search

And then, once I’m on the page of the bag I want to highlight in my review I click ‘text’ from the Get Link bar at the top.

You’ll see that there will be a store and tracking ID (I’ve blocked these) and then in the text box, a shortened link that will go right to this golf bag.

Screenshot2017 08 0717.09.09

Anytime someone clicks that link, their cookie is recorded in Amazon as coming from me, so when they buy something I will get a small % of commission.

Pretty cool, right?

Well, yes and no.

Commission rates on physical products are notoriously low, due to all of the factors that go into selling them (manufacturing, wholesaling, shipping, etc). And in 2017, they made a few changes to the rate structure.

Then in April of 2020 they made even more drastic changes to commission rates.

Here’s a look at part of the rate table today. You can check this link for a full listing of the rate information.

So you can earn a 4% commission on a lot of stuff, as high as 10% on luxury and fashion, and as low as 1% on video games.

Even if you’re selling thousands of items a month, you’re still making less than a 10% commission. Because of this, I know a ton of people who make a little bit of money off of Amazon affiliate websites, but few who make thousands.

Average Physical Product Commissions: 1-10%. Anything over 10% is very good.

How to Sign Up for Amazon’s Partner Program

Signing up for Amazon’s affiliate program is an excellent starting point.

Why?

Because the chances are good you already use Amazon, are familiar with it, and your readers are too.

You can sign up and get links immediately from the Amazon Affiliate program right here.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing as a Newbie Blogger

If you want to find affiliate programs for specific companies, I would start with Flex Offers.

Many of the largest companies work with them (for instance many of the golf companies I work with), and building a relationship with a larger affiliate network can lead to more opportunities that you might not have found otherwise.

We did a whole post on Amazon affiliate marketing if you want to learn more about how to get started. Just keep in mind, this was shot before the most recent rate decrease.

Conclusion

Join the Affiliate Program today. Simply create your account, fill out your profile and complete a quick verification process to get started.

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