As we all know, the harmful wave of the coronavirus has disturbed the entire planet. It has affected not only the health of the people but also their businesses. Due to this, the year 2020 saw a downfall in offline businesses.
At the same time, the number of online activities has increased.
Due to the rising online activities, affiliate marketing is considered a profitable business in this era. Different bloggers or people with an online platform can pursue affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make passive income. People can generate this passive income while sitting in the comfort of their homes.
Affiliate marketing helps these people earn money even while sleeping, bathing, or performing other profitable activities.
Hence, the scope of affiliate marketing is wide. This is exhibited from the 2019 survey conducted in the US. This survey shows that affiliate marketing in the US can reach more than the $8.2 billion mark by 2022 from $6.4 billion in 2019.
So, you can pursue affiliate marketing in 2021. It will be a profitable profession in these distressful times. But as a beginner, you need to know what affiliate marketing is and how you can pursue it.
Different bloggers and website owners can earn huge income from affiliate marketing with the right tips and tricks.
Hence, this article will describe the meaning of affiliate marketing and the steps to start affiliate marketing for beginners in 2021.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the best monetization strategies that can help you earn income through a platform. This platform can be an online website, YouTube channel, or blog.
A particular platform helps you to promote the products or services of another company. This promotion or suggestion enables the affiliates to earn income.
The affiliates can promote a product or service by placing affiliate links in their blogs or websites. These affiliate links help redirect the traffic from the affiliate’s platform to the company’s website.
When this traffic purchases due to such a referral, the affiliates can earn income. This income is in the form of commission. So, the greater the referrals which the affiliates help to generate, the greater their commission is.
Sometimes, you may be practicing affiliate marketing without even realizing it. This happens when you suggest a discount code or a particular link to your friends. But, this suggestion should always help you to gain something in return.
Now let us understand the structure behind the functioning of affiliate marketing.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Works?
Affiliate marketing helps the affiliates to earn income without producing a physical product. But this does not mean that the affiliates can easily make an income while sitting at their homes.
These affiliates should know each step behind the process of affiliate marketing clearly.
The process starts when the affiliates decide on a product or service to market or promote in the digital market. These affiliates should always assess the demand-supply level of this product or service.
When assessing the demand-supply level, the affiliates can come across different situations. There can be situations when the demand is greater than or less than the supply.
In higher demands, the affiliates should place the affiliate links of the products in their blogs or website.
These links help satisfy the customers' demand by taking them to the official website of the products or services. Customers can make their purchases from this website.
But, in low demand, the affiliates should avoid placing the product affiliate links into their blogs or websites. This is because the customers will not click on the affiliate links because of their lack of interest in the product or service.
After deciding the demand-supply level, the affiliates can place the affiliate links into their blogs or sites. They should decide to put the affiliate links so that these links are visible to their audience.
When the audience clicks on such links, they are redirected to the product’s official website or the service. From there, these people can make their purchases.
Any purchases generated due to the referrals help the affiliates to earn income. This income is in the form of a commission. The commission is granted to the affiliates on various bases.
It may be given as a fixed amount or as a percentage of the sales they helped generate. But the affiliates do not earn income when the referrals do not make any purchases from the website of the respective product or service.
There can be situations when the audience comes to know about the product or service through the affiliates. But these visitors decide to purchase the product or service later in the future.
Here comes the importance of affiliate marketing cookies. No, these are not those cookies that help to satisfy your hunger.
Let us understand the meaning of affiliate marketing cookies.
Also Read: Best Affiliate Networks and Platforms
Cookies are considered an important component in affiliate marketing. The people starting their career as affiliates need not know in detail about the cookies. But these affiliates should know the basic meaning of affiliate marketing cookies.
You must have heard about the cookie life of different affiliate programs. Let us understand this with the help of an example.
The cookie life of a particular affiliate program is 90 days. This means that the affiliate can earn the benefit of their referrals for 90 days.
If the people who click on your link purchase in the next 90 days, you can receive your commission. But after this, the affiliates are not eligible to gain commission.
Now let us know the process to start affiliate marketing in detail. The steps mentioned below will help beginners to start affiliate marketing profitably.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing?
Step 1. Build a Platform
The first step towards affiliate marketing is to build a platform. A platform serves as a base to help the affiliates in pursuing affiliate marketing.
The necessity of a platform lies in the fact that you need a medium to spread the word about a particular product or service. Only with an online presence can you suggest the product and service digitally to your audience.
The best platform that can help you in affiliate marketing is a blog or a website. People can also use YouTube videos as their platform.
They can even pursue a combination of YouTube videos and a website to suggest the market’s products and services.
The site or the blog which the affiliates use for affiliate marketing should have a niche. This niche helps to form the content marketing plan and attract the audience towards the website.
But the purpose is not only to create an online presence. The main aim of the affiliates should be to publish regularly and engage the audience in the comments.
Once the audience is engaged, they will visit your website again and again. This will, in turn, help you to earn higher commissions through affiliate marketing.
Generally, there are two types of platforms that the affiliates can use. Let us have a look at both of them.
Designed For Affiliate Marketing
This platform includes all the websites and blogs that are specifically designed for affiliate marketing. This website is created in a specific niche.
This niche is related to the product or service which the affiliates can suggest on the platform.
Not Specifically Designed for Affiliate Marketing
These are the platforms that are not specifically created to serve the purpose of affiliate marketing. They are made to serve a greater purpose. This purpose can be to spread the word about your business or create blogs.
For example, you create a website for your blogs. The primary purpose of this website is to create blogs.
But you can pursue affiliate marketing even through this website. To do this, bloggers can pursue affiliate programs that are related to blogging and editing tools.
So you can choose any of these two types of platforms to pursue affiliate marketing.
Step 2. Get the Right Readers
After deciding on a particular platform, the next step for the affiliates is to decide their prospective target audience.
This target audience includes all the people interested in the products or services suggested by the affiliates. Interested people help to increase the conversion rate of your website.
To get the right readers, the affiliates should select a particular niche for the website. This niche helps to target the right kind of audience by creating a content strategy.
With the right content strategy, the affiliates can reduce their expenses. This is done by creating content only for the specific target audience.
In such a case, the affiliates can save money and see a reduction in their expenses. The money would otherwise have been spent on visitors who will not become your customers.
These visitors only tend to waste their resources. So getting the right readers helps you to save your resources.
After choosing a particular niche, the affiliates should aim to solve the target audience’s problem through their blogs.
When you help the right readers through your affiliate links or blogs, they are likely to be more impressed with your suggestions. This helps to create a bond of trust between the affiliates and their visitors.
These visitors may even become your regular customers. In this way, you can earn more commission by increasing your blogs or website’s conversion rate.
Also Read: 14 Best Email Marketing Services You Can Use
Step 3. Choose the Best Affiliate Marketing Program
After attracting the right target audience to your platform, the next step is to choose the best affiliate marketing program. The best affiliate marketing program will help you to earn higher conversion rates and high commissions.
There are different types of affiliate marketing programs out there in the market. These programs belong to various niches like digital products, games, clothes, beauty, fashion, editing software, etc.
Affiliate marketing programs are free to join.
Moreover, there is no limit on the number of affiliate programs that you want to join. So it becomes important for the affiliates to choose the right affiliate programs that can help them earn the highest commission.
To select the best affiliate marketing programs, you can follow the steps mentioned below.
Step 4. Suitability of The Niche with The Program
Before selecting an affiliate marketing program, it is very crucial to determine its niche relevancy. This means you should always check the suitability of the niche of your blog or website with the affiliate program.
Let us understand this with the help of an example.
You have a website for blogging. But you choose an affiliate program that deals in digital games. Here the affiliate program does not match your niche of blogging. This will ultimately lead to failure in the affiliate marketing process.
The reason behind this is that your target audience includes bloggers. These bloggers will only be interested in the product, services, and content related to blogging.
They will not help you to earn a commission through your affiliate program of digital games. Hence you should always make sure to verify the niche relevancy before choosing any affiliate marketing program.
Step 5. Use Your Personal Experience
Using your personal experience is very crucial before selecting any affiliate marketing program. The saying “experience is the best teacher” never gets old.
Using your personal experience to suggest the product means that you should always try it before recommending it to your audience.
Trying the product or the service before suggesting it will help you develop a useful and compelling review.
This review will contain honest content that will have the power to impress the people and make them purchase the product or service.
Moreover, using your personal experience before suggesting any product also builds the trust of your audience. This is because people are likely to purchase a product or service if it is useful for the affiliate.
Recommending the product or service to your audience without even trying it can lead to a wrong review.
Let us assume that you promoted a product without using it. Some of your visitors even purchased this product based on your review. But ultimately, they were dissatisfied with their purchase.
Not only did this give a wrong impression on you, but you also lost your regular visitors.
Hence, the reason behind using your personal experience before choosing an affiliate marketing program is simple. You can only suggest and appreciate a product or service after you have used it.
Giving false reviews will not only degrade your professionalism but will also lead to the loss of clients.
Step 6. Payment Methods of The Program
After finalizing your affiliate program, you should always have a look at its payment methods.
Many people make the mistake of ignoring the payment options of the affiliate program. But they may face a problem once they start earning their income.
This is because many affiliate programs have only one payment option. For example, an affiliate program must be paying out to their affiliates through checks. But you cannot join this affiliate program if you do not have a bank account.
Similarly, various affiliate programs make payments through a PayPal account. So, you should always check the payment options with the field marketing program.
You should join the program only if the payment options are feasible for you to join.
Also Read: Genuine Ways To Make Money Online
Step 7. Number of Affiliate Programs
Before choosing the affiliate programs, affiliates should also decide the number of affiliate programs to join. Initially, beginners should not join multiple affiliate programs. This is one of the biggest mistakes that beginners commit.
Instead of focusing on one product, they tend to join multiple affiliate programs. For this, they need to promote different products and services to their audience.
This diversifies the attention of the readers towards different products. Hence, the conversion rate of your blog and website can fall.
So, beginners should only promote a specific product on their blog or website. They should create a content strategy to promote this product for a long time.
Hence, by following the above-mentioned steps, you can start affiliate marketing by choosing a productive affiliate marketing program.
A productive affiliate marketing program will help you make the best out of your blog or website through minimum resources. After you choose an affiliate program, the next step is to place affiliate links into your blog or website.
After you choose an affiliate program, you receive promotional content from this program. This promotional content is in the form of banners, text links, and other attractive materials.
Such materials generally aim at compelling the audience to make their purchases in favor of the product or service.
So, the next step in affiliate marketing is to place these affiliate links effectively with the content. The placement of such affiliate links should be done so that they are easy to be looked at by the readers.
This means that the affiliate links should not be hidden in the blogs. For example, you place an affiliate link in the bottom corner of a blog. But this will be difficult to look at from the readers. In such a case, the conversion rate of your blog falls.
Hence, the affiliates should always aim at placing links in such a way that is easy to recognize by the viewers.
You can insert the banners of your affiliate links in the middle of your content. In such a case, the readers can easily see the affiliate links while reading the content.
The affiliates can place the affiliate links and other promotional content in two ways.
First of all, they may use videos to promote a particular affiliate marketing program's products or services. In such a case, the affiliates can insert affiliate links and promotional content in the videos.
They may do so by describing the respective product or services and compelling the audience to click on the affiliate links.
After adding the affiliate links in the videos, the affiliates can even insert these affiliate links in the videos' description.
The next method to use affiliate links is the most common way. In this method, the bloggers add affiliate links to their blogs or websites. They can place these links amidst the content related to the respective products and services.
The promotional content and affiliate links help the affiliates to engage the readers. When these readers become interested in the products and services, they can click on the affiliate links.
These links redirect the readers from the website or blog or the affiliates to the product and service's respective website.
When these readers are redirected to the product or service website, they need to accept a cookie. This cookie helps to track the re-entry of the readers in the respective website or blog.
After visiting the website of the product or services, the readers can perform two actions. They can either purchase the product or avoid buying it.
If the visitors purchase the respective product or services, then the affiliates receive a commission. But if the readers do not purchase the product, then no such commission is provided to the affiliates.
In such a case, there is still a chance for the affiliates to earn a commission. This is possible only if the visitors make their purchases within the cookie life of the affiliate program.
Let us say the cookie life of a program is 30 days. In such a case, if the visitors revisit the website within 30 days and make the purchases, then the affiliates can earn a commission from such a referral.
But if the visitors make the purchases after 30 days, then no commission will be received by the affiliates.
The commission received by the affiliates is given at a certain percentage of the sales they help generate. Sometimes this commission may even be provided to the affiliates as a fixed amount.
Thus, after successfully placing an affiliate link in your blog or website, the next step is to attract traffic.
Also Read: How to Make Money by Writing
Step 9. Attract Traffic
Attracting traffic to your website is a crucial step in affiliate marketing. If you do not perform this step effectively, your hard work is a waste.
If there is no one to appreciate your content and click on your affiliate links, you cannot earn a commission. In simple words, we can say that there is no use of content that no one reads.
So, the affiliates should learn how to attract traffic to their websites or blogs. This can be done in two ways. Let us have a look at both of them.
Attracting Paid Traffic
As the name suggests, attracting paid traffic means that the affiliates pay to attract traffic to their websites. You can attract paid traffic to your websites by using pay-per-click advertisements.
The advantage of pay-per-click advertisements or PPC ads is that they help you attract traffic in exchange for money. You can get traffic on your site the moment you start paying for these ads.
But attracting paid traffic even has certain disadvantages. Paying for traffic will lead to lower profits for the affiliates.
Moreover, before starting a paid traffic campaign, you should always estimate the time this campaign will take. Thirdly, when the affiliates stop paying for their traffic, they receive a downfall in visitors’ number.
But ultimately, paid traffic can help you in your affiliate marketing process. You can consider traffic as an investment made for affiliate marketing. This investment is in the form of time and money.
Search Engine Optimization
The next method to attract traffic is by using search engine optimization methods and techniques. Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic visiting your website.
This traffic includes the unpaid or organic type of traffic. It is attracted towards a website due to different types of searches like web search, video search, image search, etc.
Search engine optimization helps to attract such type of traffic by recognizing the functioning of search engines.
SEO helps to determine the functioning of the algorithms of the search engines. These algorithms control the behavior of search engines. They help people to know the SEO keywords and phrases.
Using effective search engine keywords and phrases, the affiliates can improve their websites’ ranking on the search engine result pages.
Improving the ranking on the search engine result pages (SERP) is important to increase the traffic visiting the website. This traffic and visitors can ultimately be converted into regular customers.
They can help the affiliates to earn higher commissions by clicking on the affiliate links and making their purchases.
Search engine optimization also helps the affiliates to decide the relevant keywords and phrases for their website and blogs. These keywords are the phrases that people search for when looking for different topics on the web.
By placing such keywords and phrases in their content, the affiliates have a greater scope of earning a commission. This is because you will receive consistent traffic if you rank higher on the search engines like Google Chrome, etc.
Hence, search engine optimization is about understanding the requirements of your target audience. These requirements can include the problems of your target audience on a particular topic.
Affiliates can help to solve such problems through their blogs and websites. They can do this by creating content for their target audience on such subjects.
But the affiliates also need to take care of the technical keywords and phrases while creating such content.
After attracting visitors to your website, you should always remember not to overdo affiliate marketing. As we all know, excess of anything is harmful. Similarly, pursuing affiliate marketing in excess can reap negative results.
When the affiliates promote a product or service in excess, the audience tends to lose interest in the product or service. The visitors feel that the affiliates are trying to fool them by over appreciating the product and service.
So, the affiliates should use the right mix of content, strategy, and marketing to pursue affiliate marketing. Overdoing leads to a reduction in sales and tends to break the trust of the customers.
Track, Learn, and Improvise
After following all the above steps effectively, the affiliates can receive a high commission. But the job of the affiliates does not get over here. The next step which the affiliates need to follow is to track, learn and improvise.
This means the affiliates need to track their performance, learn from it, and find ways to improve and earn more significant revenues.
The affiliate marketers need to track their performance based on different data figures.
- The number of views on the blogs and posts of the affiliates.
- The number of clicks made by the visitors on the affiliate links.
- Determining the conversion rate of your website or a blog. The conversion rate includes the number of people who actually make purchases by clicking on your link.
- Income generated by pursuing affiliate marketing.
The affiliates should track their performance of this data every month. This will help them to identify any issues and shortcomings in their content marketing strategy and techniques. Let us understand this with the help of examples.
If the number of views on your blogs and posts is low, you should aim to attract traffic to your website in the right manner.
The low number of views clearly shows the failure of both- search engine optimization techniques and paid traffic of the affiliates.
Similarly, there can be situations when visitors’ number of clicks on the affiliate links is low. In such a case, you should focus on placing the affiliate links in the right manner in your content and blogs.
There can be a low number of clicks on your affiliate links when visitors do not clearly see the affiliate links on your blog or website.
In this way, you can estimate your site’s performance and use this information to improve your commissions.
Recommended Affiliate Networks
The affiliate marketers can choose the affiliate programs from an affiliate network. The affiliate networks provide a range of affiliate programs based on different niche and commission rates.
It is always advisable to select affiliate programs from an affiliate network. This is because affiliate networks have many advantages over in-house affiliate programs.
In an affiliate network, the affiliates need not perform any administrative tasks and functions. They receive a plethora of different affiliate marketing programs in various niches.
Moreover, these affiliates can easily reach the minimum payout limits in the affiliate networks.
But choosing the right affiliate marketing network is a daunting task. The affiliates can choose this network based on various factors.
These factors include the rate of commission, the niche of the marketing network, etc. So here is a list of different affiliate networks which the beginners in the industry can choose.
Affiliate Networks for Beginners
AWIN, formerly known as Affiliate Window, was founded in the year 2000. This affiliate marketing Network was founded in Germany. Presently, it is accessible to the affiliate marketers of 11 countries.
The software is one of the largest affiliate marketing networks in the world. It helps to connect more than 15,200 advertisers with more than 211,000 publishers in different countries.
But the affiliates need to submit a fee to join this platform. The cost of AWIN is $5. This fee is even refundable if the software accepts the application of the affiliate. But in case this application is rejected, the affiliates may lose this fee.
The software also provides different types of promotional content and features to the affiliates. The affiliates can use these features to attract their readers to the affiliate programs.
Once the readers or visitors make their purchases, the affiliates can earn a commission. This commission is based on the program which the affiliates choose.
There are different types of programs that sell digital and physical products on AWIN. Some of the prominent merchants of this platform are Hyatt, Etsy, Aliexpress, HP, etc.
Niche: Sports, finance, shopping, fashion, beauty, travel, home, and garden.
Payment cycle: Twice per month.
Minimum payment: $20.
Pepperjam is a digital affiliate marketing network with an easy-to-use interface. The software has intuitive technology and is helping the affiliates for more than 20 years.
Different brands that work with Pepperjam are Puma, Everlane Time, Meredith, Nordstrom, etc.
To promote the products of these brands, the affiliates need to sign up on the platform.
The signup process is straightforward and requires the basic information of the affiliates. This information mainly includes knowledge about the website of the affiliates.
Payment method: PayPal, Check, and direct deposit.
Payment cycle: 1st and 15th of each month
Minimum payment: $25
Minimum duration to pass the payment after sale: 7 days.
ClickBank is an old affiliate marketing network. This platform has been functioning for more than 20 years. Up till now, the platform has provided more than $4.2 billion to its affiliates as commission.
The affiliates can join this affiliate marketing network to promote more than 4000 products of the software. These products have a higher conversion rate.
This is because before the products are incorporated into the platform, they undergo a rigorous testing procedure. These products include both digital and physical products.
So the affiliates can promote these products by placing affiliate links into the blogs. Any action on such links helps these affiliates to earn a commission.
This commission is based on the sales which the affiliates help the companies to generate. ClickBank tracks the sales of the affiliates using the tracking system of Hopelink.
- E-business and E-marketing
- Parenting and families
- Arts and Entertainment
Commission rate: a recurring commission of up to 90%.
Payment cycle: weekly or biweekly
Payment method: Initially paid through check. After a minimum limit is reached, paid via wire and PayPal.
Rakuten Affiliate Network functions as an E-Commerce affiliate marketing network that deals in physical products. This platform is one of the oldest affiliate networks and was formerly known as buy.com.
The software has premium technology with several features. Using such technology, the affiliates can promote the software’s products using flexible linking options and rotating advertisements.
The products of the software are owned by more than a thousand partners of the program. Different brands linked with Rakuten Affiliate Network include New Balance, Sephora, Walmart, etc.
The affiliates can promote the products of these brands. This promotion helps them to earn a commission. The commission is paid to the affiliates based on various pricing options. These pricing options include CPA, CPS, CPC, and CPL.
Niche: Physical products.
Payment methods: Direct deposit, PayPal, or check.
Minimum payment: $50
Hence, affiliate marketing is a profitable career option for different website owners and bloggers.
These people can easily earn significant incomes by suggesting different products and services through their websites and blogs.
But the website owners and bloggers should invest in terms of efforts, time, and money to monetize their blogs through affiliate marketing.
Initially, the affiliates may face various hurdles and obstacles to earn a commission. But, they should never lose hope and give up. Many affiliates failed to earn commissions because they gave up without trying harder.
So, the affiliates should use various tactics and techniques to boost their commissions.
- The affiliates should place the call-to-action along with their affiliate links.
- These call-to-actions help to increase the conversion rate of the blogs or websites of the affiliates. The call-to-actions can include several phrases like “Click here to get more info about the product or service”.
- The affiliates should always choose the right affiliate marketing programs for their blogs and target audience. The quantity of the affiliate programs chosen by the affiliates is not necessary. It is the quality of the affiliate program which matters. The quality includes the right affiliate programs that can help the affiliates to earn high commissions.
- The affiliate should also learn the power of search engine optimization, keywords, and phrases. This helps them to use effective keywords for their posts and attract search engine traffic.
By following all the above tips and tricks, you can pursue affiliate marketing. There is no need for you to invest in expensive plugins and software. The investment is largely made in terms of your efforts and time.