Affiliate marketing has been time tested and proven to be a viable method of creating passive income. In fact, 16% of all online orders are from affiliate marketing and this trend is predicted to grow massively in the foreseeable future. Most online marketers engage in affiliate marketing for these reasons:
- Low cost of entry (usually free)
- You don’t have to create your own product
- No shipping or warehousing needed
- As a third party, you don’t have direct contact with customers.
- Unlimited income potential
- Runs 24/7 for you.
- No commuting or traveling required. Work from home.
The biggest hurdle to affiliate marketing is generating and driving consistent traffic.
How It Works
An affiliate network is a platform where product manufacturers invite affiliate marketers to promote their products in exchange for a commission. The manufacturers manage payment processing and customer support. They provide advertising materials that help affiliate marketers promote different products such as links, banner ads, landing pages, and images for social media promotion.
Merchants prefer affiliate networks because it keeps their own marketing expenses lower and they can manage everything from recruitment to payouts. Affiliate marketers, also referred to as “publishers”, prefer them because of their reliability, brand recognition, range of products and ease of use.
You, the affiliate marketer, are the “publisher” because your job is to “publish” content that gets the Merchant’s products/services sold. You’ll see these terms used widely throughout affiliate marketing directories.
Finding The Right Program For You
There are literally hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs out there in every niche imaginable. The most popular niches today include fashion, home and garden, food and drink, and health & wellness.
You’ll need to do some research to uncover which programs are popular in your specific niche. There are many online directories that list affiliate products. Keep in mind, you may have to search through a few to find just the right one. Here are a few directories you can try:
It doesn’t matter how great your content or your products are, without traffic your dead in the water. Everything online revolves around it. Driving traffic is by far the biggest hurdle we as online entrepreneurs must conquer.
The best way to promote affiliate programs is through niche content blogging through your own website. From there you can then employ paid social media ads.
To make money with affiliate marketing you have to drive a constant flow of traffic to your affiliate links. This is the biggest hurdle to overcome and the key to your success in any affiliate marketing program.
The trick to driving traffic is to publish your affiliate link in as many social media sites as possible by incorporating the link inside something of value (i.e. blog, article, video, webinar) and using paid ads.
Some popular websites you can publish to include:
- Associated Content
- Steps To Success
This doesn’t have to be complicated. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to doing this. Initially, I tried using Wix.com but I really didn’t know what I was doing. I did manage to set up a site but I quickly realized that having a site wasn’t enough.
There was the whole issue of SEO set up that I didn’t know much about. Then I started researching affiliate marketing sites and realized many of them were on WordPress.
Again, I had no clue how to set up a WP site. Discovering WealthyAffiliate solved it for me because it was totally FREE and all the backend SEO pack included:
- Advanced support for e-commerce
- Video SEO Module
- SEO for Categories, Tags and Custom Taxonomies
- Access to Video Screencasts
- Access to Premium Support Forums
- Access to the Knowledge Center
I didn’t have to worry about any of that stuff. In fact, within a week, my site was indexed by Google. Basically, that means that Google knows you now exist.
Today, I have two WP sites built through WealthyAffiliate. Oh yeah, they’ve been around for over ten years and provide in-depth training on how to start and build out your affiliate website from beginners to advanced. It’s all there.
What To Look For In An Affiliate Program
Not all affiliate programs are the same. Some pay way better than others. You want to look for programs that give you a variety of swipes, banners, lead pages, videos, etc.
Here are some good programs features to look for:
Programs that offer a monthly membership with a product often provide you with recurring monthly or yearly commissions. If the membership charges per month, you’ll get paid a percentage per month. If on the other hand, they charge an annual fee, then you can expect to receive that commission upon the renewal of the annual membership.
High Ticket Items
It’s difficult to make any decent money on products that only pay you $0.50 or less on the dollar as Amazon does. Generally speaking, the higher the price tag, the better the commissions. It’s much better to make $96 on the $1200 sale of exercise equipment rather than $0.50 on a $10.00 item. After all, it takes the same amount of effort.
You’ll also want to look for the ones that give a long cookie duration. The most common is 30 days but it can go as high as 90 days. What this means is that when a consumer clicks on your affiliate link, it will place a cookie on his/her computer for 30 days. If during that time, the consumer makes a purchase, you get the credit.
100% Free Programs
Never pay to join an affiliate program. Run…don’t walk, away from any program looking to charge you for the privilege of promoting their product. Merchants will sometimes charge consumers ser up fees and/or monthly fees to cover the commission payouts. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
4 Steps To Success
Choose The Right Program
Since I was new, I started with WA affiliate product because it’s reoccurring (like a monthly subscription) which means you get paid monthly too. Also because I absolutely fell in love with their program and have been using it nearly two years now and have heard so many other members succeed. When you’re ready to expand your list of affiliate products, consider joining sites like ClickBank or Commission Junction.
Build It & They Will Come
Create and publish valuable content that others within your niche will want to read. This could also include product reviews. Put your affiliate link within the content where it makes sense to do so. Don’t bombard your readers. No more than two affiliate links per blog is what I follow.
Become A Social Media Marketing Expert
Aside from the most popular options (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram) also consider using Pinterest, Orkut, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit to drive more traffic. Get really good at leveraging as many social media outlets as possible. This is key to driving traffic to your site and there’s no way to avoid it. So, dive deep! Here’s what I do.
Set Up A Sales Funnel
You’ll need to set up a sales funnel which will help you collect and maintain a customer list. This list is invaluable as you can then nurture each one and keep them coming back to your website, thus increasing sales. The more you grow your funnel, the bigger your sales. Personally,
I use an autoresponder for this. It starts with my opt-in-form and then sends subscribers to a drip campaign, giving them the news, tips, and strategies for online success. I also alert them to new blog content as I publish them using push-notification plugins.
Cloak Your Links!
The best way to protect your links for a little added sense of security is to cloak them. If you have a WordPress blog, consider using PrettyLinks plugin. It’s very easy and straightforward to use. You just cut and paste your affiliate URL in and then add a custom name to it. It will hide your affiliate tracking number entirely. You could also try ThirstyAffiliates.com.
Wrapping It All Up
By now, you’ve probably realized there is no real secret to success in affiliate marketing. Just proven steps you must employ to achieve the same success that thousands of others have attained.
The biggest factor, and what often trips people up is their level of PATIENCE. This is not an overnight thing, nor is it something you do once in a while.
If you’re serious about building an online business and passive income, you have to pay your dues. It’s a business, not a hobby. That is, put in all the hours, learn as you go, understand it’s a process we all must go through.
Remember, the key to a successful affiliate marketing online business is TRAFFIC. The more traffic you can drive to your affiliate links, the more sales you’ll generate.
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