Becoming a business is a whole different affair today than it was 20 years ago. The Internet allows people to establish businesses without a product or a service. This implies that virtually anyone can become a business owner, regardless of knowledge, background or professional field.
Affiliate marketing is one of the opportunities that the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web have opened for people from all walks of life. The business model is a source of passive income, a side stream you can set up for yourself, without having a good or service of your own to offer.
That’s why thousands, if not millions of people worldwide have tried their luck with it. But affiliate marketing does not happen with magic, wishful thinking or empty ambition. You have to work for it. And it is a fact that nowadays there are hundreds of tools, solutions, and courses for affiliate marketers that can help you achieve your business goals.
But the question is, would they be enough? The thing is, no matter how many work-enhancing solutions you use, there are some basics you need to cover, in order to expect success.
What Is Affiliate Marketing All About?
You can find tons of information on the topic, freely available online. But there are quite a few misconceptions, the biggest of which is sources making you believe you will become a pro with the snap of your fingers.
It is true that some people live only off affiliate marketing, but this is not accurate for most affiliate marketers. It requires a lot of hard work and careful examination of the markets and online policies.
In its essence, affiliate marketing involves you – the affiliate, and the owner of the product. You take it upon yourself to advertise and promote the products in exchange for a commission for every sale you make.
The more products you promote, the bigger the chances for more commissions. But simply promoting something, doesn’t guarantee you the selling it. It is up to you to carry out efficient advertising and marketing campaigns to make returns.
Why Is Affiliate Marketing So Popular?
The main reason is that you’re in charge of your own business and you don’t have to provide an actual product. Most affiliate marketers create blogs and websites where they provide detailed information and often – reviews of the products they endorse.
You wouldn’t have to deal with shipping or delivering products, either. Your only job is to promote the product you affiliate for, drive traffic to the vendors, and make sure your promotion is ethical enough, providing authentic and objective information so that you don’t mislead customers.
The only challenge you have to tackle is getting approved by the vendors to become their affiliates. There are very few things that might stop you, usually, it’s not so hard for complete newbies to get approved, even if they lack the reputation. But do keep that in mind, as to not get shocked if you ever get rejected for an offer.
The Ways to Sell as an Affiliate
This is not about having a blog or a website, or even your niche. This is about where to find goods, services or digital products to affiliate for. Here are the most common choices you have:
1. Sign Up for Amazon’s affiliate program or any other marketplace with one.
2. Join an affiliate network and interact directly with the vendors and their affiliate managers.
3. Search for specific brands you know or their competitors, with products you’re interested in and see if they have affiliate programs.
How you’ll proceed, depends entirely on your goals and preferences. There are thousands, millions of products you can affiliate for. The most important thing to consider are the payment conditions and the size of commissions.
5 Things to Get You Started
Even if you feel ready to become an affiliate, you have the confidence that you can do it, take a step back and consider whether you have the needed elements to begin. And if not – how can you get them, either on your own or with the help of affiliate marketing tools and software.
1. OPEN A BLOG OR A WEBSITE
Your blog or website is the place where you’ll be conducting business, so to say. It is the place where you’ll attract customers and redirect them via your dedicated affiliate links to the vendors.
This is also the place where your business will be represented. Create your persona, build your brand, and increase your reputability, as well as customer base. But whatever content you decide to feature on your blog or website, make sure it’s authentic and not misleading.
If you’re interested in more than one niche, you can open several blogs. It is much better to have niche-specific websites rather than something broad and confusing. It will help you look more professional and will be easier for you to attract the target audience you need for a specific niche.
2. DEVELOP AN EMAIL LIST & NEWSLETTER
Email marketing is still one of the biggest sources of conversions. Offer your visitors to subscribe to a newsletter and start building lists to get to know them better. You can use the newsletter as a way to build trust, to provide news about your business, to give out promotions and incentives for people to purchase the products you affiliate for.
Getting people to subscribe is probably the hardest part. Offer them some kind of incentive. Lead magnets can vary – free videos, free training materials, eBooks, email course, additional bonuses, the options are unlimited. Just think what might be of the greatest interest for your visitors and offer it to them.
To ease and enhance the process, you can use various email marketing solutions, software, and tools.
3. FIND A TOP NICHE & PRODUCT TYPE
Given the number of places you can find products to affiliate for, it is only natural that there are thousands of products to choose from.
As mentioned above, if you have broader interests, better create a network of blogs and websites, each niche specific, rather than something mixed. Research how lucrative your targeted niche markets are and start with one. Only if you have a focused start, will you be able to achieve good results.
4. FIND A PRODUCT THAT SELLS
Even if you’ve managed to determine your niche, depending on how saturated it is, there will be a wide variety of substitute products. Some will be better than others. You need to choose carefully.
If you decide to promote a product that doesn’t work properly or comes to have problems with delivery, you will have trouble with your visitors and target audience. If they are dissatisfied with what they get for their money, you can expect refunds and chargebacks.
You need to do everything in your power to avoid these situations. If a lot of people file for refunds or make chargebacks, because you’ve misled them or you’ve promoted a poor product, your reputation as an affiliate will turn for the worse. This might lead to more rejections than approvals when you request to affiliate for future offers.
That’s why, be careful of what you promote and how accurately and objectively you present it. You can try and get a sample to test out before actually affiliating for any given product, especially if we’re talking about digital goods like courses, eBooks, and software tools.
5. FIND TOP-TRENDING PRODUCTS
Apart from making your own independent market research, there are three other ways to find the top trending products in your niche:
1. Affiliate for the Newest Products – if a product is new, there will be noise around it upon launching, and if you’re among the first to affiliate for it, yours will be the results ranking higher when people search for that product.
2. Consider Statistics – affiliate networks provide various statistics that can help you understand how well certain products convert, how heavy is the competition among affiliates for that same product, and how hard or easy it is to promote it.
3. Check Out the Competition – your competitors, especially the ones running an affiliate business longer than you have, can be a very good indicator as to which are the most anticipated products, which are worth your while, and which are just for stuffing.
Don’t simply go with your gut feeling when it comes to products. Ensure you can communicate with the affiliate managers of the vendors, check out their payment conditions, commission percentage and more. On this depends the viability of your affiliate marketing business model.
Is Success Possible with Affiliate Marketing?
Success is definitely possible. But you have to have realistic expectations. It will take time and efforts, against a minimal starting investment for a domain name and hosting. Still, even if you do all of the things listed above, don’t forget that marketing and advertising will depend entirely on you.
You can easily find social media marketing and email marketing tools, to help you optimize your work. Be patient, put in the required efforts, and in no time, you will be able to start scaling your business.