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Shajith Ali
Shajith Ali

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How to start affiliate marketing

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Many people are interested in making money with an Internet-based side hustle to supplement their regular income or even start an online business to entirely replace their income. Although there are many ways to make money on the internet, one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online is by starting an affiliate marketing business . Even if you have an existing business, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to add an existing income stream to your business.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online as a standalone business or as an additional source of income for an existing business. While it's not as easy as making money from ads on your website , it's still relatively simple to do and has more profit potential than just advertising on your website .

Affiliate marketing lets you make money online, even if you don't have a blog, website, or products of your own. Following a few simple steps can get you up and running in hours and earning your first commissions right away. Affiliate marketing is truly one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online and should be part of every online business owner's portfolio. The affiliate marketing formula remains relatively constant regardless of your market or niche. Your primary task will always be to drive traffic (i.e. drive leads to the merchant's website via your unique "affiliate" link).

If you don't have the money, you can start by finding ways to get free traffic to your website, including blogging, posting on other websites, and posting on social media like Facebook , Instagram , etc. If you have a budget, you can drive traffic even faster with paid advertising methods , such as paid ads on Facebook, banner ads on other websites, and using Google Adwords .

Free traffic is great because it's free, but once you have enough money start using paid ads to grow your business fast. Writing good sales copy ( copywriting ) is the other important skill for online marketers. The good news is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, many vendors will provide you with ad copy to use for your blog posts, website ads, and more. They'll give you emails to send, banner ads to display, and even posts you can use on social media (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). The more material sellers give to their affiliates, the better changes an affiliate has to make to make sales for them, it's a win/win situation. That said, what are the essential steps for affiliate marketing success? Here we focus on five critical steps to launching your own profitable affiliate marketing business quickly and easily.

Choose the right affiliate network

The match has to be perfect between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, otherwise it just won't work. The easiest way to get started with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. There are many affiliate networks, some of which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google , and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.

You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products such as e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you haven't considered selling digital information products, you should seriously consider doing so considering all the benefits. Digital information products offer much higher commissions (from 10 to 75%) than physical products which generally only offer lower commissions than 5%. Seriously consider selling digital information products as an affiliate, as they often offer much higher commissions than physical products. Another network you should consider when it comes to promoting products as an affiliate is Amazon.com. As you may already know, just about any physical product can be sold on Amazon.com.

Although products on Amazon generally offer lower commissions than digital products, selling products on Amazon as an affiliate can mean a much larger volume of business and most people trust Amazon as an affiliate. merchant, making it easier to sell products as an affiliate. Finally, in some cases, you can work directly with a company or person as an affiliate, rather than going through a network. Entrepreneurs or businesses can run their own affiliate program and you can approach them directly to promote their products and services. If you see a product that you would really like to promote as an affiliate and the company does not offer an official affiliate program,

Research and select the right affiliate products

A good product strategy is a must for new affiliate marketers. Ideally, you should choose a niche that you can make money online with and has plenty of product providers. This will give you a wide selection of products to offer your online community. However, when you are just starting out, you should limit yourself to two or three products at a time. This will allow you to really become an expert on the products you are promoting which can be helpful when it comes to marketing those products (like writing product reviews).

As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (eg fly fishing) and broad (eg weight loss) niches. Don't forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your network of merchants and/or affiliates. Tracking your metrics will let you see what's working, what's driving sales, and what's not working, wasting your time and/or money. This way, you will be able to know which products your audience is responding to and which ones are not generating any profit for your business.

This is especially important if you're investing in paid advertising to drive traffic and promote products as an affiliate…you need to know which campaigns are profitable and which are losing money. You'll want to continually monitor the market for new products, review and test promoting those products to your audience to see which ones resonate and transform.

Consider buying the product before promoting it

As a new affiliate marketer, you don't have to buy every product you want to promote. However, it goes without saying that owning and using the products is huge in establishing credibility and trust. Intimate knowledge of the product can be the difference between making the sale and moving prospects elsewhere.

Writing product reviews is a great way to improve your credibility as an affiliate marketer. It's especially easy with information products like e-books that are relatively inexpensive. After establishing a stable income, it may even be worth buying high-end products, as long as you communicate with the creator of the product to develop a strategic marketing plan that will take you to the next level.

If you actually use the product and see results with it, then sharing a case study or your personal experience can be one of the most effective ways to sell these products to your audience. As you build a more responsive list of email subscribers and buyers and your reputation, merchants may offer you "free" samples of eBooks or other products.

Note: in many cases merchants will be happy to offer you a free copy/sample of the product even if you don't have an established business, it never hurts to ask! If so, you'll want to include full disclosure that you received free access to the product in addition to having a disclaimer disclosing your affiliate relationship.

Use social media marketing to get more traffic

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube , Pinterest and other social media marketing methods are great vehicles for β€œword of mouth” or viral marketing. Video marketing, in particular, is a great way to demonstrate your expertise through commentary, screenshots, and live demos if needed. At present, making videos on Facebook and Facebook Live are extremely efficient and using YouTubefor a longer-term approach to video marketing. While at first you may focus on using social media as a free way to get traffic, keep in mind that there are powerful ways to use paid social media advertising to reach your target audience and redirect this traffic to your site or your partner offers.

Consider Using Redirect / β€œPretty” Links

Cloaking or the use of anchor links has been a controversial issue in internet marketing circles, with some affiliate marketers swearing by it and others who feel it's unnecessary. For one thing, long, ugly affiliate tracking links are a direct giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "prettier" will make it look more professional. One of my favorite plugins for making links β€œpretty” is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin. This makes the link much shorter, friendlier, and easier to type in case they can't click the link for some reason and want to type it into their browser.

The Bottom Line On Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing

Whether you're starting a new business from scratch or you already have an existing business (offline or online), affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income online. All you have to do is recommend relevant products or services to your audience, and the seller of the product you're promoting takes care of everything, including the creation of the product, the sales process, customer service, refund, etc.

The key to success with affiliate marketing is to get started and keep learning new tips and tricks to grow your affiliate business as you continue to build and grow your affiliate business.

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