When it comes to affiliate marketing the most common questions are, “can you really make money with affiliate marketing?” and “how do I even start out?”. Along with these questions is the common speculation that affiliate marketing is all about promoting big companies products such as Amazon, Ebay, and other large companies. While those programs are certainly good ones to start with, there are much better opportunities and resources to pull from.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is when a company, publisher, or owner of a product or service gives you a percentage cut from each sale you generate, in other words, commissions. There are various forms of affiliate marketing and there is no “better” route, so choosing what you are comfortable with is generally the best route. To give you an idea of how this system works, check out the diagram below.
To break down these points, I will highlight on each topic to give you a real world example of what each one means
- Your Website – The website is typically a “niche” specific site that contains information and links related to the content that is being presented. For example, let’s say you create a site that solely based around Banzai Trees. You would create a site that is both informational and has links that lead to product or service sales based around Banzai Trees. The site would contain content about Banzai Trees such as “how to grow your Banzai, steps to taking care of your Banzai, where to buy Banzai’s, etc” the list goes on. After the site is filled out with your unique content, you may add in your “affiliate links” to direct the reader to potential sales.
- The Customer – The customer is self-explanatory, but what is important to know is how they arrived at your site. The customer can be acquired by certain ways which include, seo marketing/organic traffic, paid advertising (google ads, Facebook ads, email marketing, etc) and referrals. Once the customer has clicked on your affiliate link, they are directed to the affiliate product or service buy option.
- Customer Buys – When a customer chooses to buy the product or service you advertised, you will gain a commission on that sale. Typically, most affiliate networks and programs offer a tracking service so you may track all the sales and money you’ve earned. Since you are not the owner of the product or service, you do not have to ship out or contact the customer to ensure satisfaction.
- You Make Money – You will make money based on the terms and conditions you signed up for with the affiliate network, company, or agency. Commissions do vary from company to company and it is possible to get “ripped off”, so choosing the right affiliate network to work with is also very important. From my personal experience, payouts are typically anywhere from 30-90 days out with the average being 30 days from sale date or day-of-payout (for example: the company/network pays out the 1st of every month).
The Keys to Successful Affiliate Marketing
Every successful affiliate marketer should be answering these questions and have a clear understanding of how the business works.
- Find a product or service with a reputable network or company, with a fair and on time payout
- Be able to capitalize on a niche market and target the primary audience
- Be able to create content that is unique, informative, and captivating
- Make sure the niche is not seasonal or a trend
- Depending on the niche type selected, white hat marketing will always be the safest route
These are a few prime key notes to check off before you create an affiliate marketing business, so take the time to study and research your niche first.
There is nothing worse than buying a domain, building a site, and adding content only to find out that the niche is saturated with content, is perceived as black hat (meaning shady or taboo), seasonal, or simply has no solid affiliate offers.
How to Find A Good Niche
Finding a good niche can be challenging and research tools such as google trends doesn’t always give you the necessary data. It is very important to conduct effective research that will provide you enough data to solidify that a niche is actually profitable and can be marketed successfully.
A great way to search niches and validate them is using a tool named Jaaxy. This tool is not free however by the end of the post I will show you how to gain free access. Below is an image of the data collected when using Jaaxy
A simple search for “Home Zen Gardens” gave us these results and the key highlights to look out for here are: the average number of searches per year, the amount of traffic flowing to that niche and the SEO competition.
You can also see that there are other comparable searches such as “home vegetable gardens” and we can see it averages around 104 searches, 18 traffic points, and a seo of 85.
The golden rule of thumb here is for your niche to have at least 40+ AVG searches, at least 10 Traffic points, under 100 but over 60 for SEO and KQI to be “Great”.
So if you may have already noticed “Home Vegetable Gardens” can absolutely be a great niche to select and grow a niche site around. *Side note: You do not need to be an expert in your niche field, anything and everything can be learned along the way, just make sure enough research has been conducted before launching the site.
How To Build An Website for Affiliate Marketing
After your research is complete and you’ve selected a solid niche and have an idea of who or what you will be promoting, it is time to create your website.
If you have never built a website before do not worry, it does not take hours of coding to successfully launch a website anymore. There are several options you can choose from that I will list below with my top pick first:
- Wealthy Affiliate Site Builder – The site builder included in a free Wealthy Affiliate account is the best option for anyone who is new or intermediate. The site is built and hosted within the content creator so you do not need to pay for either! Since Wealthy Affiliate uses WordPress for the site builder, everything is simple to use and easy to navigate. But it doesn’t end there, you also have access to content creation templates, ideas/inspirations, access to reputable affiliate networks and offers, and a growing community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Need I say more? Access Here!
The following examples will require Hosting; The recommended host of choice: HostGator – Hatchling Plan
- WordPress – Known for being an excellent platform you can use for free, WordPress is the best free option for building your niche site. It has an enormous library of plug-ins, site support, and fairly simple to use. Note* You must be able to self learn with YouTube or forums as you may encounter things you do not know how to do.
- Wix/SquareSpace/Fiverr – This is only recommended if you have experience building sites or truly want complete control over your website and have a solid understanding of the process. This method is the most costly and is NOT recommended for new, beginner, or intermediate affiliates.
Building Your Audience
OK! You have your niche selected, your site is set up, you have added content and you have selected an affiliate offer to promote. Awesome, so how do you gain traffic so people can start seeing your content?
Building an audience is the most important aspect when it comes to affiliate marketing, it is the bloodline of your business and you will need to not only build traffic to your site but also capture them.
Gaining an audience at first can be difficult and this is where consistency and willingness to learn + experiment will prevail. The main sources affiliate marketers use for traffic are:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization, this utilizes Keywords and links to rank your website in all major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, MSN, etc). With proper SEO and a fully optimized website it may lead to organic traffic and continuous growth over time.
- Facebook Ads – The most popular form of paid advertising; Facebook Ads can be extremely rewarding and convert high numbers, however it is extremely important to take proper training before attempting as accounts are being banned left and right because of stricter regulations.
- Google Ads – Another great form of paid advertising that may pull in large numbers. Google ads are simple to use and excellent if you are able to target specific keywords, however, can be very expensive and sometimes not worthwhile as large companies are usually bidding too high already.
- Email/Solo Ads – This form of marketing is O.K, I personally would not recommend it for newer affiliates. Solo ads are basically this: You purchase anywhere from 100-5000+ emails to be sent out by a seller who has a list of emails that are ready to be marketed. Essentially you’re buying a list of emails and “hoping” the list is good enough for returns.
It is important to understand that traffic conversations are usually very low. From the 1000 viewers/readers you might attract, maybe 1 or 2 are actually buying. This number can definitely be improved and it is important to continue working hard, consistently and efficiently to ensure success in the affiliate marketing space.
Adding Your Disclosure
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “if there’s a connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect and it would affect how consumers evaluate the endorsement, that connection should be disclosed. For example, if an ad features an endorser who’s a relative or employee of the marketer, the ad is misleading unless the connection is made clear.”
With the above stated, it is required by law (in the USA) that you must disclose your affiliate website as such. If you skip this step, you could be legally pursued or banned from affiliate networks/offers. Make sure to add in all your disclosures!
Please read the forum here: Federal Trade Commission
I hope you found this article informational and useful. Although what was covered in this article is not nearly enough information to produce a high quality niche site I will drop a recommendation to Wealthy Affiliate, which is the leader in website affiliate marketing and SEO.
You will learn everything you need to know about building a successful business through the platform and some good news is that you can create an account to get started today for FREE!
====> Wealthy Affiliate<====
– Access to the site and content builder
– Hosting and Web management included
– Access to Jaaxy LITE niche/keyword planner
– Access to hundreds of affiliate offers
– Community that supports each other and grows every day!
Thank you for your time, I look forward to working alongside of you soon!