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How to Start Affiliate Marketing

June 16, 2021
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It’s becoming increasingly clear that the traditional nine-to-five office job isn’t the only way to live anymore. Now, that’s not to say that workers are fleeing the office in droves to take up, let’s say, fishing—not literally, anyway.

Many people are, however, turning to affiliate management and marketing.  

Much like fishing, affiliate marketing work offers a respite from the rigid Monday-through-Friday work life. Once equipped with an online affiliate platform, an affiliate partner can cast their line into a wide-open lake that’s just swimming with companies looking for word-of-mouth affiliate marketing business opportunities.

And just like a fisherman with his bait and tackle box, the path toward affiliate marketing can be a very profitable venture for the modern-day marketer or influencer—the more lines in the water, the more fish you can catch.

Affiliate Marketing: The Basics

What is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing is a partnership between an individual and a company intended to build brand awareness and generate revenue. Essentially, the individual:

  • Promotes a company’s products on an online platform, such as a blog or social media account.
  • Receives a commission based on the amount of traffic that their endorsement generates for the business.

For example, a baking blogger regularly shares his recipes with his online audience. To boost his revenue, he might partner with a vendor that sells reusable silicone muffin cups. In his upcoming blog post about a new blueberry muffin recipe, he’ll mention how much he loves these convenient, environmentally friendly muffin cups and link to the affiliate product page. In return, the retailer will award the blogger a percentage of the sales. 

In essence, an affiliate marketer is a salesperson for a business. However, unlike a member of the company’s internal sales team, an affiliate marketer can partner with many different companies and earn commission from each, with increased freedom to share any content they’d like with their audience.

How to Become An Affiliate Marketer

Though the mechanics may differ, becoming an affiliate marketer isn’t all that different from starting a thriving business. You’ll need to set up an online affiliate platform that’s both functional and profitable. 

In order to do so, affiliate marketing beginners must:

  • Create a digital identity across various social media platforms
  • Choose a niche market 
  • Create engaging content to build your brand
  • Find the right affiliate programs
  • Continue to create engaging content for your partners

Sounds doable? Let’s get started.

affiliate marketing agency

#1 Create a Digital Identity

The first step is to join or create an online platform from which you can shout to the masses. Affiliate marketing is compatible with many platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, and most successful influencers have accounts on more than one major platform. However, the most profitable platforms are typically:

  • A Youtube channel
  • A personal blog

It’s much easier to generate an audience on these platforms—and it’s cheap, too. 

Once you create an account, customize your profile, and design your website in the case of a blog, you’ll want to spend some time implementing SEO strategies. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of including leading keywords that improve your platform’s ranking on search engines, such as Google, and increase traffic to your site. 

#2 Choose a Niche

As you create your social accounts, identify a niche market you hope to work within. This should inform your Instagram handle, website URL, and subsequent design and content choices to create a consistent brand that stands out—and that companies will gravitate towards. 

Don’t know where to start? There are so many to choose from, including:

  • Fashion and beauty
  • Spirituality, health, or self-help
  • Food
  • Gaming
  • Travel

However, the more specific you are, the better chance you have at securing an affiliate program. 

If you’re looking to get into the beauty market, avoid branding yourself as a general makeup artist. Instead, you might market yourself as a “gaudy-to-gorgeous makeup guru specializing in anime recreations” or a “single mom traveling the world with her baby boy on her back.” 

You get the idea.

#3 Create Engaging Content

A unique offering attracts the right audience—anime cosplayers or young mothers still desperate for adventure but not sure where to start, for example. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that you’re passionate enough about to create consistent, engaging content. Consistency is key and will drive more traffic to your platform of choice. 

What constitutes engaging content? Realistically, it’s anything your audience wants to see or read about. That could include:

  • Video tutorials of make-up looks, DIY projects, recipes, and so on
  • How-to blogs, also perfect for recipes and teaching new skills
  • Personal anecdotes that your audience will relate to, like failings-turned-lessons 
  • Inspiration photos of summer outfits, living room decor, backyard landscaping, etc.
  • Instagram Reels or TikToks sharing advice or humorous stories
  • Links to other relevant articles, online courses, book recommendations, and more

Be aware: The competition is tough. As of 2021, there are over 31.7 million active bloggers in the United States alone—and roughly 25% start blogs for self-employment.1 Combat the masses with unique content that’s unable to be replicated. 

#4 Find Affiliate Programs

After identifying what you want to post and where, it’s time to move onto the money-making stage. Some companies will reach out to successful Instagram influencers and YouTube bloggers to form partnerships, but there are also existing programs that aspiring affiliate marketers can seek out. 

There are three types of affiliate programs to choose from:

  • High pay, low volume – For those focusing on a niche product or service, a high-paying, low-volume program is most likely the best pick. These types of programs will pay as much as $700 a month for as few as 80 customers.2 
  • Low pay, high volume – These types of affiliate programs are typically associated with companies and products with mass appeal. For example, Amazon’s affiliate program offers its affiliates up to 10% on commissions for anything Amazon sells. Affiliates will also receive a percentage of the entire purchase price, rather than the price of the single product.
  • High pay, high volume – Affiliate programs with high pay and low volume often include credit card companies. However, these types of programs are typically for the more experienced affiliate marketers, already swimming in cash.

In general, high-paying programs are often the best affiliate marketing programs, especially if you’re looking to use affiliate marketing as your primary source of income. But how does one find these types of programs? 

  • Affiliate directories – Affiliate directories are a great resource. Listings are often sorted by specific niches or categories, making it easy to find the most relevant program for your content. 
  • Similar products – If you’re already promoting a certain type of product or know what type of product you want to promote, search relevant online retailers and visit their website to see if the company has an affiliate program.
  • Search engines –  An easy way to find an affiliate marketing program is to type the term into a search engine alongside your niche. Plenty of relevant programs will appear.

It’s also important to know how each affiliate program offers commission. Some programs offer a one-time payment for every referral while others offer recurring commissions. In addition to payment structure, it may also be beneficial to check each program’s online reviews and overall product offerings. A large number of products provides more opportunities for content creation.

Be aware: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires transparency when it comes to profit-making endorsements. As such, you’ll need to notify your audience when promoting a product or service with a quick disclaimer. 

#5 Create Content for Your Partner Companies

Unique and engaging content practically guarantees affiliate marketing success. Why? Great content brings in large audiences, and large audiences yield an increased likelihood of product purchases. 

As such, you’ll need to create high-quality posts regarding the products you’re promoting through:

  • Link placement – An affiliate link is a type of URL that contains the name or username of the affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketers can post these links within Youtube descriptions or blog posts for their audience to use. The link leads users to the company’s product page. Ultimately, they’re used by the company to track the traffic sent over by the affiliate. 
  • Direct mention – While affiliate links are more subtle, direct mentions of the products can be more effective. Sometimes, it can be a verbal call to action. Other times it may be an embedded image of the product itself. 

The best way to ensure your reviews are relevant and convincing is to actually buy and test out the product yourself. However, there are a few general guidelines to follow when creating online content to make sure it goes the extra mile and attracts the audience you want.

Creating Content for YouTube

When creating Youtube videos, it’s essential to craft high-quality videos during the filming and editing processes. Pay attention to details such as:

  • Lighting – Effective lighting gives the viewer tonal cues. Use warm lighting to draw viewers in or dark, shadowy effects to indicate drama, and always make sure products are displayed under bright light for viewer accessibility.
  • Audio – Not only is high-quality audio necessary for clarity, but it can also add some extra spunk to your video. Consider adding non-distracting music to convey a certain mood or to embellish moments of silence, like B-roll footage.
  • B-roll – B-roll footage is the alternative footage that supplements the main shots. For example, if you’re promoting a brand of leggings, the B-roll footage may include you unpacking the pants from the box or modeling them on your body. 

Creating Content for Blogs

Blogs are a little different because of the glaring distinctions between the visual and written word. As such, bloggers must pay special attention to:

  • Visual engagement – Whether it’s the website’s design layout or the use of supplemental images, it’s essential to embellish a blog with high-quality visuals that keep the reader engaged. 
  • Word count – Blogs surpassing 3,000 words tend to receive more traffic because they have better SEO performance and therefore receive more views and shares.1 However, if your topic can’t sustain an epic-length article, readers may click off the page before they come across your carefully placed affiliate link.
  • Scannability – Most people online won’t read every word you write. When writing your blog, create white space by adding bullet points or section breaks to give the reader’s eyes a break. Break longer topics into multiple sections with clear headlines indicating each new major idea. Utilize bold and italicized fonts to mark important sections you want your readers to pay special attention to—like the affiliate links. 

Start Affiliate Marketing with Power Digital Marketing

As the saying goes, if fishing were easy it’d be called catching. While success is never guaranteed, affiliate marketing is a great way to disengage from the tedious nine-to-five.

With Power Digital Marketing agency as your affiliate marketing agency, we’ll guide you on how to do affiliate marketing. You’ll work on a commission basis, while increasing your traffic, audience, and revenue. We’re here to help as you grow your brand and cultivate your online image—but you’re always the one with the fishing pole in your hands. 

Experience the power of performance-based affiliate marketing today. 

Sources: 

  1. First Site Guide. Blogging Statistics 2021. https://firstsiteguide.com/blogging-stats/
  2. Ahrefs. Affiliate Marketing. https://ahrefs.com/blog/affiliate-marketing/

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