Sometimes when you’re launching a new business, especially online when you’re doing it all alone, it can feel overwhelming not knowing how to find the best path to profits. You have to know how to research niches and products and people and keywords. It’s enough to make anyone throw up their hands in frustration. Affiliate marketing is one of the most common and easiest ways you can money as a beginner. The hardest part of starting an online business is to develop a great product with sizzling sales copy – elements are already taken care of when you’re promoting affiliate products. With these two milestones taken care of, your energy can be focused on driving traffic to the affiliate sales site.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that in the event of a sale, I may make a small commission. Don’t worry, this won’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I use and love myself. Your support is appreciated!
Affiliate Marketing 101
Building an online business isn’t a ‘get rich quick scheme’. The chances of you setting up a website and immediately making thousands of dollars a month instantly are pretty slim (sorry to burst your bubble). However, it can happen for you if put in the hard yards and show up consistently.
Even with affiliate marketing, there is a lot of work involved and it will take time to build up a steady income. If you have a natural talent for marketing, you can grow your business substantially.
There are several skills involved in affiliate marketing. Search engine optimisation (SEO), marketing, keyword research and article writing all come in to play.
Do yourself a favour and dispense with the myth that there are easy ways to make money. There are easier ways to make money than others, but knowing how to make money is a learned skill to be studied and mastered over time.
Is Affiliate Marketing Good for Beginners?
It can be an overwhelming process starting your first online business. There are many different business models you could follow, tools, skills and courses out the wazoo. Where do you even begin?! What path is the right path for you?!
What you don’t need to learn
You don’t need to learn product creation skills. The hassle of product development, automated delivery to the customer, and subsequent customer service issues can be confusing when you are just starting out. You can always add these to your repertoire as your skills and confidence grows. In fact, I would suggest that eventually, you do learn these things so you have multiple streams of income. However, as a beginner, affiliate marketing is perfect because it cuts down on the learning curve substantially. Instead of having to learn everything about online marketing, you can simply chop off the product creation elements and pick up with the post-creation promo strategies.
What you will need to learn
You will need to learn niche research skills. If you choose a niche that you enjoy or are passionate about, it will make the niche research portion very enjoyable. You’ll want to tackle this aspect of affiliate marketing like an adventure – where you’re always discovering new information and sharing it with your audience.
You’ll want to learn SEO as well. SEO involves understanding keywords and using them in your content creation to attract the right people to your affiliate offers.
Reviews will stand you in good stead as an affiliate marketer. You don’t need to have the best technical writing skills. Treating your readers with respect, not talking down to them, talking to them like you would your friends and being honest will help you build trust. Trust is needed before anyone will part with their money.
You will also need to learn to keep your morals and ethics in place. Sometimes, desperation for a quick income can cause you to compromise your beliefs. But if you do that, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot because you’ll be building a reputation as a scammer instead of a leader.
Choosing your Niche
When it comes to your online business, you are going to want to pick a niche. In simple terms, your niche is your topic. Don’t worry, doing a bit of niche research isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Researching niches is a piece of cake. What you’re looking for is competition. Some people will look at the competition and feel like there’s no way they could go up against the other sites.
But competition actually means it’s a healthy niche – with room for everyone. If you find a niche that no one’s selling in, then it probably means there’s no interest in – and that should set off warning bells for you.
Where to do some sleuthing:
- Look on bookshelves in your local bookstore and see what non-fiction topics have plenty of resources.
- Have a glance at the covers of magazines at the checkout stand the next time you buy groceries. You’ll see everything from insomnia to nutrition and more. They’re good about showcasing trendy topics, too – niches that are just now growing big enough for major publications to pick up on them.
- News sites give lots of good insight into trends within a niche, too. Most major news sites like FoxNews and CNN have categories for science, technology, health and more. Look at those to stay abreast of what’s happening in your niche.
- Google trends is a great site that you can use to your advances. Type in your keyword and see how popular it is, whether it is stable, on an upward trend or a downward trend. You don’t want one that is trending down as that means it is losing popularity.
- Have a look in online forums, Reddit, YouTube and Pinterest to see what topics are trending.
Picking Products to Promote as a Tangible Affiliate
Right, so you have decided affiliate marketing is your bag, baby. Now you need to know which products to promote. If you plan to promote products through Amazon, the first step you want to take is to make sure that the product isn’t on the “excluded products” list.
This is a list that Amazon puts out that will list exactly which products won’t deliver a commission, when that excluded commission time began and when it will end (if ever). You want to keep up with this list because Amazon has the right to change what’s on the list of excluded products. You’ll see things on there like certain GPS units, some brands of televisions, certain Apple products, Xbox 360 gaming systems and even coffee makers.
Product Picking Tips
- Read all of the fine print in the compensation overview. Look for caps on your commissions for certain items.
- When you’re choosing a product, pay attention to the customer reviews that are listed for the products.
- Make sure it’s a good fit for your target audience. You don’t want to promote a product that isn’t going to end in sales for you because it doesn’t fit what your customers need.
- Pay attention to is whether or not it’s a good price point for commission. If the item has a low selling price, then you want to make sure that the search volume is high because even if it’s a high priced product without a lot of sales, just a few sales can earn you more on commission than many low priced products.
- Try to promote what you would personally use in your own life. This way, you’ll be interested in the product and that enthusiasm will show. You want to make sure that you pick products that aren’t already overwhelming the market because too many other marketers are promoting them.
- Look for evergreen items. These are items that people are always going to need. For example, if you promote baby items, you can look for the items that aren’t already crowding the market and focus on those.
- You also want to be able to point out (when you’re doing your blog or posts about the items) what makes that item unique from the other products just like it. For example, babies always need sippy cups. By promoting ones that are unique (no-spill, BPA free, etc.) you can have an edge over the competition.
Some affiliate programs you can sign up for include:
Automation and Affiliate Marketing
There are many automation tools on the ‘net that supposedly help you free up some time and effort in running your business as an affiliate marketer. There are definite pros and cons that you need to be aware of before you begin using them.
The benefits of using automation tools
- Automation tools can help you avoid the tasks that you hate.
- Sometimes, these tools can do the job better than us (like Tailwind – a scheduler that can schedule your pins to run all day every day. Something that you physically can’t do. Unless you don’t like sleeping)
- It frees up your time so you can work on something else
The downsides of using automation tools
- Automation can prevent you from seeing errors that arise. Tools like software and plugins can have bugs in the system. If you have a completely “hands-off” system for running your business, then you could go months without noticing that things aren’t working right.
- Automation removes that human element that makes a connection with your target audience. Most automation tools simply remove small tasks from your to-do list. But there are those that remove you from your site entirely. For example, any automated tool that whips up content or automates comment approval means that your site won’t carry your natural voice in it. It will be difficult for visitors to engage with you or trust you enough to click through on your links and act on them.
- Automation tools can sometimes get you in trouble with the search engines, too. If they’re blackhat tools that do anything illegal, or unethical, then you could find your site plummeting in the search engine ranks. The moral of the story is to be, well, moral.
Follow The Rules
When you decide to become an affiliate marketer, you’ll have the opportunity to promote many different types of products. You can promote tangible products or intangible ones. It’s important to learn as much as you can about affiliate marketing at the beginning of your journey. However, there’s one very important thing you should make sure that you understand.
The most important part of promoting any product or service is for you to understand the terms of service or rules of the affiliate program. Each program will have its own rules, but you will see some similarities.
Some rules can include
- You can’t promote products on any site that has illegal content. That one shouldn’t be a problem for you because you are an honest marketer. Right?
- You may not be able to have any broken links on your site
- Only self-hosted websites are allowed (no free websites)
- Some sites – especially some of the ClickBank info product courses – won’t allow users to promote the products using words like “scam” or to compete with them on AdWords for the name of the product.
Amazon won’t allow affiliates to promote explicit materials or include the Amazon trademark in a website URL or in any way misuse the trademark. For example, your URL can’t be ipromoteamazonproducts.com. You also have to keep all of your contact information up to date – and if you move to certain states, you must let Amazon know in writing because in certain states, you aren’t eligible to be an Amazon affiliate.
The terms of service also tell users that they have to have an FTC disclaimer and an Amazon disclaimer on their site. You can see my FTC and Amazon disclaimer in the footer of my website. They are both fairly standard disclaimers and will appear on any page or post you click on. Amazon reserves the right to charge you an account maintenance fee after so many years if you’re not earning enough. Also, the terms of service state that the agreement can be terminated without any reason – and if you happen to have a dispute, you agree not to go to court.
Why follow the rules?
There will be a penalty if you don’t follow the TOS. This can include not receiving a commission or being barred from promoting the product. You don’t want this
IMPORTANT: Read the terms of service thoroughly without skimming. Make sure to do this for all affiliate programs you join.
There are many benefits to affiliate marketing. You can spend time building your tribe, focusing on marketing, growing your email list and your social media platforms instead of creating products. Affiliate marketing is a source of passive income. This means that once you have set up the initial posts, emails, pins and other marketing efforts, you can make money on autopilot. You aren’t exchanging your time for money.
Affiliate marketing is a perfect opportunity to help immerse you into the world of Internet marketing. While there are many dozens of ways to make money online, affiliate marketing definitely offers the most flexibility and variety.
So, what are you waiting for? Go sign up for a program or two and get stuck in!
You may also like
- How to build an email list from scratch
- How to start your website (plus free workbook)
- Why you need a content calendar
- The ultimate guide to SEO for beginners (plus free 5-day email course)
- My SEO free five-day boot camp
- The She Approach make your first affiliate sale FREE email boot camp
- The She Approach start a money-making blog FREE online course
- The She Approach from Zero to Superhero affiliate marketing training bundle
- Dare to Conquer Affiliate Marketing Magic
- Tailwind Pinterest scheduling tool
Pin for later