What is Affiliate Marketing?
This is one of the most common questions we receive, and it’s actually quite simple:
Affiliate marketing is a way for you (the affiliate) to earn a commission for recommending products or services to your friends or readers.
To simplify it, here’s the 5 step process for how to start affiliate marketing:
You find a product you want to promote
Do a search for “product name” affiliate program. If it’s on Amazon, you can also promote it
Sign up for their affiliate program
You get a special link that allows the merchant to track the people who clicked your link
If they buy the product, you get a commission.
Pretty simple, right?
It can get much more advanced, but in this post, we’re just going to start with the fundamentals and get you to the point where you’re ready to make your first commission.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
There are a lot of different ways to track affiliates these days, but all are based on someone clicking your special tracking link.
The most common and basic type of tracking is via a cookie.
When an affiliate link is clicked, a small file called a cookie is stored on the users computer. Then they buy a product, the merchant can see that they were referred by you.
There are also more advanced methods based on the email used or IP address – but we won’t get into those here, we’ll stick to the
Here’s How to Start Affiliate Marketing on Your Blog in 8 Steps:
Step 1: Create a Website or A Blog
Step 2: Choose an Industry, and then Niche Down
Step 3: Research Products in Your Niche that You Can Review
Step 4: Sign Up for the Amazon Affiliate Program
Step 5: Find affiliate programs for the other products you want to review
Step 6: Create content in the form of tutorials, review posts, resource pages or emails and use your affiliate link
Step 7: Optimize the page and track your rankings in Google
Step 8: Rinse and Repeat!
We’ll cover all of these steps (and more) in detail in this post, but it’s important to understand the general process from the beginning.
How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?
The amount you can make will vary wildly – it honestly falls somewhere between zero and millions.
Your income will be directly related to the type of offers you promote, how much traffic you get to the site, and your grasp of other online marketing skills like email marketing and SEO.
But in this post you’ll get a pretty good sense of the earning potential from different types of promotions.
How Do You Become an Affiliate Marketer?
Here’s the thing, you can pick just about any product that you can buy online, and there will be an affiliate program that will pay you a finders fee for referring a sale.
However, just because you can promote anything, doesn’t mean you should.
The most important thing to consider when selecting a product to market is, “is it relevant to your audience?”
For instance, for me to try and advertise for dumbbells on Location Rebel probably isn’t the smartest thing, because 99% of my audience could care less about them.
However, for me to promote, say, WP Engine a WordPress hosting company – makes much more sense, since almost every one of my readers either has or has considered starting a website.
And just recently, we promoted Streak as an awesome tool for freelancers to use to monitor leads right from their inbox. Once again, that’s something that speaks directly to the audience.
Questions to Ask Before Promoting an Affiliate Product
When I’m trying to decide what to promote I always ask myself the following questions:
Do I use this product?
Will the vast majority of my readers benefit from using this product?
Is the buying process easy?
Is there a good affiliate commission rate? (Not always necessary)
If I answer yes to each of these questions, then it’s probably a good fit and worth promoting.
Action Item: Make a list of products that you use that you think your blog audience would benefit from using as well. Try to think of as many as you can.
And remember, these can include complementary products as well. If you write about travel, for instance, you can include tons of complementary products like luggage, headphones, backpacks, and clothing too.
Start Affiliate Marketing: Physical Products vs. Information Products vs. Services
Ok, you should have an idea of which products you might want to promote – now it’s time to decide which of those are the best fit for you and your audience.
There are three different types of affiliate products you can promote:
Why Choose Affiliate Marketing Over Other Types of Blog Monetization
Most new bloggers assume that advertising or banner ads are the best way to monetize your site.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
They often get started with Adsense because it’s easy. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I saw an Adsense advertisement – thank you Adblock!
But seriously, not only will these make your site hideous, you have to have obscene amounts of traffic to actually make any real income.
Selling ad space to sponsors is almost as bad.
A good rule of thumb I’ve always used for how much you could sell ad space for is this:
Daily visitors divided by 10 is the dollar amount you can make per month on an ad.
If you get 1,000 visitors a day, you divide that by 10 and see that you can charge $100 a month for each ad on your site.
Now keep in mind this is just a rule of thumb, and depending on your niche it could be substantially higher or substantially lower.
When you’re just starting out, $100 a month could seem pretty good, but it takes a lot of work to get up t0 1k visitors a day – and if you get that many, you’re much better off monetizing via affiliate ads or ads for your own product.
For instance, if had ad space on Location Rebel, I’d be much more likely to promote an affiliate product, or one of my own products than sell the ad space.
If someone clicks on it and buys my product I make $500 – 5 times more than I’d make for that sponsored ad. All I need is one every 5 months to make this a better option. Not only that, but it’s helping build my brand identity and reputation, rather than some random company.