Adding a new income stream to your business may seem like a headache, but affiliate marketing is one of the more simple income streams to set up and automate.
It doesn’t take a huge upfront investment of time or money to get started, and you can monetize the audience you currently have. To make it even simpler, we’ve created a six-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing like a pro.
Understand each role in affiliate marketing
Before you start affiliate marketing, it’s good to understand the three roles involved in affiliate marketing. The first role is the company that manufactures and ships the product.
By becoming an affiliate partner (role #2), you essentially promote their product but when a sale is made, they have to handle the order fulfillment and shipping. This is great news for bloggers and entrepreneurs who are more interested in creating content than handling the back-end tasks of running a dead-simple shop.
The last role is the consumer, meaning the person who clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase.
Without them, you may be spending precious time creating affiliate content that doesn’t give you any return. You and the company both need the consumer for your partnership to be successful.
Choose your niche
Now that you know how affiliate marketing works, you can brainstorm ways to become a better affiliate partner for the companies you promote. One way to do this is by choosing your niche early on in the process.
Narrowing down your niche gives you an advantage over competitors that create broader content. While you may think that having a niche means you won’t connect with as many people, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Having a niche means you are focusing on one segment of a larger audience and coming from a different perspective or angle than other content creators.
The more specific, the better! It will help you become the go-to resource for whatever it is you want to write about.
Choose your product
Once you have your niche, you can move into the phase of choosing the affiliate products you want to market to your audience. Since you’ve spent a lot of time building trust with your audience, you don’t want to lose it by promoting a brand that doesn’t fit into your values.
It’s best to choose products that you have used and would recommend to a friend. You want to choose not only products but also companies you can stand behind. If you partner with companies who have a poor reputation, you run the risk of having that rub off on you.
Try to do your research before you promote any affiliate product, even those that you use and have experience with. When you create your own product review, be honest about the benefits and pitfalls of the affiliate product. You’ll win points with your audience if you are upfront about your full experience.
It’s also a good idea to choose affiliate products that fit within your niche.
Research affiliate programs
There are two main ways you can sign up to be a part of existing affiliate programs.
One is to directly search for companies you love and look for their affiliate program page when visiting their website. If there is a tool you use inside your business or a product you just can’t stop talking about, going directly to the source is a great idea.
The other is to look at multi-brand affiliate programs that allow you to take advantage of several affiliate programs through their service. You will commonly see lifestyle, fashion, and beauty influencers using these affiliate programs because it makes affiliate marketing multiple items really easy.
Keep in mind that each brand will offer a different commission inside the program.
Build a blog or website
Building a separate blog or website for your personal brand allows you to create a home base for your affiliate marketing content. Then you can use your social media accounts to drive traffic to your website.
You have more control over the look and feel of your blog and website than you do with social media. Also, if your primary social media platform disappears tomorrow (like Vine in 2016), you will still have a central hub for your audience to interact with. This is essential if you want to create a sustainable income with affiliate marketing.
Start promoting affiliate products
Now that you know how to start affiliate marketing, you can take everything you’ve learned and put it into action! As you prepare to sign up for affiliate programs and create affiliate product reviews, we have some best practices for you to keep in mind.
Do I need a website?
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How do I learn?
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