Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to make money online.
The first dollar I ever made online was through affiliate marketing in 2010 and today it still makes up for a large portion of my earnings.
Lets start at the beginning…
How to (really) make money online
Essentially there are three ways to make money online
- Sell your own stuff.
- Sell or promote someone else’s stuff and get paid a commission for it.
- Do a combination of both 1 and 2
Its pretty simple.
Affiliate marketing is as old as marketing. You’re essentially the middle man. The difference now is instead of knocking on doors and selling pots and pans, you create online sites that can sell pots and pans for you 24/7.
Even though I have my own products and coaching programs I sell I still sell other people’s stuff. The reason why is because compared to being a product owner (category #1) affiliate marketing is much easier for beginners.
And depending on the niche and the product, you can make a decent amount of money with it. Like six figures plus type money.
But affiliate marketing is not without its own pitfalls and perils which we’ll discuss later in this post.
Disclosure: there are affiliate links in this post.
It helps fund my taco addiction.
Affiliate Marketing In 3 Steps
Essentially there are 3 parts to any successful affiliate business.
- There is a group of people who have a want or a need
- There is a product creator with a program or thing that solves that particular want or need
- There’s YOU in the middle pointing the people with the want/ need to the people with the thing to sell
Affiliate marketing often starts with you simply
- Recommending an excellent product or service to people who ideally like, know and trust you
- Some of those people who trust you will buy the product or service based on your recommendation
- The company/ product owner (also known as a vendor) pays you a commission for referring a customer
Rinse and repeat.
Like I said, pretty simple.
In the internet marketing niche we actually have a pretty nifty formula that explains it all.
T + C = $
Traffic + Conversions = Sales
Traffic is simply another term for people or eyeballs on your website or offer
Conversions is your ability to take a random person and turn them into a paying customer.
And sales, is well, sales.
Some people will tell you its all about ‘knowing your numbers’. And to an extent it is. And to a larger extent, it isn’t.
Affiliate Marketing Is Not Rocket Science
Affiliate marketing like any other type of marketing is about knowing how to communicate to a target audience in a way that highlights the benefits and features of what you have to offer. Its a specialised why of communicating that may seem magical but it isn’t. Its just common psychology.
When you understand what makes people tick you can do all types of weird Jedi stuff on them. (In the most ethical way of course).
Affiliate is not a magic bullet, you cannot make, force or trick people into buying stuff they don’t want.
Also, don’t even think about recommending shoddy stuff because you won’t have an affiliate business of long.
Before you can say ‘Twitter troll’ you’ll be inundated with unhappy customers who are only too happy to voice their indignation over being ‘scammed’ online.
So do the the right thing, recommend with integrity.
The Basic Steps In Affiliate Marketing in 2016
Affiliate marketing can be as complex or as simple as you make it. Personally I prefer simple.
You’ll see some marketers try to make out that its way more complicated than it has to be. Often they’re just trying to sell you on something that you don’t necessarily need.
Do you have to have a website or blog? No. Does it help? Ofcourse
Do you need to have an email list or some other online presence? No. Does it help? Hell yeah.
The amount of tools, plugins and software you need to start an online affiliate business can be counted on one hand.
What you definitely MUST have is a relationship with a group of people who have a need or want. And you must have an ability to help or solve their problems.
Lets start with the basic steps.
- You can start by creating a blog, website, email list or social media presence where you start sharing content with a specific group of people with a specific need or problem.
- Over time you build a relationship with these people and learn what their needs and wants are. They often become your followers or tribe.
- You partner up with businesses that sells stuff you feel great about recommending. As they partner, you are their affiliate. (Aka associate, partner, internet marketer, consultant or publisher)
- You recommend or promote this product to your followers. You can do this by writing a post/ blog review about it, placing a button or banner or image on your site that links to the product, Talking about the product on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. Talking about it in an email newsletter or dozens of other methods.
- With your recommendations or reviews you give out a special link called your affiliate link. This is given to you by the companies you’re promoting. This affiliate link (also known as a hop link or as I like to call it a freedom link) contains specific numbers and letters that are unique to you
- Upon your recommendation a person clicks on your link to check out the product or service. This triggers a code on the company’s sales page to trigger.
- This invisible code (known as a cookie) lets the company know that you referred this potential customer.
- When they purchase the thing, you earn moolah.
- And after a specific period of time (anything from instantly to a couple of months) and after reaching a specific threshold you will receive a payout. This money might go directly into your bank, or Paypal, or be wired or be via a check or any other online hiding company.
How To Get Started And How I Run My Affiliate Marketing Business in Two Hours A Day
- All you need to get started is a domain and hosting. Personally I use Justhost and Bluehost. I recommend them as two reliable and cheap one stop shop providers. Check out my affiliate link here.
- Install WordPress which is normally free and its insanely customisable. The only themes I use are StudioPress and ThriveThemes. Two very professional, easy to customise and beautiful theme makers.
- Post some basic pages and content on the website. An about page, blog and contact.
- I put up a free gift that entices people like this one
- I create an email list subscribe form using Getresponse and Leadpages. (You can get away with just Getresponse in the beginning).
- I learned traffic generation techniques through programs like this.
I spend about an hour a day creating some form of content like a video or blog post. Or I might work on a product.
I spend 30 minutes writing an email to my subscribers on my list
I spend about 30 mins connecting with people on social media and giving value in my private Facebook groups where right now I’m running a FREE 21 Day Shine On Video Challenge which you can join here.
Thats how I run my business in two hours. Sometimes I do more. Sometimes I do much less.
If you’d like to possibly earn six figures from affiliate marketing in just 6 steps then you might want to check this out. Disclosure: Yep, its an affiliate link.
Other articles that I recommend you read about Affiliate Marketing:
- 7 Important Things To Remember About Affiliate Marketing in 2016 (coming soon)
- Top 5 Ways To Find, & Promote Affiliate Products and Services in 2016 (coming soon)
- What is an Affiliate Network? (coming soon)
- What is CPA Marketing? (coming soon)
- How To Start A Successful Affiliate Blog (coming soon)
If you got value out of this post, please like, share and comment below. I’d be only too happy to answer your questions.