Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to kick start your business online. Let’s dive into the fun stuff – the actual “getting started” stuff.
Kick Start Your Business Online With Affiliate Marketing
STEP ONE: Know your Niche & Your Target Audience
In order to get started affiliate marketing, you’ll want to be sure that you have a clearly defined niche for your blog. Without a clear niche and target audience, you won’t be able to decide on the right affiliate programs to join. Your niche and target audience are the driving forces for everything you do as a blogger. So, naturally, they always need to be the first step.
STEP TWO: Make a list of problems/needs that your target audience has
Remember, your target audience should be central to everything you do. Your goal as a blogger is to help them and make their lives easier. So, figure out what they need and give that to them.
Example 1: if you’re a travel blogger, your target audience is filled with travelers. Many of them might not know how to backpack Europe. That’s a problem that you can help them fix. So write that down.
Example 2: You’re a twin mommy blogger who blogs about all things multiples. Your target audience is comprised of parents or expectant parents to twins. They might not know what the best double strollers are on the market. That’s a problem that you can help them fix. So write that down.
STEP THREE: Make a list of products/services that will help fix your target audience’s problems
Make a list of all the products and services that will help solve some of the problems that you listed in step two.
In example 1, you might have great recommendations for backpacks, canteens, hiking shoes, and other compact travel gear required of any backpacker.
In example 2, you may have tried and tested tons of double strollers, write out your favorites.
STEP FOUR: Search if there are affiliate programs for all the products and services you listed in step 3
You don’t want to join just any affiliate program. More affiliate programs will not equate to more money. Yes, there may be dozens of stroller brands, but remember you only have so many favorites. Pick just a few and apply to those affiliate programs.
If you’re a blogger who teaches about email marketing, you don’t need to be an affiliate for every email service provider on the market. Just apply to be an affiliate for the one that you recommend.
In order to find affiliate programs, you can search right in Google. Super simple!
“ConvertKit affiliate program”
Most affiliate programs are very easy to join and they’ll let you in right away. Some, however, are a bit more restrict and will remove you from their program if you don’t make a certain number of sales in the first 30-90 days.
My advice? Join just ONE affiliate programs, do your best and, if you get kicked out, remember that you can always reapply later on!
STEP FIVE: Get your unique affiliate links and start scattering them throughout your blog strategically!
Once you’re accepted into an affiliate program, the company will give you a unique link that you can use throughout your site when referencing the product/service.
There are tons of ways to incorporate affiliate links throughout your blog. I won’t name them all here, but I’ll start by naming a few.
- Create resources/recommended products page on your site. All of those products should include affiliate links!
- Write reviews of your favorite products & include affiliate links
- Interview experts in your niche about their favorite products and become affiliates for those products (include those links, for sure!)
- Write a tutorial on how to use a certain product
Truly, there are countless ways that you can incorporate affiliate links in your blog posts so be strategic and get to writing.
I always recommend that once you join affiliate programs and get those links, start by going through your existing blog posts and optimize them with affiliate links. Chances are, you already have a ton of blog posts that reference products and services you love. So go in and swap out those ordinary links for affiliate links!
Make sure to cloak your affiliate links!
Affiliate Networks – What are they?
Affiliate networks are essentially middlemen between affiliates (you) and merchants (the companies that directly sell the products and services that you, as the affiliate, recommend).
Oftentimes, affiliate networks have thousands upon thousands of merchants within their network.
Typically, all you need to do is apply to the affiliate network in order to gain access to all of those merchant affiliate programs.
Example: Amazon Associates. All you do is apply to be an affiliate of the Amazon Associates program. Once approved, you get to put links to any product on Amazon throughout your site. If anyone clicks on your link and makes a purchase on Amazon (even if it wasn’t for the exact product you linked to) you get to take home a slice of that purchase.
Example: Commission Junction. You apply to commission junction once then, once approved, gain access to tons of affiliate programs.
You can also read: What to Watch Out for Amazon Affiliate Marketing?
As a reader, you might have noticed that certain blogs contain disclosures that announce the use of affiliate links throughout their site. You’re probably wondering, is this required?
Yes, it most certainly is. And for good reason, too. People need to know that you could receive a commission from their purchase. And though purchasing through your link will not increase the cost to them, it’s still necessary to reveal that you could benefit from their purchase.
If you fail to disclose affiliate links, you could face severe repercussions. It’s best just to avoid trouble and follow the rules from the beginning.
To make things easier for me, I display an affiliate disclosure automatically on every blog post that I write. I downloaded a simple WordPress plugin and it does the job for me, actually! No thinking involved. Done, and out of the way.
If you’re sharing an affiliate link in an email to your list or even in a social media message, you must disclose that it is an affiliate link. It’s easy to do so, though. Just use a hashtag (#aff #afflink #affiliate #affiliatelink) or just say directly that it’s an affiliate link.
Affiliate Link Cloaking
Sometimes when you join affiliate programs, they will give you UGLY, LONG, affiliate links. These are horrible and they are one of the main reasons why you want to use a link-cloaking tool.
Cloaking your links enables you to customize an affiliate URL so that it matches your website domain. But it also enables you to make an affiliate link look like a regular link. Search engines don’t particularly like to see websites filled with affiliate links. So, by cloaking your links and making them look like ordinary links, you ensure that your site won’t be unnecessarily beaten down by the search engines.
To cloak my links, I use a simple WordPress plugin called Thirsty Affiliates. It’s 100% free to use and works like a charm. Now you can try to kick start your business online with Affiliate Marketing