Guide to Achieving Success in Affiliate Marketing as a Beginner

Picture an online income stream that requires nothing more than a website, without the hassle of creating products or rendering services. This concept called affiliate marketing could be what you’ve been searching for.

Statistics from Statista reveal that affiliate marketing expenditure by businesses in the US hit up to .2 billion in 2022. A report by Influencer Marketing Hub estimates that by 2024, affiliate marketing will have expanded to $15.7 billion. Start your journey now and take advantage of this ever-growing industry.

Essentially, affiliate marketing involves promoting another company’s product or service. When someone purchases through your affiliate link, you earn a commission based on either a percentage of the sale price or a fixed amount. For instance, if you shared an affiliate link to a book on Amazon, costing $15.45 for the hardcover version, upon purchase, you would receive $0.70 if you were the affiliate.

Now, let's explore two reasons why you should delve into affiliate marketing:

1. Low start-up cost and minimum risk

Starting a business could be risky and expensive due to the upfront costs of products, employees, equipment, rent, and so on. By contrast, with affiliate marketing, all you need is a website. If it doesn’t work out, you've only wasted time and a minimal amount of money.

2. Easy to expand

Traditional sales people only sell products from one company. On the other hand, as an affiliate marketer, you can promote products from multiple companies, hence the potential to earn commission from several sources.

To get started, simply join an affiliate program run by a given merchant. Upon joining, you would receive a unique link containing a tracking ID, which allows the merchant to track if you've referred customers to the said program.

Additionally, when visitors click on your link, a cookie gets stored on their device to indicate your referral, with this cookie's lifespan being predetermined. Thus, regardless of when they eventually decide to make a purchase, you can still earn your commission.

For example, a visitor could click on your link to view winter jacket recommendations. The next day, they return to Amazon to make a purchase, along with a few more items such as ski gear. Due to the affiliate cookie, you would earn a commission on the recommended winter jacket and the additional merchandise.

Although most affiliate marketers earn less than $10k annually, you could still take advantage of this profitable industry, especially considering the minimal risk involved.

Approximately 16.87% of individuals earn a salary of $50k or more, highlighting the successes of high-earning affiliates like Matt Giovanisci, whose website, Swim University, earned a substantial $149,991 in affiliate commissions this year.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge the considerable effort and time invested in constructing a successful brand, which can take years to achieve.

It's essential to manage your expectations, recognizing that significant earnings aren't immediate, but don't let it dishearten you. The achievements of others reveal that hard work, time, and knowledge can potentially lead to similar accomplishments.

Check out this link to learn more about the specific earnings of affiliate marketing, including suggestions for beginners.

Follow these seven simple steps:

To stand out among a sea of websites today, select a specific niche, such as grilling, rather than a broad category like food, and answer these four questions to help identify a successful category:

- What are your strengths?

- What sparks your interest?

- What piques your curiosity?

- What do others commend you for?

It's crucial to explore a niche that reflects your passion and expertise since creating ample content is vital to the success of affiliate marketing. For instance, although I knew nothing about marketing, I was dedicated to my hobby and built my breakdancing website to an impressive estimated 2K monthly visits.

Choose which online platform best suits your niche and personal preference, as there are multiple options to consider, including a website, YouTube, social media, newsletters, and podcasts. It's crucial to keep in mind your niche's preference and select the platform that most satisfies your audience. For example, individuals learning to breakdance will gravitate towards videos, whereas a newsletter may appeal to a different audience.

We suggest constructing a website and using search engine optimization (SEO) for elevated content ranking on Google to generate consistent passive search traffic and affiliate link clicks. Be sure to disclose that any affiliate links are included as required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to remain transparent about any earnings from endorsements.

If you are building a website, consider dedicating a standalone page or adding disclosure information to the footer. For YouTube, including a disclosure in the description is appropriate.

Step 3 involves selecting an appropriate affiliate program, with three main categories to choose from: high-paying, low-volume niche products; low-paying, high-volume popular products; and high-paying, high-volume expensive products. The right program for you will depend on your niche and expertise level. For consumer targeting, opt for low-paying, high-volume; for businesses, high-paying, low-volume. Popular programs include software and web hosting-related products.

To find these programs, try a Google search or enter a competing affiliate site into Ahrefs' Site Explorer and explore the Linked domains report. For instance, Pat Flynn frequently promotes software items on Smart Passive Income, with links to Aweber appearing often and confirming his affiliation.

To procure an application form for this program, a simple Google search will do.

Suppose you wish to advertise a product, but the company has no established affiliate program. In that case, reach out to them and propose the possibility of forging an affiliate relationship with you.

For newbie affiliates, check out these nine affiliate programs best suited for starters curious about all niches.

Crafting exceptional content is crucial to successful affiliate marketing. Your affiliate links should align organically with high-quality content rather than haphazardly incorporating bestsellers from Amazon. Be solution-focused and cater to your audience's needs. Write credible product reviews by purchasing and real-life testing them like Wirecutter. They began their product research by experimenting with 50 different air purifiers before selecting the best one.

Collaborating with experts adds to the value of your reviews. Wirecutter stands out from the rest due to its extensive research and collaboration with experts.

Drawing more readers into your affiliate site depends on increasing your site traffic. The traffic strategies to be considered are:

1. Paid Traffic: Pay-per-click (PPC) ads generate immediate traffic, but the expenses will eat into profits. Paid strategies require optimization, and ads must be run continuously to sustain traffic flow.

2. Organic Traffic: SEO optimization increases the chances of ranking high on search engines and drawing organic (unpaid) traffic.

3. Social Media Traffic: Utilize social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest to draw attention to your content. Sharing valuable content and tips relevant to your audience builds a devoted community with a high likelihood of returning to your site.

For every marketing strategy, due diligence and calculated risk-taking are essential to guarantee success. Beginners working with low commission programs like Amazon Associates may find it challenging to sustain profitability through paid advertising. Check out this beginner's guide to PPC marketing to learn more.

B. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves enhancing page quality and content relevance to increase ranking in search engines such as Google. High search engine ranking for target keywords ensures consistent and passive traffic. At its basic level, SEO involves understanding target customer searches, creating content on related topics, making sure Google comprehends page content, acquiring (or earning) links to increase search engine rankings, and ensuring content is discoverable, crawlable, and indexable by Google. Check out our beginner’s guide to SEO or watch this video to learn the basics:

C. Building an Email List

An email list is an effective way to communicate with readers and drive traffic to your site. By informing fans of new content, you can increase affiliate clicks and sales. You can also include affiliate links in emails to your audience. To encourage email list sign-ups, you must offer something valuable, such as a free eBook or email course.

Having high-quality content doesn't guarantee affiliate link clicks. Here are some things to consider:

A. Link Placement

If all affiliate links are at the bottom of the page where few people scroll, clicks will be limited. On the other hand, excessive links in the introduction can appear spammy. Finding the right balance is important.

B. Context

Ensure that links are relevant to the content being reviewed. For example, a review of the "best kitchen knives under $50" should not have out of context links. Instead, the review should be structured around the named products.

C. Callouts

Using callouts like buttons, tables, and boxes can help catch readers' attention and make the post more skimmable. Eye-catching boxes with product links are used by The Wirecutter to highlight top picks.

Good Housekeeping adopts a unique approach that involves creating a table containing buttons:

Step 7: Transform clicks into profits

In order to earn money through affiliate marketing, two conversions must ensue.

The first conversion involves the click that redirects to the product page.

This action lies within your control, and by applying the aforementioned strategies, you can augment the likelihood of securing the click.

The second conversion involves the visitor who buys the product. In this case, the merchant controls the checkout process, and consequently, their conversion rates are beyond your purview.

The art is to strategize smartly in your favor by searching for merchants whose programs yield lofty conversion rates. Here are a few ways to find them:

A. Public income reportsIf people are earning considerable sums from an affiliate program, it is probable that the product converts well.

How do you ascertain if people are earning money?

You can glean this information from public income reports wherein bloggers reveal publicly how much they earn from their affiliate deals.

You can find such reports using Google.

For instance, if you search for "income report amazon affiliate", you'll stumble upon blog posts that expound on how bloggers profit from Amazon Affiliates.

One blogger seems to have earned over $47,000 from Amazon Associates:

If you're in the same spectrum, you can examine where her other affiliate income surfaces from and potentially promote identical products.

B. Seek informationIf minimal information is available concerning an affiliate program you wish to join, enroll and ask questions.

For instance, you could inquire about their average conversion rates or even an estimate of their top earners' monthly commissions.

This can help you deduce whether the affiliate program is worth promoting.

C. Trust your instinctsAt times, the best decision is to follow your gut feeling.

If the program or product you are examining seems "sketchy," or if you personally would never suggest the product to your loved ones, do not promote it.

Tools can assist you in affiliate marketing, facilitating your work's pace and ease.

Here are some of our suggested affiliate marketing tools:

  • Ahrefs — SEO tool that encompasses researching keywords to target, auditing your website, assessing competitor data, conceiving content ideas, and much more.
  • Rank Math — WordPress plugin that guarantees optimal on-page SEO on your pages.
  • Google Search Console — Detect and rectify technical glitches on your website, submit sitemaps, inspect structured data issues, scrutinize your Core Web Vitals, and other features.
  • Google Analytics — Provides significant data and analytics for your affiliate website.
  • Thirsty Affiliates — Keep a track of your affiliate links, analyze statistics to determine which links are receiving the maximum clicks, and prevent others from easily pirating your website and replacing the links with their affiliate IDs.
Amazon affiliate lifetime earnings

To discover more: 15 Best Affiliate Marketing Tools & How to Use Them

Answers to Common Questions about Affiliate Marketing

What does EPC mean in affiliate marketing?

EPC refers to earnings per click and represents the average amount of money earned from someone clicking on an affiliate link. The formula for calculating EPC is:

EPC = total commissions earned / number of clicks on affiliate links

The cookie duration is the length of time that an affiliate program will attribute purchases made to a particular cookie. Typically, the duration is set to 30 days. If someone makes a purchase within this window after clicking on your affiliate link, you will receive the commission. However, if the purchase is made after the 30-day period has elapsed, you will not receive the commission.

How do you begin affiliate marketing on Amazon?

The principles of affiliate marketing apply to Amazon. If you want to create an Amazon affiliate site, check out the comprehensive guide at the following link:

Recommended Reading: How to Build a Successful Amazon Affiliate Site (Step by Step)

Is it possible to do affiliate marketing without a website?

Affiliate marketing can be done without a website if you have a way of directing people to your affiliate links. Social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are excellent mediums for driving clicks.

How does high-ticket affiliate marketing work?

High-ticket affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services that offer large payouts. A payout becomes "high-ticket" once it exceeds $100 but can potentially reach five figures. If you're interested in learning more about how to succeed in high-ticket affiliate marketing, read through the detailed guide provided at the following link:

Recommended Reading: High-Ticket Affiliate Marketing: How to Make Big Commissions

Final Thoughts

While there are no groundbreaking ideas in this article, focusing on these fundamentals is an excellent way to start your affiliate marketing journey successfully. Affiliate marketing, however, requires time, so don't expect to make a fortune overnight or quit your day job all at once. Instead, set achievable goals for yourself and continue to refine your approach as you experiment and gain experience. With time and effort, you can develop a site that generates a decent income.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch via Twitter:

Ping Me On Twitter.

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