Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers: A step-by-step guide!

If you've just started blogging, or been blogging for a while, you might have heard about 'affiliate marketing'.

This article will explain precisely why you might want to use affiliate marketing to make an income from your blogs.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Let's start by learning what affiliate marketing is.

Affiliate marketing is "the process of earning a commission by promoting someone else's product or service (usually a percentage of the sales price)".


 
 

There are literally thousands of companies all over the world that offer affiliate programs for their products and services; these companies will happily pay you a commission for every sale generated for them.

The commission paid usually ranges from 10-70% of the sales price and often includes any other upgrades or offers the customer purchases at the time of sale.

Commissions are this high because YOU are driving traffic to their sales page saving them time and money.


Affiliate Marketing Links: 

The Affiliate links allow you and the company to track the sales generated. Most affiliate links track for up to 30 days by placing a "cookie" on the purchaser's computer when they click the link.

When you have chosen a product or service to promote and join the company's affiliate program, you will receive your unique affiliate link; this is the link you're going to use in your marketing and promotion.

A cookie is automatically placed on the customer's computer when they click on the affiliate link. Then, when they purchase the product or service, the link will allow you and the company to track their expenditure, and that's when you will get paid a commission.

Affiliate Marketing is a Win-Win:

A great business model; Affiliate marketing is a win/win for both sides. 

It's a win for you because you earn a commission or a profit by promoting someone else's product or service.

The company wins because they now have a new sale from customers that they might not have usually acquired.

Then, of course, it's always a win for the customer because they learned about a new product that they will now benefit from, which will hopefully fill their need or desire or even solve their problem.

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How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

 

As stated above, the purpose of Affiliate marketing is to create a win-win relationship between three main parties:

  • SELLER/COMPANY AND PRODUCT CREATORS - A vendor, product creator, or retailer who wants to sell a product, which can be anything from a physical object to a service.
  • AFFILIATE/ADVERTISER - The person responsible for promoting the seller's product/Service.
  • CONSUMER - Person who purchases the product.

THE AFFILIATE MARKETING PROCESS:

Let's take a look at the steps followed in the affiliate marketing process:

1. The Affiliate has decided to promote a web hosting company; they write a great article about the company and publish this on their website.

2. At strategic points throughout the article and definitely at the bottom of the article, the Affiliate will include a link to the web hosting companies website.

3. A consumer will then read the affiliated article, be interested in finding out more about the company, and click on the affiliate link.

4. After finding out more information about the hosting service, the consumer decides to purchase one of the plans.

5. The purchase is processed, which will provide the web hosting company a profit from the sale, the Affiliate a percentage of the sale, and leaves the consumer with a well-researched purchase.

Affiliate links placed on your website and social media posts, generally last between 24 hours up to 30 days. 

Unfortunately, links break if the consumer clicks on someone else's affiliate link after yours before they purchase the item.

If the consumer clears their browser cache or purchases with a different computer, then the affiliate link the Affiliate provided will be deleted.

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Affiliate Marketers

 

Anyone can be an Affiliate Marketer.

Affiliate marketers come in all shapes and sizes. Businesses of all types are very successful in promoting products:

INFLUENCERS

With the continued growth in the number of followers that influencers and experts on a variety of social media sites have, promoting products and services through their channels is a great idea.

These influencers are called influencers for a reason; people trust their opinions and listen to them, so advertising through their channels could lead to increased sales.

BLOGGERS

Another very popular type of Affiliate Marketers are the bloggers.  Bloggers can be very influential; they tend to write about specific niches and rank organically in the search engines. 

This type of affiliate marketers is generally knowledgeable about the particular niche they write about, and seasoned bloggers can have hundreds of thousands of readers.

Having one of these bloggers advertise your company or product could mean your product or service becomes available to people who would not usually see your advertising campaigns.

A great way to contact these bloggers is to send products to them and write reviews.

WEBMASTERS

You can find webmasters on Shareasale or CJ. On these sites, you can contact webmasters asking for a partnership or contact them directly.  

Webmasters are people who either build websites or who manage their sites.

EMAIL LISTS

Publishers have hundreds of user emails, so contacting them to send out offers relating to your company and products can be helpful. 

It is a great natural way to share your company promotions.

Getting readers to open emails sent to their inbox can be a tough gig, so ensure you only use legitimate means. and don't spam. 

All emails sent must be CAN-SPAM compliant; this way, you will not have any issues.

REVIEW SITES

Affiliate marketers create review websites to review products in their chosen niche. These types of sites are trendy.

They usually review several different advertisers' products, so receive a commission on whichever product reader purchases.

BIG WEB PROPERTIES

The Big Web properties are sites that get a considerable amount of traffic every day. By placing a banner on one of these websites, your traffic would probably increase.

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Reasons Why You Want To Become An Affiliate Marketer?

If you haven't quite decided that you want to become an Affiliate Marketer, then let me list the reasons why working as an affiliate marketer has changed my life:

EARN AT HOME WHILE YOU ARE ENJOYING LIFE

While working as an Accountant, I was required to be in the office at set hours each week to make money. As an affiliate marketer, I now have the opportunity to make money while I sleep and, more importantly, allows me to spend more time with my children.

CONVIENENT AND FLEXIBILTY

I am no longer getting up at some crazy hour to catch the train to the office; I'm also no longer getting stuck in another traffic jam on the way home, feeling annoyed that I'm wasting the day away.

Don't get me wrong I have to invest a significant amount of time into my affiliate marketing campaigns. Still, I get to choose my working hours, and even when an article or campaign is complete, it will still earn a passive income. I get to decide when I work. 

You have total independence in deciding your priorities, your working hours, and what products you sell. 

Company restrictions and team politics are a thing of the past. You are responsible for all decisions made about your marketing strategy.

IT IS COST EFFECTIVE

Think of all the savings you will make from not commuting every day, in addition to that, you can make lunch in your kitchen, without having to purchase take out every lunchtime. 

Small changes in your day to day spending can save you a significant amount of money over the year.

NO FINANCIAL OUT-LAY

If you were selling a product that you had produced, you would require startup fees and cash flow to finance your business strategies. 

However, Affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. 

The most significant outlay would be investing your time and money on a website and web hosting provider.

PERFORMANCE-BASED REWARDS

With Affiliate marketing, I believe you reap the rewards from what you put into it. If you are committed, engaging, thorough, and good at remaining focused, you will receive payments for your hard work.  

NO CUSTOMER SUPPORT

As an affiliate marketer, you will not have to worry as much about customer service and satisfaction.

  Make sure you research the seller's product and business before signing up to become an affiliate marketer. Your website will not suffer if a product is faulty or not meeting the purchaser's needs as you shouldn't be marketing any of those kinds of products.

  If there are the odd few complaints, the seller will deal with those after you receive your commission.

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What are The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?

In addition to the possibility of earning money online by sharing links, affiliate marketing comes with a range of other advantages:

  • Somebody else is investing time and money into the product you are advertising. 
  • The creation of sales funnels and marketing materials is the role of the seller.
  • Affiliate resources, such as banners, graphics, email swipes, templates, social media swipes, are provided.
  • The seller provides product delivery and customer support.
  • Avoid the risks involved with creating your product.
  • Less time investment compared to owning your product.
  • Affiliate products already have established credibility, testimonials, sales pages, etc.
  • Excellent source of passive income.
  • Great way to diversify your income.
  • Test how your audience responds to certain products before you take the time to create your own.

To summarize, You only need to focus on one primary thing, which will then send targeted traffic to someone else.

They will then take care of the rest, and that's the beauty of affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, your only job is finding a way to promote a product or service and send traffic to the business they belong too. 

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Are There Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing?

Obviously, as with anything, there are disadvantages and a number of challenges of making money through Affiliate Marketing:

  • The product price or margins are set by the seller, and you have less control over the sales process.
  • You have to adhere to the rules and guidelines set out in the Affiliate terms and conditions.
  • It takes time to generate enough traffic to result in significant earnings.
  • You have no control over the refund process.
  • Choosing a bad affiliate could ruin your site's credibility.
  • Occasionally companies fail to pay their marketers.
  • There will be other sites promoting the same products as you, so you need to ensure your content is engaging and will encourage people to return.

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How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

 

There is a range of ways that Affiliate Marketers get paid for linking the consumer to the Seller. Each Affiliate marketing program pays differently: 

PAY PER SALE.

The majority of Affiliate programs pay per sale.

If the Seller pays the affiliate for each sale of the product, the affiliate must get the investor to purchase the product before receiving a percentage of the sale proceeds.

PAY PER LEAD.

Some companies pay per lead. To receive payment for each lead, the affiliate must persuade the consumer to visit the Seller's website and either fill out a contact form, sign up for a trial of a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or download software or files.

PAY PER CLICK.

Pay per click payments is received when the affiliate persuades the consumer to move from their site to the merchant's website. The affiliate gets payments for an increase in web traffic.

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Steps To Get You Started In Affiliate Marketing


If you've decided you want to monetize your website using affiliate marketing, follow these simple steps to ensure, you become a success.

Step 1: Choose a niche

To stand any chance of being successful in affiliate marketing, you will need to focus on a specialized niche when you start affiliate marketing. Statista states there are currently approximately  31.7 million bloggers in the United States.  

You might be interested in starting a blog and becoming an affiliate marketer in healthy living. Health is a massive niche, so to give you a better chance of success, you might like to concentrate on one area as you will be more likely to rank higher up in the search engines and be seen by potential visitors.

Try to choose something you are interested in; this will help you overcome the doubts that will occur when your website does not get viewed as much as you thought it would. If you are not an expert in that particular field, at least, you will be interested in finding more out about the topic, which makes for compelling reading and increased visitors.

Step 2: Decide Which Affiliate Marketing Programs To Join

There is a wide range of affiliate programs in each niche. Research each one as you don't want to market a product or service that could negatively impact on your website. 

You can use google search to find affiliate marketing programs, or use a site such as Ahrefs' to review other websites in your niche to see which companies they link too.

Step 3: Create Unbeatable Content

To succeed as a blogger or in affiliate marketing, your need to create engaging, high-quality content.  

It would help if you placed affiliate links at strategic spots throughout your content, where you will not disrupt the reader's enjoyment of an article.  

Don't place affiliate marketing links at the bottom of the page; not many readers get to the end of articles, so you need to ensure they are placed regularly throughout the piece to catch every type of reader's eye.  

However, do not link too much as this looks spammy.

Step 4: Increasing Traffic To Your Site

There are several ways to increase traffic to your site, with the intention is for visitors to click on your affiliate marketing links:

  • Pay For Traffic

Use PPC ads to promote your site. From the moment you start paying for traffic, your traffic will increase; the only issues are it's incredibly costly, and when you stop paying, your traffic will stop.

  • Optimize Your Site (SEO)

To rank higher in the SERPs, you need to understand what your customers are searching for and ensure your content reflects the keywords entered into the search engines.

Your content needs to encompass the topics entered into google, you need to ensure you have engaging headlines, add internal and external links, and tag any images attached to your document.

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Become Successful In Affiliate Marketing!

Affiliate Marketing is highly competitive. If you want to be successful, you need to take time to analyze what the market needs and how to promote the products you choose to market successfully.

FIND YOUR AFFILIATE NICHE:

A mistake numerous affiliate marketers make is to promote as many products as they can, thinking that this will make them more money. 

Unfortunately, this is probably not good for your health; it can become very tiring and overwhelming. You'll find yourself not promoting any product correctly, which results in no sales. 

Instead, focus on one niche, promote a handful of products, understand the market for those products, and ensure your site meets the needs of that market.

KNOW YOUR PRODUCT AND YOUR AUDIENCE:

An essential element to becoming successful in affiliate marketing is learning about the product or service you are promoting so you can create content on your website that is accurate and relevant to the potential purchasers of that item. 

When you promote a product, you also promote the person or the company behind the product, so try to learn about the company you are promoting. 

If the company you are promoting does not offer what you are advertising and do not provide excellent customer service, your credibility will take a hit, and visitors will not return.

Take time to know your target audience; this will help you write content focused on their needs. 

Creating content that is credible and engaging will help build trust with your target audience, which will result in sales.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

It is wise always to try to use the product or service you are marketing before you review it. In reality, this is not always possible, but when you can, it makes your review personal and more engaging to your readers.

Tell your readers what you loved about the product, if your marketing trampolines, for example, tell them how long it took you to build, was it easy, how many people did it need to make it, how sturdy is it, does it look good, are your kids having fun on it safely. 

People engage so much better when you write with feelings.

PROMOTE PRODUCTS FROM A RANGE OF PROVIDERS IN YOUR NICHE

Any good business diversifies, it is the same with affiliate marketing. 

Promote a range of products from different providers in your niche. If you promote a more extensive range, you will have more security if a product does not convert into a sale or you do not receive payments from a merchant. 

All good businesses promote a range of products.

BE UNIQUE

Ensure your content is unique, never copy someone else's reviews; this is lazy and will be your downfall. Stand out from the crowd by providing engaging, unique, and valuable content about that particular affiliate.

PROMOTE PRODUCTS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

The most common way affiliate marketers advertise is to place ads on their sites. Consider, however, that there is a range of other traffic sources that you can use to promote the products simultaneously.

If you can find different ways to send targeted traffic to the sales page, the more your chances is of making money.

Targeted traffic can be driven to a sales page using Goggle Adwords.

BUILD AN EMAIL LIST

Start building an email list as soon as you start affiliate marketing. Use it wisely, and you will become profitable. 

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING:

Now you need to learn how to help people find you organically to boost your search engine optimization. It will save you from spending all of your profits on pay-per-click engines.

CONTINUE TO LEARN NEW TECHNIQUES AND METHODS

Internet marketing is fluid; trends are continually evolving and changing. Keep on top of new techniques and market trends; affiliate marketing is a competitive field, so to be successful, this is a must.

DON'T GIVE UP!

Try, try again. The majority of Affiliate marketers give up in the first few months. 

By setting realistic goals and carefully monitoring your promotion campaigns, you will become a success.

TRACK YOUR AFFILIATE MARKETING CAMPAIGN

It is an excellent idea to use different product promotion strategies to figure out what is working and what is not. 

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How Long Will it take To Earn an income from affiliate marketing?

 

It depends.

Many factors will impact the time it takes to start earning from the products you want to promote:

  • Your niche - Some topics are more competitive than others, so it may take you longer to profit.
  • The Number of hours worked on your promotions each week - If you are working 40 hours a week, you are likely to achieve success more quickly than if you are working a few hours a week.
  • Your Determination - By treating your chosen product as if it's your own, you will earn more quickly.

In reality, Affiliate Marketing can take up to a year before you see a profit from your endeavors. There are many affiliate marketers out there that make sales within a few months, but that is not the norm.

To even have a chance of making a profit, you need to build a website, have a social media account and write some fascinating, compelling and engaging content that makes your audience want to purchase the item.

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​Is affiliate marketing Profitable?

 

Hundreds of people ask this question every day. Is Affiliate Marketing profitable?

In short, absolutely! For some affiliate marketers, it is very profitable.

Affiliate marketing spending is due to rise to $8.2 billion in the U.S. by 2022. Compared to $5.9 billion in 2018.

affiliate marketing spending

Source:  Statista

With this significant growth expected, there is plenty of space for everyone to make money.

Income from affiliate marketing can vary significantly.

Beginners (affiliate marketers with up to 12 months experience) - $0 to $1,000 a month

Affiliate marketers with a few years experience - $1,000 to $10,000 a month

Experienced Affiliate marketers - $10,000 to $100,000 a month

Super-Experienced Affiliate marketers - $100,000+ per month

The earnings shown above are just a guide, there are affiliate marketers that have started earning significant amounts of money after a few short months, but this is not the norm. It will take most marketers at least a year to make a decent income.

Another point to note is earnings from affiliate marketing can never be guaranteed. One day you may only earn a few dollars the next your earnings may increase to $1,000 a day and vice versa.

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Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

 

To be successful in Affiliate Marketing, you need to ensure you don't make these mistakes:

BEING SHADY & DECEPTIVE IS A BIG NO NO!

Don't trick people into clicking your links or buying a product, and don't try to make people believe that it's your product. 

Adding false testimonials or reviews for the product will also help you to get banned from advertising that product or service. 

Ensure you follow the guidelines on how to promote the product. Companies like Amazon will generally ban you for life. 

NOT TAKING CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF WHAT PRODUCTS TO PROMOTE.

Don't choose a million products and hope for the best. 

Take time to consider which products you would like to promote, review them for a while, and then if you are not happy with them, find new products to replace them if necessary. 

Success with affiliate marketing does take time. It would be best if you learned how to sell the right products to your audience. 

Ensuring you take time to consider this at the start is essential. 

PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCT BEFORE BUYING IT

How would you feel if you purchased a product using a great review, only to find out it did not do what the study stated.  

You need to purchase the product or services before you buy it, even if you will never use it again to describe what it does accurately. 

To promote a product successfully, make sure you understand it from the start; otherwise, your relationship with your readers will deteriorate, and your commissions will reduce.  Always ensure you are honest. 

NOT HAVING CONFIDENCE IN PROMOTING NEW PRODUCTS WHEN AFFILIATE MARKETING

If you do not have confidence in the product you are promoting, you are not going to make sales.

You need to know the product, what does it provide, how does it work, etc. 

Then you will have the confidence to market it to your intended audience. Just placing casual links across your site will not work in the majority of cases.

TOO FEW LINKS

If you only place one affiliate link for the product you are promoting in your blog or email, then your readers will have a difficult time finding it or will move onto another page to find the link more easily.

By providing multiple links, you are giving your audience numerous chances to click on your links. 

That said, only link where it MAKES SENSE. Forced links will not result in sales.

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How To Increase Traffic When Affiliate Marketing.

 

There are many different ways to increase your website's traffic. 

ADVERTISE YOUR SITE:

Paid searches and display advertising are excellent ways of increasing  your site's traffic.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA:


One of the easiest ways to increase your traffic is to promote your content using your social media channels. 

In addition to sharing your content, you also need to be active in the community of your niche. Provide answers to questions when you can, engage with readers in any way possible, and have a positive effect on your traffic numbers.

PRODUCE GREAT CONTENT


Engaging, accurate content will keep your readers coming back for more.

Great content is also more likely to be linked, too, saving you time and effort.

Vary the length and format of your articles to appeal to a variety of readers.

INCLUDE VIDEO ARTICLES


In today's world, more and more visitors to your page want to listen or watch tutorials instead of reading lengthy articles. 

Introducing information in other formats is an excellent way to gain new viewers and see your audience grow.

WRITE HEADLINES THAT ARE HARD TO IGNORE


If you have a dull and unengaging headline, readers will skim past it; they don't know that an article that will provide them with the information they are looking for is there waiting for them.

So ensure your headline is focused and engaging, ready for those readers to select it.

OPTIMIZE YOUR CONTENT


Always optimize your content, ensure you always include a meta description. Create internal links and add alt text to images. These quick and easy actions can help boost your organic traffic.

INCLUDE LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS


You should try to include long-tail keywords into your content; they account for a significant number of google searches, so if you don't add them, you could be missing out on more traffic. 

PRODUCE GUEST BLOGS


Having your guest blog published on a reputable site can increase your blog traffic significantly. 

INCLUDE INTERNAL LINKS


To help with SEO and build a better experience for your readers, use internal links across all your articles. Link internally where information may increase the user's knowledge base or which might be of increase.

MARKET USING EMAILS


Email marketing is a powerful way to get your readers to return to your website. Regular updates about new articles will increase traffic from readers who are already interested in your site.

ENSURE YOUR SITE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY


You will lose readers if your site is not compatible with a range of devices. People access their mobile devices at all times of the day or night, so ensuring that your articles can be easily accessed is essential to the success of growing your audience.

ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE LOADS QUICKLY


If your website takes a long time to load, the reader will already be looking for the next relevant page on the SERPs. 

Ensure you optimize your site to include small images and plugins that are optimized correctly. 

RESEARCH


You should spend a significant amount of your time researching to ensure you stay on-trend. 

You want to meet your visitors' needs, so it is essential to keep up to date with your competitors and topics relating to your niche. 

Ahrefs and BuzzSumo are great tools to provide you with an update on your competitors' information.

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Disclaimers Required When Affiliate Marketing

 

This bit is really important; you MUST disclose that you are selling products as an affiliate – it's the LAW! 

Some companies (Amazon) require disclosure on EVERY single page of your website that contains affiliate links, and it must specifically name their company. Some affiliates require disclosure within the same paragraph as the link.

Most companies require a general affiliate disclosure on every page (the entry metadata before your posts is usually the best place for this – required by the FTC).

It would help if you also had a more comprehensive disclaimer as one of your website's legal pages (often found in the footer section with the other terms, policies, etc.). Read and understand all requirements for EVERY individual company that you become an affiliate markete

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Affiliate Marketing Conclusion

 

Affiliate marketing is a brilliant way to earn an income. By promoting other companies' products to your audience, you can earn a commission for every sale you make.

These earnings are generally 10-70% of the sales price. Rules and guidelines vary for every affiliate and marketplace.

Affiliate marketing is a GREAT way to make money online. It requires a lot less time and money investment than creating your products of your own. It also provides the potential to make a LOT of money if done right.

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About The Author


Guido Nesa

Guido is a recognized  SEO expert and founder of GN DIGITAL.