Affiliate marketing is a great low-cost way to earn money without any investments and risk. Lots of online content creators partner with businesses, promote them and in return earn commission for each sale. This is how the affiliate marketing works.
However, the main challenge for beginners in affiliate marketing is the cost and effort involved in building their website and audience. In this blog post we will share useful tips for beginners in affiliate marketing and will describe how to start affiliate marketing business for free.
Before we start it is necessary to understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works.
What is affiliate marketing?
The process when you promote someone’s products or services and receive a commission for a sale is called affiliate marketing. Many businesses invest in such types of promotion as it pays off generously. Affiliate marketers target advertisement to their audience which they know well and understand what kind of products or services they will be interested in. For businesses it’s a great way to increase brand awareness and reach new customers while for affiliate marketers it is a source of income when they get an affiliate commission for each sale.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketers promote other businesses’ products or services on their website, social media or blogs. Visitors click on an affiliate link or banner and are redirected to a company’s website where they can purchase products or services. When a sale is made, marketers earn an affiliate commission. This can be done either through direct relationship with companies or affiliate programs.
For example, you can refer live chat software services. Here is how the affiliate program, provided by Provide Support live chat software provider works:
- You register an account. It can remain in free trial status. There is no need to purchase anything.
- Then you get in your account control panel your partner link, which has the following look https://www.providesupport.com/partner/your-account-hash.
- You can place this partner link on your website, blog, promote on social media or through ads.
- When your visitors click that link, they are redirected to Provide Support’s website. A cookie is added to their devices, and this helps to link such visitors with your live chat account. When they register accounts on Provide Support’s website, these accounts appear in the list of referred accounts in your control panel. Even if they close Provide Support’s website and come back later, the registered accounts will be added to your list of referrals anyway.
- The status of referred accounts in the list changes depending on the account status: trial (free trial created, no purchases made), active (a purchase has been made), discontinued (an account was suspended).
- When you see that there are active accounts in the list of your referrals, you can request affiliate commission sending to your PayPal. Provide Support provides special commission request form for this purpose in the account Control Panel.
- Within a couple of business days Provide Support’s team processes your affiliate commission request and sends the payout to your PayPal account.
Provide Support offers a very generous affiliate program. Payouts do not end with the first purchase, the 30% commission is paid for all payments made by your referrals.
How to start affiliate marketing
At the beginning your journey as affiliate marketer may seem quite complicated. However, if you break it into steps, achieving your goals will become easier.
Define your audience and choose your niche
Your niche is a category you want to talk about and promote. This can be something you are good at and really like doing. Whatever it is, it can be part of your job, hobby or just something you are curious about. Remember that you will need to make a lot of content if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing.
Decide which channel you will use to promote products or services
You can do affiliate marketing on any platform, for example:
The channel you select will depend on the content you are going to offer. For example, if you are a fitness coach and would like to share your experience, it will be better to choose the channel where you can share your videos. In this case YouTube will be a good choice.
However, in any case it will be a great idea to build your website and use search engine optimization to rank it high in Google. This way, you will get passive traffic and as a result clicks on your affiliate links.
By the way, Federal Trade Commission which protects American consumers requires being transparent when you receive an income from endorsement. If you have a website, you can add a page or include this information in your footer. For YouTube promotions, you can add this information to the video description.
Select your affiliate program
With a target audience in mind, it’s time to join the affiliate marketing program that fits your niche. First of all, you can start with researching the brands within your niche, whether they offer the affiliate program and what are their conditions, cookies period and payout policies. Subscription-based businesses often offer recurring commission as long as the customer pays for the service.
There are three types of the affiliate programs, depending on the type of products you are promoting:
- High-paying, low-volume — Niche products with fewer buyers, such as jewelry, antiques, watches.
- Low-paying, high-volume — Products with mass appeal, e.g. Amazon’s affiliate program.
- High-paying, high-volume — Highly competitive programs which include hosting affiliate programs and credit cards.
The first two types of affiliate programs are good for beginners while the third one is quite competitive and will require certain reputation. The program you join depends on your niche and the level of expertise.
Work hard on excellent content
Your affiliate links should fit naturally into your website or social media posts’ content. Thus, you need to work hard on your content and make sure that your posts help to solve readers’ issues. The most common types of content include:
- Products or services reviews
- Products or services comparison
- Expert posts
Respond to comments and communicate with your followers
When you talk to your audience, reply to their comments and provide recommendations, you earn their trust and your reputation as an expert. Though this process consumes much time and effort, it helps you win new followers and grow your audience. The rule of thumb is to respond fast and give advice based on your own experience. This way, the clicks on your affiliate links will more likely convert to sales.
Track your income and affiliate campaigns
You can track your sales through the affiliate dashboard and based on this information make a decision on your campaigns’ optimization. Apart from the information provided by companies you can rely on third-party tools which will help you track your affiliate campaigns across different marketing channels and view results in a single dashboard. For example: Google Analytics or LinkTrack.
There are many key elements to keep in mind when you choose an affiliate program: your audience, their interests, how much you want to earn and the effort you are ready to invest. As soon as you make your plan and take into consideration all key elements, you will start receiving income.
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