Getting into any kind of a new field is always difficult. You start with little to no knowledge, and no idea where to even begin. That’s particularly problematic when the said field is very vague. Such is the case when we explore the wondrous world of affiliate marketing!
Unlike most beginner’s guides, this one will actually try to cover some important basic concepts that people often forget to mention, either because they simply forget, or just because they’re too wrapped up in being technical and giving concrete/actionable advice.
Think of this article as a bit of a staging ground. This is where you’re gonna become able to learn how to think about affiliate marketing in the first place.
Needless to say, it will point to a chock-full of more in-depth guides that’ll help you on your long and winding journey.
So, let’s tackle some basic concepts and issues:
#1 Understand what affiliate marketing actually is
What’s the difference between inbound/digital marketing and affiliate marketing? What is affiliate marketing, after all?
“Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products”
To put it simply, affiliate marketing is a specific type of digital marketing, in which your main goal is to generate as much traffic as possible on your website in order to promote services and goods.
Who offers these goods?
Of course, this means that you have to point to that other site, have product reviews, and so forth.
The most common types of affiliate sites are blogs, product reviews, and coupon sites. The kind you’ll ultimately choose to use is completely up to you.
When a visitor from your site visits your client’s site, they know this, and then you get a commission based on what your particular deal happens to be. You can get money just for sending people to their site, or maybe you get a commission when the sale is done.
#2 You’ve gotta put in actual work
All the reading in this world won’t mean a thing if you don’t dive in. You’ve gotta get your hands dirty. Every niche is different; every product is different. What works for one, might not work for the other.
And you won’t know this, unless you try. And if it doesn’t work, it’s all good because you’ve learned something from it.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because, guess what?
I know you’re definitely gonna make them.
Of course, you should understand you’ll have to master SEO, and a lot of other marketing practices, if you really want to become an affiliate marketing hotshot in the future.
#3 Focus on one project at a time while using multiple approaches
It’s easy to get lost in all the options and possible markets available nowadays. You might see that your friend is making a killing with his weight loss blog, or that the tech market is insanely lucrative.
At the beginning, it’s super easy to get overwhelmed. One of the key things you must do is learn how to minimize that feeling of boundless info and become fully focused.
However, that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to only one campaign. Far from it.
#4 Pick the perfect location/demographics
There’s a tough part of your new project that’s sure to give you a whole lot of headaches along the way.
Choosing which countries and demographics you’re gonna be targeting!
It’s really important to have as clear of an idea as possible of who your audience is.
Where are they? What do they want?
This is how you’ll know what products to eventually pitch, and how to go about doing that.
Pay special attention to mobile users, as they now form a major portion (over 50%, according to some studies) of all internet users.
# 5 Become acquainted with analytics
Of course, no one expects you to nail all of this in your first try.
That’s what analytics tools and packages are for. Google Analytics is obviously one of the most popular and widely used.
Yes, it might be boring, but if you really want to do this, it’s an unavoidable part of it.
Learn what a/b tests are, how to measure various metrics, what’s a tracking software, and how to interpret all that data, later leveraging it to increase your profits.
I know this sounds like saying: “learn how to make money.”
It all sounds so simple and perfectly easy to understand and act upon!
No, it isn’t. As I’ve alluded to before, this business demands that you get dirty. You’ve gotta put in the long hours reading info, navigating and searching cool threads on online communities, checking educational platforms, etc.
Again: go and get your hands dirty!
The good news is that you have an amazing wealth of resources on this topic. Moreover, you’ve got some very easy-to-use tools.
Trust me: even the most tech-obtuse person can be an affiliate marketing kingpin!
#6 Select an ad network/affiliate program
Well, this one is self-explanatory.
In order to become an affiliate marketer, you actually have to do affiliate marketing. Luckily, nowadays, this is incredibly easy, as there are tons of different affiliate programs you can join.
The biggest issue is how to choose the one which best suits you.
My grown-up advice?
Do a bit of reading on what each one offers. Don’t be a lazy duck who goes for the first one that shows up in a Google search.
Invest time reading and preparing yourself for the battle ahead. Don’t be lazy. I can’t assert this enough times: preparation, study and continuous analysis are key to becoming an affiliate marketer. Simple.
Once you’ve selected your market and affiliate partner, make an ally of your affiliate manager. They have a lot of inside knowledge that can definitely help you.
In fact, if you manage to foster a good relationship with them, account managers can give you awesome tips on the best GEOS you could invest on, or on how to take advantage of dayparting, for example.
#7 Bring your own knowledge and experience into play
Just because there are popular methods that work, it doesn’t mean that they’re the ONLY methods that work.
Try to keep your creative juices flowing! Always make sure to include your own personal experience when possible.
For instance: if you know you’re investing in India and you’re also aware that Hindi banners convert much better than English banners, avoid making that classic rookie mistake and adapt your banners to the audience that’s actually gonna click on them and produce conversions!
There’s nothing worse than a banner which has been duly and beautifully designed but then makes the cringeworthy mistake of featuring a language the targeted audience simply won’t understand.
Be careful, be smart, get some experience, and then do your thing without risking seeing a silly mistake cut your affiliate marketer life too short!
I know that this article might sound a bit like saying “water is wet”, but I think it might be necessary to take a step back and just look at the basics. After all, you don’t build a house starting from the roof down.
Plus: I’m not advocating that you should completely ignore what’s out there, or that reading and research is not important.
Far from it! I just want you to grasp the fact that nobody is flawless, and that all these methods that have been proven to work have come about due to a lot of trial and error.
The fact that you shouldn’t repeat evident mistakes doesn’t mean you’ve gotta be frightened of trying something new!