So What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?
A common dream for a lot of people is to create a passive income stream that will allow them to do what they want – when they want. Sometimes referred to as a lifestyle business, affiliate marketing is one of the vehicles that can deliver that outcome. The beauty of this business model is that absolutely anyone can undertake the actions required to make money online, especially those that would consider themselves a beginner.
Affiliate marketing is based on a revenue sharing model. The concept of revenue sharing first rose to prominence within the e-commerce sector in November 1994, approximately two years after the world wide web originated. Effectively, an affiliate marketing beginner can make money by referring people to purchase products online, and if a purchase is made, they receive a percentage of the money collected.
A lot of companies and entrepreneurs realised that they have a glass ceiling when it came to selling their products. They quickly realised that by incentivising others to sell products on their behalf, their bottom line would increase exponentially.
The affiliate marketing business model creates a win / win relationship between the company and the affiliate. For the company, there is only a cost when a sale is made. For the affiliate (especially the affiliate that is a beginner), they can make money without having to create or own product.
What is An Affiliate Program?
An affiliate program is a structured relationship between a product or service owner, and those who desire to make money via promoting these services or products. The program involves two or more parties that work together with the goal of mutual benefit. Affiliate marketing programs are prevalent within internet advertising, however also exist within standard brick and mortar businesses.
How do affiliate programs work?
When someone visits your website, advertisement, or promotion material, then click on a link which takes them to your affiliate offer, this click is tracked by your affiliate company. If this action results in a sale or a desired action – you get paid!
Actual payment terms can vary depending upon the program. Examples of monetisation methods include a percentage of sales made from referrals, a set amount of money for each referral sent to a website, or a set amount of money for an action taken from referrals (such as an email optin form being completed) to name a few.
What Are The Top Affiliate Programs?
This is a question almost every beginning affiliate marketer asks, and it’s a fair question. The answer however is not black and white as it depends upon the individual beginner. Before you start looking for the top affiliate program you need to determine two key elements. Firstly, what niche do you want to be a part of, and secondly, how do you want to be paid.
Profitable Niches With Low Competition
This is the holy grail when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. As a newbie when it comes to affiliate marketing it’s going to take some time for your niche business, or niche website to become profitable. It’s fair to say that the lower the level of competition, the faster to you achieving your desired results. Additionally, you want to get direct reward for your efforts and make the kind of money that will lead to the lifestyle you desire. As such it is essential that you enter a niche that has already proven to be profitable, and that you won’t take years for you to become competitive.
So how do you know what niche has low competition and is profitable? Here is one quick way – follow what has already worked. Using a site like flippa.com you can see what websites have been successfully sold. Flippa.com allows you to go back in time and shares information such as sold price, number of web visitors, established date with the hidden gem being the comments others have made when contemplating buying the site. It’s fair to say that if a website has been sold for a fair amount of money, then more than likely was profitable.
The quickest way to determine the competitiveness of a niche is by the number of competing pages on Google. To do this simply type your keyword into google search inside inverted commas, for example “weight loss for kids”. Ideally as a beginner with affiliate marketing you’d want to stick with phrases that return a result of less than 10,000 competing pages.
How To Make Money With Affiliate Programs
Now you need to decide on how you want to be paid, ie they type of affiliate marketing program you want to promote. The two main models are pay per sale and cost per action marketing.
Pay Per Sale
This model is the most popular with most affiliate marketing programs and involves the beginning affiliate earning a commission from the merchant each time they send a person to the merchant website and a sale is made. Affiliate commission percentage will vary from program to program, and some also increase commission percentage with higher volume sales. The positive about the pay per sale model is that commission payments can be very lucrative. The negative aspect is that you will need to send a lot of visitors in order to get a sale.
Cost Per Action (CPA Marketing)
This model pays a commission when a user clicks on an affiliate link, and then undertakes a specific action such as filling in a contact form, requesting a quote, signing up for a free trial, or filling in an email address. The positive attached to CPA marketing is that there is a lower commitment required from a user in order to get paid. The negative in relation to CPA marketing is that payments are a lot lower than for pay per sale.
Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners
If you are looking to enter affiliate marketing with the goal to make money, one of the first things you’ll need to do is identify the best affiliate program to partner with. For the beginner, the most ideal affiliate program is:
• One hundred percent free to join,
• Easy to use, and
• Have a good commission payment structure.
The following programs tick all of these boxes and are a great place to start for the beginning affiliate marketer.
The Amazon Associates Program
Amazon is one of the most trusted brands online, so being an Amazon affiliate allows you to leverage this high level of trust. With hundreds of thousands of products to choose from, you’ll be able to find an ample amount of products to promote within your chosen niche. One of the best features of the program is that you can get paid a commission for any product the person you refers purchases. Whilst the platform does start with a low commission percentage (4%), it does scale up to a commission of 8.5% as you sell more units.
Clickbank is one of the most widely known and popular affiliate networks online. Again it offers a plethora of products the beginning affiliate marketer can choose to promote and make money with. Clickbank offers different search parameters in order to assist in finding the right product for you. One of the best features of the network, is that product owners provide a great range of assets affiliates can use when promoting their products. Having pre made banners, email swipes and the like can save the beginning affiliate a lot of time and money.
The Wealthy Affiliate is an online training course that can fast track success for the beginning affiliate. The website offers two main courses that can assist in building an online business, being “ Online Entrepreneur Course”, and “ Affiliate Bootcamp”.
These trainings offer learning via tutorials and training videos with over 120 lessons. For those just starting out on their affiliate marketing journey, the Wealthy Affiliate offers the opportunity to travel a path that has already proven successful. You will reach your destination a lot quicker if you travel down a known successful path, as opposed to bumbling your way into unnecessary obstacles.
There are a number of other affiliate marketing programs that are very suitable for beginners, however these are the most well known, and are very newbie friendly. When it comes to affiliate marketing for dummies, these networks stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Beginning Affiliate Marketer Implementation Plan
Now that you have an understanding about affiliate marketing and which affiliate marketing programs can assist beginners, the following will help with the only thing that matters – taking action.
Step 1 – Choose a niche. Decide what industry you would like to be a part of. What are you passionate about, what knowledge do you have that can help others, what rocks your world. Aligning your affiliate marketing efforts with these concepts will make your online business a lot more enjoyable.
Step 2 – Decide how you want to be paid. Do you want to be paid when you refer an actual sale, or do you want to be paid each time your referral takes a specific action. Things to consider are how the amount of money you will be making, and the potential for revenue.
Step 3 – Decide which affiliate marketing program is a good fit for you as a beginner. Reach out to the network with any questions you may have. Have a look at the volume of products available for promotion within your niche. Ascertain your affiliate percentage.
Step 4 – Promote your products and make some money.
Affiliate marketing can be a black hole for beginning affiliate marketers. You can get caught up in continual learning, or investigating new ideas, products, tools, or methods that are supposedly bringing others amazing results. Do yourself a massive favour and keep things super simple. Just take the above steps 1 – 4 and above all else implement. Become the expert in what you do, get things happening so that you are receiving the results you desire, and at that stage look to add to your online revenue making arsenal. Too many people don’t stick to one thing, but move on to the next thing, and the next, thereby achieving nothing. Don’t be that person. Take action, implement and hit your goals!