This will not be your average run post about affiliate marketing like you might have seen before! This is going to be an in depth guide for affiliate marketing for beginners. I will cover most relevant and important aspects.
The idea is to not only to tell you what affiliate marketing is, but to show you how you can start today.
This post does not sell any miracles or quick fixes, but instead I will tell you the good the bad and off -course the ugly.
This guide consists of 4 parts –
- What affiliate marketing is?
- How affiliate marketing works.
- How you can start today and what to avoid.
- Starting affiliate marketing the right way.
Affiliate marketing is a wonderful way of making extra or a full-time
income on the internet. As soon as you understand how to make it work, you will be able to make money in your sleep. I have been using and promoting affiliate products for years now and I love it.
Now it is my time to tell the people of South Africa how they can build a business around affiliate marketing.
Let me tell you a little secret – Everyone in the world wants to save money. If you have a voice they can trust to make the right decision, you my friend, have made an affiliate commission.
If you can learn how to effectively promote relevant products to your audience, you will be able to make money.
4 parts – Affiliate marketing for beginners.
What is affiliate marketing?
Let’s take a step back from the online world here for a second. Have you ever purchased something of a recommendation from a friend? Well, that is the off-line version of affiliate marketing minus the sales commission.
The point is, you trusted him enough to buy the product or service in the first place.
OK, so how does it work online? You have a website/blog around a certain niche, you use products and recommend them to your audience. Once they buy one of your recommended products, you make a sale!
Easy as that!
Well…… I wish. This is where many new people get it wrong. You see, You can’t join affiliate programs and copy and paste links left and right.
You won’t make a cent from it. Trust me, I was that guy back in the day.
And sadly, this is how many so-called gurus will teach how to do affiliate marketing. But not here at Web Nomads.
I want you to be successful at what you do. Yes, it is going to take time and yes, it is going to take loads of hard work to build up momentum with your affiliate sales.
I am sorry if you are here for the “secret sauce” or “tricks pro’s use”, but there aren’t any. Affiliate marketing is like any other business.
Have a look at these bloggers below, they all build an amazing business through hard work and great ethics.
These guys make anything between $45 000 – $150 000 a month from their blogs. A large chunk of their income are products they use and recommend to their audiences.
You can see more successful affiliate marketers HERE, but I am sure by now you get my point.
You know, in the end it is about delivering a service and changing lives for the better. If you can recommend a product which could help relieve frustration, it is a sweet bonus.
It is not only about the money, it is about becoming a trusted figure and the money will follow.
Take a moment for that to sink in.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Let’s ask this simple question first, are you the best fit for affiliate marketing? If not, then who are a good fit?
- Do you have a blog or website? Do you want to start one?
- Do you have an email list?
- Are you popular on social platforms?
- Do you have a YouTube channel
- Or simply have the desire to learn and build an audience to promote products too.
There is no doubt that anyone can fall in to the above mentioned, but if you are in it for a quick buck I have sad news for you.
Now, affiliate marketing represents in many manners from simple links in texts to banners.
It all starts with these 3 main characteristics.
- Your blog/website
- The company supplying the product or service
- The buyer.
Let’s start with the company first. Let’s say Mailerlite (email service provider) offers an affiliate program. (They do) and I love Mailerlite by the way.
I apply for their affiliate program and once I am approved I will receive a link looking like this –
This is my affiliate link. A tracking code if you will. I promote this link to my audience and when someone clicks through and end up buying anything from Mailerlite. I may receive a commission from them for the referral.
Sure, there are more ways you can do affiliate marketing but this is the best way to build a sustainable income and easiest for beginners to understand.
Aside from the links in text areas, you can send mails to your list letting them know about a new product or service you tried and trust. Or you can simply use banners in your blog post like the one below↓.
The above banner, Mailerlite supplied with a tracking code embedded. All you need to do is to place on a strategic place on your blog.
If someone clicks on the banner and buy something, you guessed it!
Pay day baby!
Sell your link
Like I mentioned before, you can’t go crazy with your links or banners. People have grown immune to it and will ignore it like to stop sign on a Sunday afternoon.
You have to sell your link and by that I mean, create content around the product. Tell people why the product is the best fit for them and what it will mean for solving problems.
The trick here is to sell what you use and swear by. If you believe in something it will be much easier to sell the “link”
Create something great and valuable.
What are the best products to sell?
I for one loves affiliate programs in the software niche. It is easier to sell software to someone than a 4-star trip to Thailand. I am not saying people don’t sell those trips, I am saying what I like and works for me.
Not only does it sell easier you also get great commissions from the companies because it’s a virtual product. It does not cost anything to produce a second one and thus better commission percentages.
To make things a little easier, if you don’t know where to start, try starting an affiliate website/blog in the following niches –
- How to make money
- Personal finance
- Health and fitness
Products in the above niches tend to out sell any other industry in the world. As long as you yourself believe in what you are selling, you will do just fine.
How you can start today and what to avoid.
There is no doubt in my mind that most websites teach beginners how to do affiliate marketing something like this –
Join company x.y.z program and once you have joined and received your affiliate code. Build a website or landing page, start driving traffic to that page and you will be off the airport for a holiday in Malta by month end!
Sure, this is the basic version of affiliate marketing.
It simply does not work and that is why affiliate marketing has a terrible stigma. But not here at Web Nomads, I want to make sure you know what it takes to succeed online.
Ok, like I mentioned before, you need to build trust with your audience. You have to look at your audience first and build trust by doing two things –
- Believe and use the products yourself
- Recommend the products by telling your audience the honest truth about the products (good and bad)
Affiliate marketing is more psychological game than anything else, it works the same in real life.
Now, you will be able to join almost every affiliate program on the internet and you will be accepted by 80% of them. I can tell you which ones but it does not matter how many you join.
If you don’t know how to build trust or sell the “link” you won’t make a cent.
Let’s make an example – Your wife asked you to buy something but it is going to take some effort to buy the product for her. However, it does not take any convincing from her for you to take out your wallet and buy the product.
But, the company who produced the product will have a harder time to convince you to buy the product because you don’t know or trust them. You trust your wife!
And if you can build that kind of trust with your audience, you are in good shape my friend.
How can you build trust?
It is already difficult as is to build an audience whether on social media or an email list. The point is when you start with your audience you have to treat them like a unicorn. They scare easy and if you make everything about you then you are going to scare them off.
Build relationships with them, ask them how they are doing and what you can help them with. You can even provide free information on a weekly basis if you have the capacity.
Be kind and do the little things like replying to blog comments or help out with something they might be struggling with. Be there for them and don’t look at them like they are a bunch of perfectly braaied lamb chops on a Saturday night.
Create a personal relationship with them, so they can understand you are a human being with problems and issues just like them. All these things might have nothing to do with affiliate marketing but it has everything to do with building a brand people can trust.
Simple as that.
What products can I promote?
Well, let me put it this way. Ask your audience what they need to make their lives better. Send out a survey and ask! Simple. You can use Mailerlite to easily create an awesome survey mail for FREE.
You would quickly get an answer from them and then source a respectable product yourself would use and recommend.
If you can’t find a product to recommend to your audience, how about creating it yourself?
Affiliate marketing comes in all shapes and forms. –
- Online Courses
- Physical Products
- Coaching Calls
- Personal Loans
You just need to find the right one(s) for your audience.
Apart from individual affiliate programs you can join, you can also join networks. Networks are usually a combination of all kinds of different affiliate programs on a platform. You can request to join the network and then choose a relevant affiliate program you want to work with.
Affiliate networks take care of all the admin and payouts.
Here are some affiliate networks you can join.
Most of these networks you will have to apply to and some are easier to get in to than others. Take Affiliate and Offerforge for an example, they are both South African companies and you need to apply for both to enter the program.
Both have certain criteria your blog/website needs to meet before they will allow you onboard. A big metric they look at is your traffic profile of your site. If you don’t have any traffic to your site than don’t bother applying.
What to avoid with affiliate marketing.
Before we dive in to the BIG no-no’s I want to tell you a story of how I thought I was going to make more money than a printer in a central bank.
It was a long time ago and I just started my very first blog and it was going ok, I guess? I wanted to monetize my blog form the very beginning thinking you have to put products and links everywhere for people to see.
This way they will click and buy and viola, money in the bank!
Then, I learned about Facebook ads and how people are making serious money. All you had to do is create a landing page explaining the product and boom, money starts to roll in. I wasted more than $350 (R6295) on ads and did make a single penny.
So, what do you think happened? I was mad and began to develop a special hate for affiliate marketing and people promoting it. I could not understand what I was doing wrong. Why are all these gurus making money and I don’t?
It took me years to figure it out (slow learner here) Let me share some advice I learnt and what you need to remember.
Right product, right audience. – This one is easy to understand or is it? If it is than way are so many people getting this one wrong then?
You can’t promote a book on “how to service old cars” to your audience if you write about inspiration and life goals. Keep it relevant to your topic. Does not matter if the book has a payout of more than 80% commission.
People will find it confusing and annoying.
How annoying are you? – You get marketers that will go to the extremes to throw products in your face all the time and that’s simply annoying.
Keep it natural and promote the products in calm and trustworthy way.
Sprinkle your links throughout your blog post naturally and calm down with your banner placements.
Not being honest with your audience – This can really hurt your reputation. What I am trying to say here is that you should only promote products you have self seen, touched or used.
This is crucial to remember when building a brand. It is not worth to make a few Rands of a product once-off and ruin your reputation. If you promote products on hear say you never know what the end user gets and experience.
If it is bad, then you will lose a follower or lot more.
It happened to me once, I bought a “How to use Facebook ads to make serious money” course of a recommendation from a guy I followed and learned from.
Needless to say, the course sucked so bad I couldn’t even finish it. Do you think I still look up to that guy as a mentor?
I am sure you know the answer.
Putting all your eggs in one basket – Ok, there are guys who are making a ton of money promoting affiliate products without a brand. These guys are very specialized at what they do.
They have excellent copy writing skills, great products and understands their target audience.
What if this is you and the affiliate network shuts down? What then? You are going to lose most if not all your money in a blink of an eye.
What if you see affiliate marketing as a “get-rich-quick scheme” and concentrate all your efforts and finances to make money from one income stream?
Recipe for disaster.
Affiliate marketing should be part of your website’s monetization plan and supplement your income.
Start affiliate marketing the right way.
Start a blog or website. If you don’t know where to start you can start here with this free course. But why do you need a website/blog? The answer is simple – Your website can generate a much better sustainable income than any other platform.
Once your website is up and running, you should capture emails from the day one. Spend a great deal building trust with your subscribers and not promoting anything.
I recommend and use Mailerlite as an email service. They are genuinely an awesome company and you can join for FREE today.
Then start applying for affiliate programs in South Africa. You, like I mentioned should promote relevant products or services to your audience.
You can always join Offerforge and promote all different kinds of products. They have an awesome platform with programs for any niche.
Use a plugin called pretty links and get your messy affiliate links in order like the example you see below –
This is especially helpful if you share the link with your audience over video, podcast or plain face to face.
Now, it is time to drive highly targeted traffic to your blog and make sure to capture their emails.
As your traffic and email list grows, put out a survey to figure out how you can help your audience. Slowly introduce your audience to the products you use and recommend.
Take it easy, the idea is to create long-term wealth.
Wrapping it up.
Well, if you are just starting out don’t concentrate on affiliate marketing. Rather spend your time building a tribe that loves and trusts you. Promote products you use and recommend daily. Put effort in selling your link.
Remember this – First you have to give before you can take!
Then finally something you wanted to hear – Yes! You can make a lot of money with affiliate marketing when you do it right.
If you have any questions regarding this article please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
Affiliate Disclaimer: In this or most of my post I recommend products or services via links or and banners. If any of these links end up in a sale I get a small commision at no extra cost to you.