What does an affiliate marketer do?
This is almost a mystery for beginners, which is quite obvious.
But believe me, there are those who claimed to be in affiliate marketing for years yet it's a mystery for them as well.
If you are familiar with affiliate marketing you'll know that it's not as easy as people present it.
The more you start to learn about it, the more you realize that it requires a great deal of effort to achieve success.
If you are like me, you would start with the free resources available on the internet.
The problem with this approach is that most of the time this information is insufficient and from other affiliates who want to sell something to people like you.
Nothing wrong with that, after all, they are trying to make money by referring others to their respective offers.
But in the end, you don't get the information that you were looking for.
Most of the time, what you are told by those so called marketing gurus is that whatever all you need is 100% free online.
If that was the case, how are they showing you those fat cheques?
Even if it's 1% correct, there are people who are paying them, right?
Of course, there are people who are making a living out of affiliate marketing alone.
But sadly no one talks about the fact that there are those people as well who only struggle and never make a penny.
Anyways, who wants to talk about the failures, right?
What Does An Affiliate Marketer Do?
Let's unbox this mystery today and understand what an affiliate marketer do?
Typically, affiliate marketers earn commissions or fees by promoting various services or products from different merchants or companies.
They join the affiliate networks or individual affiliate programs, build a follower base on social media or audience to promote the products in their respective niches.
When someone buys the products through their affiliate link they earn the commissions.
The process that I just explained looks pretty easy right?
But a lot of processing goes behind the scenes and the end customer doesn't get to know that affiliate marketing is in place unless you disclose.
I always recommended that anyone who sells the goods or services through affiliate marketing disclose it to the customers.
Let them know that you will earn the commission when they will purchase something on the vendor's website.
It helps you build your credibility as a marketer and your customers don't feel cheated.
Furthermore, most of the time it doesn't add any additional cost to the customer.
Affiliate marketing can be quite frustrating for someone who has never ventured into any type of online business.
Specifically for someone who has a day job and wants to create another source of income online.
Because like any other business offline it requires a great deal of effort and commitment that many beginners don't seem to understand.
As I said, the process looks easy but in reality, it involves many steps that need to be followed consistently over a long period of time.
Here are the seven steps that most successful affiliates follow to generate massive sales and ultimately commissions.
1. Niche And Keyword Research
If you have yet not decided which niche and keywords you want to target, probably you're clueless about how to succeed at affiliate marketing.
The affiliate marketers that make real passive income are those who know what type of business they want to build and in which area?
Successful affiliate marketers are well aware of an ideal niche and the targeted keywords.
They don't get tired of digging out the profitable keywords in their respective niche and are well aware of their competitors.
Ask any established online marketers about the most important factors of SEO and he'll come up with these three, keyword research, content and backlinks.
Keyword research is the very basic skill that one needs to master in order to get the organic traffic from the search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo.
The keywords that you target in your niche will have a larger impact on whether you will succeed or fail at affiliate marketing, no matter if you run a blog, a YouTube channel or paid ads.
And guess what, it's not as hard as you think.
You have several free and paid tools at your fingertips to get started with your keyword research journey.
The Google Keyword Planner (is now part of Google Ads) but still offers free keyword research.
Anyone who is just getting started with affiliate marketing should make the most of this tool.
My next favorite free keyword research tool is, "UberSuggest by Neil Patel".
Neil first acquired UberSuggest.io and over the last few years has added many features for free that are available only in the paid tools.
For example, apart from the keyword ideas and competition, at UberSuggest you get content ideas, traffic analyzer, top pages on your site, site audit and backlink analyzer.
If you are not limited by budget, it's always a good idea to leverage the power of premium or paid tools.
The idea here is to utilize the power these tools to target the profitable keywords, know your competitors, explore related marketer opportunities and get more organic traffic to your blog or offer.
Target the keywords that are getting searched by the audience in your niche and help them get rid of their problems.
That way you will establish yourself as an expert in a particular subject and become an authority in the eyes of search engines in your niche.
By finding out what people are searching for you put yourself in a strong position to help them achieve their goals as well as yours.
Asking these three critical questions can help you determine what a good keyword is:
- Are my keywords targeting what people are searching for?
- Will the searchers who find my site using these keywords find the answers to their questions?
- Will this traffic help me reach my goals, monetary, email sign-ups or other?
If you can’t answer these three questions then you should change the keywords that you are using.
2. Build a Website
This one is the scariest part for most aspiring marketers when they get started with affiliate marketing.
And it's pretty obvious when you know nothing about websites and programming.
Can you do affiliate marketing without a website?
But it's not recommended if you have the long term goals to generate passive income from affiliate marketing.
I highly recommend any aspiring marketer to learn the skills to build a website or a blog.
Believe me, in today's time building a blog, is as simple as cutting a cake.
When you have your own blog where you give free tips to your audience, you are already ahead of many affiliates who are not doing it.
Write a review on your blog before redirecting the user directly to the offer, that way the visitor is more likely to purchase the product.
Another benefit of having your website is that it gives you all the freedom to present the offer in your way.
When you use other platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or even YouTube, you need to abide by their policies.
If you violate their policy, you will get banned in no time and lose control of your account and content.
If you blindly post the affiliate links here and there, you will be considered as a spammer and eventually lose your reputation online.
Once you hit your image online, there are no chances of recovery.
As per the research, on an average customer thinks seven times before buying the products online.
Rather than focusing on money first, you should focus on building a place where you can share your knowledge and build an audience of your own.
And there can't be a better place for it than your own website.
The problem with the majority of the newbies or even the experienced marketers is that they don't take affiliate marketing as a serious business.
They think they can make extra bucks just by posting the affiliate links randomly everywhere.
Let's get back to building a website.
The best place to share your thoughts is through a blog.
It's pretty simple to setup a beautiful blog nowadays on any hosting provider with the power of WordPress.
You will not need any technical or programming skills in order to create and run a successful WordPress blog.
All you have to do is to register your domain name and purchase a simple hosting plan with any of the popular hosting providers like BlueHost, HostGator or DreamHost.
Almost every hosting provider nowadays offers a 1-minute WordPress installation.
Install WordPress and a nice looking theme that is aligned with your Business.
Boom, you are ready to rock.!
3. Write The Content
If you compare your website with a book then the content on your site is the pages of that book.
A book without content is just a piece of paper, likewise, a website without content is just a domain.
Imagine yourself visiting a few websites while looking for finding the solution to some problem you are facing.
You went to Google and typed in your search query.
Google showed you the list of articles that have related content that can solve your problem.
Then you clicked the one with a fascinating title and started reading the content.
You really liked the article, probably it was talking about something that could solve your problem.
The article recommends a certain product or service with a link to another site that can help solve your problem.
You follow the link hoping for something interesting and finally end up buying something.
That's the power of content!
The content that you write on your site should always focus on the keywords that are searched by the audience in your niche.
Targeting the long-tail keywords, specifically the questions works really well for the fresh sites.
Google and other search engines love the content that solves a specific problem with an in-depth explanation.
Having some knowledge of SEO always helps the new sites to get ranked faster.
The content comes first even before onsite page optimization or offsite link building.
As you write more and more content that solves the problems of the people in your niche, they start trusting you.
Some people will even subscribe to updates from your site or YouTube channel and follow you on social media.
That way you are building your own customer base who are ready to purchase on your recommendation.
The key here is to keep writing amazing content consistently over a long period of time.
If you expect to see great results just by writing a few articles, then you should probably consider quitting affiliate marketing.
Creating content consistently and growing your site takes a hell of a lot of effort.
Nothing can be achieved in life or career without hard work.
If you think you don't have time to write the content yourself, consider hiring the freelancers who can do that for you.
4. Join The Affiliate Programs
Now that you know how to find profitable keywords, build a website, write the content, the next step is to promote the affiliate programs in your niche.
The affiliate networks are a great place to find the products or services related to your niche.
There are even more networks and independent programs that could be related to your niche.
But how do you decide which platform and program will work right for your business?
Well, there are a few things to consider before joining any affiliate network.
This should be your first check before signing up for any affiliate network.
Do your own research to avoid getting scammed.
Almost every affiliate network is free to join for the affiliate marketers.
If someone is asking for the credit card for joining, think twice before swiping.
The most important factor is to discover the legit and profitable products that are relevant to your niche.
No matter how good the product is, if it's not aligned with your niche, you are not going to get more sales and conversions.
Drill down the categories and subcategories until you find the product or service that has a high potential to get sold in your niche.
The Commission Rates:
The secret to earning more commissions is to look out for the programs that offer high commission rates.
The reason most of the affiliates prefer to promote the high ticket affiliate programs is that you make a good amount of money even if you generate only a handful of sales.
The different affiliate networks offer different payment methods and may or may not be issuing the payments in your country.
Before joining any affiliate network, make sure the payment methods they are offering are available in your country.
Similar to payment methods, there may be the case that the affiliate program itself might not be available in the country of your residence.
You may want to check for this as well before you start promoting it.
The question is how do you find the right affiliate network and program that is in your niche that satisfies all of these conditions?
Well, there are hundreds of affiliate networks that have offers in various niches.
But ClickBank, Amazon Associates Program, ShareASale, Cj.com, etc offer good commission rates and are available to the affiliates worldwide.
5. Drive The Traffic
It's no secret that driving the traffic to your website is the most critical thing you need to do.
Don't feel that you are the only one who finds this task the most difficult one.
Many people are good at running a WordPress blog and writing the content but they lack the skills to drive the quality traffic.
Unfortunately, not every person visiting your website is your customer.
It's important to drive the "targeted visitors" who are really interested in your niche and products.
You would want to drive the people to your website who are ready to purchase something through your site or at least subscribe to your blog or email newsletter.
So where do you find such people and drive them to your site?
1. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the most popular and obvious method to drive the laser targeted visitors to your blog.
Though I am not a big fan of paid advertising and recommend not to use it unless you have no budget constraints.
Pay per click (PPC), display advertising, social media ads are a few popular forms of online advertising for driving the quality traffic.
The benefit of paid advertising is that you can target the ads on a ton of parameters like the visitor's country, city, interests, gender, ethnicity, etc.
Another benefit is that you can adjust your strategies to suit your budget and goals.
SEO is where you get the "targeted traffic" for free from search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo.
But this free organic traffic comes at the cost of hard work and SEO skills.
Every small or big website owner knows the power of SEO.
Many companies even have a dedicated team of experts who are responsible for optimizing their websites for SEO.
Google is still the largest search engine in the world and ahead of competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.
The idea here is to acquire some SEO skills like content marketing, on-page optimization, off-page optimization, link building, etc to drive free organic traffic from these search engines.
3. Social Media
In today's time, it takes more than just creating great content to attract visitors to your site.
You need to be more proactive to stay ahead of the competition and convert those visitors to paying customers.
The social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc are some of the good channels to market your skills, content, and products.
One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content.
Create a fan page on Facebook, a twitter profile and a Pinterest board to get a share of those undiscovered audiences.
If you are good at creating video content, YouTube and Instagram are the great platforms to grow your audience base.
Nowadays' TikTok is also making a lot of buzzes, however, only time will tell how much success it will achieve over a long time.
What I just talked about in this post may seem overwhelming to most of the beginners.
But in reality, this is what it takes to be a successful affiliate marketer.
All it takes hard work and there is no magic formula for success, despite what some would have you believe.
Those who understand this fact in the early stage are the ones who achieve success faster with affiliate marketing.
And those who believe in taking the short cuts or use black hat methods for making sales eventually end up ruining their own reputation online to only face failure.