What is Affiliate Marketing?
Blog 1 – Authority Hacker
Blog 2 – ShoeMoney – Jeremy Schoemaker
Blog 3 – John Chow
Blog 4 – Affiliate Marketing Blog – Shawn Collins
Blog 5 – Zac Johnson
Blog 6 – Affiliate Summit
Blog 7 – Missy Ward
Blog 8 – Matt Diggity
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing works in very much the same way as marketing always has, by promoting products to increase sales.
Where affiliate marketing differs is that the marketers hold no stock, nor do they deal with any transactions; instead, they are affiliated with other eCommerce marketplaces and gain a commission for each sale generated.
The most popular form of affiliate marketing is through a personal blog format, with marketers looking to set themselves up as an authority within any given niche, advising readers with product reviews and recommendations.
How does it work? Affiliate Marketing Basics
First things first, to become an affiliate marketer, you will need a platform to advertise from. Throughout this brief explanation of affiliate marketing, we will assume that you’re going down the blog route as opposed to a platform such as Youtube.
The most profitable affiliate marketing blogs all share one thing in common before they create their blog; they conduct thorough and in-depth niche research. I will fully explain how to select a niche in another post, but it is essentially picking a niche that is profitable yet has low competition.
This involves a lot of research into search queries (keywords) that are commonly entered into Google, and whether or not there is a high buyer intent behind them; typically, questions like ‘best x,’ ‘best x for y,’ ‘best x under $500’ etc.
If you are already running a blog, keyword research still needs to be conducted. You will be looking for low volume searches that hold little competition to maximize your chances of appearing in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Most affiliate marketers will tell you this is the most critical step if you want to maximize the potential of your blog and shouldn’t be overlooked. Once you are confident you have found a profitable niche, you need to buy a (preferably brandable) domain name, hosting, and get to building your webpage.
Unlike the halcyon days of the internet, web development for the layperson is easier than ever; and there are a plethora of tools available to ease the process. Popular theme builders for affiliate marketers include Elementor, Thrive Architect, and Wix.com.
Many of the blogs posted below contain comprehensive posts regarding any or all of these steps, and a few have created courses that will take you from 0 to 100, detailing the process step by step.
After all that, you should have a fantastic looking, fully functional blog site. But now what?
Content will now be your main focus and is driven by the prior keyword and niche research you have done. Posts will be a mixture of commercial and informational articles.
The aim is to create the best informational resources you can to cement yourself as an authority within your chosen niche. Primarily you will want your posts to be of a quality good enough that other webmasters or bloggers will reference them in their own blog posts and articles.
Commercial posts are recommendations and product reviews with the intent of getting the reader to buy the product through your affiliate program. This will usually be through a unique link provided by the affiliate program you are associated with.
Most affiliate websites use Amazon, which has many benefits as it is a well-known and trusted source for buyers to purchase from. However, comparable affiliate programs exist from Rakuten, eBay, ClickBank, and CJ Affiliate.
There will likely be smaller, independent affiliate programs within your niche; these will typically offer higher commission rates than larger corporations.
Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
There are many advantages of affiliate marketing, including:
- Low investment to start – It is possible to get started in affiliate marketing for under $100, and many often do. Reinvesting money earned into your affiliate blog leads to scalability and exponential growth over time. There is no other business in the world that has the same earning potential as affiliate marketing when compared to the low start-up cost.
- No prior experience needed – Marketing, eCommerce, or development experience are all unnecessary to get started with affiliate marketing. Most learn by doing and continue to refine their process through testing or trial and error. The affiliate community is also a font of knowledge, with many industry leaders freely offering quality advice through their blogs and Facebook communities.
- A second source of income that can lead to complete wage replacement – Affiliate marketing can not only be a secondary source of income for you but with enough work can become a full-time occupation.
- Flexible – You may have heard the term digital nomad before. Digital nomads are essentially people who travel the world working remotely online, and many of them are affiliate marketers. Not only can you gain freedom of location, but you can totally define your own working practices as you see fit. With affiliate marketing, you get out what you put in. A common approach is to quickly build and rank affiliate sites to a decent profit, before selling them on to people looking to enter the industry, or other marketers expanding their portfolio.
While affiliate marketing is an attractive prospect, it is not for everyone; this can be down to several reasons:
- At the mercy of affiliate programs – Since affiliate marketers make their money through commission on sales, or other actions, we are entirely at the mercy of our chosen affiliate program who can dictate the percentage of commission received as they see fit.
- Strong competition – Competition in some niches can be fierce, and it will take a lot of work to keep up with your competitors. As affiliates don’t generally have a repeat customer base (if you send a customer to Amazon, chances are they will go straight to source for their next buy), this can become overwhelming. However, don’t let this put you off. Consistency and perseverance are vital in affiliate marketing, as long as you continuously action on a set plan, you will see results.
- Pay-per-performance – This is both a blessing and a curse; with affiliate marketing, you get out what you put in. You can work hard for several months and achieve a lot of success, but if you lapse, there is always another competitor ready to take your place.
Blog 1 – Authority Hacker
Gael and Mark, the guys behind Authority Hacker, are titans in the affiliate marketing industry. Their blog is packed full of actionable hints and tips, all back up by their own data and experience.
Not only that, but they have authored one of the most comprehensive affiliate marketing courses on the web, The Authority Site System. A step by step in-depth guide on affiliate marketing that takes you through niche research and beyond.
Check out this blog post where they detail how they built and flipped an affiliate site for six figures in only 18 months: How We Sold an 18-Month-Old Site For Mid 6 Figures
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