Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
If you follow this post fully, you will understand the following:
- What is affiliate marketing for beginners?
- What are the different types of affiliate marketing?
- What is the affiliate network and where to get offers to advertise?
- Where to buy cheap (and free) traffic?
- What is a tracker, how to install it and how to use it to leverage your affiliate marketing?
- How to run your first campaign in Pops.
Affiliate Marketing can be a very complicated topic. I hear many people asking about it every day. It does not help that we also have so-called gurus here and there promising everyone $1,000/day if you buy their course. In contrast, This post will teach you how to start affiliate marketing for beginners.
The truth is, you do not need to spend money on a course to learn about affiliate marketing. There is tons of free content online from good bloggers that you can apply. Hence, I have written this post for you to take you from someone who has no idea what affiliate marketing is to your first live campaign.
Again, you will need to put in a lot of hard work and dedication. I cannot stress this enough – if you are not serious about affiliate marketing, then this post is not for you. If affiliate marketing for beginners were that simple, everyone would be doing it by now!
If you’ve made it this far and want to keep going, then read on!
Affiliate marketing is based on commission-based transactions. Let’s say your friend John has created a weight loss program and is selling it for $100. He knows you are successful in the affiliate marketing world, so he agrees to give you a $30 commission every time you sell the course for him. This is affiliate marketing ?
Taking it a step further, John asks you to provide him with people’s contact information in order to build up his email list. He agrees to pay you $1 for every email address you provide. This is another form of affiliate marketing.
What are the different types of affiliate marketing for beginners?
If you google the above title, I guarantee you tons of different search results will come up. Each affiliate can categorize affiliate marketing based on whatever angle s/he is using. I like to keep things simple – most affiliate marketing for beginners falls into two different types:
- Asset-based Affiliate Marketing
This is where you have a website/blog (or any kind of asset) which includes affiliate links. The idea here is that you drive traffic to the affiliate links by using your own asset.
- Free Affiliate Marketing
This is where you drive traffic to affiliate links by using sources you do not own, such as traffic from Facebook, Google, Pops, and Native, etc.
My favorite all-time method here is YouTube Affiliate Marketing. I have not seen any traffic source guarantees free conversion as much as YouTube!
By the way, I just came up with the above names. Why? Because I could ?
What will you need to start your first campaign?
- Dedication and patience.
- A few hundred dollars’ investments. It is a business!
- 60 minutes to read this post (or 20 minutes if you’re fast).
- Coffee or Whiskey ?
Oh and finally, don’t be like this guy and many others. DO NOT GIVE UP!
Affiliate Network For Beginners
First thing’s first, you need to find a product to promote. You’re probably thinking: Where can I find this product? How do I choose one? Ok. I will lay the process out for you step-by-step. Here you go.
In this chapter, you will learn the following:
- What is an affiliate network?
- Where to find an affiliate network and how to get accepted by one?
- How to sign up at Clickdealer.
- How to choose an offer.
What is An Affiliate Network?
According to Wikipedia:
“An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online merchants) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network.” – Wikipedia
Ok, in English – an affiliate network is also known as an offer source. It is a place that connects you (affiliates) to advertisers (people who own products to sell). Simply, advertisers sign up with an affiliate network to sell their products, and affiliates sign up to promote advertisers’ products.
Remember John for the previous example? He has a product he wants to sell. John will sign up with an affiliate network as an advertiser while you sign up as an affiliate so that you will hopefully sell his product and take your commission.
Where to find affiliate networks and how to get accepted by them?
One of the complaints I hear frequently from beginners is that it is too hard to get accepted by affiliate networks. Well! It may not be so easy in the beginning since you have no experience, no proven track record and no relationship yet in the affiliate world.
So what’s a beginner to do? You have to be smart and different. You need to show affiliate networks that you are serious and ready to do whatever it takes to succeed. They do not like working with people who ask a million questions every day without generating any sales for them! To increase your chances of being accepted into an affiliate network, you must do the following before contacting any of them (I will tell you which ones to contact later on):
- Create a Skype or Telegram account. They will ask for one of them.
- Have a social media profile ready. Make sure the link is publicly accessible.
- Specify your vertical (We will talk about this later).
- Specify your traffic source (Also to be discussed later).
- Mention that you have a budget and are ready to invest. You are here to do business, aren’t you?
Bonus: To further increase your chances of being accepted, do the following:
1 – Buy the cheapest domain you can find. Choose something like yourname+company+online. For example, I could choose ZidanOnlineAffiliate or ZidanCompanyDigital. Do not worry too much about the name as it does not matter. I use NameCheap.com to find domains for $1 per year, but feel free to use any other domain selling provider.
2 – Create a business email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. I use the Google Suite. Again, use whatever service you like (Zoho, Bluehost, etc.).
3 – Create a page in your domain, a very generic one-pager with general information about you. Thanks to Zeno from STM, you can upload this page to your website or use any other service, like WordPress or Wix. Again do not spend much time here. No need to make it perfect.
4 – Sign up with an affiliate marketing forum such as STM, and let them know your username over there.
The following affiliate networks are newbie-friendly. Hit them up.
Note: If you still find it difficult to get accepted by a network, drop me a comment below and I will help you. I can talk to one of my peeps over there.
Sign up at Clickdealer
Here, I will use Clickdealer to show you a detailed example of how these things work in the affiliate network.
Why should you sign up with Clickdealer? Because they focus on affiliate marketing for beginners.
Go to the Sign Up link:
Check your email to confirm your registration. You may receive it in your junk folder.
Now what? WAIT! You should get a response from an affiliate network within 2-3 working days. If they do not respond, go to their contact us page and send them a message. They will answer. Let me know in the comments section below how it goes. If you are still struggling to get accepted, let me know.
Once you get accepted, the affiliate network will assign you as an Affiliate Manager. Make sure you get in touch with them via Skype or email. Introduce yourself and get to know them a little bit more. Find out details like, Where (in what country) are they located? What time zone are they operating in? What is the best way to get in touch with them?
I am going to assume that you have now been accepted and everything is good. Let’s move on to the next step.
Choosing an offer
This is a section that I can write books about. It is the most important and critical part. To keep it simple and get you started, I will quickly show you how to browse, find and submit an approval request for offers.
Before doing so, remember this:
“The best way to find a good offer is to ask your affiliate manager.” –Every Successful Affiliate Marker
I can show you tons of tools and techniques; however, I always find that my affiliate manager’s recommendations work the best. This is another reason why you need to have a good relationship with him/her.
To show you a detailed example: Let’s say we want to promote iPhone offers in Singapore. Below is the step-by-step quick guide to finding the offer:
That’s it! Now, you wait for your affiliate manager’s approval of your request to promote that offer. It usually takes 24 hours. Also, feel free to let your affiliate manager know that you have applied for an offer and are waiting for his/her approval.
You will receive an email once your request is approved. The offer will be shown in bold font, and the offer status will change to “active.”
After you click on the offer name, you will be directed to the offer page, which contains everything you need to know about the offer. I will explain to you what everything means in the screenshot below:
At the top of the page, you will find the offer name in the following format: Offer Number + Offer Name + Price Format + Payout. In our example, the Offer Number is 59878, Offer Name is [WEB+MOB] GET A NEW IPHONE X /SG, Price Format is CPA (Cost Per Action) and finally, the payout is $15.
You will also see in the page other information that you must understand clearly. Let’s go through each line together from the top.
- Payout: How much you will get paid every time the required action by the advertiser is taken. If the advertiser wants people’s email addresses for $3 per email, then the payout (you will earn) is $3 every time someone enters a new email address.
- Price Format: What action mechanism the advertiser wants. In this case (CPA = Cost Per Action), the advertiser wants the user to complete a specific action in order for you to get paid. This is one of the most common models.
- Vertical: What kind of offer this is. There are a lot of things to be taught here; however, I want to keep it simple for you so that you can actually start and take action. You will learn more as we proceed. For now, all you need to know is that vertical means offer type.
- Flow: When you will get paid! In our case, it says “CC Submit.” This means that once the user provides a credit card number (CC), you will get paid.
- Platforms: The allowed devices and Operating Systems. For example, some offers only allow traffic from mobile devices, while others only from Mac.
- Tracking Type: I can easily write a 10,000-word post about tracking types. I will explain tracking types in greater detail in the tracking section. For now, you just need to understand that the tracking type is the way to inform the affiliate network when a conversion is made. To make it simple, we will use the postback URL tracking type. You must ensure that the postback URL is working 100% correctly, otherwise, the affiliate network may not be able to record the conversions you have made. This in turn could ultimately negatively affect how much you are paid.
- Allowed Countries: Self-explanatory – the only countries where you are allowed to promote the offer.
- Restrictions: Any additional or special restrictions you need to know about.
- Offer Capped: This is very important. The number here indicates the maximum number of conversions you are allowed to have per day. For instance, if it is 50, you will get paid for a maximum of 50 conversions, even if you have had 60 conversions. In our example, there is no capped limit.
- Media Types Allowed: Where you are allowed to get traffic from. Yes, it is not usually open for all traffic sources. Some advertisers want traffic only from Facebook, while others do not allow email traffic, etc.
- Target Demo: Self-explanatory.
- 3G/Wi-Fi: Whether or not the offer allows 3G and Wi-Fi Traffic.
- Adult Traffic: Whether or not the offer allows adult traffic.
- Incentivized promotion: Whether or not the offer allows incentivized promotion. A sample message allowing incentivized promotion could say, “Click here and get a $20 bonus now no matter what!”
- Creative pre-approval: Whether or not the advertiser wants to approve your Creative before you start your campaign. Your Creative is the image and text you use to promote an offer.
- Carrier: Whether or not the offer restricts the traffic for a specific carrier – for example, allowing AT&T or Vodafone traffic only.
Now that you understand what everything means, scroll down until you see the creative section. Here you will find your affiliate link to that offer. If anyone takes the required action by the advertiser through your link, you will get paid. This is also called a conversion. Ignore other information on the page at the moment as it pertains to the tracking section, which I will discuss later on.
Wrap up Chapter 2
- Sign up with an affiliate network
- Get to know your affiliate manager
- Choose an offer and apply for it
- Note down your affiliate link for the offer
The tracker used to terrify newbies. It required a lot of technical expertise, which many people did not have. Luck for you and me, NOT ANYMORE! I am not a technical guy, but I love tracking.
So what is a tracker anyway?
It is a tool that tracks all kind of activities and traffic to your affiliate link and landing page (in case you have one). Think of it as Google Analytics, but not quite.
Why do you need a tracker?
Perhaps you do not need it as much when you are starting out. However, if you are serious about affiliate marketing and really want to learn, you’ve got to learn how to track so that you can optimize your campaign and let the magic happen.
If you can afford it, I highly recommend having a tracker. What tracker should you sign up with?
It does not matter that much. The bottom line here: you should learn how to track, not how to use a tracker. You should understand the idea and concept of tracking. This will make a huge difference in your affiliate journey.
Here are the ones I know of:
I prefer FunnelFlux and Voluum. I fell in love though with FunnelFlux because of its visual campaign creation. It is super easy to use, modify and add as many campaigns as you want. It is indeed the tracker for affiliate marketing for beginners.
You should know that this will cost you some money, so if you are short on cash, perhaps you can skip buying a tracker for now.
I will show you here how to use FunnelFlux, but again you are free to use whatever tracker you like.
One caveat before I go on – I can’t possibly explain everything to you about the tracker here in this post. Doing so will be complicated and will definitely put you off. What I will do is show you what a newbie needs to know for now to get started and run a campaign.
Having said that, here is a video created by the legendary Zeno (FunnelFlux CEO) explaining a lot of information about the tracker he founded.
I can tell you confidently FunnelFlux is the gateway for affiliate marketing for beginners.
First thing, you will need to sign up with FunnelFlux and choose a plan.
There are two main categories, as you can see above: Self-Hosted and Managed.
Self-Hosted: You will need to purchase a server, install your tracker onto it, and obviously maintain and monitor the server.
Managed: This is for non-technical people like me. FunnelFlux will take care of all the setup and configuration and will install onto its own server, which will be maintained forever. ?
If you want peace of mind, I highly recommend going for a managed option at least when you are starting out.
Choose the cheapest option to start with ($179). You will have to invest money to learn and earn money. We are really doing business now!
Before signing up, you will need to buy a domain name. If you already bought a domain name in Chapter 2, you can use that. Otherwise, go to NameCheap.com and buy one for $1-2.
While you are going through the simple registration process, you will be asked about your domain. Enter your domain name here.
You will receive an email shortly after you complete the registration process to confirm your account. You will then wait 12-24 hours for the FunnelFlux team to set up your tracker and all necessary configurations for you.
After you get set up, FunnelFlux will send you login details for your tracker. You should be able to see a screen like this:
Now let me explain something to you. The basic campaign (funnel) in affiliate marketing for beginners looks something like this:
Traffic –> Landing Page –> Offer Page –> Thank You Page
You will learn how to get traffic in the next chapter. You already have the Offer Page from the Clickdealer example in Chapter 2. The Thank You Page is already built-in with the offer, so you don’t have to worry about it. So what’s missing? You guessed it – the LANDING PAGE!
I use Adplexity. It is not a cheap tool, but it is by far the best spying tool I have ever used. If you can afford it ($199), you will definitely find it useful. You can find all sorts of landing pages that affiliates are using at the moment. Charles Ngo wrote a great post on how to use it to shorten your way to affiliate marketing for beginners.
However, if you cannot afford it, you can hire someone on Fiverr for $5 to build a landing page for you.
Nowadays, there are many websites you can create landing pages on without the need of any code. Below are a few:
I also have uploaded 3 landing pages for you here for the offer we used in our previous example – Singapore+iPhone. Go ahead and download them. It is 100% free to get you started. If you know a little bit of HTML, you can edit them as you please.
Ok, you have the landing page. Now what?
You will need to direct the landing page to your offer page. Huh? What does that mean? Let me explain. I am going to use an example of the landing pages I have given you.
Here are the steps:
- Get the tracking link from your FunnelFlux (tracker)
- Open the landing page in HTML editor
- Insert your FunnelFlux (tracker) link into the landing page
- Upload it online
Do not worry, I will teach you how to do every step.
1 – Get the tracking link from your FunnelFlux (tracker)
Go to your FunnelFlux header, Links tab –> System Links
You will see your tracking link looks something like this:
Replace “ACTION-NUMBER” with “1”.
Your final tracking link should look like http:yourdomain.com/?flux_action=1
Write down this link somewhere – you will need it!
2- Open the landing page in HTML editor
Download and install any HTML editor. You can simply google it. I use BBedit.
Right-click on the home/index HTML page and open with BBedit or whatever HTML editor you have.
You will see something like this:
3 – Insert your FunnelFlux (tracker) link into the landing page
Replace whatever link you see in the HTML editor with your tracking link: http:yourdomain.com/?flux_action=1
Your landing page is now set for you. But, you need to put it online for people to access.
Let’s do that.
4 – Upload it online
There are literally thousands of ways to put a landing page online – I will show you one of them. Feel free to google other ways.
Do not use shared hosting. It will crash before you know it. You cannot crash in affiliate marketing. If you run a campaign, your page must be online 100% all the time.
Use Amazon Web Services to host your landing page.
It is by far the cheapest way to host a page online. The best thing about this is that you will be charged based on traffic. Most of the host companies and servers out there charge you a monthly fee regardless of your traffic.
Go ahead and create a free account with Amazon Web Services
You will see a dashboard like the one below. Choose “S3” from the “Services” menu on the header.
You will need to create a “Bucket,” which basically is a folder in which you keep your data. You can create as many buckets as you want.
Now that your bucket is created, click on it to start adding your landing page files.
Then, choose all of your landing page files and Upload:
Find the HTML file that you edited previously. It is usually called “home” or “index.” Click on it to get the link.
Now, you have successfully uploaded your landing page online.
Save the link somewhere. This is what we’ve worked so hard to get so far!
Because of the way Amazon works, we still have two more steps to complete to make your landing page accessible online.
I – Go to the bucket page and then Permissions tab. Make sure you uncheck the last 2 options as shown in the screenshot below:
II – Go to the Bucket Policy tab and paste the following code. Replace YOURBUCKETNAME with your created bucket name. Then save.
You should now see the public flag in yellow.
Remember what we need for a simple affiliate funnel?
Here you go again:
Traffic –> Landing Page –> Offer Page –> Thank You Page
If you have followed the post this far, Congratulations on your persistence!
Now, back to the tracker FunnelFlux to create our campaign.
Here are the steps to follow to create your first campaign in affiliate marketing for beginners:
- Create an Offer Source in FunnelFlux
- Create a Landing Page in FunnelFlux
- Add an Offer in FunnelFlux
- Add a Traffic Source in FunnelFlux
- Get the Campaign Link which will make you MONEY!
Let’s tackle every step in detail.
1 – Create an Offer Source in FunnelFlux
Offer source here means an affiliate network. Remember Clickdealer? This is the affiliate network you signed up with.
Note: Write down the postback URL. You will need it later.
2 – Create a Landing Page in FunnelFlux
Here, you will need the landing page URL (the one you uploaded in Amazon or another hosting service).
3 – Add an Offer in FunnelFlux
You may create any category name you like. You will need your affiliate link from Clickdealer (for the offer you are promoting). You should have gotten this link in Chapter 2 above.
4 – Add a Traffic Source in FunnelFlux
You do not have to worry about understanding this step for now; I’ve dedicated the entire next chapter to explaining traffic sources. For now, please follow the steps outlined in the GIF below to create a traffic source.
Search for “PPCMate” in the top right after you click on “New Traffic Source.”
5 – Get the Campaign Link which will make you MONEY!
Go to the Campaigns tab in the header –> New Campaign or Funnel.
Choose a Funnel Name – let’s say “Sweepstakes.” Then choose a funnel name – for instance, “Sweepstakes_Singapore_iPhone,” and select the “Add & edit” button.
You should now see the funnel creation page, which looks like this:
Add your offer and landing page to the funnel: Simply right-click and then choose add offer, and then add (lander) landing page.
Notice that you need to link them together as shown below. Traffic –> Lander (Landing Page) –> Offer.
Click Save Funnel.
Right click on the circle “Traffic” and click on “Send Traffic Here.” You will then receive a link, which is your campaign (funnel) link – the MONEY link!
Please save the funnel link somewhere. This is where we will drive the traffic to.
Wrap up Chapter 3
- Sign up with a tracker, I use FunnelFlux.
- Sign up or buy any server/hosting service. I use Amazon AWS.
- Upload a landing page.
- Create your funnel link from your tracker.
Traffic Source is simply any source that you can drive traffic from. For example, Google, Facebook, Email, or PPC Mate – do you remember these? You have added them in your tracker.
People out there write hundreds of books and blogs about traffic sources. Facebook and Google are multi-billion dollar companies because they are traffic sources.
It is important to say that not all traffic sources are good for affiliate marketing for beginners. Some deal with experts only!
I am going to focus here only on one form of traffic source as mentioned below.
However, if you are interested in understanding more about other types of traffic sources in affiliate marketing, see this nice post by Mobidea.
You will be charged every time someone sees your landing page or ads. It is also widely known as Cost-Per-View (CPV).
Have you ever visited a website and out of nowhere, a window pops up showing you some kind of offer? Or perhaps a message that your PC is infected! Or that you’ve just won an iPhone!
In affiliate marketing, we call these messages Pops. You likely find such pop-up messages annoying and just close them. Affiliates make a lot of money from Pops though. Why is that? Simply because not everyone closes them. ?
Note: You, affiliate, in the traffic source are named “Advertiser.” Remember that!
There are tons of traffic sources for Pops – you can simply google them. I will show you one specific traffic source.
I have to say this – PPC Mate is not the best traffic source out there, but it is cheap, has good support and is newbie-friendly. And the best thing is your Pops ad gets approved automatically.
Sign up through this link: PPC Mate
Your account should be approved automatically – in a few minutes, I believe.
The first thing you want to do is add funds. The minimum is $25 per deposit.
Follow the steps below to create a new campaign in Pops.
Destination URL is the funnel URL you got from FunnelFlux or your tracker.
Make the daily budget $5 only to start with. Make sure to set a start and end date for your campaign. Otherwise, your campaign will run until your account is out of funds.
Choose a GEO (Singapore in our example).
Press on “Check” at the end of the page to check the available inventory for your campaign. It shows you how many available users can see your ads.
Click on “Create Campaign” and BOOM! Your campaign is live!
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE AN AFFILIATE NOW!
Bookmark this post for your reference. It is probably the only free post for affiliate marketing for beginners out there! If you don’t, you may forget all the steps and not take any action. GOOD LUCK!
Let me know what you think of this post. Is it easy to follow to start affiliate marketing? Do you like it? Hate it?
Is it really written for affiliate marketing for beginners?
If you want to see anything specific about affiliate marketing for beginners, comment below and I will do my best to help.
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