A Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate marketing is a process where anyone can earn a commission by helping a company or business sell products online. Have you ever noticed some influencer you follow post about a product with a disclaimer of ‘sponsored post’ or ‘affiliate link’?

If yes, that’s an example of affiliate marketing. Every time a follower uses the link provided in that post to make a purchase, the influencer earns a commission. As per truelist.com, more than 80% of companies/brands are offering affiliate programs.

Affiliate marketing is a tested source of passive income, an income that doesn’t need constant effort and labor to earn. Take it as an investment that keeps paying off and requires minimal or no effort on your part.

If affiliate marketing has your interest piqued, this article will help you understand how it works and ways you can use it too!

How Affiliate Marketing Works

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There are two ways affiliate marketing works. Usually, brands/sellers working on a larger scale prefer to work with an affiliate marketing agency or an affiliate network. Both of these work as a platform that connects suitable marketers with the company.

  • An affiliate marketing agency has connections with influencers, content creators, and potential affiliates that will work together to promote a product.
  • Similarly, affiliate networks work as a link between the merchant and affiliate.
  • Through these intermediaries, suitable affiliate marketers work together to promote the brand’s product.
  • The network/agency and the affiliate earn a commission on every sale made by their affiliate link.

The merchant either works with an intermediary or directly with an affiliate marketer. As an affiliate, you have the option to be in direct contact with the brand and earn a direct commission too.

However, an affiliate network or an affiliate marketing agency in the equation will eliminate any risks an independent marketer may face otherwise. These include payments and contractual terms, etc.

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Easy Way of Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

If you’ve decided to take affiliate marketing seriously, this part will help you have a smooth start. The process has four simple steps.

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Choose a Platform: Ask yourself a few questions. What kind of content do you want to create? Do you like to make videos, or are you more of a writer? Do you enjoy photography? When you know the answers to these, you’ll have a good idea of the platform that’s most suitable. Here is a list of options you can choose from:

  • YouTube
  • WordPress
  • Titch
  • Instagram
  • A mix of multiple platforms

Decide on a Niche: This is the central theme that all of your content will revolve around. If you want to create content on mental health, that’s the niche. If you want the content to be about gaming, that’s the niche. It’s essential to choose a niche that you have an interest in.

Join Affiliate Programs: Now that you know the platform you want to use to create content on topics that you find interesting, it’s time to join affiliate programs. There are several ways you can join affiliate programs that are relevant to your content. These options are discussed in the segment that follows.

Link Advertising: To earn a decent amount with affiliate marketing, joining affiliate programs and putting out content isn’t enough. If a decent amount of followers aren’t buying through your affiliate link, it won’t work.
For this purpose, advertising affiliate links is crucial. There are ways and strategies to link advertising covered in more detail in the following segment.

Create Good Content: Quality should always be the priority. If the content doesn’t resonate with followers, the chances that they’ll buy a product recommended by you are low.

Build a Following: For a steady and regular income, you must build a good following. Whether you’re a YouTuber, blogger, or influencer, the number of followers matters a lot. If you have a considerable following, brands and companies will naturally offer you better commissions. There are several ways you can grow your following, and some of them are

  • Paid promotion of your content
  • Collaborations with other creators of your niche
  • Regular creation of content

How to Get Started with Affiliate Programs

Getting into affiliate programs may seem like a complicated step, but you’re already halfway there when you know where to look. Influencers with a good following don’t usually need to find affiliate deals themselves, but what do beginners do? Well, they go out on a hunt! Here are four tested ways to find your first affiliate program as a beginner:

Look Through Affiliate Websites

Keeping a close eye on affiliate websites is effective to shortlist companies that offer affiliate programs. This method isn’t common, but if you use your stalker skills correctly, the chances that you’ll land a deal through this are high! Here are some site suggestions:

  • SlickDeals
  • RetailMeNot
  • Rakuten Reward
  • BradsDeals

Scan the Company’s Website

This method is suitable for when you’re trying to land a deal with a specific brand or company. If they offer affiliate programs, it should be mentioned somewhere on their website. Usually, it is given at the very bottom of the page. A shortcut is to open up their website and press CTRL+F, and type affiliate. Try this on the main page or other pages where it seems likely to be mentioned, for example, the contact us or community page.

Take Advantage of Facebook Groups and Public Forums

Have you ever asked for a suggestion on Facebook groups? I have and so have a lot of people in my circle. Like this, you can join groups focused on affiliate marketing for beginners, general affiliate marketing groups, or forums.

Join an Affiliate Network

Finding affiliate programs through affiliate networks is the most commonly used method. It’s a simple process. Join one or multiple networks and start looking for companies and brands that are suitable for your audience. Some of such networks you can consider joining are

  • ShareASale
  • Rakuten Marketing
  • CJ Affiliate by Conversant Pepperjam
  • Impact
  • LinkConnector
  • AvantLink

Affiliate marketing is a huge source of income for all the influencers we come across on our socials. I’m not just talking about celebrities with millions of followers like the Kardashians.

An ordinary person with a decent following is earning well through affiliate marketing too. If you’re a creator and are looking for effective ways to share affiliate links, here are five ways successful affiliate marketers do link advertising.

1. Influencer Marketing

A great example of influencer marketing is the Insta posts where the owner offers a link or a discount code. When you use this code, not only do you get a percentage off of the total amount, but the influencer earns a small commission too. This process is just one example of influencer marketing.
Several other ways for influencers to use link advertising is

  • By adding them to their stories
  • By creating a specialized post for them
  • By mentioning it in their bio
  • By tagging the brand

2. Blogging

Affiliate marketing and blogging go hand in hand. The followers of a niche-specific blog are potential customers for a lot of businesses.
A travel blog has potential customers for travel agencies

  • A haircare blog has potential customers for hair care products
  • A fashion blog has potential customers for clothing brands
  • A tech blog has potential customers for tech companies

The businesses that can use your platform to get conversions will gladly pay a commission to you. Once you have a decent following, you can reach out to relevant businesses, or the offers will start coming in themselves. You can add affiliate links in video clips, pop-ups, ad banners and blog posts too.

3. Product Reviews

Writing up product reviews is a great way to share affiliate links no matter which platform you have followers on. Whether you’re a YouTuber, a blogger, or an Instagram Model, you have an audience who would love to invest in products that you suggest or personally use.
Writing up reviews with affiliate links in the bio or creating YouTube videos with your honest review of the product and adding the affiliate links in the description is a great way to do it.

4. Email Marketing

Sending out emails is an excellent way for link advertising. However, this method is only suitable if you have a process to collect email addresses of your followers. Lots of influencers use services like AWeber, MailChimp, etc., for this purpose.
Marketers usually collect these links by offering incentives to their subscribers. These incentives can be an additional guide, a tutorial, etc.
Craft the email with as much authenticity as possible. If it resonates with the receiver, readers are more likely to invest in the product. These emails can contain a short review of the product and an invitation for the reader to try it.

5. Social Media

As long as your ads comply with the platform’s guidelines, Instagram, Facebook, and other such social media platforms are a great way to share affiliate links. You can either post about it, share it through messages or share it in groups. The more people it reaches, the higher the chances of people purchasing it.

How to Maintain Credibility as an Affiliate Marketer

Credibility is a vital trait for any influencer or blogger. The followers stick around and find value in your content because they believe it’s honest. If you’re one yourself, protecting the trust your followers are putting in you is your responsibility. Here are four ways you can preserve that credibility as an affiliate marketer.

1. Only Promote Brands That You Love

Yes, they’re paying a good commission, but did you try the product yourself? Did you love it? Don’t suggest products to your followers that you haven’t tested yourself. It is the number one way to lose the credibility you’ve worked so hard for if you do and, honestly, not worth it at all.

2. Don’t Create Misleading Content

Creating misleading content is the most common mistake newbies at link advertising make. Don’t create content just to sell a product and mislead your followers. Say they relied on your content, bought products, and you made a good commission out of it. Later, when they don’t see results, you’ll lose that credibility along with a few followers. On the other hand, if you write honest reviews and sell a product, your followers won’t think twice about investing in another suggestion you make.

3. Always Prioritize Quality

We no longer live in the era where you could just load up a content piece with keywords and wait for it to spread. If your content doesn’t reflect quality and value, people will lose interest and won’t be coming back. You should avoid putting outd low-quality content at all costs.

4. Add Affiliate Disclosure

How many times have you followed a suggestion given by the content creator you look up to? Content creators have a responsibility to their followers. Not disclosing that the product you’re recommending is sponsored isn’t just unethical; it’s also illegal. As per the FTC’s guidelines, give a short disclaimer somewhere around the product placement. This notice must clearly state that you’re being compensated for making this recommendation.

Take Away

Affiliate marketing is a lucrative source of income. All these steps may seem overwhelming, but the results will be oh-so-worth-it! Lots of people give up too soon. If you’re getting into it, remember that results may take time.
No matter what platform or niche you choose, always create content that adds value to the lives of your followers. As long as you’re recommending products that you believe in and putting out quality content, you’ll get the results you’re hoping for! Now that you have all the information you need to get started, what are you waiting for?

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