One thing I love about affiliate marketing is its versatility. There are infinite ways to monetize a website with affiliate marketing.
By now you should know what is affiliate marketing & how it works. If not, check out our recent post here.
In today’s post, you’ll learn how to start affiliate marketing in 3 easy steps.
Now, there’s many ways to start affiliate marketing. Here’s a few common ways you’ve probably seen on the internet:
- Write product reviews
- Create comparisons between competing products
- Create a video showing tips on how to use a product service
They’re popular and for good reason. It works.
Of course you’re not limited to just the ideas above. Remember, at the end of the day you’re promoting somebody else’s product or service, so the sky’s the limit in terms of how you go about the promotion.
You have the freedom to be as creative as you want.
Learning how to start affiliate marketing is simple and can be boiled down to these 3 steps:
- Choosing a niche
- Setting up your site & tracking
Once number 1 & 2 are taken care of, you just have to focus on #3.
Step 1 – Choosing a niche
This is probably the most important choice you’ll make. Some niches are way more profitable than others, while some are extremely competitive.
You really have two choices here:
1. Choosing a new and emerging industry
- If you’re one of the first players in an emerging industry by default you will stand out easier
2. Choosing an established (evergreen) vertical
- These typically consist of crowded industries so you’ll have to find an ‘angle’ so you stand out (i.e you see the top players are focusing mostly on SEO so you attack Social Media, etc.)
Based on my experience, I suggest choosing an evergreen vertical and finding an ‘angle’ so you can stand out.
No need to reinvent the wheel here. Just do a better job than your competitors and find your angle.
Here are some evergreen verticals that will always be viable and aren’t going anywhere:
- Health & Wellness
- Wealth & Personal Finance
- Business Services
And many more.
These verticals have billions of dollars flowing through them and if you can take even a tiny percentage of market share for yourself, you’ll be very successful.
How you go about choosing the vertical is totally up to you. I would factor in a few things before choosing:
- Would I enjoy being in this industry?
- How competitive is the industry?
- Do I have a way of standing out and offering something different than my competitors?
- What are the payouts? High / Low commission, Recurring commissions, etc
I would also suggest checking the power rankings and EPC (earnings per click) and see which are the best performing offers. That will give you an idea of which verticals are performing best.
Make sure to really do your research here. The last thing you want is to spend time and money getting a site up for a vertical that doesn’t pay well or convert well.
Here are some of the best affiliate networks to work with:
These networks have thousands of advertisers in every niche you can imagine and they all easily integrate with AnyTrack. They also work with the best advertisers in the world so you know you’re promoting quality offers.
You can read more about the best affiliate programs, and see which are most suitable for you.
So choose one of the evergreen verticals and move on to step 2.
Step 2 – Set up your site & tracking
After choosing a niche, the next order of business is to create your website and make sure you’re able to track everything.
WordPress is a CMS (content management system) platform and a simple way to create and manage your website. WordPress is also great because there’s a huge community of developers that contribute to their plugin marketplace.
Plugins are applications that you can install on your WordPress, and that give your site new functionality. For example, if you want to to create a comparison website, you’ll probably use a plugin to create product tables such as Tablepress, and if you want to manage your affiliate links, you will want to check the AnyTrack affiliate link manager.
Elementor is a page builder that styles your specific pages to virtually any layout you choose. WordPress now offers page building features, but I still recommend Elementor. Their page builder is awesome.
If you’re not into web development & design, I HIGHLY recommend outsourcing this part to a designer and letting them design your site.
Pro tip: Spy on your competitors website designs and get ideas on what’s working
Now for the second part, tracking.
Many people think tracking is important only when you start getting conversions, but they’re wrong.
Tracking is not only about knowing how you got conversions and which partner generated these conversions. It’s also about gathering data and understanding how your content is being consumed and by who.
All of the data your website accumulates can be leveraged like building custom audiences, retargeting across multiple platforms, and having faster optimization opportunities.
So the earlier you get tracking in place, the more powerful of an edge you’ll get.
Tracking is the key here.
There are two essential aspects of the conversion tracking mechanism that are interlinked, and that will make the difference when you’ll want to make informed decisions.
- Attribution: Which traffic source is responsible for the conversion.
- Tracking: The conversion data itself. What was the product purchased, from which affiliate network, the value, the number of items purchased, the conversion type etc…
If you’re serious about affiliate marketing, and you should be if you want to make money doing it, you’ll need a strong tracking solution that can tie attribution and tracking.
Now I know the topic of tracking & data can be overwhelming. I’ve been there.
That’s why I recommend using AnyTrack.
You need a platform that is easy to use that can track and sync all of your customer journeys across your entire marketing stack.
AnyTrack is by far the easiest platform I’ve used for affiliate marketing. It’s a “plug and play” platform so it’s easy for non-tech savvy marketers to quickly get up and running.
You’ll be able to track everything you need and have complete transparency into which offers are converting and which are not.
To sum up, here are the basic tools you’ll need to get started:
After you buy your domain (Namecheap is a great domain registrar), you’ll need website hosting.
Website hosting is a type of service that allows you to make your website accessible on the internet.
For good hosting providers, check out:
A good affiliate tracking platform will make or break your business.
That’s why I recommend AnyTrack.
You’ll need Google Analytics so you can measure and track your website traffic. It’s free and a must have tool.
A good keyword research tool like SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc. will help you find keywords easy and help you identify new opportunities for SEO & PPC.
These are the basic tools every beginner should be using. Check out our essential affiliate marketing tools guide for more in-depth information.
Step 3 – Promotion
Now the fun begins. In order to effectively promote your offers, you should put yourself in your target audience’s shoes.
Where do they hangout online?
How can you get in front of them and add value?
This part largely depends on your creativity and marketing savvy.
Here’s how I would think about promotion and getting traffic. I would break it down to two categories:
Most people love organic traffic because it’s free. But it takes a lot of time to build up your website organically. So is it really free if it takes months & years to see the results?
In any case, you should be doing it anyway or else you’ll fall behind.
We can further break down organic traffic to:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
SEO is all about optimizing your content for the search engines, which includes keyword research and doing the best you can answering real user queries with your content.
Most people think that’s all you need to do.
Publish content & wait for Google to deliver the traffic.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you’re relying only on the search engines to bring you traffic, you will be stuck waiting for years.
Remember, we’re marketers at the end of the day. Once we create the content we need to “shop” it around and promote.
That’s why you should also look to leverage social media to generate traffic to your site as well. Make sure you create profiles on the large platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. and be active.
Post engaging content and route the traffic to your site. My suggestion is to stick with one type of platform until you get really good with it so you can maximize the traffic generation.
Are you good with creating video content? Then go into YouTube.
Are you good at creating designs? Go all in on Pinterest and Instagram
Are you better with copywriting? Then go all in on Reddit & Twitter
All across the web there are so many platforms that can be used to refer traffic back to your site.
The key here is having really good content. Once the content is engaging then it’s time to market it, which now leads us to content marketing.
Content marketing is all about finding creative ways to place our content on the web so we can route traffic to our websites.
Here’s an example of engaging content and solid promotion.
Influenster, a high traffic product review site, came up with this infographic:
And this infographic was shared on many different publisher sites.
What happens when this infographic is put in front of millions of people?
The creator gets a ton of traffic.
You can create an infographic for your industry and post it around the web (Facebook, Reddit, etc) and also share it with publishers in your niche.
Good content is the name of the game here and when you can create something compelling and shareable, you’ll get tons of traffic.
Be a part of the discussion
Another idea would be to join forums & Facebook groups in your industry and join the discussion. When you’re knowledgeable in your industry, people will defer to your expertise which is a great opportunity to help people and spread the word about your site.
The best part is when you join the conversation on forums & groups, the content will always be there so new members and users searching for the topics you cover will find your posts.
Make sure you’re linking back to your site where you can so people can easily find your site.
PPC, aka pay per click, is a form of advertising where you’re paying each time your ad is clicked.
Your ad is the content the user sees before they land on your landing page (the main content)
This is a great way to test your offers when you don’t have a large budget. You can target very specific audiences and get immediate results.
PPC is one of the best ways to validate new ideas.
Think about it. You set up a landing page focused on your offer, bid on the keywords that match your offer or the user intent, buy the traffic and see if the offer converts.
You get results in a matter of hours instead of waiting months & years for SEO to kick in.
If you’re using Anytrack to combine your conversion data with google analytics or Facebook pixel, you can even use the data you get from organic traffic and build custom audiences so you can retarget using PPC.
Or you can run some native ads and remarket with Google ads.
Related reading: https://anytrack.io/blog/native-ads-retargeting/
The sky’s the limit when you have control over your data.
Pro tip: Test your landing page with Google Ads or Facebook Ads before committing to fully building out the website. You will get immediate feedback and see if your niche and angle is viable.
All in all it shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars to get a landing page set up and run some paid traffic to it.
Of course this isn’t the only way to validate an idea. With affiliate marketing, you’re only limited by your imagination.
In future posts we’ll dive into the more complex aspects of affiliate marketing, like building funnels and matching content with user intent. But this post should help you understand the basic framework of getting started with affiliate marketing.
Drop us a comment below or send an email directly and let us know how we can help you succeed on your affiliate marketing journey.