How do I start Affiliate Marketing in 2023?
There have been many changes in the affiliate marketing world over the years. According to Google Trends, the growth rate in searches is significant, with a market value of $17 billion as of 2022.
In fact, 83% of marketers now leverage affiliate programs to gain brand recognition, while 16% of online orders in the United States have been reported to come through affiliate marketing. While affiliate marketing has existed as long as the internet has, there has been a steady increase in brands leveraging affiliate programs to drive more sales.
What Does Affiliate Marketing Look Like in 2023?
Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting products and services of other people and companies while being compensated in commissions on the resulting sale.
To become an affiliate marketer, you only need to sign up with an affiliate company in line with your interest and find your preferred products to promote. Then, share these products with your audiences and get commissions over your sales. Some programs also pay marketers for sign-ups, referrals, and clicks they generate.
The beauty of being an affiliate marketer is that it is quite an assured way to make money online because you can sell products and services even when you don’t create one. However, you’ll need time to gain in-depth knowledge of the industry, earn the trust of your audience, and understand how the products work.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing can get quite technical, even for people deep in digital marketing. But once you can grasp the basics, you can always generate good income from your effort.
When you sign up with a merchant’s affiliate program, you become an affiliate marketer with the company and receive a unique ID and a specific URL to promote the company’s products. Every sale that will generate commission for you must be done through the affiliate link, including your unique ID. This will help the merchant to track sales directed through you into account and provide commissions as required.
So, as an influencer or blogger, you’ll have to include the affiliate link in your blog post and/or through other email marketing efforts and get your readers to take action by clicking the link.
Suppose a potential buyer clicks the link to make a purchase. In that case, a cookie is installed on the visitor’s device to ensure that you are appropriately rewarded when the visitor makes a purchase—within the cookie’s active days. The merchant also ensures you can follow up on the clicks and sales through a report made available to you.
And at the end of a proposed period, you can withdraw your earnings.
The concept deployed in affiliate marketing isn’t new, as product owners have paid commissions to salespeople since the early days of industrial mass production. And the concept is a win-win situation for both the product owner and the marketer.
The merchant can save the high cost of advertising by dishing out only a small fraction in commission to a marketer. Also, the marketer doesn’t have to go through the hurdles of creating products or services. Instead, they can leverage available products and earn handsomely from them.
Key Players in Affiliate Programs Include:
The Merchant: The individual or organization who creates products and possesses the sales right of the product or service on sale. The product owner intends to drive sales more effectively while cutting down the potentially high cost of advertising and marketing.
The Affiliate Network: Many merchants own and manage their affiliate programs, but most product owners engage with a middleman organization known as an affiliate network, which manages the process of connecting with affiliates and paying them. A popular example is Clickbank.
The Affiliate Marketer/Influencer/Publisher: The content creator or influencer who leverages affiliate programs to earn from delivering top-level content to an audience. The audience makes purchases because of the trust and confidence they have gained built with the marketer. This is you!
The Buyer: This is someone who has taken action through the content you created and has made a purchase through your link so you can get a commission. Without the buyer, affiliate marketing is incomplete and, in fact, impossible.
How Do I Start Affiliate Marketing in 2023?
1. Pick a Niche
A niche best describes a specialized market segment for a particular product or service. It is a section of a bigger market and possesses unique features.
It is the specific area people know you and identify with you. Your audience can easily link such topics and specialties to you.
You must be able to decide on a niche to function to strategically place and distinguish yourself within the market. This niche will determine the kind of things you do and write about, the audiences you attract, the products you sell, and the affiliate program you sign up with.
Once you can carve a niche for yourself, you’ll establish a loyal audience that’ll purchase your products instead of competitors.
However, ensure that the niche you choose is an area that’s specifically suitable for you. Here are some things to consider when picking a niche:
- Are you ready to go all out to become an authority in the chosen niche? This will require that you learn consistently and gather new knowledge to help you stay on top of trends.
- Can you handle problems in that area? Many successful affiliate marketers undergo training or experiences that offer new ways to deliver information and solve problems.
- Is your preferred niche profitable? Consider running a quick google check to see how much people embrace your niche area. Is the competition intense? Go through market reports. If the niche is busy and active, it may not necessarily mean it is bad. At least, it signals one thing—that it is profitable. In essence, people are ready to buy.
2. Find a Suitable Platform
After choosing a niche, it becomes easier to select a suitable platform to function. With countless affiliate programs and networks on the internet, if you do not have a specific area you dominate, you’ll have many challenges identifying a suitable affiliate program to work with.
As a beginner, you can dive into a niche topic or consider a product review site. If you choose product reviews, you’ll give your audience the necessary information about your view of a product or service and compare them to another. You may also publish product tutorials and buyers’ guides to help shoppers decide.
If you’re unsure which platform to choose, consider the one you are most comfortable with first. For instance, consider Instagram and YouTube if you’ll prefer to make social media videos. And if you’ll love to write, then get a blog!
When you leverage platforms you are already conversant with or can easily connect with, you’ll create content that will connect better with your audience and drive affiliate sales. Content creators include social media influencers, bloggers, and YouTubers. They are consistently dishing out content that resonates with their audiences to gain influence and get them to take the desired action. So, your suitable platform must be the authentic area you can fit in and drive engagement. These are essential for affiliate marketing. And if you do not connect adequately with your audience, you’ll appear pushy and may lose audiences.
3. Decide on A Relevant Affiliate Program
The internet features hundreds of affiliate programs across diverse industries. This can make it quite hard to decide on a particular one. But since you have already chosen a niche and platform to perform, choosing an affiliate network or program that fits your options becomes easier. To find and decide on an affiliate program, these tips will help:
Google offers a broad range of affiliate programs that will show up when you search for a specialization in your industry or a business title. Ensure to confirm that your consideration has international partners and works in your area.
- Leverage Facebook Communities and Other Online Platforms
Do a thorough social media check for outstanding affiliate programs. Facebook groups, Subreddits, and social forums are places to consider to uncover affiliate programs and network with potential buyers.
- Check Affiliate Websites Directly
If you have found affiliate company suggestions like CJ Affiliates, Awin, ShareASale, FlexOffers, and Clickbank, simply visit their websites to learn more about their offerings. However, checking platforms with products or services closely connected with your blog niche or specialty area is often better.
You’ll also learn how to register and use your affiliate links to make sales. Many programs provide video tutorials and other incentives made available to marketers on achieving their first sales and even succeeding in the industry. It is often important to be sure you have the required support to succeed.
- Online Affiliate Marketing Directories
You’ll find countless free affiliate marketing directories on the web where you can locate and try out some affiliate programs—whether new or old.
There are many affiliate networks to pick from, so you may find it quite challenging to decide which one to try. However, these factors will help further.
Commission structure: find out the commission rates on their products. Is it something you’d be glad to give a try? Household products often do not attract as many commissions as technology niche affiliate products.
Competition: Will the level of competitiveness be intense and offer you slim chances of succeeding? Do you think you have leverage over others?
Cookie duration: How long a cookie life is on your audience determines when your sales will be recorded.
Fees: What fees are expected of you? You need to check if you’ll be required to make any fee payment.
The network’s and the merchant’s reputation: Find out if the affiliate network is not already associated with something negative or has a bad reputation. If they do, it will affect your efforts badly.
Brand alignment: How much does your business align with the affiliate program? Finding an affiliate network in your field is important so your audiences can easily connect with it.
Support: How much customer support does an affiliate marketer enjoy? Does the prospective affiliate network make provisions to assist beginner affiliate marketers, assist them when there is a challenge, and be responsive through the contact lines? Some platforms will provide a guide in the form of videos to help starters navigate their way to becoming successful on the field.
4. Create Top-Notch Content
People are constantly consuming content on the web. But if you do not produce one that they can relate to or that provides value, they will not return even if they ever find your content.
Search engines like Google are constantly upgrading their platforms to serve visitors better and provide answers to their questions. Hence, they are doing everything to make authentic and valuable content found while pushing down crappy content.
Also, if an audience constantly finds your content helpful, they’ll look for you directly, making search engines rank your site higher on search engine result pages (SERP). Blogs are great for written content. And if you’d rather opt to create educational or entertaining videos, consider YouTube or Instagram.
Are There Any Affiliate Networks For Beginners?
There are a plethora of affiliate networks that can get you started as a beginner. However, here are a few popular ones that would also fit into most niches.
Amazon has products that cover a wide array of niche areas. Commissions often seem quite low and may range between 2% and 10%. However, they have a strong presence and have become a household name with which your audience can easily connect.
ClickBank has many juicy commission rates and has been around for quite some time. The network is largely focused on digital products and therefore offers more commissions to your audience than Amazon affiliates.
However, it is always important to provide products that satisfy your audiences’ needs so that you can sell. If your niche has nothing to do with digital products, do not get fascinated by the commission rates; find a suitable one instead. You’ll make better sales if your visitors can relate to your offering.
CJ Affiliate offers an endless list of affiliate programs from different brands. They also provide helpful resources to help you get started and succeed as a marketer and business person.
ShareASale features one of the top affiliate networks online that has gained a good reputation over the years. Their commission rates are quite good too, and there’s a marketing dashboard you’ll have access to for monitoring your efforts on the platform.