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Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step By Step Guide

If you’re thinking about becoming an affiliate marketer, you’ve come to the right place. In this digital guide, we’re going back to basics.

Written for complete novices, this affiliate marketing for beginner’s blog will outline what affiliate marketing is, the various types and the benefits. We’ll also share our tips on how you can get started.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simple. It is an effective digital marketing strategy that involves three parties: the company selling a product or service (advertiser), the person publishing about the product or service (publisher) and the customer buying the product or service (consumer).

Here’s how it works…

An individual (it could be anyone, including you!) includes a link to a company’s product in their blog, website or social media post. When someone clicks on this link and makes a purchase, the individual receives a commission, which is usually a percentage of the sale.

This tried and tested method has been around since the early 1990s but it really took off following the launch of Amazon’s affiliate programme, Amazon Associates, in 1996. Most marketeers credit Amazon as being the company that popularised affiliate marketing.

Amazon Associates is a popular affiliate marketing programme

Types Of Affiliate Marketing

It’s safe to say that most of us have purchased (or discovered) a product or service thanks to an affiliate link.

For example, I recently purchased packing cubes from Amazon after clicking an affiliate link in a blog about the best packing cubes for backpackers. The blogger had personally tried and tested the same packing cubes, so could give plenty of detailed information. But this isn’t always the case!

Sometimes, affiliate marketers promote products that they have no ties to.

To help differentiate between affiliate marketers who are familiar with the product and those who are not, world renowned affiliate marketer Pat Flynn categorised marketing. Since 2009, there have been three types of affiliate marketing:

  • Unattached
  • Related
  • Involved

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

An unattached affiliate marketer has no ties to the product or service they are promoting. They have no experience in using it and cannot share their own review.

Unattached affiliate marketers usually run Pay-Per-Click campaigns with the hope that web users will click through to the link and make a purchase.

This type of affiliate marketing can work well for some people and is attractive because of its lack of commitment, but it is often considered the least effective.

Related affiliate marketers have not used the product or service they are promoting but have a tie to it due to their niche, experience or background.

For example, the blog about the best packing cubes for backpackers included affiliate links to various packing cubes. The publisher had not used all of these packing cubes, but may have used other products from the same brand so was familiar with the quality.

Plus, the publisher was an experienced backpacker with a successful travel blog and a ton of experience in backpacking equipment – aka someone whose recommendations are trustworthy.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

And finally, involved affiliate marketers are the ones who are closely tied to the product or service. They have used the product themselves and believe that their readers will also like the product. This type of affiliate marketing is particularly popular in the beauty, fashion and health industries.   

What Are The Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is beneficial for all parties involved.

For business owners, affiliate marketing is an effective way to drive sales whilst increasing brand awareness.

It is low cost, low effort and allows the business to place their product in front of their target audience – without having to actually build the audience themselves. It can boost traffic to the company website, effectively build brand recognition and has a high ROI.

For publishers, affiliate marketing is a simple way to monetize their content. If you already have an established audience and a strong following, you can quickly build an impressive income stream with little effort.

And due to the flexibility of affiliate marketing (it can be done from anywhere at any time!), many publishers choose to do affiliate marketing as a side gig. It can also help publishers build valuable partnerships with brands, opening doors to new future possibilities.

Top Tips For Getting Started

Here are our top tips for getting started as an affiliate marketer:

Prioritise A Platform

Affiliate marketing can be successful across a range of platforms, including social media pages, blogs and YouTube channels. If you have already established an audience on one particular platform, it is usually best to prioritise this platform when affiliate marketing.

The platform you choose may also depend on your niche. For example, fashion and beauty influencers may prefer Instagram over other platforms, whereas tech professionals may prefer YouTube and lifestyle experts may prefer blogs.

When choosing a platform, it is important to consider where your audience is spending most of their time.

social media networks are commonly used by affiliate marketers

Choose Which Type Of Affiliate Marketer You Want To Be

Do you want to opt for low-risk, low-effort unattached affiliate marketing? Or would you prefer to be familiar with the products you’re promoting? The type of affiliate marketer you choose to be will depend heavily on your audience.

What is your audience expecting from you? Would they prefer to buy something knowing you have tried it personally or are they happy to trust your knowledgeable advice, even if you haven’t personally tried the product/service?

Pick A Niche

If you already have an established audience that eagerly awaits your next update and are interested in what you have to say, then you may already have your niche.

For example, if a fitness expert has a successful blog and a strong following, it makes sense for them to promote health and fitness products.

But if you are just starting out, or if you have a broad blog covering a range of topics and industries, you may still need to pinpoint a niche. Find out more on how to choose a profitable niche here.

Find Affiliate Programmes Right For You

You can apply to join an affiliate programme directly through a business, or you can use an affiliate network. If you’re wondering what the difference between the two is, let me explain…

Many businesses launch their own affiliate marketing programmes, allowing publishers to collaborate directly with the company. Amazon Associates, as mentioned previously, is a popular affiliate marketing programme.

There are various types of affiliate programmes depending on the company, these include search affiliates, bloggers and influencers, review sites, coupon sites and email marketing. Check out this list of profitable affiliate marketing programmes that allow you to apply directly.

Affiliate marketing networks, on the other hand, work as an online marketplace for affiliate programmes. These networks allow publishers (such as bloggers and social media influencers) to connect with a range of different businesses that want to promote their products or services.

There is a wide range of affiliate marketing networks on the web. And some are much better than others. Neil Patel has collated a list of the top affiliate marketing networks here.

Drive Traffic To Your Platform

The best way to drive quality traffic to your platform is to publish quality content. Regularly creating well-researched content, that has been optimised for search engines is the best way to attract your target audience.

Carry out keyword research and create content that is providing truly valuable information to your readers. Publish regularly and always keep an eye out for industry trends that you can take advantage of.

Your affiliate links should fit naturally into the content. Email marketing and PPC ads are also effective ways to drive traffic to your platform.

Need Help?

If you are a business and would like to find out more about using affiliate marketers or if you are a publisher and would like help to become a successful affiliate marketer, get in touch!

AdLens Digital is a digital marketing agency offering a wide range of services.

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