Affiliate marketing for beginners: The Complete Guide for 2021.
Excuse me, would you like to turn on your PC to see something like this?
Honestly, that’s everyone’s dream, even me.
We all love money, right?
If my guess is right, you want to start affiliate marketing business to make money, but you don’t know how to go about it.
Is that you? Take a break, your search ends here.
This ultimate guide to affiliate marketing for beginners covers all the steps and strategies for running a very successful affiliate marketing business.
So, if you are looking for alternative source of income, you are about to find a whole lots of information on how to make passive income through affiliate marketing.
What’s up with affiliate marketing?
If you are a beginner, you probably don’t know how affiliate marketing works. So let’s by breaking down the whole process.
- How affiliate marketing works
- Why start affiliate marketing?
- Can Nigerians also make money with affiliate marketing?
- Affiliate marketing for beginners – A quick Guide
- Step #2.Picking the right affiliate program
- How to choose an affiliate program
- Step #3. Driving Traffic to an affiliate offer
- Step #3: Converting Traffic
- Available Affiliate programs
How affiliate marketing works
Like I said in an earlier post, affiliate marketing is a gold mine. You earn by promoting other people’s products and services.
Basically, there are four key players:
- The merchant
- Network, and
When it comes to product creation, the merchant, (also known as the vendor) is the person who spends all the time, money and effort in creating a product.
The second player if the affiliate. He helps the merchant to promote their products and services to generate sales.
Then, the network, and lastly the customer who consumes the product.
To break it down, even further, here is how it works in picture.
You (The Affiliate) registers on a merchant’s website or an affiliate network and get an affiliate link.
You then pick a product of choice and promote it to your audience (Blog Readers, Email List or Social Media followers) through content marketing.
If anyone buys the product through your affiliate link, you earn a commission, Simple and short.
Even some of the products you can promote as an affiliate has a recurring payment, which means you will continue to earn commission year after year from a single sales your affiliate link generates.
For example, if you promote SEMrush tool, and succeed in generating 5 sales, you will be earning $1000 every year, provided your customers renew their subscription.
Why start affiliate marketing?
I have to be straight on this. You should start affiliate marketing if you are looking for alternative source of income, or you want to make a living on the internet.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best source of passive income.
It is sexy, simple and powerful.
And if you are looking for more reasons to get started, I have some good answers.
1. You have your freedom.
Remember our slogan? “Become your own boss!”
If you are an affiliate marketer, you will gain professional independence. You will decide when to work and also were to work from.
No one will be keeping eye on you because you are working for yourself.
If you are a good marketer and put honest effort into it, you can earn as much as you want.
2. It is cheap to start.
In affiliate marketing, there is virtually no start-up cost.
All you need to do is to start a blog and sign up for an affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing is free, and the cost of running a blog is cheap. – With About $2.95 per month, you can start an affiliate marketing business that can bring in over $10,000 per month if you play your cards well.
3. You sell what you want.
If you are an affiliate, your honesty and integrity remains intact.
Nobody will force you to sell products you don’t believe in, or works with people you don’t like.
You can create a career on your own and shape it according to your taste.
That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing.
4. You become a better marketer
Are you planning to launch a product soon? Selling other people’s products and services can help you master the ins and outs of online marketing.
If you become an affiliate of any product, you will learn how to become a better marketer.
Can Nigerians also make money with affiliate marketing?
There are so many affiliate programs available for Nigerian. Some of these affiliate programs are made in Nigeria, by Nigerians.
There is no limitation to how much you make in Nigeria with affiliate marketing.
So many Nigerian websites promotes affiliate links, including MKTProfit.com. Yes, that is one of the ways I monetize this blog.
I have even seen some website in Nigeria sorely dedicated to affiliate marketing.
The truth is:
Anyone can make money with affiliate marketing, irrespective of their location.
Making money with affiliate marketing requires:
- A lot of product research, internet traffic patterns and of course, understand your audience interest.
- Hours of maintaining a relationship with your audience (Blog readers, Social Media followers and email list.)
- Understanding the basic of using search engine optimization and social medias to attract a targeted traffic to any affiliate offer
- Patience – As it takes a lot of time to convince anyone to buy a product online, especially in Nigeria!
Affiliate marketing for beginners – A quick Guide
Anyone can start an affiliate marketing business in Nigeria. If you want an in-depth guide on starting affiliate marketing from scratch, Read our guide on How to start an affiliate marketing business.
Step #1. Picking your niche, focused on ROI & ROE:
If you want to succeed with your affiliate marketing business, you will have to choose a very profitable niche.
This is because, when you choose a niche where it is difficult to monetize, you would just be spinning the wheel.
There are two factors to focus on when choosing a niche:
- ROI – Return On Investment
- ROE – Return On Effort.
Ideally, you have to ask yourself two questions:
- “How do I get the most return on every dollar I spent on affiliate marketing?”
- “How do I maximize my income while minimizing my effort?”
The best answer?
Put a heavy focus on the commercial value of that niche.
If you do not pick a niche in demand, you may not hit the spot. But how do you know you are hitting the ROI and ROE target?
I will tell you…
First, you need to choose a niche, and then pick the right affiliate program to join.
Don’t do it the other way round (Choosing an affiliate program before choosing a niche).
A lot of people usually make this mistake of building a business around an affiliate program and then discover that the niche is simply too hard to target, or even saturated.
That is why you should first choose a niche with moderate competition, before finding an affiliate program on that niche.
I will show you how to choose a niche, but I strongly recommend this book. It is titled, “Choosing a profitable niche”
To help you find a niche, you will have to:
1. Identify your interest
The very first step in finding a niche is looking into your passion.
- What do you like doing when you are free?
- Where do you like going?
- What would you like to learn more?
- Do you like talking about a particular topic?
The reason why you should choose a niche in your area of interest is because, you won’t get tired researching that topic.
If you choose a niche outside your interest, your detest will show through your marketing efforts. You won’t even be able to research topic ideas, let alone provide valuable information that will help you sell your affiliate offer.
If you are wondering whether a niche is profitable, look into SEMrush Keyword Tools and see the figures under the CPC column. That is actually how much advertisers are paying for that keyword.
Here is the thing;
If someone is paying heavily for a keyword, it means they are making money with that keyword, right? SEMrush will even show you other related keywords you can target.
Now look at the “volume” column to find out the search volume of those keywords.
Search volume simply means the number of times people search those keywords in a month.
If many keywords related to your niche has a lot of monthly searches and also a good CPC, then that niche is a nice bet.
3. Look Into the Competition Level
Competition means a lot in digital marketing. If a niche is too competitive, it becomes very difficult to target. And if it is not competitive at all, there is probably no money there at all.
To find the competitive level of a niche, type in any keyword related to that niche SEMrush Keyword tool and look at the “difficulty” column.
If majority of keywords on that Niche has a difficulty of above “60”, then that niche is competitive.
4. Use Google trend to find out if your niche is growing in demand
Type in your keywords into Google Trends and monitor the waves.
If it’s rapidly declining, it means the niche won’t last long before it fades away.
But if it’s climbing, it means the Niche is growing in demand and popularity.
For more information on how to choose a profitable Niche, I recommend this book. It is titled “Choosing a profitable Niche”.
Step #2.Picking the right affiliate program
Before picking an affiliate program, let’s first understand different ways affiliate programs may pay you.
I’ve already described how affiliate marketing works in the beginning of this post. However, different affiliate offers pays off in a very different ways.
Here is an explanation:
- Pay per click
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) affiliate programs pays you anytime someone clicks a link on your website and lands on merchant’s site.
The customer doesn’t really need to buy a product or even fill out a form. You only need to keep getting people click on your affiliate link.
- Pay Per Sale
PPS (Pay-Per-Sale) affiliate programs pays you only when someone lands on your website and actually buys a product.
The difference between PPC and PPS is that in PPC, no action was taken while a customer has to actually buy a product for you to make money in PPS.
- Pay Per Action
PPA (Pay-Per-Action) affiliate programs will pay you if you refer a customer that will take a certain action. EG. Fill out a form.
No one has to buy anything for you make earn. You will only convince them to fill a form.
- Merchandise affiliate programs
This is the kind of affiliate program that sells physical products. When people sees ads on your website, or even click those ads, you won’t get paid.
You only get paid when customers visit the merchant’s website and buy a product.
How to choose an affiliate program
When looking to join an affiliate program, there are different factors you need to consider.
There is no point promoting affiliate offers that your audience won’t be interested in. for example, if you are in the health and fitness niche, you can’t promote kitchen utensils and expect to make any sale.
You can only make a sale if the offer is directly, or closely related to your Niche.
2. Is the offer already heavily promoted?
Do a search for the name of the offer or the name of the company to make sure it is not already heavily promoted across the internet. Avoid saturated offers.
3. How easy is the conversion point of the offer?
Ideally, you should look for an offer that only requires a click for you to get paid. If that’s not happening, look for offers that pay you for every email or zip code entered into a form. If that isn’t available, then look at offers that pay you per sale at a very high percentage.
4. How flexible is the program in terms of advertising?
Does the program require you to use their own materials? Or are they okay with you coming up with your own materials? Can you use incentives? You don’t want to rack up tons of commissions only to get banned without getting paid.
5. Do they offer flexible landing pages?
Does the program allow you to come up with your own landing pages or do they have their own? If they have their own, are there many different versions? Be clear about how the sponsor is going to be converting your traffic.
6. How much does the program pay?
The proper way to analyze this, of course, is through comparison. When you compare different offer payouts to each other, you should have a fairly clear idea of whether an offer makes sense.
For example, if there is an offer that you know will convert really well but the pay is fairly low, this may still be a good deal compared to a program that pays really well with their offer, but the offer has a much lower conversion rate.
Step #3. Driving Traffic to an affiliate offer
To be frank, the golden rule of online marketing is simple. If you want to make money, you have to drive traffic and convert it.
It is not always easy for beginners.
In fact, most professionals still struggle with traffic generation. How much more for beginners?
Let’s go straight to the point. “How to drive traffic to an affiliate offer”.
Traffic generation strategy #1: SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of driving free organic traffic to a webpage. Here you have to create contents on the internet and optimize them around a keyword. So that when someone search for that keyword ono Google, they find your content.
SEO is free and effective, but it takes time. Some marketers even think that it is the toughest way of driving traffic because you will have to keep up with Google’s frequent algorithm change.
But the truth is, if you carefully implement SEO on your affiliate marketing website, it will drive a long term traffic.
Traffic generation Strategy #2: PPC
Two great examples of this category of traffic are Facebook and Google ads. In the case of Facebook, you buy traffic directly to a link, you add a picture and a short description. You then target certain populations on Facebook and make certain guesses regarding interest profiles.
On Google AdWords, you select keywords with a high level of intent involving your niche. These keywords indicate a high willingness to buy whatever it is you’re promoting. You run the campaign so you can see whether you are getting a high volume of clicks or not.
To do this right, you should use redirect domains with tracking. This means that when you take out an ad on Facebook or other websites, you use a domain that actually redirects to the affiliate link. This is not always possible. Make sure you follow the terms of service of the places you’re buying traffic from.
Redirect your domain so your affiliate sponsor doesn’t steal your traffic from under you. You also need to use targeting URLs.
These URLs are very sensitive to how people click your link. It would try to track the keyword that produced the click. It would also pay attention to the browser details of people clicking from Facebook. Whatever the case may be, when you use tracking URLs, you can make educated guesses as to which ad buys led to sales.
Traffic generation strategy #3: Authority Site Outreach
Pay a blogger or an administrator of an authority website to publish your content. Your content has links in it. The link can go to a redirect domain, or it can go to an intermediary page, or it can go directly to your affiliate sponsor.
You need to make sure that the blog or authority you’re getting your content published on is in the same niche as the offer that you’re promoting.
Ask for a test buy. Negotiate your best price.
It’s crucial that you use a tracking URL for your affiliate link. Maybe you should tie it with a redirect domain so you can tell where your traffic is coming from. Buy more content placements from places that send you the most conversions.
You can optimize your placements from places that send you a lot of traffic, but ultimately, if they can’t convert, you should drop them and focus on conversions.
Traffic generation strategy #4: Pinterest
Pinterest is an online pin board where people can share photos. These photos are then linked to web pages. Pinterest is heavily categorized, so you can actually categorize your pictures so as to target these niches.
The great thing about Pinterest is that you can actually put your affiliate link to the photo. I would not suggest such a direct link though. I would use a redirect so you can track traffic from this pin board.
Just like with Instagram if you’re in a niche that doesn’t really lend itself well to graphic representation like insurance or certain types of lawsuit, you may want to advertise on a different platform.
Step #3: Converting Traffic
Even if you succeeded in getting 6 million traffic to an affiliate offer, if those traffic don’t convert well, you won’t make any money.
According to research, only 2.35% of a website traffic are likely to convert. Which means, even if you spend a huge amount of money trying to drive traffic to an affiliate offer, only 2.35% are actually engaging.
So, what should you do?
Traffic Conversion strategy #1: Blogging
Blogging does not only help to generate traffic, it also helps in converting those traffics.
For example, if you are blogging on a particular niche and become a solution provider on that niche, people (Your audience) will listen to you. And if you recommend any product and service that will help solve their problem, majority of them will convert (BUY).
A study found that 84% of customers makes a purchase after reading about a product on a blog.
That shows you that blogging helps to convert traffic.
Basically, you need three things to start a blog:
- Domain name
- Hosting plan
- Blogging platform
Your domain name is the address of your blog on the internet. For example, “mktprofit.com” is the domain of this blog.
A hosting plan will house your blog on the internet. Without it, your blog won’t be available on the internet.
Hosting plans usually cost around $8 per month, but we have partnered with bluehost to give you some discounts…
Then, a blogging platform. We use WordPress for more flexibility and ease of use.
Read our guide on how to start a blog.
Traffic Conversion strategy #2: Email list building
To be honest, you cannot easily succeed with affiliate marketing without building a list of email subscribers. Why? Because, no one claims to have an online business without having customers to sell to.
And if you only rely on your blog traffic, you are losing a lot of potential buyers, because 80% of your blog readers will never return to your blog after leaving.
That is why you need to build an email list.
It’s simple, give your blog readers a free resource in exchange of their email address. It can be embedded on a pop-up like this:
Or even on a stand-alone page.
Email list building is very essential in affiliate marketing. You can communicate directly with your customers via email, and recommend a product related to their interest.
For example, if you build an email list of customers who want to reduce their weight, you can send them some tips on how to reduce their body fat, and even recommend a product that will hep them do just that.
Traffic conversion Strategy #3: create videos
Most of us are visual shoppers. Vlogging just like Blogging can help to drive traffic to an affiliate website and also convert them.
A minute video can send a message and tell a story, even better than a 5,000 words text. So, it is a nice idea to create a video for your affiliate offers.
A study found that customers are 144% more likely to add a product to cart after watching a video.
And that is simply because people love watching videos instead of reading a plain text.
In just a few minutes, you can quickly explain the features, uses and benefits of any product you want to promote.
Available Affiliate programs
Having discussed “affiliate marketing for beginners”, let’s also look into different affiliate programs you can join and make a living on the internet.
Expertnaire: (For Nigerians)
If you are lokking for a Made-In-Nigeria affiliate program that works in a similar way with ClickBank and JVZoo.com, then you’ve got Expertnaire.
Expertnaire is an affiliate network in Nigeria where you can find and promote digital products to ern a good commission.
Though it is not free to join. You are required to pay N10,000 recurring payment to get access to the affiliate network. However, top affiliate like Joe Okoro has shown that the platform is worth investing on.
Expertnaire affiliate payout is authomatic. You get paid every Friday to your bank account.
Amazon is the world leading ecommerce website that sells both physical and digital products to almost every part of the world.
Their affiliate program (Amazon associate program) is one of the best in terms of conversion, because amazon is brand every one trust.
If you want to make money easily through affiliate marketing, you can start a niche affiliate blog and promote amazon products on your blog.
Are you a “Travel Blogger”? Then you can make money with Travelstat affiliate program.
Travelstat is one of the largest online travel agency in Africa. They offer various services, ranging from flight booking, vacation planning, hotel reservation, to car booking.
Their affiliate program is one of the best. Ideally, you will be able to earn up to 70% commission from whatever sales they make through your unique affiliate link.
On top of that, Travelstat will assign you an affiliate manager that is ready to help you in anyway.
Every copywriter need Grammerly to ensure that all their copy are free from plagiarism and grammatical error.
Grammerly also offer an amazing affiliate program where they pay their affiliates $0.20 for every FREE sign-up you referred, and $20 if the person end up making a purchase.
That being said, Grammerly affiliate program pays you whether or not the person you brought make a purchase.
For example, if you bring 100 people who sign-up for free, you will earn $20. And if 100 of them later make a purchase, you earn $2,000.
SEMrush is a well-rounded digital marketing tool, and must be used by anyone who want to make a lot from their online marketing business.
Their affiliate program (BErush) will reward you with 40% commission on every sale you bring. Again, their commission is recurring, which means you will be getting paid every month from a subscription renewal.
For example, if you referred 100 people who subscribed for their service at $100 per month, you will continue to earn $4,000 every other month, provided they renew.