How to start affiliate marketing in 2021 – A step-by-step guide
So you want to learn how to start affiliate marketing? You are not alone.
Everyone’s dream is to make money, even while they sleep. That’s why many of us want to start an online business.
Fortunately, affiliate marketing is a gold mine. You can find any product, drive traffic to it and make a full-time living even while you are away from your computer.
Most of the top marketers started this way, and I am going to show you how to get involved exactly.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most lucrative online business opportunities right now . It works like this:
You place affiliate links on your blog, if your blog reader clicks on that link and make a purchase, you earn a commission.
There are usually four parties involved in the affiliate marketing.
- The merchant
- Affiliate network
- The affiliate (you)
The merchant is the party that creates a product for affiliate marketers to promote.
They then list that product on an affiliate network such as ClickBank, where affiliates can find the and promote.
Lastly, consumers learn about the product from the affiliate they trust, and then make a purchase.
Let’s explain it even further.
From the beginning, the merchant (sometimes called the creator, the seller, the vendor or the brand) is the person who invested all the effort and money in creating a product. This can be a big name like Buildium who provides Insurance service.
Or it can be an individual like John Christani who sells information products on how to become rich through affiliate marketing.
Next, the affiliate (sometimes called the publisher). This is the person that promotes a merchant product for a share in revenue (commission). Here is where marketing happens.
An affiliate marketer uses his marketing skills to promote and convince his audience to buy a merchants’ product.
Next, the affiliate network. Because some of these merchants are not well established, affiliate networks like ClickBank and Commission Junction come into play.
This is a place where merchants land to sell their products and also find affiliate marketers who will help them make quick sales.
It can be a big market like Amazon, or a smaller market like expertnaire.
And lastly, the customers. They are the people who buys the product through the affiliates.
Why Start Affiliate Marketing?
To earn money online, you have to sell something, right? Honestly, that’s the rule of making money online. And you will be disappointed to know how difficult it is to create a product that you can sell.
It takes several months of hard work to launch a product. But with affiliate marketing, you don’t really need to warry about crazy product launch. You basically find a product and sell them.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways of making money online. And it doesn’t really require much effort.
Here are some reasons why you should learn how to start affiliate marketing in 2021:
It is cheap to start.
Do you have some money to spend? For most people, investing in online business is expensive, but not with affiliate marketing. Most of the top affiliate programs out there are free to join.
In a real sense, if you want someone to promote your products and services, why would you charge them to do that? It doesn’t make sense, right?
The only affiliate network in Nigeria that charge you money to join is Expertnaire, and they only charge NGN10,000 one-time payment.
Other popular affiliate programs and networks like ClickBank and JVzoo.com are completely free to join.
In fact, the only place you will have to invest a little amount of money is in starting a blog for your affiliate marketing business, and this investment of money is as little as $2.95 per month.
Affiliate marketing is very pocket-friendly and yet, the earning potentials is still very remarkable.
It is fast to start.
Do you urgently need some money? Then you can start affiliate marketing in 2021 and make some quick cash.
One of the biggest benefits of starting an affiliate marketing business is that everything is super-fast, even to earn money.
You can establish your online business in less than 1 hour and start making money few months later.
If you start an offline/local business, it may take you longer than 10years to become authority in your industry.
But in the online world, with affiliate marketing, you can become an authority in your Niche in less than one year.
When you are authority in your space it is easier for you to make a full-time income (over $10,000) in less than one year.
Affiliate marketing is an online business that produce quick result compared to other business models.
It is safe to start.
Are you scared of losing money? You don’t have to. With affiliate marketing, you don’t really have to invest your money.
Many people are scared of starting a business, simply because they think it is risky. YES! It is risky if you have to invest plenty of money into that business, because It could crash and all your money will disappear.
But not with affiliate marketing. if you already have a website/blog, you can take away your debit card because you won’t be needing it for anything.
If you did not invest thousands of dollars into a business, what are you scared to risk?
In fact, the worst situation is if you did not make money with your affiliate business, and that is almost not possible if you follow this guide.
It is profitable.
So many people think that because affiliate marketing is free to start, it may not be profitable. HELL NO! That’s not true. If you know pat Flynn of smartpassiveincome.com, he openly shares his yearly income report. In the report he shared in December 2017, he made $105,619.13 in one month, just through affiliate marketing.
Yes! You read it right! $105,619.13
Affiliate marketing is really a profitable business, and there are many products and services you can promote and earn money. Take a look at amazon.com, and you can imagine how many products you can promote.
There are so many more benefits of starting an affiliate marketing business in Nigeria. I am not going to list all of them here.
How to start affiliate marketing business – Three things you need…
Finally, you have decided to start affiliate marketing business? I can assure you will make a good living through it. Don’t forget to buy me coffee when the money start coming in.
Basically, you need three things to start affiliate marketing business and actually start making money.
- A blog
- Traffic to your blog
- An email list.
Let’s take them one after the other:
A blog – what it is, why you need it And how to create it
I believe you already know what a blog really is, but for the sake of first timers, I will explain.
A blog is a frequently updated website, usually powered by a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress.
This website you are reading right now is an example of a blog.
You may be wondering why you need this for affiliate marketing, don’t worry I will tell you.
1. A blog helps to drive traffic to affiliate offer.
Who wants to sell more products and make more money? YEAH, me too!
Now think about how people will find these affiliate products you are promoting. You could run an advert on google to send traffic to an offer, but that does not guarantee you will make any money, and besides, it is expensive.
So what should you do? … Start a blog.
Starting a blog will help you build an audience whom you will promote an affiliate offer to.
For example, if you own a blog that receives 500,000 monthly traffic, and promote an affiliate offer on same blog, you will get a lot of people clicking through your affiliate link to the affiliate offer you promote.
2. A blog helps in converting traffic to leads.
Do you know that people read blogs to get more information about a product they want to buy before they buy?
I did not just say that. Research has shown that 61% of online users in the United States has bought something after reading a blog.
Here is the truth, if someone want to read about a product, it is either they are finding reasons to buy that product, or vice-vasa.
Now writing a blog about the product they want to read about can either convert them or drive then away.
If you start a blog on any niche and become an authority in that Niche, people (your audience) are going to trust you. And when you write a blog post and hit them at their point of pain, and propose an affiliate offer as a solution to their problem, they will easily convert and buy through you.
3. Blogging drives long-term result
If it takes you some hours to write a blog post, and your blog comes up to the internet. If you where able to drive 100 visitors and convert 10 of those visitors that week, and then get another 50 visitors the nest week and convert only 5 visitors, then you have been able to covert 15 leads before the fanfare of that blog post dies.
But that is not the end.
The same blog post has been indexed by Google and other search engines. That means, for months and years to come, that blog post will continue to get traffic that converts.
How to start a blog for affiliate marketing.
Having known what is a blog, and why you need to have one for affiliate marketing purpose, let’s see how we can start a super affiliate blog.
You will need four things:
- Profitable Niche.
- Domain name
- Hosting Plan
- Blogging Platform.
Choosing a profitable Niche:
There is no point building a business around an affiliate program where there is no customers to buy. If you don’t choose a profitable Niche, you would just be spinning the wheels.
Niche research is very necessary. In fact it is a compulsory first-step in starting any online business, because it will help you understand who you re serving, and how to monetize that audience.
Affiliate marketing is all about recommending products and services. Unless you choose a Niche, you will be trying to sell to everybody. And that is the biggest marketing mistake.
If you try to target everybody, then you will end up getting to nobody. And that’s how you will not make any sale.
But when you choose a niche (a profitable one), you will build an audience with similar interest. And when you recommend a product, they will buy.
Some experts recommend you follow your passion while choosing a niche. Honestly, this only works if there are a large demand for products and services in that niche.
Of course, you won’t like to start a business around a riche where it is almost impossible to monetize.
My honest advice is: GO WHERE THE MONEY IS!
Choosing a niche is a whole lots of challenge for many marketers. Some people focus entirely on high demand and moderate competitive niche, but that shouldn’t be the sole focus. In fact, a profitable niche must be:
If it lacks any, then it is not profitable.
Read our exclusive guide to Choosing a profitable niche.
Registering a Domain Name:
You cannot start an affiliate marketing blog without registering a domain name.
Your domain is your blog’s address on the internet.it is the address people type into their browser to locate your blog on the internet.
For example, the domain of this blog you are reading is MKTProfit.com.
Registering a domain name is easy. You can register through reliable registrar like bluehost.
Domain name registration is only $11.95 per year for a gTDL domain (.com).
Head over to bluehost.com/domains and reserve your domain name now before someone else does.
Getting a Blog Hosting Service:
Just like domain names, hosting is very important. It works had-in-hand with domains.
Without a domain, your blog won’t have an address. And without hosting plan, your blog won’t be on the internet.
To get a hosting plan for your affiliate blog, head over to bluehost.com/hosting/shared and chose a hosting plan of your choice.
Choosing a Blog platform:
Before you start an Affiliate blog, you need a blog platform. The two most popular platforms are WordPress and Blogger.com. I do not for any reason recommend blogger.com for affiliate marketing, because there are limitations from every angle.
In fact, the only time blogger.com is recommended is when you want to start a free blog with no intention of making money.
If you want to start affiliate marketing, you need a self-hosted WordPress blog for piece of mind.
How to start an Affiliate Marketing blog
Head over to bluehost.com/hosting/shared and chose a hosting plan of choice.
All hosting plans comes with a free domain, sub-domains, free SSL certificate, etc.
Click on ‘Select’ to continue hosting purchase. You will be taken to a page that requires you to enter a domain name.
Enter your domain in the name box on the left, if you want register a new domain. Then, choose your domain extension from the drop down.
If you already have a domain name, enter it on the right text box.
At this point, you are required to create an account.
Enter your account information and continue with registration.
Once your account has been registered, bluehost will automatically install WordPress on your chosen domain, with the information you provided.
At once, WordPress will install on your server space. If you type in your domain name on a browser, it will load your new blog.
Customizing your blog.
If affiliate marketing is your business, there is need for branding. You will have to:
- Design a Logo
- Choose a Color
- Choose a font style
- Customize your blog using WordPress theme.
Why? Because you need a logo to make your site look more professional. You also need to choose a font style and color that blend to make your bog easy to read and user-friendly.
By default, WordPress blogs are boring. To make it lively, you need a premium WordPress theme. And it usually cost from $21 from themeforest.
I recommend Rehub Responsive WordPress theme for affiliate marketing.
That theme was coded having affiliate marketing in Mind. It works perfectly with content egg and affiliate egg plugins to pull offers from any of your favorite online store.
Once It pulls a product from any shop, it automatically pings the product to make sure it’s still available, and also if the price has changed it also change on your blog.
How to install rehub WordPress theme:
- Navigate to Appearance >Themes .
- Click Install Themes and hit the upload button.
- Navigate to find the
rehub-theme.zipfile on your computer and click Install Now button.
- The theme will be uploaded and installed.
- Activate the newly installed theme. Go to Appearance Themes and activate the installed theme.
How to send traffic to an affiliate offer:
Traffic means a lot in affiliate marketing. The more traffic your affiliate marketing blog gets, the higher chance you stand to make money.
In fact, “Traffic” is the golden rule of making money with affiliate marketing.
If you have a blog that promotes affiliate offer, without sending traffic to that blog, who will find the affiliate offer you are promoting?
You simply won’t make any money because if no one is reading your blog, no one will click through your affiliate link. That means you won’t make any money.
If you want to make money online, traffic is essential. But how do you send traffic to an affiliate offer?
Let’s talk about it…
Start with increasing your blog traffic.
Here is the thing, if you increase your blog traffic, there is a higher chance that your blog readers are likely to click-through your affiliate link.
Assuming your blog generates 500,000 visitors per month, and only 3% of those traffic click through an affiliate link and make a purchase. Then you agree with me that 15,000 people make a purchase through your affiliate link.
And if the affiliate offer has a $20 commission, then you will make $300,000!
How do you start increasing your blog traffic?
There are different ways of increasing traffic to your blog. Some of them are paid, while others are completely free.
I will list some of the best ways to send traffic to your blog.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the one of the best ways to drive free traffic to a blog. It works by creating contents on your blog, and then optimize them for search engine.
Many marketers believe it is slow and usually very hard to practice. However, SEO is the best source of traffic because it produces a long-term result, and it is free. The reason why most people scare away from SEO is because it’s many ranking factors and frequent algorithm update.
Apart from that, SEO is super easy to implement.
- PPC (Pay-Pay-Click)
Pay per click advertising is another good source of traffic if you have a few dollars to spend, here you will pay to get traffic to your blog. It is the fastest way of sending traffic to a blog. However, I don’t advise you to spend money on traffic yet if you are a new comer. Instead, learn SEO and other free methods of getting traffic.
If you know a deal about your Niche, you can join discussion forums and contribute your ideas. Doing this, you can easily link back to your blog and get free traffic.
Forums are easy to join, and usually receive a huge amount of traffic. So don’t be surprise that your audience also hand around there.
- Social Media
Sharing your blog on Facebook and other social media networks will help send people back to your blog. Facebook for instance, receives over 1.82 billion traffics on daily basis. Imagine how much traffic you stand to drive from that platform alone.
For more detailed guide on how to increase you blog traffic, follow our instruction
Convert your existing blog traffic
To be honest, getting traffic to your blog is a different thing, and getting them to click on your affiliate link is another.
Do you know that average website conversion rate is 2.35%? that means in every 100 people that visit your blog, only about 2 – 3 people will likely click through your affiliate link.
But hey! That on “Average”.
Of course you can increase your conversion rate, and I am going to show you how.
- Your affiliate marketing blog should be fast loading.
According to Neil Patel, 40% of your blog readers will abandon your blog if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load completely. Mind you, the more people abandon your blog, he more your conversion rate will reduce.
Get a fast and reliable web hosting from bluehost.com to insure your images, text and videos load quickly.
Also make sure you get a fast loading WordPress theme from themeforest.
- Create product tutorials and walkthroughs.
A lot of people want to buy a product, but they first want to know how the product works. If you give them a walkthrough on how to use that product, they will be encouraged to click through your affiliate offer.
- Write a review post
Another cool way to generate more affiliate conversion is to create high value review posts on your blog. You should also be aware there are many reviews already in your niche, this makes it integral to your strategy to make this post unique.
- Link out when possible
When you are promoting an affiliate offer, it may not be enough to only link to the offer once or twice on a blog post. If you want to increase your affiliate conversion, you should be sure to be linking to an affiliate offer whenever you mention it on your blog.
You should also have a clear CTA (Call To Action) to get your blog readers take action.
An Email List is necessary.
Have you heard about this saying: “There is money in the list”? That’s particularly true with affiliate marketing.
Honestly, you cannot claim to have an online business without building an email list. Do you know why?
Because 80% of your blog readers will never return to your blog when they leave. So, relying only on your blog traffic is a big mistake.
Building an email list may require you to invest a small amount of money, but don’t worry, you can always start for free if you don’t have money.
Basically, you need two thing:
- Email marketing service
- Lead magnet
An email marketing service (auto responders) is a software that saves all your email addresses in segment and send out automated email sequence according to your configuration.
Sendpulse. is one of the best email service available in Nigeria. If you don’t like it, you can use mailchimp.
Send pulse is not free to use, but it has a free trial. Don’t worry about the cost. In fact, Pamela Neely of contentwonk.com has calculated each email subscriber to worth $1 in return.
Another study has shown how Hubspot saw an astonishing 3800% ROI (Return on Investment) with email marketing.
Lead magnets are incentives you give your blog readers in exchange with their email address.
There is no guarantee that your blog readers will opt-in to your email list, right? But if you give them something valuable in return, they are more likely to.
For example, Neil Patel spent $30,000 creating a report that most people will buy, but he decided to give it out for free. Why? Because he understands the importance of building an email list.
Neil believes that Giving out free report helps in building email list fast. And it works.
People loves free thing. If you apply Neil’s formula, you will grow your email list fast.
How to build an email list
First of all, find a lead magnet idea for your blog and create it. It can be an eBook, podcast, webinar, etc.
You can even buy a PLR eBook from our book store, edit it and use it as a lead magnet.
Once you have it ready, come back here let’s continue.
Create an opt-in page
If you have your lead magnet ready, there are different ways to promote it. One of the ways is to create an independent opt-in page on your blog. Like this one:
It is a standalone page. We even created it using Elementor Page Builder.
You see that lead magnet? It cost us $89 to create, and we are giving it out for free!
It brought in over 211,000 email subscribers in less than four months.
Create pop-ups and sliders
We know pop-ups are annoying, but we still use them on this Blog. That is because they convert better. Sometime, we even use two pop-ups on a single page. For example, if you take your cursor to the top right of your computer screen, a pop-up will appear. It is called exit intent pop-up. Try it and see by yourself.
We use that pop-up to capture email address of users who want to close their browser while still reading our blog.
Again, if you read a blog post to a certain point, you will see another pop-up that will appear. It is called on-scroll pop-up.
If only comes up when a blog reader is already enjoying our content.
There are many types of pop-ups you can create. And if you are using WordPress for your blog, the job becomes easier because you won’t be trying hands on codes.
Layered pop-ups is a WordPress plugin on themeforest. That’s what we use on this blog.
Use content upgrades
Content upgrades works fine. Especially if you are building a targeted email list (people who have same interest).
A content upgrade is a downloadable report that is directly related to another content on your blog. It is called an upgrade because it adds additional value to the content.
For example, if you check our profitable niche list, we offered an upgrade that helps you download extra 201 profitable niche.
That piece of content has helped us build 629 email list in just a few weeks.
Guess what? Dean Brain added a content upgrade to 15 blog posts and boosted his site wide conversation rate by 185%!
Use gated content
Gated content requires a user to fill a form (Opt-in to your email list) prior to gaining access to a section or whole of your blog content.
For example, your blog readers may be required to complete an opt-in form before reading your premium content as seen in Backlinko.com
This helps a lot in building an email list.
There are many more ways to build an email list, we have listed about 15 of best ways to grow an email list.
How to find affiliate offers to promote.
Once your blog start getting hundreds – thousands of traffic, and you already started building a list. The next step to take is find affiliate programs to join, and then find offers to promote.
Before we go any further, I would like to let you know that different offers converts in very different ways such as:
- PPC – Pay-Per-Click
- PPA – Pay-Per-Action
- PPS – Pay-Per-Sale, etc.
We discussed it better here
The very first step to take when choosing an affiliate offer is find out how you get paid. For example, PPC affiliate programs will pay you any time someone clicks on your affiliate link. Whereas PPS affiliate programs only pays you when someone clicks on your link, and make a purchase.
If you finally decide how you want to be getting paid, then you can easily find affiliate programs that offer such payment opportunity. Some of the top affiliate programs/networks you can join includes:
- ClickBank affiliate program
- Amazon Associate Program – Read our Amazon affiliate marketing guide.
- Jumia Affiliate Program
- Commission Junction
There are many other affiliate program available in your Niche, if you ask Google. Just search “Keyword”+”Affiliate program”.
For example, if you are in the SEO & Marketing space, you may search “SEO”+”affiliate program”.
Honestly, starting an affiliate marketing business takes extra planning. It is not something anyone can wake up and start doing.
If you are a total beginner, I recommend you to get this eBook and read through every line of it to learn the formula.