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How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business from Home

Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting another company’s products or services for a commission. Online businesses often recruit affiliate marketers to drive traffic to their sites to buy their products or services.

This is win-win situation for both merchants and affiliates. Merchants can increase their revenues by having hundreds or thousands of affiliates promoting their products or services. They pay commission to their affiliates for referring a sale or a lead. This is accomplished by the affiliates putting a merchant’s banner or text link on their blog, website, newsletter, or social media sites.

As an affiliate, you can have several blogs or websites with different topics, each generating income through your referral to the merchant’s site. Once someone clicks on a text link or banner that merchant has provided for you to put on your site, it places a cookie on his or her computer allowing the merchant to track where the sale or lead came from.

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the cheapest and quickest ways for earning an income online. You don’t have to create any products or services yourself. You don’t have to ship any products or provide customer support. All you have to do is to send traffic to a merchant’s site you choose.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Work from home: You can work as an affiliate marketer in the comfort of your own home. You can work while keeping your regular job.
  • Easy to start: If you have a blog or website, all you have to do is choose a merchant from a network or go directly visit the merchant’s site and sign up for free.
  • No production cost: You don’t have to create any product or come up with any type of service. The products or services are already developed by the seller.
  • No employee: You don’t have to hire employees. You can work on your own pace any time you decide and stop working when you feel like it. You are your own boss as long as you comply with the rules and policies set by the merchant, such as avoiding spam.
  • No fees: You can join affiliate programs for free.
  • No storage, shipping and handling: Seller will take care of storage, shipping, and dealing with customers. You don’t have to deal with returns or provide any customer support.
  • Global market: You can reach people all over the world to promote products or services.
  • Free to choose merchants, products, or services: You decide what products to promote. You can also decide to promote a service, such as online dating service for a company.
  • No limit on your income. Unlike most regular jobs that offer a fixed income, there’s no ceiling on your income working as an affiliate marketer; it is up to you, your efforts and your abilities.

If you don’t have any experience on online marketing, there are many books and courses available. You can start slow and gradually learn. Setting up a blog is free. You can even start with a very basic website using platforms such as WordPress. Being active on social media is also free. All you need is determination, commitment, and action.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

As an affiliate marketer, you create a blog or website that provides information, and casually recommend products or services related to your topic. The merchant usually provide you with articles or banner ads that you put on your site.

You can write your own article, such as a review article comparing several products or services related to the one you recommend to your readers with text link or banner. Once your reader clicks the link, he or she will be redirected to the merchant’s site, and you take a commission on the sale or lead when a transaction happens.

Let’s say your site is about reviewing digital cameras. You could join a company’s affiliate program that offers digital cameras. You earn a commission when someone purchases a camera based on your site’s referral.

When you join an affiliate program and choose the products or services you want to promote, the merchant provides you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the merchant’s site. The merchant can track your performance through your affiliate ID using their affiliate software.

Joining an affiliate program is free. Avoid any affiliate program asking for a fee to join. You can promote as many products or services you can handle. However, it is to your advantage to choose only a few products and services related to the topic of your site in order to manage them effectively.

Merchants usually pay their affiliates monthly. You have real time access to all your sales and commissions.

Most affiliate programs will offer ready-made banners and text links to their members to copy the code and paste it on their sites to start referring traffic. If your visitor clicks on these links from your site and purchase a product or subscribe to a service on the merchant’s site, you will get paid a commission for your referral.


General Pay Models

Affiliate programs may offer one or more of the following payment terms:

  • Pay per sale: Merchant pays you a percentage of the sale price every time someone buys using a link from your site or your content.
  • Pay per lead: You get paid every time someone signs up or fills up a form on the merchant site using a link from your content.
  • Cost per click: You get paid every time someone clicks from your content and redirected to the merchant’s site, whether or not a sale is made.

The Key to Success with Affiliate Marketing

The key to your success with affiliate marketing is to build a content-rich website or blog with valuable information around a specific topic. On the other hand, a road to failure is to rush into building a quick blog or site with some useless unrelated subjects and then putting a bunch of affiliate links without any planning.

You must first select a niche or target market and develop a strategy to become an authority in that area. Start by building credibility by creating and publishing content in the area of your expertise for your target market.

When you become an expert, you can recommend a product or service rather than hard selling. To become an expert, you must become familiar with the product or service you plan to promote.

Before recommending a product, purchase it first, inspect it closely and try to learn everything you possibly can about it. If it’s a book, read it thoroughly. If you plan to recommend a service, become a subscriber first. It may seem like lots of work, but how can you promote something you know nothing or a little about.

Let’s say you want to market a certain category of products, such as consumer electronics. Consider problems you want to solve within your target market and then look for quality products to accomplish that goal.

You won’t be able to market affiliate products or services without having substantial number of visitors. In order to have traffic, your site or blog must be more than a place to sell items. You need to also provide valuable content about the products or services you’re trying to market. The content of your site should be related to your target audience. In order to build credibility, you must be honest with everything you claim. Otherwise, you’ll risk damaging your reputation.

In order to build traffic to your site, you also need to become familiar with search engine optimization and online marketing. While you can hire someone to do any technical work for you, you still need to know about the subject and what you plan to accomplish.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make money online, but it is highly competitive. In order to be successful, you need to know your target market, learn how to promote products or services, and become knowledgeable about online marketing.

Set Up a Blog Website

Set up a blog or website if you don’t have one in order to display your affiliate links. Launching a website is more work than a blog. You’ll need to select a domain name, create some information related to your target market, select a web hosting service, and design your site or hire someone to do it for you. You can start building a basic blog or website using platform like WordPress or Blogger.

If you decide to set up a blog, here are a few tips:

  • Before starting a blog, decide what you want to accomplish. Do you want to build credibility by providing useful information to drive traffic? The subject you choose will ultimately decides on the type of products or services you plan to promote for your affiliate items. Your topic must be relevant to what you plan to offer as an affiliate marketer. So carefully decide on your target market. If you’re not expert, you can always learn and expand your knowledge.
  • Try to make your blog unique and different from all other blogs. Provide quality information for your target market to drive traffic to your blog.
  • Update your posts regularly by posting at least once a week.
  • Keep your blog posts brief and relevant to the subject of your blog. Keep your readers interested by providing useful information.
  • Try to utilize the services of guest bloggers to make your blog more interesting and to increase your blog’s quality content.
  • Read your favorite blogs and participate by giving valuable comment in order to attract visitors to your own blog.
  • Use relevant and interesting pictures on your blog whenever you can to communicate your message more effectively.
  • To make your content to stand out, use great headlines, bullet points and numbers, and some bold keywords for your headlines, sub-headlines, and to get attention to important items.
  • Use internal links to connect blogs of a similar subject so that your readers can easily navigate your blog.
  • Use social media to promote your blog.
  • Try to reply to every comment on your blog even to negative criticism. Your reply should always be honest, polite, and professional in order to gain respect of your audience.

Every blog takes time to build readership and to become popular. Patience and hard work to make your blog better finally pays off as more people become aware of it.

Choose a Good Affiliate Program

Selecting the right affiliate program is important to your success. How do you decide which one is the right one for you? The same program that’s good for someone else may not be right for you.

Before selecting an affiliate program, decide what you want to sell. It must be relevant to the topic of your blog or website. It is all about your target market and what makes them interested in your offer. Focus on the topic of your site and then look for products to fit your site’s content.

Selling a $10 product is usually easier than trying to sell $100 item. However, if you can honestly recommend a product, regardless of price, it all depends on the quality of the product or service you’re promoting.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • You and your customers must be able to trust the company.
  • The merchant must have good technical and customer support. You must be able to recommend them. Read their sales copy to see whether they can convert prospects to customers.
  • You can use keywords relevant to your topic to search for companies offering affiliate products or services. You can also visit well-known affiliate networks such as Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, ShareaSale, LinkShare, and more. Many online merchants contract with affiliate networks to reach people interested in promoting their products or services.
  • If you have created a website or blog about certain topic, you want to search various affiliate networks and look for products or services that relate to the topic of your site.
  • You will notice that each program distinguishes itself by the products it sells. Read about the commissions they pay. You should also compare websites to determine which has the best prices and products for your customers. Good sites also load fast and able to convert. The site must also be easy to navigate.
  • Good affiliate programs also have good support system. They must show earning for your commission in real time. Good affiliate programs supply their affiliates good banners and articles to make the job of affiliates easier to refer potential customers.
  • Joining affiliate program is free. You can become an affiliate of as many networks as you can easily manage. However, you should start slow to see how much you can handle before expanding. The same apply to products or services you decide to handle.
  • Contact individual companies and apply to join their affiliate program or join an affiliate network. For your highest rate of success, only market products or services you have tried or thoroughly reviewed, and are related to your target market.
  • Select a payment option for affiliate program you join. Some companies provide checks; others require you to have online payment account such as PayPal.
  • Grab the affiliate code from your account and paste it into your site to begin earning commission from the referrals in your site through articles and banners the merchant provides you with.
  • Establish an advertising method. There are many ways to promote your item online. The more experience you have on your online marketing and advertising, the more likely you are to succeed as an affiliate marketer.
  • Try to become knowledgeable about search engine optimization, online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and social media promotion. Establish your site as an authority on your subject, and focus on expanding your traffic.

A good marketing and advertising campaign takes time. The key to success is to become knowledgeable and willingness to want to learn and experiment new strategies and techniques. There are many affiliates trying to earn some passive income and there are super affiliates making six figures or more income. Which one you want to be? It will be up to you and your efforts. Good luck.

By John Stanford – 2019
Copyright © 2019 Allied Publishing
Provided by
Allied Publishing

For additional articles written by John Stanford, see alliedpublishing.com/affiliate-marketing. John Stanford is the author of
Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing Program
published in 2019.