Running a blog may be your passion project, but passive income can help you sustain and scale your passion project. If you’re interested in taking serious measures to monetize your blog or website, you’re probably familiar with the term affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing involves posting relevant products to your website—often through certain plugins and tools. Each product post will contain a special link that allows you to earn a commission for sales.
Companies like eBay and Amazon run some of the most popular affiliate marketing programs. Amazon makes it easy to sign up and get the process rolling. However, you can also reach out to tech-savvy businesses in your industry to see if they run their own affiliate marketing programs.
80% of publishers run an affiliate marketing program and 94% use more than one network.
Source: Hosting Tribunal
What are the steps involved in affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing isn’t difficult, but it takes patience.
Start a website.
Focus on creating a website that’s fully mobile responsive and has an extremely user-friendly interface. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to complete a purchase.
Develop a niche.
If you can manage to narrow down your niche, you can create the most significant content possible for your audience and sell super-relevant products.
By catering to a niche audience, you can offer content and products that may not be readily available to your audience currently. This will encourage brand loyalty, and it could even make you an expert in your industry.
Decide on products that would be a good fit.
Now you need to figure out what to sell. Get a spreadsheet ready and do some audience research. Start with Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics to find the demographic and interests of people who visit your website.
Create an Amazon affiliate account with Amazon Associates.
It’s extremely easy to set up an Amazon affiliate account with Amazon Associates. You’ll need an Amazon account, as well as a source you plan to use for affiliate marketing (e.g. a blog, YouTube channel, or even an email newsletter you want to use to drive revenue).
Amazon Associates takes most of the work out of the affiliate process, providing a user-friendly program. All you’ll need to do is answer a few questions, and you’re all set.
Look into other affiliate programs.
GoDaddy, Host Gator, REI, BodyBuilding.com, and many other websites offer affiliate programs. Each company offers different commission rates.
The most important aspect of affiliate marketing is thorough research. Look into reviews on various affiliate marketing providers, and consider which products would give your audience the best experience.
Create relevant content.
Content is a core building block of your business and your marketing, helping you develop a relationship with your audience. Work on in-depth blog posts, podcasts, videos, and more content that your audience will love.
Not sure of what content you should be putting out? Check out this post, which outlines fifty different content ideas you can use for your email newsletter.
Optimize for SEO and develop an email marketing strategy.
Go through the steps to get your website ranking for relevant keywords. Create an email marketing strategy to reach your audience one-on-one without fighting social media algorithms.
You can break up your audience into different segments based on behavior and region to reach the right people with the right products.
This webinar will teach you how you can do behavioral email marketing using Campaign Monitor.
How to measure the progress of your affiliate marketing
Amazon makes it easy to track your affiliate marketing performance. You can log into your special affiliate account and see all of your transaction details.
If you’re running email marketing campaigns for your affiliate program through Campaign Monitor, simply log into your dashboard to check the progress.
Click on the campaign you want to track, or look at your overall results from each campaign. You’ll be able to see how many people clicked the links inside your emails and how many subscribers converted into customers.
Although a lot of successful affiliate marketers will tell you the money starts flowing in overnight, this isn’t typical. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t see huge profits right away. Building a loyal audience, ranking well in search engines, and developing audience trust are steps that take time. Focus on progress—any progress is better than none.
Does it really matter?
If you run a niche blog or YouTube channel and have hopes to monetize your content, affiliate marketing is definitely worth considering—especially if you already built a decent following.
Remember to look for some niche brands in your industry. By forming a direct business relationship with brands, you may be able to earn better commission rates than you would with massive companies like Amazon. Plus, you’ll be able to offer your visitors more unique products.
Now that you have the basics of affiliate marketing figured out, you’ll want to focus on learning how to market your business. Email marketing is an excellent solution because it produces some of the best ROI yet requires minimal time and effort.
Start building your email marketing strategy for your affiliate website. Learn how to promote your business with email marketing now.