Affiliate marketing is a bit of a buzzword. But for good reason. Done right, it’s a scalable, passive income stream – pretty sweet. Still, it requires your time, upfront work and an effective strategy. So let’s check off that last point: welcome to your affiliate marketing blueprint.
Affiliate marketing is a business, an asset, an investment that will grow, compound and pay you dividends over time.
It’s not a get-rich-quick path to financial freedom in 90 days or less.
But it is an incredibly effective path to building wealth, creating real value for people and achieving financial freedom eventually.
So I’ve put together my top tips and “hacks” for running an effective affiliate marketing business – based on experience, best practices and modern methods that actually work.
Just remember, enjoy the ride and don’t despair if you’re not getting results immediately – all good things…
Alright, enough small talk, let’s get it!
- What Is Affiliate Marketing?
- Where To Find Good Affiliate Marketing Products
- Which Products & Industries Are Best For Affiliate Marketing?
- Places, Platforms & Methods To Do Affiliate Marketing
- How To Start Affiliate Marketing Today: With Free Training, Support & Tools For Success
- Affiliate Marketing Tips & Hacks
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
First things first, even though you probably already know what affiliate marketing is, let’s do a quick definition for anyone that’s unfamiliar or would like some clarity.
Affiliate Marketing is a business model where you recommend and promote products on behalf of a company for a commission on each of the sales you generate.
And there are literally millions of business, products and companies that offer affiliate programs.
So whatever your niche, industry or area of interest or expertise, you’re bound to find a product you can promote.
So let’s explore where and how to find good products and affiliate programs!
Where To Find Good Affiliate Marketing Products
There are a couple ways of finding affiliate products and signing up for partnership programs.
Although it can totally depend on the product you choose and the company you want to work with, just remember that most major companies will have some type of partnership platform or affiliate program.
So if you do have some specific brand or company in mind that you’d like to work with (such as Nike or HubSpot), then you can just do a quick search (via Google sensei) to see if they offer any affiliate partnerships.
Most times, you’ll be linked to an affiliate signup page.
You can also go directly to the website and peruse around for a link to their affiliate program or partnership opportunity (usually towards the bottom).
Here is a short list summarizing some of the common ways to find an affiliate program:
- Use An Affiliate Marketing Network (searchable marketplaces that lists thousands of affiliate offers to join)
- One of the largest affiliate programs
- You can literally promote any product on Amazon for an affiliate commission
- Many products are lower commission rates, so you’ll need a high volume of sales to make good money
- Large Retailers Such As Target, WalMart, etc.
- Most Brands & Big Companies
- Software Products
- This is my personal favorite – Keep reading to the next section to see why!
Which Products & Industries Are Best For Affiliate Marketing?
If you don’t have any specific products or industries in mind, then this section should help you narrow down your options.
After all, there are literally millions of products and brands to promote! So let’s start with the evergreen niches.
Evergreen niches are products, services and industries that always have been and always will be profitable.
The three most common evergreen niches are:
- Wealthy & Personal Finance
- Healthy & Well-Being
Of course, these topics are extremely broad and competitive as is, which means you’ll need to narrow down your targeting if you decide to go with one of these niches.
For example, you could choose health and wellness but build a site focused on organic infant nutrition on a budget or vegan health for runners, or organic foods for dog health.
You’ll want to do some keyword research to find a good niche.
Keyword research helps in finding a profitable niche. Ideally, you’ll want to find keywords with a high enough search volume but lower competition.
That is, you don’t want to build a new website that will be competing with industry leaders in your chosen niche, who will have high domain authorities.
Here are a few ways to do niche/keyword research:
- Google Trends
- Google Search Bar Autosuggest
- Start typing in your niche or keyword and see what Google autosuggests
- This indicates popular topics that people are searching for
- This is great for research, but you’ll want to cross-reference these ideas with a keyword tool to get search volume data
- Using A Keyword Research Tool
- You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest to find search volume data and recommended variations on any keyword or niche
- Other’s Recommendations & Blogs
- Here’s a great article by affiliate marketing guru ODi Productions that lists some top niches to look into!
Personally, I love promoting software products since they tend to be higher in price, pay out larger commissions (30-40%) and offer monthly recurring payments for each customer you sign up.
Ultimately, I prefer to hit at least a few of the following factors of a good affiliate product to promote:
- Higher-Ticket Products (i.e., not $2-3 product sales)
- Monthly, Recurring Commission Payouts
- Good Product Quality & An Established Brand
- Products & Companies That Provide Free Promotional Material
- Any Product That Solves A Real Problem For People
- Anything in the Health, Wealthy or Relationships Niches
Places, Platforms & Methods To Do Affiliate Marketing
One of the most exciting decisions you’ll need to make is choosing where you’d like to promote products.
Of course, there are numerous ways to reach people nowadays – social media, YouTube, digital marketing and social media ads, the list goes on.
However, I personally recommend that everyone has a website to start building great content on.
Essentially, this will become a long-term asset that you can continue to grow over time. So that’s first on my list!
Building A Niche Website
A website is a lot like a piece of digital real estate that will house your affiliate content while building your brand and getting (free) traffic for years to come.
And luckily, getting a niche website set up these days doesn’t require any technical expertise or knowledge.
You can literally have a brand new website and domain up and running in less than 10 minutes. How you ask?
Well let me show you a couple ways!
The most common way to one up and running is to create the actual site through WordPress and then purchase a domain and connect it to a platform such as Bluehost to have your site actually hosted and active on the internet.
Although this may sound confusing (if you’re new to website building or hosting), I promise you it’s not too bad – if you follow a guide.
So here’s a link from Neil Patel that will walk you through the whole process of choosing a niche, setting up hosting and building out your site on WordPress.
If you’d like even further guidance however, you can also check out my section below on How To Start Affiliate Marketing Today: With Mentors, Resources & Tools.
Here I introduce you to Wealthy Affiliate, which is a membership platform that will host your site, connect you with mentors and get you up and running with zero experience or technical knowledge.
Building A YouTube Channel For Affiliate Marketing
Building a YouTube channel is a fantastic opportunity for affiliate marketing (and business in general).
Similar to a website, a YouTube channel is a long-term asset that will continue to generate sales and conversions for you well after you’ve recorded and uploaded the video.
Unlike social media strategies, creating YouTube (and website) content will continue to drive you traffic and sales over a long period.
This is truly what is meant by passive income.
Do keep in mind however that to be successful, you must be consistent, provide value and have a good content strategy (will your channel be educational? Inspiring? Perhaps entertaining? Or maybe a combination of themes?).
Just like websites and blog posts, you’ll also need to optimize your video titles, descriptions and tags for SEO.
Creating a successful YouTube channel requires patience and consistency.
You may not see any real growth for a long time. Some YouTubers claim they didn’t start generating real, consistent traffic until they uploaded around 100 videos.
But if you can stay consistent, engaging and focused on the end user, YouTube can be a fantastic way to build a following and promote your affiliate links by adding them in the video descriptions.
$$ Tip Jar
To really optimize your SEO strategy, you can create both a blog and a YouTube channel, linking the content between the two platforms.
Essentially, you can turn your blog posts into video formats (or vice versa) and promote each other in a synergistic way.
This way, you’ll be driving traffic from Google to YouTube and from YouTube to Google!
Social Media & Influencer Marketing For Affiliates
No post on making money online would be complete without mentioning social media. It’s one of the most powerful tools that any digital marketer, modern business or individual can take advantage of.
However, this strategy does require either a.) a budget, b.) time investment or c.) at least a rudimentary understanding of how to run profitable social media ad campaigns.
And if you’re not interested in learning or running social media ads (see the next section), there are other ways to take advantage of these platforms.
The first thing you can do is start building your own business profile and grow an engaged following by posting valuable, entertaining, engaging, relevant and interesting content (I prefer Instagram for this).
However, this does take time, consistency and high quality content.
So although it’s not the quickest or easiest path, it can be one of the best ways to build an engaged following and a sustainable brand for your affiliate marketing business.
But if you’d prefer a quicker strategy, then you could try investing in something like influencer marketing.
The great thing about this strategy is you can essentially piggyback off of another person’s existing audience by paying for that person to promote your offer to her or his audience.
Prices and reach can vary with this approach depending on the influencer’s popularity. So be aware that if you try to contact an influencer with a very large following, you’ll likely need to spend a lot of money.
However, targeting micro-influencers (or people with ~10,000 followers, or maybe even less – as long as the followers are engaged) is an affordable and recommended strategy for getting started with influencer marketing.
Digital Marketing For Affiliates
Digital marketing opens up a lot of unique opportunity for scaling an online business.
The only caveat is you need to know what you’re doing. Despite what some may say, just throwing up a few ads with some light targeting is usually not going to cut it.
To run profitable social media ads, you need a strategic approach with effective audience targeting, an irresistible offer with a compelling message, A/B split-testing and followup retargeting campaigns.
Still, the opportunity to scale with this strategy (once you find a winning campaign) is extremely enticing.
Some main benefits of digital marketing are:
- You Can Get As Granular As You Want With You Audience Targeting
- Customizing your ads for a very specific niche and customer can yield great results
- You Can Retarget Only You Most Engaged Prospects For High Conversions
- If you’re not retargeting website visitors and/or people that have engaged with your previous ads/content, you’re not using digital marketing correctly
- It’s Guaranteed Traffic To You Website & Eyeballs On You Offers
- As long as you’re targeting is on point
- It’s A Relatively Low-Cost Option
- Although it’s getting more expensive and competitive, it’s still under priced for what you’re able to do
- You Get Expansive Functionality For Testing & Optimization, Which Will Maximize Returns
- Ensure that you only spend your budget on winning, profitable campaigns
- It’s Measurable Marketing With Impressive Data Tracking & Analytics
- Easy-to-read metrics tell you where to put more money and when to stop under-performing ads
Some common places to use digital marketing are:
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- Facebook actually owns Instagram, so you can create these two campaigns jointly
- Google & Bing
As you can see, there are various platforms each with their own pros and cons.
So be sure to clearly understand your audience’s mindset depending on the platform they’re on.
Your offer, messaging and ad should match this mindset as close as possible.
For example, people go on Facebook to interact with friends and family and to find interesting or entertaining content.
They’re not actively searching for their problems to be solved. So your ad strategy should represent this mindset.
However, people go to YouTube for entertainment yes – but they also use it for education and to have specific problems solved.
So be sure to match your offer and your ad to the user’s mindset depending on the particular platform they’re using.
Since showing you all the ins and outs of a successful digital marketing campaign is beyond the scope of this post, please feel free to check out this post where I walk you through my six steps to running profitable Facebook ads!
This will be a great place to start.
Pinterest For Affiliate Marketing
Pinterest is an amazing tool that every business owner, blogger or website owner should be incorporating in their promotional content strategy.
So I’ve decided to add Pinterest as a whole separate section for three specific reasons:
- It’s both a search engine and a social media tool
- It can be extremely powerful at driving a lot of traffic to new blogs, websites or online accounts
- Users skew towards high-income earners and spend a lot of money on the platform
Pinterest SEO (search engine optimization) is similar to optimizing for Google, YouTube or any other search engine.
However, users may achieve quicker results compared to organic ranking on other platforms.
To get started, you’ll want to first create a new business account with Pinterest.
From here, you should name your profile and add a description that is keyword rich and something relevant to your niche.
For example, my Pinterest account is aptly named Quinn’s Playbook – Digital Marketing & Making Money Online.
You description should succinctly tell people exactly what you do and who you serve. You can also add a call to action here, linking back to your website.
Next, you’ll need to start creating boards (around 10 to start) and start populating with pins.
If you’re unfamiliar with Pinterest, a pin is essentially a clickable post that you create that links back to some external website article or offer.
You want to add description and titles to all your boards and individuals pins that are keyword focused and optimized for organic ranking including relevant hashtags.
You can easily find relevant keyword by simply starting to type in your niche or pin/post topic into the Pinterest search bar and see what autosuggest topics pop up.
So do your keyword research and keep a note of all the relevant keywords you find for each pin and add them into your titles and descriptions (write naturally though and don’t tr to keyword-stuff, which can result in your account/pin being penalized).
Finally, if you want to automate your Pinterest strategy and take advantage of joining active groups full of high authority website pinners who will share your content (in exchange for you sharing their content), there’s an amazing tool for that.
It’s called Tailwind and their Tailwind Tribes feature is particularly awesome for jump-starting big traffic to a new blog. And if you follow this link, you can test it out completely for free!
This is just a 10,000 foot overview of Pinterest, so if you’d like to learn more about Pinterest (and making money from blogging), check out Lauren and Alex over at Create and Go – they’ve got some fantastic content.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing Today: With Free Training, Support & Tools For Success
Affiliate marketing is an amazing way to build a sustainable, long-term business.
It can be used as either a passive income source or as an active business with complimentary products and monetization channels (such as memberships, digital products and consulting services).
It’s an acquired skill that’s value-adding to the market and something that companies will always be more than happy to pay you high commissions for.
And the best part? It’s not too saturated and anyone can do it successfully.
To be successful however, you’ll need the right strategies, tools and understanding.
That’s why it’s essential (if you’re new to this business model) to spend time learning, testing and improving.
Nobody’s first post or website is pretty.
But luckily there are shortcuts to limiting this beginner’s learning curve!
For example, consulting directly with mentors, high-earners and other marketers and online money-makers will support your own success.
Joining a community of like-minded people and successful entrepreneurs is one of the best ways to ensure you own success.
To know the road ahead, ask the person coming back.
You have support and avoid many of the common mistakes made by beginners. You’ll understand and apply profit-building strategies and industry best practices from day one.
Ultimately, this leads to a successful affiliate marketing journey.
Creating perfectly optimized content that will generate consistent traffic for years to come is the best thing you can invest in for your future.
So if you’d like to shortcut your way forward, below is my top recommended resource (that’s completely free to join) that I personally use and something that continues to help propel my online business forward.
- Wealthy Affiliate (free)
- A comprehensive platform offering training, resources and tools for building and scaling a successful online business in affiliate marketing
- You’ll get instant access to everything from website building and digital marketing strategies to content creation tools and market research resources
- You’ll also be connected to like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, all ready and eager to help and coach you directly
- You can get sign up now and start their free training by following the link above (or below)
- If you do sign up using my link, send me a message and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions!
Affiliate Marketing Tips & Hacks
- Don’t Spread Yourself Thin
- Have a niche, but sign up for multiple affiliate programs and products
- Focus First on Giving Free Value & Solving You Target Market’s Problems
- You can build trust and authority more easily
- You can then naturally recommend your affiliate product offers that can help your audience
- Only Recommend Good Products or Products That You’ve Personally Used
- Write Review-Style Articles
- Do Keyword Research & Understand Buyer Intent
- Learn SEO
- Here’s a free course from HubSpot on SEO and search engine ranking
- Keep Learning & Cross-Reference
- Don’t use just one resource; continually test and find what works best for you, your niche and your offer
- Use YouTube, Google, Udemy, etc. to keep improving your skills
- Follow and copy what successful people are doing
- Stay Focused & Stay Patient
- Affiliate marketing takes time
- Depending on your promotional strategy, if can take many months before getting traction
- For example, starting a website is one of the best things you can do as an affiliate marketer, however it can take up to 35 weeks before an article starts ranking
This post has reviewed many of the most common questions and topics for getting started with affiliate marketing.
I’ve tried to condense the information into a user-friendly, beginner-friendly format by providing an overview of the first steps you can take to start affiliate marketing today.
Affiliate marketing is an amazing business model that allows you to grow and scale multiple businesses and passive income streams online.
However, it is not a get-rich-quick type of deal. It requires focus, consistency and value-adding content.
Luckily, once you build this asset, you can really enjoy the fruits of your labor as you watch the resource you create continue to grow and compound over time.
There are multiple strategies to selling affiliate products, including organic SEO ranking, digital marketing, social media and Pinterest.
And each of them have their pros and cons.
However, regardless of the path you pursue, as long as you’re providing real value and solving real problems for people, you can enjoy success in this industry.
So thanks for reading today and I wish you the best of luck with your affiliate marketing goals!
Let me know in the comments what other questions you have about affiliate marketing! I’m more than happy to help 🙂