A Step-By-Step Guide to Affiliate Marketing (with Video)

Passive income can be a far-fetched goal for many, and for others it might be an impossible dream. However, if you talk to successful online affiliate marketers at the top of their game today, passive income will seem like a part of the process.

Which is also why affiliate marketing has become so popular in the recent years. With more affiliate opportunities and marketing options than ever before, becoming a successful online affiliate marketer is easier yet more competitive than ever before.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 steps that are essential to becoming a successful online affiliate marketer today.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting someone else’s products.

Affiliate marketing process
Affiliate marketing has 3 key elements: the seller, the affiliate, and the customer.

In an affiliate network, the merchant, the seller, or the brand creates the product. It can be a huge company, or a solo entrepreneur.

The affiliate or the publisher is the one who does the marketing. They promote one or more of the merchant’s products to potential customers so that they make a purchase. They can do this through articles, videos, product reviews, and more.

The customer comes across this promotional content through various channels like social media and blogs. If they end up buying the product from the merchant, the affiliate earns a commission, a part of the profit made from the sale.

This article shares 4 steps to make the best out of your job as an online affiliate marketer.

Step 1: Review Products in Your Niche

You already know and like many products from personal use and recommendations. To start as an online affiliate marketer, you just need to start talking about them publicly.

Whether it’s a website, YouTube video, or a social media page, it’s up to you to choose your channel. Of course, the choice does depend on the product and audience you have and the type of reviews you can create.

There are two options to look for an affiliate opportunity. You can either go for brands and companies that have their own affiliate program

Alternatively, you can sign up to established affiliate marketing networks like Amazon Affiliates, Alibaba affiliates, CJ affiliate, Awin, and more, to partner with brands easily.

Under these affiliate partnerships and programs, you’ll come across numerous affiliate brands and products. However, you should focus on marketing products that you know and trust. That way, you’ll relate to the product and your reviews will be genuine.

Once you find a product to promote, you can get an affiliate link for it through the affiliate program. You can then use it anywhere in your reviews so your visitors can check out and buy the product if they’re interested.

amazon affiliate link for a product
An affiliate link shows the seller that the customer came through you.

It’s also a good practice to clearly indicate that you’re marketing a product in a review. A simple mention of affiliation maintains your integrity and can even add another layer of credibility.

Step 2: Build an Email List

We know that email is still one of the best marketing channels today. Moreover, collecting contacts to build an email list doesn’t have to be so hard. Here are some tips:

  • You can use a hello bar at the top of your website to put a call to action there. It’s a good way to catch any visitor’s attention.
  • When a user is about to leave your website, a popup will appear on the screen. This is called an Exit gate. It’s a good way to get a visitor’s email without affecting their initial browsing experience.
  • You can also opt for a sidebar widget, but only if it’s clean and eye-catching, with a single call-to-action.
exit gate on a website
An exit gate keeps a track of the user’s mouse pointer to deliver a popup at the right moment.

When the emails do start trickling in, you don’t need a huge email list. You can create reliable and predictable sales with a few hundred contacts.

Just keep these email marketing tips in mind:

  • Don’t flood their inboxes with constant emails. Start with one email a week.
  • Make sure that every single email isn’t about sales. 
  • Pepper them with updates for each new review that goes up on your website. 
  • Occasionally, an email could contain a specific call-to-action to buy a product.

Step 3: Educate with Live Webinars

Using webinars, you can demonstrate a product’s hands-on experience to your audience. After all, when a shopper understands a product better, they’re more comfortable buying it.

Promote the webinar on your social media and in newsletters well in advance to make sure most of your followers sign up.

You can then use tools like Google Meet and Zoom to conduct your live webinars for free. These tools are very easy to learn and use and you can control who can join the sessions. 

Apart from showing the product and answering questions, you can

  • Go into its features,
  • Talk about its benefits and drawbacks,
  • Show different use cases, and 
  • Advise ways for your audience to make the most out of it.

Most importantly, directing people to your affiliate link at the end of a seminar feels organic for your audience. Also, if you can get a special offer code or another deal for your audience, more people might end up buying the product. You can reach out to the seller and convince them to give you a code by showing that you’ll get their product in front of a few hundred people. 

Online affiliate marketer
Providing an affiliate link at the end of a webinar feels organic.

Step 4: Grow with Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the best way to speed up your affiliate marketing business’s growth once it has gained some momentum.

You can expand your reach with paid ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Though, choosing a platform depends on your product, target audience demographics, budget, and several other factors.

You can create ads for various marketing objectives and reach out to specific audiences using targeting factors provided by various platforms. For example, Facebook marketing lets you target an audience to show ads to based on location, age, gender, language, and even interests and behaviors.

Facebook marketing
Facebook’s audience targeting parameters make it easy to show ads to specific audiences.

You have the option to send ads to make more sales, grow your email list, or get people to sign up for your webinar. However, when you serve ads for your live webinar, not only will more people attend the webinar and buy the product, you’ll also get their contacts to expand your email list for future campaigns.

Just make sure you can strike a balance between the profit margins and the amount spent on advertising. Considering the small margins you get on sales, the ad spend can quickly eat up your earnings. So only advertise for an objective that makes the most sense to you.

You can use free online tools like Canva to create professional looking ads yourself. The platform provides free and paid templates that you can edit with ease. On the other hand, you can even create ads from scratch using elements, text, and images.

Canva ads
You can create professional-looking ads using Canva.

Though the first step is what you need to get started as an online affiliate marketer, the subsequent steps may take some time to be applicable and worthwhile for you. In the end, these 4 steps done right combined with a patient grind can make you a successful online affiliate marketer and get you close to achieving your passive income goals.

If you prefer a video version, please check the video below:

Further reading