Do you want to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing, but you’re not sure where to get started?
Affiliate marketing is all about generating tons of profits without any effort, right? At least that’s what a quick Google search would have you believe, but as usual, the truth is a little more complex than that.
Yes, you can make money through affiliate marketing. Good money. And, yes, you can even make money while you sleep.
In this post, we’re going to teach you how to generate passive income with successful affiliate marketing.
But why listen to us?
Unlike other wannabe experts and false prophets, we only preach what we practice.
Our CEO, Syed Balkhi, is one of the top affiliate marketers in the world. We’ve built and managed several high-profile publications that attract millions of visitors each month. These are sites you’re probably familiar with, like WPBeginner and IsItWP.
And here’s the thing about these sites: they don’t actually sell anything. So how do they earn money?
Two words: affiliate marketing.
That’s why, in this post, we’re excited to teach you the EXACT strategies we use on our own publications to drastically increase revenue with affiliate marketing.
Before we get in too deep, though, let’s make sure we’re all clear on what affiliate marketing is and how it can help your business.
If you’re already a seasoned pro, feel free to jump straight to our section on how to make money with affiliate marketing.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer pays you a commission for traffic or sales generated from your referrals.
It’s essentially classic advertising in a less intrusive way. Rather than promoting a product on your website with visual advertisements, like this:
You simply embed the product link in your content, like this:
In the image above, the affiliate partner is Bluehost, a company that offers self-hosting services for websites.
So does that mean you can create a website, toss in a bunch of affiliate links, and watch the affiliate commissions roll in? Not quite, but we’ll get to that.
For now, you simply need to know the basics with how affiliate marketing works:
- You recommend a product or service to your followers through your website, blog, or email list.
- Your followers purchase the product or service using your affiliate link.
- You get paid a commission for the sales made using your affiliate link.
Let’s break down this process into more detail to make sure you know exactly how to make a successful affiliate marketing strategy.
But first, let’s quickly look at 2 things you need before starting out with affiliate marketing.
What You Need to Start Affiliate Marketing
There are 2 things you need to get started with affiliate marketing:
- Create a website or blog in your niche
- Choose affiliate products to promote
Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail:
1. Create a Website or Blog for Your Niche
To make money with affiliate marketing, the first thing you need is a website.
When it comes to building your website, you have tons of options. But we highly recommend using WordPress.
With WordPress, anyone can quickly build a professional-looking website in minutes.
Plus, WordPress has more tools to help their sites perform at a higher level than other website builders. That means more functionality across your site and a better user experience (UX) for your visitors.
If you’re interested in making money with affiliate marketing, WordPress is definitely your way to go. You can check out these tutorials if you need help building your site:
Now that your website is built, you’ll need to determine which products you want to promote. That takes us to the second prerequisite for starting out with affiliate marketing.
2. Choose Affiliate Products to Promote
If you’ve done the work to choose a niche, choosing affiliate products to promote should be easy. Choose products that fit your niche and relate to your content.
One of the best ways to select your affiliate products is by joining an affiliate network.
Affiliate networks are businesses that connect merchants and affiliate marketers so both can earn more money. Affiliate marketers use affiliate networks to make better product selections to promote on their site.
There are many affiliate networks out there, but here are a few of the most popular:
One of the benefits of affiliate networks is they typically have more data on how well a product sells. You can then use that data to increase your affiliate marketing profits.
For more information, check out our helpful post: Earnings-Per-Click: How to Win Big at Affiliate Marketing.
Anytime that you can make data-driven decisions rather than “going with your gut” is an excellent opportunity to optimize your affiliate strategy.
Ok, now that you have your website built and you know which products you want to promote, it’s time to dive into our exact process for making money with affiliate marketing.
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How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Now that you have a website and joined an affiliate network, it’s the right time to start monetizing your site with affiliate marketing.
Let’s get started!
Step 1) Create Content That Generates Affiliate Revenue
In an effort to make money with affiliate marketing, most beginners simply publish some random content and insert affiliate links within the article.
That strategy may or may not work, but if you truly want to boost your affiliate revenue, you’ll need to make sure the content you publish reaches your target audience.
Your target audience is someone who wants to buy a product but not sure whether or not the product is worth it. Sometimes, the user may not even know which product to buy for fulfilling their needs.
As an affiliate marketer, it’s your job to help users discover the right product for their needs with high-quality content, help them make a purchasing decision, and then navigate them to the product website for completing the purchase.
That means your article should be targeting investigational intent keywords — the type of keywords your target audience uses on Google to research about the product they want, right before making the purchase.
For more details, you can check out our guide on choosing the right keywords.
Step 2) Promote Your Affiliate Products in the Content
Now you know what kind of content you’re going to produce: investigational. You’re looking for topics that revolve around your target audience searching for an answer to the problem they’re facing.
Once you’ve done your keyword research and have your content ideas, it’s time to start inserting affiliate links in your content.
The way that you insert your affiliate links will depend on the specific article you’re writing. It wouldn’t make sense to add affiliate links to 5 different products if you’re doing a product review.
On the other hand, if you’re showcasing the “Top 10 Tools for Solving X,” you would want to put in multiple affiliate links to increase your chances of making more sales.
The goal is to insert your links as strategically as possible.
Here are a few tips you can use to get the most out of your affiliate links’ placement:
- Only link where appropriate: Don’t add an affiliate link if it doesn’t fit in your content. This will negatively impact the user experience (UX) and cost you more lost sales in the long run.
- Add links as early as possible: If you’re showcasing many products in one article, make sure you add your affiliate products at the top of the list. Most people won’t take the time to read an entire article. You want to make sure they see your affiliate links early on.
- Get more out of your site’s space: You can use floating bars, inline banners, and sidebar widgets to promote your affiliate products. These enhance the impact of your content and lead to more sales over time.
Here’s an example of affiliate links from a post by IsItWP on the best recipe plugins for WordPress:
You’ll notice the list has many options, but the first few are affiliate links. This gives the user a chance to research all the options while increasing the odds that IsItWP’s affiliate links will be seen.
Again, you want to appropriately promote your links as often–and as powerfully–as you can.
Pro-Tip: Before you start adding hundreds of affiliate links across your site, invest in an affiliate link plugin.
Imagine having to sort through and update hundreds of expired affiliate links when you have no idea where you’ve placed them on your website. You’re looking at hours of headaches and tons of wasted profit from expired links you’d forgotten about.
Fortunately, this is one nightmare that can be avoided with an affiliate management plugin. And one of the best ones on the market is Pretty Links:
Pretty Links is an affiliate marketing management plugin that lets you keep better track of your affiliate links. It’s easy to set up, super user-friendly (even for less tech-savvy marketers) and allows you to put your marketing on auto-pilot.
If the day ever comes where you’re asked to update old affiliate links from your partners, you’ll be able to accomplish it in minutes, not days.
Plus, if you do find you run into any trouble, they’ve got an amazing support team to help you at each step of the way.
Now that you’ve created the right kind of content and have strategically placed your links (while using an affiliate management plugin), it’s time to kick things up a notch with targeted conversion campaigns.
Step 3) Turn Your Visitors Into Affiliate Customers
One of the biggest mistakes new affiliate marketers make is assuming they need to 10x their traffic if they want to 10x their profit.
It actually doesn’t work that way, which is great news for you.
For example, let’s say that you’re promoting a product on your site that pays $50 as affiliate commission for every sale you make. And imagine that your affiliate conversion rate is 2%, meaning for every 100 visitors you send to that website, 2 of them are buying the product.
That means the CPC (cost per click) you earn is $1 per click.
(CPC = Total affiliate revenue / total traffic you sent)
But what if you could send 2X more visitors to the affiliate product site? Based on the CPC value, you could double the affiliate revenue as well. And the best part… you don’t have to increase traffic to your site. Instead, you could simply set up a conversion optimization campaign that boosts your revenue.
With a conversion optimization software, like OptinMonster, you can increase your revenue by converting more of your existing traffic into affiliate customers. Without a doubt, this is WAY EASIER than drastically increasing your traffic.
Here’s how OptinMonster could help you boost your affiliate income:
a) Create a Popup Campaign That Promotes an Affiliate Product
Like it or hate it… you can’t just deny the fact that popup works!
Creating a popup campaign is the easiest way to grab your visitors’ attention and convert more of your visitors into affiliate…