Start learning affiliate marketing with these 4 key tips.
If you’re gonna start learning affiliate marketing, why not start smart.
When I began to dig into affiliate marketing, I was at the point in my life that I wanted to learn to make money online. Especially since I’d been building corporate websites for the last 15+ years. I thought it would be easy to learn how to make money online from my own websites and driving traffic. I have limited knowledge of affiliate programs, but I knew enough to get started.
Little did I know I would come across so much “bull$#I*” in my initial research. I realized people where selling programs that did nothing but teach people how to sell other “money making programs”. I’ll admit, not all of it was BS. There was some great key knowledge that these marketers were using, but in a very sleazy, and cheesy way.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Do a quick google search for “affiliate marketing” and you will likely get the following answer:
Definition: “Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.”
– Via Google
So basically to be an affiliate marketer, you place affiliate links on your website or in your content and a viewer clicks on these links. They are redirected to an online retailer and when a purchase is made you get paid a commission. Sounds like a win-win scenario.
So why does affiliate marketing get such a bad name sometimes?
Like all industries, you have people who are out to make money fast, and will do anything to get it. The competition can be fierce so they lie, cheat and steal to make a quick buck. This is nothing new. Corporate America is the same way. They create programs promising to teach you how to make money quick. If you make money quick, then it’s great. But, if you spend a lot of time and resources and fail, they still make money from you.
There are some internet professionals that make butt-loads of money in a legitimate way with affiliate marketing. These are the people I want to learn from, and I hope to discover in my upcoming research.
What are the most important things I have learned so far in researching affiliate marketing?
Many of the most popular affiliate marketing programs I came across were programs supposedly teaching people how to make money online. Money, money, money is the only word I could see. They all had some pretty good eye catching subject lines, and headers.
I consider myself a smart, experienced, and educated guy, so I started to take some notes. What were some good ideas and what were the bad ideas? Let’s look at 3 key takeaways I learned from reading up on affiliate marketing, and why you should look at this idea as a solid long-term business. Not a “Get Rich Quick Program”.
Building Online Authority and why you should do it
No matter what you write about, there is a good chance you have taken the time to learn the subject. You don’t have to be an expert. You would be able to answer questions on the subject or at least know where to go to find good answers.
- When you build a blog you are more likely to write content on a subject you have a passion on or a subject you really know.
- It could be your daily profession, and you are writing about things you learn.
- It could be about hobbies, or special interests that you like.
This is how authority is built. It is the trust your audience gains as they read more of your content. When other people who write about the same subject link to your work, you are gaining authority as a subject matter expert in the process.
When you build authority viewers of your content are more likely to trust your recommendations. Let’s say for example you are the authority on lawn mowers. You have been selling and rebuilding lawnmowers as a side hobby for years. If people understand your experience with lawnmowers they will be more likely to trust you when you recommend a certain brand or model. Your website is all about lawnmowers and you link to your favorite brand on amazon, then there is a higher chance someone will click on that link to view the lawnmower and make a purchase. If the link was a part of an affiliate program, you would make money.
You want to take your time and build trust. Much like what I am doing with Affiliate Flash. I am teaching you (the reader) about my learning experiences and that with my professional digital background, you can trust I know great websites and programs when I see them.
Developing Unique content or creative content is a must
Content now comes in many forms. It is a driving force of online learning, and is a huge key to growing an audience in affiliate marketing.
- Online Videos
- Blogs and articles
- Music and audio
- Much more.
Like building authority, you want to create content that people find interesting, and want to share with others. If you can get just 3 people to share your content with 3 friends, and they share with 3 friends, then you get the picture. Your content becomes more popular and you gain more exposure. I have spent my professional career as a digital designer and I know the power of good design and compelling content.
If you are just writing boring blogs about the same old thing, then people may not want to interact with your content as much. Not all subjects are glamorous and crazy interesting. This is where a little creativity goes a long way.
- Why do they like the subject you’re writing about?
- What are the newest trends in that industry?
- Check to see what other bloggers writing about?
- Research what kind of problems people have in this niche?
Create a small video and load it to YouTube so people can watch your opinions and learn from you in a visual manner. YouTube is now the 2nd largest search engine behind google. There are lots of ideas when it comes to creative content. Take the time and make sure your content is right for your audience, and it’s delivered in a unique way.
Driving traffic to your website using social ads and google ads
If you want to help kick start your blog or website, then I recommend considering a few small ads on google or social channels. Remember I made it clear I see affiliate marketing as a long-term project. There is nothing wrong with testing out your content with targeted ads.
Many bloggers and digital marketers will create small ad accounts with daily budgets from $10-$20, and get targeted viewers to their new content. If the content does well, they will see the content shared and grow organically. This helps with SEO and search ranking long term.
When you consider spending money on ads, remember that it can be easy to go over-board quick with spending.
- Make sure you have a specific goal in mind
- Track your ROI (Return On Investment).
- Make sure you have Google analytics to see when and from where your leads are coming in from.
If your content has affiliate links, you may be able to convert a few people into making purchases based on your recommendations.
Building a targeted email list
I noticed the most successful digital marketers have created and built their own e-mail lists.
- An email list allows them to grow an audience from the people visiting their website.
- They can communicate with this audience at any time.
- They can target content multiple times.
Do you publish new blog posts weekly? Send your email list a newsletter with your new content. They will likely visit your website when you announce it is live.
I don’t recommend purchasing email lists (this can be bad for business and returns), but I know it happens. You can even pay other people to send out emails with your content to help spread the word. I won’t get into the good or bad of this, but I will tell you I personally know the value of a large email list. I have worked within marketing departments of some very successful companies, and they all had enterprise class email systems. It was crucial to introducing new products and news about upcoming promotions.
Build an audience that trusts you, and you can eventually share tips, tricks, and purchasing recommendations with them via email and your websites.
Conclusion to entering affiliate marketing
My goal is to learn all I can about affiliate marketing. Teaching you what I learned and help you grow even more. I’ll learn from others, so I can’t wait to give my own advice in the process. I’ve gained so much knowledge in digital design and digital marketing that I want to share with my own audience.
About The Author
Jason Pena, Creator of Affiliate Flash
Sr. Digital Design Manager with years of experience in design, development, and digital marketing strategies. Learn with me, and lets be successful together.