Affiliate Marketing for New Bloggers: A Beginner-Friendly Actionable Guide from Jesse Willms
Are you struggling to monetize your new blog? Not sure how to generate income from your blog? Read this in-depth guide to affiliate marketing for new bloggers.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for bloggers to monetize their blogs and earn money. According to Forrester, 84% of bloggers in the US use affiliate marketing to make money from their blogs and more than 50% of these bloggers said that affiliate revenue accounts for more than 20% of their annual revenue.
Tom Dupuis, for example, makes $150K+ per year from his blog selling affiliate products. And Neil Patel earns $381,772 per month from only one blog that he owns. Making money with affiliate marketing isn’t a big deal as long as you know how to do it.
If you are new to affiliate marketing and don’t know where to start and how to start making money from your new blog via affiliate marketing, this guide is for you.
Here is what this guide covers:
· What is affiliate marketing
· How it works
· The benefits of affiliate marketing for new bloggers
· How to start affiliate marketing in 5-steps
· Get started now.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing technique where you sell other company products and get paid a certain commission per sale (or lead) as agreed. All you have to do is generate sales via your affiliate link to qualify for the commission.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to develop your own product. You can make money without owning a product. Being an affiliate marketer, you can promote sell multiple affiliate products and not just one.
For example, if you own a blog on laptops, you can sell several laptop and computer related affiliate products from different brands and companies. This is what makes affiliate marketing an ideal technique for new bloggers. You can sell a wide range of affiliate products, test different variations, replace products that don’t work, and sell any types of products without any restrictions.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that it is carried online. As a blogger, you don’t have to get into any technicalities. The clicks, sales, revenue, and commission are all tracked automatically without you having to do the number crunching.
There are four major entities in the affiliate marketing business model:
1. Affiliate marketer or affiliate (This is You)
2. Merchant (The company that owns the product)
4. Affiliate network (A third-party platform that connects affiliates to merchants and manages everything ranging from affiliate links to tracking to payment processing).
Here is how it works:
1. You select an affiliate product and get your unique affiliate link
2. Add affiliate link on your blog and promote it
3. When a customer clicks your affiliate link and buys the product, the affiliate network tracks the click and sale
4. The affiliate network processes the payment by sending you the commission and the remaining amount to the merchant once the sale is verified.
Here is a more detailed process:
You don’t have to deal with any technicalities related to tracking, verifying sales, etc. Everything is managed by the affiliate network. This is a great benefit of using an affiliate network. If you have signed up with a reliable affiliate network such as Amazon Associates, ClickBank, or ShareaSale, everything is super-transparent and you’ll not face any issues whatsoever.
Why New Bloggers Must Go for Affiliate Marketing
Several great features make affiliate marketing an ideal monetization method for new bloggers. Here is why you should go for affiliate marketing:
1. Instant Blog Monetization
Monetizing your blog is one of the first things that you must do. Research shows that the top reason why people start a blog is to become self-employed:
You can’t become self-employed if your blog earns nothing. You need to monetize it to start earning money from your new blog. The earlier you do it, the better.
Affiliate marketing works best as it provides you an instant way to monetize your blog for free. Unlike other monetization approaches where you have to wait for a certain time or you need approval (e.g. Google AdSense), affiliate marketing works right from day one without any approval.
You can add affiliate links without anybody’s approval, replace links, change products, go hard at selling, and do whatever you like. This freedom is hard to find with one of the leading blog monetization ways — Google AdSense. Here is a common example:
Google AdSense is very strict and terminates a lot of accounts with or without earnings. Additionally, you’ll need heaps of traffic to earn a decent amount with Google AdSense.
Affiliate marketing works without any traffic. And even with 10 visitors a month, you can make money even if one of these visitors ends up buying an affiliate product.
Your account never gets disabled with affiliate marketing. This is what makes you self-employed in the true sense.
Affiliate marketing is free. You don’t have to develop a new product, own a product, or manage any inventory, just grab your affiliate link and start selling.
You don’t have to necessarily buy affiliate products that you want to sell. You don’t spend a dime on product development, R&D, maintenance, customer support, etc. Everything is managed by the merchant.
You sell real products without owning them. For example, as an Amazon Associate, you can sell any product from Amazon’s catalog without any permission or restrictions.
Compare this to owning the product, you’ll have to spend a lot of money on product development that’s one heck of a task:
Affiliate marketing saves you from all this complicated yet expensive product development.
Affiliate marketing is performance-based making it scalable. Your commission is linked to the number of sales you generate. If you want to increase your affiliate earnings, generate more sales.
The fact that it is a performance-based monetization approach, you can scale it as per need. As your blog grows and generates more traffic, your earnings will increase with the same proportion.
With affiliate marketing, every sale counts, and this is its beauty.
Affiliate marketing is extremely easy-to-start (more on this in the next section). In fact, everything about affiliate marketing is super-simple including:
· You don’t need any technical knowledge to become an affiliate marketer
· You can get started in less than five minutes
· You don’t need any knowledge, skills, or experience to sell affiliate products
· Promote multiple products from the same or different merchants
· Set your own rules and policies.
Affiliate marketing provides you with all the flexibility you need.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 5-Steps
Getting started with affiliate marketing for new bloggers isn’t much of a big task. You can become an affiliate and start promoting products of your choice in 5-simple steps that include:
1. Choose your niche
2. Register with the affiliate network
3. Find and select relevant affiliate products
4. Market products
5. Increase your affiliate sales.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of each step:
Step #1: Choose Your Niche
As a new blogger, you must have a clearly defined niche. You need to identify a niche for the affiliate products you want to promote.
A niche or niche market is a subset of a large market with specific and unique needs:
Selecting a niche makes it easier to compete and become a market leader in a market that is often ignored by large players.
Let’s take an example.
You can promote products in health and personal care. You can promote all the products in the skin and health market or you can narrow down and find a niche market within this market. You can go for ‘hair removal creams for women’. Type it in Google to check related terms that will help you further narrow it:
So, you can narrow your niche by identifying related terms from Google. In this case, you can go for hair removal creams for women faces or arms to target a specific target audience.
You can use keyword research tools to identify niches in your market such as:
Step #2: Select an Affiliate Network
Not all affiliate networks have similar kinds of products. The reason why you have to select a niche for your affiliate marketing is to identify an appropriate affiliate network that has listed products in your niche.
You need to make sure the affiliate network features a wide range of merchants and products in your niche before registering with it.
Alternately, you can find merchants and then see what affiliate network they’re signed up with. Most of the merchants are registered with affiliate networks as no business likes getting sales. It works equally well for them.
It is recommended to sign up with a well-known affiliate network as it will make it easier to generate sales and you’ll be in safe hands. Don’t forget to consider your blog’s growth when selecting an affiliate network. Switching affiliate networks is a hectic process so be sure to go with the leading ones.
Choose one or more affiliate networks from the list below as they’re best in the market:
3. C J
Registration is free and all you have to do is create an account as an affiliate (or publisher) with the network of your choice. Some affiliate networks (like Rakuten Marketing) have a tough screening process and they don’t approve all affiliate requests.
If you aren’t accepted, move to the next affiliate network. There are tons of options available out there. Don’t disappoint.
Step #3: Select the Right Affiliate Products
Once you have signed up with your favorite affiliate network, it is time to select affiliate products. Not all affiliate products are worth promoting. A right affiliate product is one that:
· Goes with your blog theme
· Isn’t too competitive
· Isn’t promoted by any authority website
· Has a decent commission per sale
· Is a quality product with some nice reviews
· Is manufactured by a popular merchant.
Let’s take an example.
Here are the four top-ranking hair removal creams for women face at Amazon:
The best-seller usually is hard to promote as it is already being promoted by one or more large affiliates or authority sites. What you need to do a quick search in Google to see top-ranking pages for these products.
The bestseller has an authority website (today.com) and video content from Veet’s official channels:
It will get too hard to promote Veet as you’ll need a lot of backlinks to rank on Google’s first page.
On the other hand, Surgi-Cream has minimal competition and no authority sites promoting it:
You can also check competition with a keyword research tool and go with products having:
· Low or medium competition
· Low monthly search volume (as such products are least likely to be picked by any authority site).
The Surgi-Cream has high competition and high search volume:
You need to skip this and move to the next product on the list.
You also need to look at the content type you’ll write to promote the product. If you are planning to write a review, search for relevant keywords and their competitiveness.
In this case, Surgi cream review has low search volume and no competition:
This is an ideal keyword and product to target. You can write an in-depth Surgi cream review and chances are you’ll be able to achieve a decent position in SERPs.
This is how you have to identify appropriate products for your blog. You get the idea, right?
Get the affiliate link of the desired product.
Step #4: Promote Products and Generate Sales
It is time to start promoting affiliate products.
As a new blogger, you need to write in-depth content related to affiliate products you are promoting. The type of posts you can write include:
· Product reviews
· Product comparisons
· How-to guides (e.g. how to remove unwanted hair from face)
· Best product lists
· Video reviews and tutorials
· Product walkthrough
It all comes down to your blog theme and preferences. For example, if you are running a review blog, you need to write product reviews specifically. Or, if you write informative posts, you can recommend affiliate products within the article.
Publishing posts on your blog isn’t enough, you need to promote your content to drive traffic. Once your article is published and live, you need to do a few things to promote it:
1. Share it on your personal and blog’s social media accounts
3. Repurpose your article and convert it into a video and publish it on YouTube with a catchy description and a powerful CTA
4. You can also convert your article into a presentation and publish it on SlideShare
5. Email your article to your email list (if you have one)
6. Share article link with fellow bloggers, your connections, friends, and family.
You can go a step ahead and acquire backlinks to improve your article’s search engine ranking that will drive organic traffic. Republishing your article on other platforms will give you some backlinks but you need to do more than mere republishing.
Here are a few best ways to promote your content and acquire backlinks:
1. Publish guest posts on relevant blogs in your niche
2. Answer questions on Quora and Reddit and link to your article
3. Use the Skyscraper technique to reach out to people who have linked to similar content and show them your article
4. Join forums in your niche, participate in discussions, answer questions, and add relevant links in your signature
5. Create a lead magnet and start building your email list.
These content marketing techniques don’t cost you a penny. Yes, it requires hard work and time but you’ll never regret it.
Step #5: Tweak and Scale
You need to figure out what type of content works? What affiliate products work best for your audience?
Once you publish a blog post with one or more affiliate links, you’ll be able to see how it turns out to be. Use Google Analytics to identify best-performing content and your affiliate dashboard to see top products that convert well.
This will provide you with actionable insights on what to do and how to do it to grow your blog and increase your earnings. Use data to step into other niches, to identify more affiliate products, and marketing techniques that delivered the best results.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing Today
The 5-step affiliate marketing process covered above is all you need to take your blog earnings to a whole new level. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for new bloggers to generate scalable passive income at potentially zero cost.
Get started now…