Everyone dreams of making money while you sleep (pun intended). However, few marketers ever see their first sale.
I blame part of the problem due to the nature of our world today. There are so many ways to instantly gain gratification. Information at the tips of fingers, groceries delivered to your house with a push of a button, live stream performance available to view anywhere in the world. The list goes on.
Naturally when people attempt affiliate marketing, they find themselves in a rut. They don’t make ANY money. They are chasing these simple but ineffective ways to market their affiliate product. They want that sale instantly. When they don’t get it, they start attacking the idea all together.
I’m going to give it to you straight.
In order for a successful affiliate marketing career, you need to provide valuable content to your readers. There I said it. No shortcuts. No course is ever needed. Creative and original content is how you will make money as an affiliate marketer.
Our goal from here on out is to help the readers solve a problem. So much so that you should be proud to showcase your content to your family and friends. Money and sales will follow naturally.
With that being said, let’s start this guide.
Find something you enjoy reading and learning about
Many call this the “finding niche” process. However, I don’t take that route quite simply because it doesn’t keep me interested long-term. Many full-time marketers will use fancy keyword tools to scout out low competition and long tail keywords. This is a great strategy but I’m not going to suggest it.
If I want to become an affiliate marketer to obtain financial freedom, it doesn’t make much sense to yet again do something I don’t want to do.
1. Mind map your interests on Google Docs
Instead, I recommend you record a diary of your day. What thoughts cross your mind? What YouTube videos do you watch? What activities are you involved in?
Open up Google docs, and ask yourself one question: What do I enjoy learning about?
What I’m trying to get at is this: You can write about a topic you care about. If you care about something, you are usually involved in it.
Here’s what mine looks like:
Don’t be afraid to be free of judgement while you write these ideas. You can see one of the bullet points I had was Black Hat World. I enjoy that forum a lot but some may not express it since it’s not necessarily something people would brag about. After all, it’s a forum where Black Hat SEO techniques are discussed.
Many people try very hard to put out a version of themselves online that’s not true to themselves. This takes a lot of work and it’s not profitable or prone to network opportunities. Be genuine.
A good counterargument to this approach is: what if there aren’t any products to promote?
It’s hard to make a sale as an affiliate marketer when you don’t have products to promote. After you create your mind map, I want you to look for products to sell related to the things you do every day. There’s ton of affiliate networks out there where you can check products in a niche.
Next is to start engaging in relevant communities.
2. Get Involved With Online Communities
Get involved with communities. Does that suggestion sound familiar to you? It does for me. If not, maybe rephrasing it will do the trick:
Get involved with extracurricular activities
Yes, your high school counselor imprinted that in your head. It’s a great suggestion because schools want to see you get involved in different communities. Why? Because you’re much more likely to pursue an education seriously when you constantly surround yourself with hobbies and interests.
It’s really not any different with affiliate marketing. The more you involve yourself, the more you keep yourself accountable and at the forefront of the industry. Some examples include Facebook Groups, online forums, subreddit, etc… Don’t be a bystander or stranger. Plunge in head first and start making contribution to the community. Seek to do one thing: help others.
Personally, I like Affiliate Ninja Facebook group, Frank Hatchett, /juststart subreddit, and Black Hat World forum. These have been my top sources of actionable pieces of content.
You’ll want to engage sincerely within the communities you’ve chosen to be a part of. Don’t repost, crosspost, or rehash simple fundamental knowledge. Providing value means giving answers no one has thought of and is useful.
Once you have your mindmap laid out and you joined several online communities, you are ready to begin writing.
Set up Domain and Web Hosting
So in order to write your content, you’ll need a web host and a domain name.
I’m going to let you in on a small secret. What domain name and hosting you choose doesn’t matter too much.
Sure, customer service, uptime, speed, and cost varies between all the different types of web hosts. However, remember your goal is to help the readers solve a problem. When you keep this goal in mind, it helps you look over small technical details like what web host you should purchase, theme, etc…
Don’t spend too much time on this step.
According to hostingfacts.com, hostgator was ranked second based on uptime, speed, and cost. Sounds good enough.
Once you have purchased a plan and are logged in, you want to install WordPress.
Once you have your WordPress site all set up feel free to play around a bit. Select a theme, customize it a bit, browse through all the plugins. Scratch the itch to tinker around a bit.
You are going to spend majority of your time on the posts section writing content. Before you do that, you need to do what to write and how to write it.
Spy On Competition
No matter what industry you decide to go with, affiliate marketing is flooded with competition. So don’t be afraid or turned away if you run into tough competitors.
You want to start Googling to spy on your competitors. You do this so you know what the best content is, accordingly to Google.
Your goal is to rank 1st for your keywords. When you rank high on Google, you will organically get more viewers to your site. The more visitors you get, the more chances you get to sell them your affiliate product.
For this article, I googled “How to become an affiliate marketer” since this is the content I want to compete for and I want to know what it would take to beat this.
The first result of the SERP(Search Engine Results Page) is full of ads and videos. This makes it an extremely competitive keyword. However, since I enjoy writing about this topic, I’ll press forward.
For competitive keywords, you’ll find insanely good content. Now you’ll see what it actually means to have great content.
This article is ranking first for “how to become an affiliate marketer” keyword at the time of this writing. It looks well-written and researched. It even has a cool infographic. There’s a TON you can learn from websites who rank high on competitive keywords and niches.
Take notes as to what the top results sites are doing in order to rank that high. You aren’t looking for ideas to plagiarize, rather you’re looking for common components among highly ranked posts.
The article I linked followed this format:
- Introduction (Convince visitors to read, showcase what’s inside, attention grabber)
- Definitions (affiliate marketing is defined)
- Step by Step guide to get started as an affiliate marketer.
You’ll also notice how lengthy the article is. In general, lengthier content tends to be better for SEO and ranking. Brian Dean from Backlinko can certainly back this claim up:
The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.– Brian Dean, Backlinko
However, don’t be fooled. Don’t think you can stuff keywords into the article and rank to the top. Long posts by itself is simply not enough. You need to author creative content that helps solve your readers problem.
Once you have an idea of what your competitors are doing, build out a simple template for your posts. If you want to get real fancy you can create SILO’s which help Google’s crawler determine the relevancy of your site as a whole.
Once you get good grasp of what your top competitors are doing, you are ready to write content.
Write Content To Sell
Many people write content to impress. This is not a good strategy since you don’t provide value to your users. As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to write to sell. If done correctly, your users will click on your affiliate link and purchase the product. How can you do this when your content is bogus and doesn’t help your readers?
You should experiment the concept you are trying to teach to your audience. For example, I teach affiliate marketing because I’m an affiliate marketer and I’ve done all the things I talked about. If you claim you can save 5% on your mortgage, make sure you have proof to back it up. Have some original ideas to present.
Be personable and helpful
I’m not talking about an amazing sales pitch that outline the benefits. As an affiliate marketer, you need people to trust your voice and opinion. Think about a car salesmen. Would you invite them over to dinner? No. Because they talk all sales-like and all they want is for you to buy a car.
You want to be conversational and personal with your writing.
Conversational content engages the audience. People want to personally connect with written words. It’s hard to do that when you don’t inject your personal voice into the article. It also makes reading a lot more bearable.
Let’s check out some examples.
I searched “Best Massage Chairs” on Google. You can bet your bottom dollar that whoever pops up first is an affiliate marketer most likely a part of Amazon Associates program.
Here is one of the paragraphs on ranked 1 site for this keyword.
You can see from this paragraph only that it is:
- States the problem(prevent injuries, healthier, lower blood pressure) and proposes a solution (use a massage chair)
You’ll be surprised how far your personality can take you in affiliate marketing.
Once you have established a voice for your content, you want to provide experimental value.
Test, test and, test!
Let’s say you’re doing a review on massage chairs. There are MANY affiliate marketers who will simply do “virtual” reviews which means they never purchase the product. You can get pretty far with this, depending on your outreach strategy. However, I’ll suggest that you take time purchasing and reviewing the product.
Why? Because the deeper you go in creating your content, the more value it has. Usually.
For example, Your Best Digs is a website where they review common household goods. They make well over $200k/month. How? They do in-depth reviews.
The $200k/month value is only estimated based on the keywords they rank. If I had to guess, they make millions of dollars in affiliate commissions a month.
And how they do this? Through a ton of testing.
They have an article on the best ice cream maker. They researched everything they need to know about an ice cream maker, bought all the ice cream makers to test, and made ice cream. They observed all the data and neatly packed it into readable material. These guys are examples of top-notch affiliate marketers.
The sky is the limit when it comes to affiliate money if you are willing to put in the work to build helpful content.
Great content will eventually rank. However, it necessarily to do outreach. If Mozart lived on an island, no one would discover him. Similarly, if you have remarkable content, you need to make sure it gets the attention it deserved.
Get Traffic, Get Attention!
The act of outreach and getting your content known is often called link building. You are looking for people to link back to your article. When that happens, Google ranks you higher(there are some caveats, but generally true).
There’s a TON of resources out there to help you with your outreach. I recommend Brian Dean’s List.
I’ve done outreach for physical and digital products. Usually, I try to build a relationship with the manufacturer or the company behind the product. Companies would love to see their products showcased in a review, no matter how small.
I go over both approaches in my guides so I won’t reiterate it here:
Affiliate marketing is called marketing because a portion of it requires you to market yourself. Don’t be shy. Just reach out to people and see what happens. I once got paid $100 to do a simple task just by asking.
Try reaching out to neighboring niches and see if you can make a contribution to their brand. The Penny Hoarder’s is a neighboring niche for affiliate marketing. Well.. Kind of. In order for me to write guest post or articles, I had to pitch an idea to their editors.
You have to work pretty hard to establish relationships with people. It is required as an affiliate marketer.
Last but not least, keep track of all your progress.
Once you get a good amount of traffic, you can start sprinkling in your affiliate links throughout your website. Like I said in the beginning, don’t worry about affiliate links until you get real organic traffic flowing through your site.
Affiliate marketing is a tough journey but a rewarding one. It will take a ton of work to create valuable content for your audience. Not only that but you will have to jump out of your comfort zone and outreach what you have to preach!
I’ll end with this: help other people and you will flourish.
Hi! My name is Kenta. I’m an internet marketer. I love business and programming. I hope that you’ll join me on this journey to internet success. If you have questions or just want to say hi, feel free to reach out via the contact form!