The internet has grown into more than the hub of information or entertainment it used to be regarded as. There are a thousand and one ways to make money online, whether as a full-time job or side hustle. But the fact remains there is no get-rich-quick scheme.
Though you could make quite a fortune from legitimate businesses online, knowledge, dedication, and patience are virtues you can’t neglect. Affiliate marketing remains one of the more popular ways to make money online. But a good number of people are still skeptical about investing their time and resources into affiliate marketing.
To be honest, as much as there are success stories, numerous stories of failed attempts also abound. If you still have doubts about the money making potentials of affiliate marketing or you’ve had an unsuccessful stint, this guide would help you with all you need to know about making money with affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Before we go into details about how to make money with affiliate marketing, it’ll only be appropriate to briefly explain what affiliate marketing entails. Forget all the ‘bookish’ definitions you have read, affiliate marketing is what you see around you every day. Think about these facts
- The largest Taxi company in the world (Uber) doesn’t have a single cab
- The largest hotel booking company in the world (Airbnb) doesn’t have a single hotel in their name
- The largest media company in the world (Facebook) doesn’t create any original content.
The companies mentioned above in the real sense are affiliate marketers, albeit on a much grander scale. The concept behind affiliate marketing is quite simple. People are in need of certain products or services and although you do not sell the product or render the service, you are able to connect the people in need with the product seller or service provider.
You are an affiliate marketer. It’s as simple as that. The merchant (real seller of the product or service) pays you a certain percentage as a commission for every customer you attract. So, the more people you are able to refer, the more money you would be making.
As hinted earlier, so many people fail miserably at this same venture that has made millionaires out of many others. The major mistake people make is that they simply try to shove their products down their customer’s throats. But it doesn’t work like this.
The competition in the world of affiliate marketing is stiff, to say the least. You would need to differentiate your brand from the crowd if you are to make headway. Here are the things you need to do to become a successful affiliate marketer.
Build your personality or brand
Many people think selecting the right products is the first task an affiliate marketer has to perform. But this is not quite true. If you’ll be starting your affiliate marketing career with a product then you’ll have so much work to do, however great the product may be. Building an online persona gives you the much-desired head start. It involves creating your story and being transparent about it. We’ll talk some more about this later but a separate guide may be needed to discuss building your online personality.
If you’re able to do this successfully, you’ll have a decent following already and pitching your products as an affiliate marketer could be much less difficult. This is not to say, though, that your social media platform, or blog, or website would provide the needed traffic. You’ll still need to do so much more but you won’t be starting from the scratch.
In the world of affiliate marketing, consistency is key. And if you wish to be consistent, you can’t stick to only one platform to engage your audience. Social media channels, emails, a blog and a website are the common platforms and you must harness all these if you can. The problem with sticking with one platform is that when something goes wrong, you may have nothing to fall back upon.
If you are able to build your personality and create the connection, you can successfully harness all the platforms without going through much stress. Remember with numerous platforms, engagement is very important. Never fail to respond to emails or inquiries from other sources. Responding to a comment on a blog post with a simple ‘thank you’ could go a long way.
With affiliate marketing, you’ll be putting your reputation on the line for any product or service you promote. Buyers have been grouped into two broad categories, namely logical and emotional buyers. For affiliate marketers, the emotional buyers are your main target.
That is the more reason why a connection should be developed first. It is always better to start with a product that borders around your story, a product you’ve tested or tried. For example, if you had been struggling with smoking and you found a product that helped you, you can consider marketing this product as an affiliate. This is another reason why you need to first engage your audience.
Another means of getting the right product is by sampling the interest of your followers. If you can take the pain to build an email list, by all means, do so. Send a personal email to take a survey the product they are interested in. You could also design simple, intelligent posts to survey your customer’s interests. The survey and polling should naturally come with something your followers would find useful. Remember, they do not owe you anything.
Deliver value to your audience
Even if you have successfully created a strong following and connection, you would still need to consistently deliver value as an affiliate marketer. The first step is to ensure the products or services purchased via your link are as described. If your followers start having problems with them, you would be ruining your reputation.
You could even go a step further by acting as a pseudo-customer support agent for the company. Relate their inquiries to the company and provide solutions to your following. All the trouble would definitely bring its rewards someday. Constantly provide engaging content your following will benefit from. Give them a reason to come back and they may even bring more people with them.
The product or service you’ll be promoting would give you the links through which you would promote them. The need to be sure you have selected the right merchant and product to promote cannot be overemphasized. The next thing you should do is verify the links and ensure the clicks are registering on your account.
Share your links as widely as you can. Often, you need to spend money to make money. You can promote your links through pay Pay Per click adverts or other targeted advertisement means. You should constantly weigh the returns you’re getting on the adverts against the money being spent.
There you have it! Above are the steps you need to take to be a successful affiliate marketer. Remember, affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. Patience and perseverance are needed. But if you are able to get it right, it’s a sure way of making passive income, and there is no limit to the amount you can make.