Affiliate Marketing Made Simple – Step By Step Guide

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Do you want to make money online through Affiliate marketing? Here's a detailed guide. Learn how one of my students made his first income through affiliate marketing and more..

Wow, Affiliate Marketing

Do you know you can make huge income online by recommending and selling other people’s products through affiliate marketing?

Despite all the skepticism about affiliate marketing, I’ve since discovered that you really can do it, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, and you don’t have to rip people off along the way.

Understanding what affiliate marketing entails will help you see making money online from the binoculars of possibility, if you haven’t made a dime online.

Note: This is another in-depth article of our online marketing article series. So, let’s dive in and discover what’s involved when it comes to affiliate marketing.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll understand the following:

(You can click on any of the links above and you’ll be taken straight to the desired section. Though I recommend you go through everything from the very beginning)

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

In the simplest terms, Affiliate Marketing refers to promoting or selling other business/people’s products and in turn earning commission per sales made as your reward.

It’s a bit like how a real estate agent doesn’t own the houses he sells; instead he promotes houses on behalf of their clients, and earn a cut of the sale price of any properties sold.

A Good Example:

Consider an eCommerce store like Konga.com, that sells clothing, shoes, smartphones, etc in Nigeria. It has a website and created Konga affiliates program as a channel to increase access to new customer base.

Now, Vendors like independent bloggers who sign up for the program will be paid a certain commission for sales they make for Konga.

These vendors could build their own blogs and sell Konga’s products to their own blog visitors. So, each sale they make on their blog for konga will earn them a certain commission of the total price of the product.

Soon, I’ll share with you how one of my students made his first income online through Jumia Affiliate programme. But first, Let’s talk about how affiliate marketing really works and terms used in affiliate marketing.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

affiliate marketing online marketing

Using the image above, starting from the Middle. A link is placed on your website/blog, and when each blog visitor clicks on the link and taken to the website of the business/product you’re promoting, and finally buys the product, then automatically you’ll be rewarded with % commission per sale you make.

For example, if you as a reader of this blog, purchase any Konga’s product e.g N30,000 smartphone through a link in this post (that link will be my affiliate link), then konga will pay me let’s say 5-10% i.e (N1,500).

Now come to think of thousands of oasdom.com’s readers buying through that same link, that will be N1,500 * the number of buyers, and that’s huge profit for me. The interesting part is, it will be a continuous income for me.

Definition of Terms

The following are the terms used in the world of affiliate marketing.

The merchant, also known as a seller or retailer, is an individual or a business that sells a product or provides a service.

The merchant and affiliate marketers collaborates to promote the products and services. So, in the example above, Konga is the merchant.

The affiliate is (or can be) an individual who promotes products and services and gets commission on each sale. The affiliate works with the merchant to promote the merchant’s products and services.

The affiliate creates marketing campaigns that use ads, links and banners and use his platform (blog, social media, etc.) to find buyers for the merchant’s products and services. So in the example above, you are the merchant.

Affiliate link is a special link for every product that you’re promoting. Affiliate links have tracking in them to make sure that you get credited with every sale you make.

When someone clicks your affiliate link, then the merchant knows it was you who sent the customer to their products/services.

Let me stress that affiliate links don’t affect the customer at all… they don’t pay more, they don’t miss out on anything, and they will most likely never know that they purchased through an affiliate link.

The consumer, can be all of us. In affiliate marketing, the consumer is a person who uses goods or services to satisfy his or her needs.

The network, also called program or platform (e.g Konga affiliate or Jumia affilate, Clickbank, JVzoo, etc.), acts as an intermediary between the merchant and the affiliate.

The network is completely digital and requires varying levels of involvement from both the merchant and affiliate.

Affiliate marketing has now become one the most popular ways of making money online. However, many people still have questions about how an affiliate program works and how they could get started in affiliate marketing.

I’ll be talking about the Know-how soon in this post. But i’d want you to know reasons why affiliate marketing is one sure way to make money online and why you should use the strategy in your online business.

Key Reasons to Use Affiliate Marketing In Your Online Business

For many bloggers, affiliate programs offer a host of benefits. If you have any business online, or any presence online, you can make money via affiliate marketing.

Easy Management

In the case of many affiliate marketing programs, all the marketing material is provided by the merchant.

Thus, the blogger does not have to design banners or create links. They just use the merchant-generated content on their marketing channels.

Let me show you this to back that up:

I’m an affiliate with a domain hosting company, (namecheap.com). Since I blog about leveraging the power of the internet for profit, my audience will definitely need to have their own domain names and blogs.

In my post on how to start a blog, I stated the following:

affiliate marketing

In the post, if you click on the text link in green, you’ll land on the Merchant’s website through my link, If you purchase from them, I’ll earn a certain commission.

The merchant gave me all the resources I needed to promote their business (domain name registration and hosting service) and I get rewarded for it.

The resources includes the banners like you see below:

affiliate marketing

(I use it on every page. If you finish reading this post and scroll down, you’ll see i used this banner.)

The point is, I wasn’t in charge of the banner design, it costs me nothing to place it on oasdom.com. If you click on it and purchase a domain name for your blog, I’ll earn a certain commission.

They’ll pay me from what you pay them. I’m promoting their business and they’re paying me for that.

So how much is currently in my withdraw-able earnings with Namecheap? I know you’ll want to know.

Here’s the screenshot of my current earnings (In $).

Affiliate commision

And the money keeps piling up. I use the funds to pay for my own personal domain name every year or help a new client purchase a new domain name via our blog-setup services.

The interesting part is, some merchants pay up to 50% in commissions per sale, and I can enroll in hundreds of affiliate programs that I’m confident about their products and keep making money, since I have an audience that will need those products/services.

No Financial Risk

What is interesting for the bloggers that are into affiliate marketing is that affiliate marketing has almost no financial risk.

In many cases, the blogger does not have to invest a single penny in the merchant’s business.

In fact, you’ll not be in charge of delivering the product to the buyer, the merchant will do that. Your work is to find a buyer by recommending the product/service.

All you need to do is be sure about what you’re recommending to your audience, test it and you’ll be able to say a lot about it.

For example, if I haven’t tried Namecheap’s domain registration and hosting service, I wouldn’t have been so confident about promoting their business by recommending their services to my readers.

Easy to Join

You do not need to be a business graduate or expert in order to be a success in affiliate marketing. Yes, I mean it.

All you have to do is sign up for an affiliate program and start promoting the products. So the cycle of an affiliate marketing program is: Join, Promote and Earn!

How One of My Students Made His First Income Via Affiliate Marketing

Let me introduce you to the Founder of GadgetStripe.com – Charles by Name but he prefers Charpman. If you’ve listened to my Audio podcast on “The True Path to Internet Entrepreneurship – How to Start Your Online Business” you’ll know that I talked about him.

affiliate marketer

When I asked him about how he’s gone about using affiliate marketing to profit on his blog, here was his response:

It’s simple, I know one of the ways I’ll make money in the tech blog niche is through affiliate marketing.

So I invested in setting up my blog as you’ve instructed, I filled it with valuable contents that my readers would find informative (gadget news, devices specs, videos etc).

Now I made sure that I joined Jumia’s affiliate programme. So after I published a post about a new device in the market, I direct my blog visitors to Jumia.com.ng through my affiliate link to get the device.

When they make purchase through my affiliate link, I get commissions. And Yes, amazingly I’ve made money by doing this because I just launched my blog! it’s not even a year old“.

Here are my recent earnings:

affiliate marketing earnings

and..

affiliate earnings

Even, this has open ways for me as I’ve landed deals with Smartphone companies like Gionee. I get their latest devices reviewed, use the device or use it as a giveaway to Gadgetstripe fans. I know there’s more money to be made

Now you see, you can earn online if you start something.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

Pat Flynn divided affiliate marketing into 3 levels:

  • Unattached marketing
  • Related marketing, and
  • Involved marketing.

These terms represent how affiliate marketers are associated with the product(s) they’re promoting.

1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing

Here, you have no presence and no authority in the niche of the product you’re promoting.

There’s no relationship between you and the end consumer, and all you’re doing is putting an affiliate link in front of someone via Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc. in the hopes that people click on your link, buy the product, and you earn a commission.

Personally, I don’t like this business model because to me, this is not a business model. It shouldn’t just be about making money, it should be about building relationships with the end users.

2. Related Affiliate Marketing

This form of affiliate marketing is where you have some sort of presence online, whether it’s through a blog, a podcast, videos, or whatever—and you have affiliate links to products related to your niche, but they’re for products you don’t actually use.

3. Involved Affiliate Marketing

Involved affiliate marketing is where you’ve used a product or service, truly believe in it, and personally recommend it to your audience.

Not in a banner ad or somewhere that says “recommended resources,” but within your content, as part of your life and strategy for whatever it is you’re talking about.

The product almost becomes something people “have to have,” because it’s part of the process. It’s your involvement and experience with the product that makes that offer so attractive.

This last type of affiliate marketing is what I love. I don’t feel comfortable recommending what I’ve not tried.

If you’re one of Oasdom.com’s fans of you’ve joined our online community via email, you’ll agree that we have a relationship and if i recommend a product that I know you’ll truly need, you’ll buy it, and I’ll earn commissions. It simple.

So I try the products or services out, and that gives me everything I need to promote and recommend the product easily and get more people to try the product/service.

Note: For affiliate marketing to actually work and give you continuous result, it’ll be best if you have a listening audience and promote products/services related to your niche.

How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing – The Process

In one of my articles – The 3 proven ways to make money online, I categorically listed 3 levels, one of which is selling a product (be it physical or digital products).

Affiliate marketing is about selling products and here are the processes involved:

1. Pick a Niche or Topic

A Niche is simply a segment of a market. In anything you do online, you’ll have to research your niche.

Firstly, pick a topic that you’re interested in and that also has a lot of market potential. Think of something that you like, and consider whether there would be many products associated with it, or much of an audience.

One of the most important things to practice as an affiliate marketer is what’s known as “keyword research.”

Keywords, or the terms or phrases people type into Google, can be the best way of finding out what exactly people are looking for.

You can find a topic (or “niche,”) as affiliates call it with a little research. You can use my article on using the keyword planner for research to carry out a research about your desired niche.

2. Find products to promote

Once you’ve got a niche all picked out, find some products that you can promote.

There are websites full of these (called affiliate networks) to browse, and you can find advice here on how to choose the best ones for you.

Affiliate networks like Clickbank are filled with tons of products from tons of merchants. All you need to do is browse their categories (niches) and check out products to promote.

On ClickBank, here are the categories/niches you can surf to find products to promote.

affiliate categories

Once you’ve got suitable products, you’ll be able to get an affiliate link for these products and start marketing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are not so many affiliate programs here in Nigeria. But platforms like ClickBank, JVzoo, etc. are leading affiliate newtorks where you can promote any products of your choice and earn up to 50% commission per sale. The ONLY PROBLEM is, most pay through PayPal and that’s not a luxury we can afford here in Nigeria for now. So, most people turn to Jumia and Konga Affiliates. If you want to be paid in dollars promoting products ourside Nigeria, you’ll have to find affiliate programs wtih payment terms that suits you. But having an in-depth knowledge of what affiliate marketing will definitely help you approach things differently, right?

3. Build your blog/website

I’ve always emphasized that having your own blog or website is the best for any online business. NOTHING can replace it.

You need to build and own a blog/website! I thought this would be extremely confusing and difficult, but it really wasn’t. WordPress and similar sites makes it super simple for anyone to build a quality website.

Check out: How to Start and Create a Blog All By Yourself.

If you feel you won’t be able to go through the process of creating your blog, we can do this for you…

After creating your blog, you’ll have to the the next important thing…

4. Fill your blog/website with relevant contents

An empty blog or website guarantees nothing. You’ll have to fill your blog with contents that are related and useful to the target audience in your desired niche.

Having an understanding of content marketing can help you deliver great content as you employ affiliate marketing tactics to make money on your blog.

So, fill your website with contents (blog posts, reviews, videos, etc.) that will be useful to the people who are interested in your niche, and place your affiliate links throughout in the most relevant places.

That way when someone interested in your content clicks your link, they go to a sales page for a product that they might also be interested in, and if they buy it you get a commission!

5. Promote your blog/website

When you’ve set this up, all that’s left to do is promote your website so you can get more people to your content, and more potential for commissions from referred sales.

There are a lot of different marketing strategies out there, from advertising to social media, but you won’t have to worry about this part of it straight away.

Related: How to Get Traffic to Your Blog/Website

I’ve always said that if you don’t invest in marketing, no one will know about you. There free marketing strategies and paid marketing strategies.

Just be ready to do the work, market your blog and get the products/services you’re promoting right in front of your target audience.

The most important thing is just to get started and use content marketing to cleverly recommend the products you’re promoting.

Affiliate Marketing Without A Website/Blog

So far, the best way to build a long lasting online business is to own and be in control of your own hub – a blog or website, I can’t stress this enough.

Successful affiliate marketers build blogs/websites, launch themselves into the affiliate marketing world, control an audience and earn passive income.

However, if you’re still learning about web design or you’re simply not interested in building a website, or you don’t have the funds to do that, there are other ways to get your affiliate links out there.

Remember: the key thing with affiliate marketing is get your affiliate link in front of an interested audience – how you choose to do that is completely up to you! With that in mind, here’s a method you can try.

Use The Power of Social Media

We both know it, Youtube and Facebook are killing it out there with billions of unique users every month. You can use these two platforms to your advantage.

Affiliate Marketing On YouTube

The best way to go about using Youtube as a platform to carry out your affiliate marketing is to have your own YouTube channel.

In one of my previous articles – how to make money on YouTube, I explained all you need to know about how YouTubers make money and how to create your channel.

After you’ve decided on the niche and product/service you want to promote, as you’ll have to create content on your blog, you’ll have to create contents (videos) around the product/service on YouTube.

Some quality content options could include:

  • Honest, informative product reviews. E.g A smartphone review (if you’re in the tech niche) or reviews of products in other niches of your choice.
  • Instructional videos. People like ‘how to’ videos (e.g if you’re promoting products in the beauty and fashion niche, you can create ‘how to’ videos on make up, and other related stuffs. If you’re in the tech niche you can do how to videos on how to install, delete, debug etc.

Note: Each of the videos you create and upload to YouTube will have a description box. That is where you will put your affiliate link(s).

Affiliate product description box

Example:

There’s a YouTube Star I always learn from – Shameless Maya. Watch or go to the description of the video below and see how she dropped her affiliate links to the products she’s promoting.

She makes money from promoting the Camera, lights, software, etc. she uses to make each informative video. Even she gives an affiliate link of the clothe she was putting on in the video!

She has thousands of subscribers and when she releases a news video, they’ll be notified and would want to learn new things.

Note: You can also learn how to make money on YouTube in this comprehensive post.

Her audience may want to try out products she’d definitely recommend in each video and that’s what the description box is for just go to SHOW MORE.

So, if you don’t want to go through the blogging way, you can use Youtube. All you have to do is just pick a niche and create a video series related to that topic, with a related affiliate product to promote.

That way, the viewers you get will be a lot more likely to be interested in the affiliate product, as they already have some interest to be watching the video in the first place.

2 Important Things to Know

There are two main rules for doing this, however, that you MUST abide by:

  1. The content has to be full of value for viewers. Financial gain has to be secondary to this. 
    If your video is obviously just there for you to make money from a link, you will get listed as spam, and your efforts will become useless. Producing something worthwhile is a lot more successful, and you get the attention and respect of potential customers that way.
  2. Don’t be misleading! 
    If your video is unrelated to your link, or your title or description claims something that isn’t in the video, you are violating YouTube’s policies. This is also something to avoid.

If your videos have value for your target viewers, you won’t have a problem getting people to buy what you recommend.

Using Facebook as a channel for your affiliate marketing business can also be helpful. To be honest, I haven’t really tried it. But, same rules that apply on YouTube should apply.

It could mean creating a Facebook fan page that is dedicated to promoting products in that niche, boosting the number of pages likes and finally presenting contents.

Related: 7 ways to grow any business online with Facebook

Your contents can be quick review posts, videos, pictures) to engage your audience and introduce the products you’re promoting WITH your affiliate link(s).

How Much Money Can You Actually Make?

Like any real business it all depends on how much effort you put in and how seriously you take it.

If you are really dedicated to building an audience and treating your affiliate marketing like a real business, and you put 100% in every time you sit down in from of your computer, then you can DEFINITELY make a serious income.

Let’s do some quick math on how much you can actually make as an affiliate.

I found an amazing product online called Airbar. You can use this simple ruler-like device to turn any laptop into a touch screen.

Affiliate product sample

This product costs around $98. Imagine there’s an affiliate programme for this device with 35% commission per sale.

If you’re promoting this device to tons of tech freaks, you’ll be making $34.3 (N12,691) per sale if your audience buys through your link.

100 people out of let’s say 5,000 people visiting your website every month means $343 for you! (around N125,000).

Now, if you like the Airbar device and let’s assume I’m an affiliate and you clicked on the link and finally made payment through my link, at no extra cost to you, I’ve automatically made $34.3! That’s how it works! Simple!

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the beginning because the whole process isn’t exactly small, but you will never have to try to do everything at once.

You can take it one step at a time, and when you do, you’ll find it’s not so difficult to get the wheels moving.

Affiliate Marketing is one of the ways top online marketers make passive income online. If they can do it, you can do it as well.

Affiliate marketing is one of the ways I make money online. Most times I use my earnings to pay for the Merchant’s services that I use (don’t forget – I love involved affiliate marketing).

If you find this piece so helpful, please drop your comment, I will so much appreciate it as it will encourage me to do more. Also, Like and share this post for others to see.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much your contents have been very engageing. I started reading your articles last year when I was still in service. Am in love with everything online, you contents have done mush for. Through I have not started.

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