Updated: Nov 11, 2019
1 Choose a Niche
The first step of your training for how to become an affiliate marketer involves finding out which affiliate products to sell. To do that, you need to start with the bigger picture.
Every affiliate marketer has a niche in which they try to influence their audience. If you’re too greedy and try to speak to too many niches, you could risk overextending and making your efforts ineffective.
So finding out who you’re going to target is the essential first step. But just because it comes first doesn’t make it easy.
Finding your niche is one of the most crucial parts of starting your affiliate marketing efforts. The wrong niche will make it harder to sell, and the right niche will make it easier.
So how do you find out which niche is the best one for you?
To start with, you can do a short self-assessment. As affiliate marketers are meant to be reliable advocates for a product or brand, you want to make sure that you are in the right headspace.
Start by asking questions like:
What topics am I passionate about?
Do people search for my chosen niche?
Will demand for my niche stay consistent?
Is there a lot of competition for my niche?
Are there affiliate programs that work within my chosen niche?
Even if you’re just creating and paying for online advertisements, your niche can make or break how profitable your affiliate marketing efforts are.
These questions will help you find out if the product you’re considering is something you want to promote regularly. No matter what type of affiliate marketing tactic you ultimately choose, these are the make or break questions.
It should also be said that passion shouldn’t be the only reason why you become an affiliate marketer. A site like GetResponse probably didn’t start as a project of passion, but that doesn’t make it any less profitable.
So keep in mind that finding the right affiliate products to sell isn’t always about fun. It’s about profit.
While passion can certainly help you stand out, don’t let it be the biggest determining factor in your search. Instead, base your decision off of the potential to be profitable in coming years.
So whatever niche you’re considering, start by plugging it in and seeing if there’s consistent demand. This is one of the most consistent tests you can run when determining which affiliate products to sell. Many affiliate marketing items will have moderate degrees of consistency, with spikes around the holidays.
At the very least, this shows the importance of finding the right affiliate products to sell in your niche. Get this step right, and you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to make some money as an affiliate marketer.
But the process doesn’t end here. Your next step is to find an affiliate program that will take you one step closer to finding the merchant partners who will provide the products you promote and compensate you for your efforts.
2 Research Programs
Affiliate marketing programs are sites that act as the middleman between merchants and affiliates. Since it can be hard for merchants and affiliates to find each other, these sites act as a gateway for the relationship to begin.
Since program research is such an in-depth discussion, we’ve devoted an entire chapter to it later on in this guide.
But for now, I’ll at least bring up some key questions that you’ll need to have answered while you’re figuring out how to become an affiliate marketer. This an essential checklist that you should consider before you proceed with a particular program.
What merchants are using the affiliate program you’re looking at?
How much commission are you likely to make from your program?
Do you want to be associated with the program, and the brands selling through it?
What kind of support does the program provide you with?
We’ll cover this more in-depth later, but keep in mind that this is another step that can make or break your success as an affiliate marketer. Your program is the bridge that helps you find profitable partnerships, so don’t skip out on it.
3 Build Your Platform
The first two steps in this section focus on helping you research. From here on out, you’ll get to start creating the platform that helps you succeed as you learn how to become an affiliate marketer.
In the first chapter, I shared the two most popular ways that affiliate marketers work:
Websites like blogs or marketplaces.
Landing pages. (I especially recommend it for beginners but also for advanced users)
While these are only a couple of options, they’re the place that most affiliate marketers go. So in this section, we’ll break down how to set up each.
First up, let’s build a website.
While there’s some discussion over whether or not affiliates need a website at all, there are so many benefits that it’s almost pointless not to make one when you’re trying to get the knack of how to become an affiliate marketer.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with low or high commision affiliate programs, websites or landing page can help you be successful.
Plus, if you want to look for affiliate marketing jobs in the future, having your own affiliate site is a perfect resume builder.
So when you search for ways to build a website or landing page, you’re going to get a lot of competing opinions about which option is the best. Should you go with a free option like Wix or is it better to build your own landing page by using Landing page Builder and going with ClickFunnel or GetResponse?
The ultimate choice is up to you, but by far the better option for growth is a hosted Wix or build Landing Page. When it comes to website you’ve got more flexibility, and you stand a better chance of being found via a search engine.
However, by building a landing page you will save a lot of time. You can build a landing page in a few hours or even minutes, direct traffic there, e.g. through advertising, and start building a customer base.
4 Create and Publish Top-Notch Content
Creating content is one of the final steps of your pre-affiliate journey. In that way, it’s also the gateway to the start of your affiliate marketing efforts. It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging or publishing ads, when you’ve hit this phase you’re in the home stretch of learning how to become an affiliate marketer.
The phrase ‘content is king’ gets thrown around a lot in marketing, and there’s a good reason for that. In many ways, the Internet is just a collection of content. If you don’t contribute, people have no reason to come to you.
As we’ve already seen, that content can be as simple as an ad, or as complex and in-depth as this very ebook. How you ultimately deliver value is up to you.
But what types of content can you create that will help you stand out as a trustworthy and valuable affiliate marketer? Even if you’ve got the right niche and a flawless website, you need something to build your audience.
When considering what type of content to create, you’ve got a lot of options. In fact, one blog compiled 113 different types of content that can be created and shared. With all that variety, where do you start?
While to some degree this boils down to the ideas that interest you the most, there are at least three good starting places familiar to affiliate marketers. These can ultimately lead to success, so we’ll dive into each.
One of the most common models marketers use when learning the ropes of how to become an affiliate marketer is to write reviews for different products and services in their niche. Ecommerce sites are always looking for product reviews that convert customers, so this can be a profitable place to start.
When done well, it can provide a seamless transition into affiliate marketing efforts, and can be a great way to generate income.
For example, TheBestVPN is a site that reviewed the most popular Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, on the market. For audiences interested in cybersecurity and ensuring the protection of their information, this type of website is a goldmine of information.
In a similar vein to product reviews, blog posts are another way that you can start building trust and making inroads in your chosen niche. More importantly, blog posts can help you boost sales over time as you master how to become an affiliate marketer, which is your end goal.
By addressing common questions or problems in your target market, you’ll be positioning yourself to make recommendations down the line.
The big key with writing blog posts is consistency. You need to post consistently, and you need to keep a single voice that provides high-quality ideas and tips to your reader.
A great affiliate brand that’s done an excellent job of developing an innovative blogging approach is the site Top Ten Reviews.
While it sounds at first glance that this is just another review site, it’s actually a lot deeper than that. It’s a review comparison site that’s all delivered in blog posts and slideshares, like this roundup on iOS apps.
The final type of content you can focus on creating is an informational product that you can use as a hook to get people interested in more of what you have to say. Just like the previous two types of content, helpful guides can ultimately lead to increased sales and more money in your pocket.
This can be an ebook, email series, webinar, or any other type of extensive, in-depth look at a particular topic. As long as it’s accurate and helpful, you’ll be one step closer to gaining trust in your niche.
In time, you can also use this technique to help your audience build interest in the affiliate product that you sell.
A good, simple example of this comes from the affiliate blog PC Part Picker. They offer a wide variety of guides that help newcomers and veterans build a computer that meets their needs.
5 Create Your Ad Account
As we’ve seen all along, building a website is just one option when considering how to become an affiliate marketer. Ads are a great marketing method that can help you be successful, especially for high commision affiliate programs.
So what if you only want to use paid ads to push people to your merchant partner’s site? In that case, you don’t really need a website.
Instead, you’ll need to set up an account to create ads in, which means you’ll need to use Google ads, Facebook ads, or even Bing ads depending on your audience.
So first off, let’s show you how to get started on Google Ads. To get started, you’ll need to head over to the Google Ads homepage and click the Get Started button.
You’ll be sent to a screen that asks for your email address and the website you’ll be sending ads to.
Next, you’ll be asked to sign in if you’re creating this with a Google account.
From there, you’ll be walked through the process to target and complete your ad, including images and copy. First, you’ll need to pick a goal for your ad.
Since you’re most likely trying to get users to buy a product, you’ll want to select the ‘Take an action on your website’ option. Even if you’re not the website’s owner, you can direct and track traffic accordingly.
From there, you’ll need to select the geographical location that you want to advertise in. This can be as broad or as narrow as you want it to be.
Once you’ve pinned down the location, you’ll want to further define what it is you’re selling. Based on the content of the website, Google Ads will suggest products and services you can include that help narrow or expand your audience.
Once you’ve finished defining your product or service, the next step is to create the final ad. On the next screen, you’ll be able to edit the copy of your ad and finalize how it appears on a search engine results page.
Once you’re done, all that’s left is to finish publishing your ad and make adjustments as needed.
At this point, you’ll have successfully created both your platform and your content.
Another great option is to set up Facebook Ads to reach your audience as well.
All you need to do that is a Facebook profile, which you may already have. If not, it’s easy to set one up.
Once you’ve logged into your Facebook account, head over to the dropdown menu in the top right of your Newsfeed. You’ll want to click the “Create Ads” option.
This will redirect you to Facebook’s dedicated Ad Manager. There’s plenty to explore and experiment with, but your first step is to simply set up your ad. Much like Google Ads, you’ll be walked through that process starting from the home screen. Just find this section to get started:
You’ll select your objective, create your ad, and fine-tune your schedule and budget based on your experimentation. Much like Google Ads, you’ll need to take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform and what your audience is looking for.
But not all ads are the same. Just like blog content, there are different ways you can approach creating an ad.
While the type of ad you create and promote is largely dependent on your niche, the key takeaway is that you need to create something that’s compelling. It’s the final crucial step in mastering how to become an affiliate marketer.
Finding merchants to partner with, high commision affiliate programs, or profitable affiliate marketing jobs hinges on the steps outline above.
No matter what your goal is, the steps in this chapter can help make your journey as an affiliate marketer much easier in the long run.
In the next chapter, we’ll look at some more proven avenues that will help you achieve this, as well as some effective ways to expand your affiliate marketing beyond ads or a website.
Of course, you can also direct traffic to your affiliate link for free.
However, this requires access to a large, committed community like an Instagram or Facebook Fanpage account.