How to get started with affiliate marketing

Get Started with Affiliate Marketing – 7 steps to success

If you have landed on this page as a result of searching “get started with affiliate marketing today” then you have just learned one of the lessons about affiliate marketing, which I discuss further down this post. Before I begin just know that some of the links on this post and site are affiliate products for which I get paid a small amount.

That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing, you can be paid for referring someone to someone else’s product for a commission. I think it is fantastic, no inventory, no shipping issues, no production or design costs, just learn to do two things and you could scale to 7+ figures a month. I know that’s a long way away from right now for you but read on to learn the principles

Okay, so I have probably gone a little ahead of myself there. Today I am going to discuss in detail the 7 steps required to deliver success for any affiliate business. Here they are:

Deciding you’re why

All successful people have a reason for doing what they do to achieve the success they desire. It’s critical that your why is strong, and driven to propel you through the tough times. The truth is Affiliate marketing is challenging, for most people their why gives out before they reach the gold. Your why needs to be greater than your give-up, this is not working for me.

I have been in this business since 2007 and I have given up, when it became beyond my ability to continue. Each time I have come back because my why took a hit, but was able to bounce back, learn from where I had been, and strengthen my resolve to achieve my why. I cannot tread your path I can only share where I have been. If that resonates with you then I hope that my path can help lighten your path, where ever that may take you.

The thing with affiliate marketing is you need to do things you have probably never done before, especially if you are brand new, and even when you try what is needed, it’s not to the standard required to generate good results. It’s like when you first had to walk, you looked around and saw other people walking and you had the idea to walk to but your body would only let you roll over and pop your head up, you persisted and were able to start crawling, then you stood up next to the couch, then you walked then ran. Why did you do this, because you thought it was a good thing to do.

Look around and emulate what others are doing, yes you will fall over, but that is part of the journey of learning how you work and what works for you. You will find some people will fly ahead of you and some will fall behind and some will be in the same lane as you. Don’t judge your success or lack of success based on other people’s results. You are not them and they are not you, keep driving toward your target and while you do that you will achieve your goal. Just maintain focus on your why.

Choose your niche.

Before we dive deep into choosing a Niche let’s look at what the term actually means. As a noun it can be used in the context of someone’s profession or vocation, such as Michael has partnered with Clickbank marketing health products, and feels he has found his niche.

Another context for the word Niche is like a portion of pie where the pie represents a broad market like golf, fishing, or weight loss, and the niche represents, left-handed golfers, lake fisher or females interested in Veganism.

Why choose a niche

So why do we need to choose a niche? This question has many layers, but fundamentally the reason you choose a niche is that it is very expensive to acquire customers in a broad niche as opposed to a focused niche. This is because a broad niche has thousands of variables to work through to find the buying keywords that convert for that demographic. In a tightly focused niche, it is easier to learn the wants, needs and pain points of your ideal customers to establish their buying patterns.

The wants, needs and pain points of your ideal customer are much easier defined when you have a good understanding of these things. For example with lake fishers, we know they will either be shore-based or boat based, we could then start to sector the niche for one or the other, to identify the wants or needs of these types of fishers.

We could then look at our own expertise and say you have more experience as a shore-based fisher than a boat-based fisher. Now you could start to define an avatar for shore-based fishers, then drill down into lure fishing or bait fishing. With your experience, you could then say that people who fish for trout from the shore will have this range of needs and pain points. Locate a solution to a pain point and put that in front of your audience to learn the buying patterns of your niche to work out if it will be profitable.

Find profitable affiliate programs to join.

To be an affiliate you need to find products or services that fit your chosen niche, are profitable, align with your values plus the values of the niche, and make a positive impact on the people who use the product or service you will recommend. This means finding affiliate products that meet those values.

In this section, we are going to discuss 7 mistakes most new affiliate marketers make, and yes I have made these, then we will look at 4 ways for you to choose the right affiliate program.

7 mistakes most new affiliate marketers make

Promoting cheap products – eg selling a $9.75 product with 4% commission = 39 cents per sale – needs 10000 sales to make $3900 a month. Not easy – Solution promote higher value products for example selling a product with a commission of $20 would require 200 sales to reach $4000 a month.
Promoting products just for the money – It’s possible to promote a bad product and make a lot of money, but you may not feel good about yourself, and your long-term business will be shot to pieces. A short-term gain may be attractive, but the cost to you and your business is generally not worth it. Solution – select quality products or services that you and your customers will find true value in.
Not promoting long enough – eg you start promoting, get some sales, not quite what you expected, you are disappointed, you quit or switch the product. Affiliate marketing takes time to learn the skills, if you are not where you need to be, learn from the data you have to adjust towards the results you desire.
Promoting for too long with bad results – If you promote a product and receive bad results, then you adjust the promotion based on the data, if results are still bad then consider ending this promotion. Analyse the data for consumer intent, and end the promotion if unable to determine consumer intent.
Choosing too many products to promote – The problem with too many products to promote is you divide your attention between the different products and promotions. A better solution is to choose a single primary product and focus 100% on that product, to become masterful at promoting this product. If there are complementary products that can be introduced, then that is okay but your promotion must remain with the primary product.
Only promoting one product forever – It’s possible to decide on the right product from the beginning but most people will need to try a range of products before finding the right products that convert into sales. If you want to improve your Affiliate Marketing it will improve your results if you test other products once your primary is stable.
Thinking views equal income – Don’t be confused sales can come from low view and high view promotions – views themselves are meaningless, and sales are the only metric that provides confirmed data. The types of promotion determine the result – focus on the sales data to test and adjust your promotions.

4 ways for you to choose the right affiliate program

Are there products that you use now that align with your niche, can you promote them, and what type of affiliate program does the parent company have?
Observer your competitors – Search for competitors and influencers in your niche and see what products they are promoting, then find the affiliate programs for those products or equivalent
Use google or youtube – Search best X Product for X Niche, Top products for X Niche
Search for the big companies in your niche – eg biggest tennis company, top ten racquet manufacturers,

Create great content.

Creating content is the biggest bang for buck/time thing you can do to create a long-term Return On Investment (ROI). Why because correctly done content will provide traffic to your site potentially for years if done correctly. If not done right is a waste of time. Here are the basics of targeted content creation:

Step 1 Create a list of keywords for your niche – aim for primary words that may form the title of the content, then 5 to 7 secondary keywords for each primary that could form the body of the content. Then take a look at these groups of keywords and start thinking how you can shape these into an article that helps someone with a problem.
Step 2 Create a content plan – A content plan is a spreadsheet that details what content you are going to produce when you will produce it, who will write it, detail internal linking and the last update. The content plan is the tool that will keep you on track with your content schedule and prevent duplication.
Step 3 Write content – Open with an intro to keyword, then the table of contents based on secondary keywords. For each secondary keyword write 2 to 4 paragraphs, then finish with a conclusion. One important point is to write conversationally as if you are talking with a friend and helping them with a problem.
Step 4 Source images – A wall of text will turn people off from your content. You will need images to break up your content and focus the mind of the reader. It’s a good idea to have a featured image and 1 to 2 other images.
Step 5 Video – Video is a major way to improve the ranking of your posts and articles. You don’t need to show your face in your videos, you can create voiceovers of the content of your article. For example, if doing a review you could use your phone to video a product while you talk about the product highlighting features.

Drive traffic to your affiliate site.

To drive traffic to your content you need a vehicle to house your content. Now you will see people using social media to put their content and link to an affiliate product directly and this does work, but it has limits and risks. The risk is you can be shut down by the social media networks very quickly, sometimes through no fault of your own. The reason I say social sites have limits is that you can not build a list you own, and can retarget or e-mail. This limits what you can do. Use social media absolutely but aim to have your subscribers or followers register for your e-mail list.

This is where having a niche-focused website is ideal, for securing your long-term income. Doesn’t need to be fancy, just focus on adding the content, and answering the pain points your niche has. Include an e-mail signup form for a newsletter, and give it time and consistency of content.

Generating targeted SEO content will drive traffic to your site but it can take some time for content to rank in the search engines and for traffic to flow to your website. Organic traffic is the CRÈME DE LA CRÈME of traffic but paid and other free traffic strategies will also increase the traffic to your site.

Paid Traffic – The major traffic sources are Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Tik Tok. The principle of paid traffic is to create creatives for the target keywords, and then do low-cost tests until you have results that surpass the cost to acquire the customer. If you have a low budget you can also do free traffic methods to find suitable combinations.
Free Traffic – Generating free traffic is about finding where your audience hangs out, then providing content that fits their hang out and points back to your site. For example, Tik Tok is an emerging market where you can create short videos about your content, then target that content using hashtags relevant to your audience, and make sure the Tik Tok account link points back to your content.

Get clicks on your affiliate links.

The purpose of content is to create traffic to your website but also to gain the trust of your visitor so that they will consider using the product or service you recommend. Placing content-relevant links within your content like hyperlinks in text or images is how people will locate your recommendations. Another way to get clicks on your affiliate recommendations is by offering your visitors something of value in exchange for their e-mail so that you can build the relationship and trust through the content you e-mail to them.


I love affiliate marketing, I think it is one of the best ways for people to create freedom in their lives, to live on their terms. It does take time to get the ball rolling and apply the effort to achieve results. With consistent effort, you will get results.

How to get started with affiliate marketing
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How to get started with affiliate marketing
Learn how to get started with affiliate marketing - 7 steps

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