How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
Learning how to start an affiliate marketing business can be challenging. There is so much information available. But, unfortunately, often incomplete or misleading.
There are three steps to becoming an affiliate marketer. In other words, be in a position to start marketing and selling products and services.
- Find a niche of products and services you like or want,
- Create a website, and
- Sign up with a company that has an affiliate program.
Finding a Niche
The first step is identifying the niches related to your passions or interests. Identifying a niche simply means “doing what you know.”
If gardening is your passion, then you may have spent time learning and doing gardening activities. Then gardening products or services could be your niche.
You may be more successful in marketing by sticking to selling what you know.
The idea is if you are passionate about something like your hobbies, you will be motivated to do what is needed to build a successful business. You will not be discouraged by difficulties or distracted by other opportunities.
Follow your passion, not the money!
The next part of finding a niche is finding one that is profitable.
It is easy to find products and services with associated affiliate programs.
Type the “product or service item” plus affiliate program. In the example below, I entered “antivirus software” + affiliate program. Google returned 20 pages of results.
Instead of searching by product, you can search by company name. For example, I searched for Target to see if they have an affiliate program.
Another way to find products and services to promote is to check with one or more of the affiliate networks. Networks are aggregators of retailers. In other words, the networks list hundreds and thousands of retailer affiliate programs. So in essence, the network acts as a middleman between the retailer and the affiliate. The advantage of using an affiliate network is it makes it easier to find retailers and products to market. Some larger networks include:
Once you have found a niche that may be profitable, the next step is creating a website.
Creating a Website
The second step is building a website relevant to your chosen niche.
Most major companies will ask for your website URL before approving your request to sell their products or services. So they are looking for more than a website with a glorified sales page.
This means building a website and adding useful, relevant content.
Your website should reflect your knowledge about your selected niche. Also, it should reflect you as an authority or expert in your field.
Your website focus should be to provide relevant, useful information that relates to the products and services you are promoting. Because, if your website visitor likes the information you provide, they are more likely to click on your link to the vendor’s sales page. Let the vendor’s product page sell the product.
KEY TAKEAWAY! Your website should focus on providing information that helps a visitor solve a problem. PRE-SELL, not sell.
Now for the techie stuff about building a website.
Thankfully, I am not a techie. So this will be brief.
When it comes to building a website, there are four options.
- Hire a website designer (Not recommended unless you have a massive budget.)
- Use web design software like Adobe Dreamweaver and do it yourself (Not recommended unless you have time to learn a software application.)
- Use an online website builder such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, for example. (Not recommended because you still need marketing tools.)
- Use an online marketing platform suite such as Affilorama, Builderall, Site Build It!, or Wealthy Affiliate, for example. (Recommended)
Years and years ago, I used web design software to build simple websites. But I won’t do that anymore. It is just too time-consuming.
I have used Affilorama and Site Build It! in the past. I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate since May 2016. I wrote a Wealthy Affiliate review to share my experiences with WA.
The construction of a website using a program like those in Item #4 above is straight forward and can be done quickly. Writing articles and blog posts (website content) takes considerably more time.
Join an Affiliate Program(s)
Once you have found the retailer(s) with which you wish to be affiliated and have built your website, complete the application.
For example, Amazon has the world’s largest affiliate program and offers over 1 million products. Yet, they disapprove many applications. I believe this is so because the applicants’ websites are not ready.
I have found the application process to be simple across the board. They all ask for personal information as to name, email address, website URL, and method for payment of commissions. Some ask for additional information such as home address and telephone number. Some ask for more information about the website that will be used to promote their products.
All application requests are reviewed within one or two days. I remember my Amazon application took a few extra days.
Once approved, the retailers will provide promotional material and guidelines for new affiliates to use. At this point, the affiliate links should be added to the websites promoting their products.
Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business Summary
- Choose your niche.
- Research different affiliate programs and products.
- Build a site and add useful, relevant content.
- Apply and be accepted into one or more retailer affiliate programs.
I hope my Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business blog post has provided useful information. If you have questions or comments, please fill out and submit the form below. I look forward to responding.