In this affiliate marketing tutorial, I’m going to teach everything that I learned since becoming a full-time affiliate marketer in 2017.
Since that time I’ve won multiple cars, participated in 7-figure affiliate launches, and learned a crazy amount of useful information. I’ve made mistakes that nearly ruined my business and I had huge wins that I could have never imagined before I joined the throngs of internet marketers trying to break free of their 9-5.
This tutorial will show how to get started as an affiliate marketer, how to choose a niche or focus, how to find affiliate programs, and how to build an actual audience of people that will buy from you. Let’s get started.
A quick definition
Affiliate marketing is simply where a company pays someone to market their product. Typically they will pay that person on an acquisition basis, meaning they pay the affiliate once a customer has actually signed up and given the company money. Affiliate marketing is tracked through special links that each affiliate is given. The link is unique to that affiliate, so when someone clicks that link and signs up, the affiliate gets commissions.
The big picture
It’s a little-known fact that almost 9 in 10 affiliates never make a single dime in commissions. This is almost always because they don’t understand the big picture of affiliate marketing. So let me explain what that is.
I break affiliate marketing down into two categories. Search-based affiliate marketing and influencer-based affiliate marketing.
Search-based affiliate marketing is where an affiliate creates content on search engines that point to their affiliate links. They find people that are searching the internet with questions, answer those questions, and then provide an affiliate link in addition to their answer.
For example, I once created a YouTube video that answered the question, “how to buy Bitcoin”. The video not only taught how to buy Bitcoin, but referred users to the online software company that I used to facilitate the transaction as well as store the Bitcoin. When someone watched my video and clicked my link to sign up for that company, I got a $10 affiliate commission.
That single video made me over $25,000.
And that’s why I love the power of affiliate marketing.
The second way affiliate marketers promote their product is via influence. This means that they build up an audience of people that they can promote their affiliate product to. The audience isn’t searching for the product, but because the affiliate marketer has their attention, they can often get them to buy if the product is a quality product that can benefit the audience.
An example of this would be someone who has five million Instagram followers interested in football. They decide to sign up as an affiliate for a company that offers the ability to watch sporting channels online. They make a post on their Instagram about the company and include their affiliate link. Hundreds of their followers sign up, and assuming the company is a quality company with a quality product, everyone wins.
Getting started with a niche
I gave away the first step to getting started in the last section. It’s all about choosing a niche. In the example above the niche was “sporting” or “football”. So many new affiliate marketers make the mistake of choosing a broad niche or no niche and just trying to sell any product to anyone that will listen.
Instead, pick a niche based on what you are passionate about. If you like football, that’s a great one. If you like cooking, that’s a great one as well. The important thing is that you pick a niche that you are passionate about and can talk or write about.
The more narrow your niche, the more likely your offers will resonate with more people who come across your content.
Finding affiliate products to promote
This brings me to the second mistake new affiliates often make – the mistake of promoting the wrong products.
When I made my first affiliate marketing website the first keyword I decided to go after was about book reviews. I reviewed books and sent my audience to Amazon to purchase. Despite ranking in the top 3 for my keyword, I was making less than $15 a month off my highest-trafficked page.
This was because I was promoting really low-ticket products that paid out literal pennies for each purchase. I would need massive volume to ever make money that way.
I soon learned to promote products that were hundreds of dollars and paid much higher commissions than Amazon’s 4%. Now instead of needing 100 sales to make $100, I only need one. You can find a great list of high-ticket affiliate programs here.
This is where so many affiliates stop trying because it requires work. Real work.
Whether you are doing search engine marketing or influencer marketing, you are going to need to consistently be putting out content on the platforms of your choice. That content should match your niche and your affiliate offers. This means that the people in your niche should resonate with the programs you promote, and the people that your content resonates with should benefit from the affiliate product(s) you are promoting.
I always create a content plan based on a few things.
The first is keyword research. If people are looking for it, it’s probably a great idea for the content on every platform.
The second thing is competitor research. This is where you go find other influencers in your niche and see what content they are creating that is crushing it. The content that their audience is going nuts over. Now you just need to make it a little better.
A lead magnet is something you offer for free in exchange for an email address. Every piece of content you put out needs to point to some sort of a lead magnet. For example, when someone comes to my blog posts about sales funnels, they get offered a free sales funnel training in exchange for their email address.
Now when that reader leaves my blog, I have an email address that I can market to in the future. This is also known as an audience, and it’s key to any successful affiliate business.
The last piece of the puzzle is what you do with the email address.
The answer, surprisingly, is to email them! You have a targeted list of people that you know are interested in a specific subject. Now you just need to email them offers that resonate with them. I usually send some introductory emails first so that they know who I am and what I stand for, but at the core, that is what I’m doing.
So here is a good example.
My niche is online business owners, so I decide to promote a few software companies that help online business owners create websites, sales funnels, and email automation.
I go do some research on what they are looking up and discover thousands of people in my audience are trying to figure out the best email autoresponder to use. So I create a YouTube video that compares all the different autoresponders to help them make a decision.
In the video, I add links (affiliate links) to all the autoresponders I talk about. I also offer them free email marketing training on how to increase their profits and decrease their time spent emailing.
I make some money as people watch the videos and click my affiliate links, but even better I get a bunch of email addresses of online business owners. Now I can email them other affiliate offers that make sense and can benefit their business. I can do this for years as long as they don’t unsubscribe.
This is how every successful affiliate marketer is winning online today.