What’s the best way to earn money from scratch by simply promoting someone else’s product and nothing else?

The answer? Affiliate Marketing.

This is a business where your capital investment is your time instead of cash.

And the time that you use for doing research, building a good reputation, and creating valuable content are your keys to making a passive income.

The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing, in simple terms, is about earning a commission every time you successfully promote someone else’s product or service.

It’s not enough to have a brilliant product. Businesses (a.k.a. “merchants”) also have to find ways to get their offers out there and affiliates can help them do that.

Merchants and affiliates find each other in affiliate networks, like ClickBank or Amazon Associates.

Affiliates can range from individuals like popular social media influencers to humble bloggers, to groups like content-marketing companies with websites.

Affiliate marketers are paid in any of the following ways:

  • Pay-Per-Sale: Compensation for every customer who makes a purchase via the affiliate link
  • Pay-Per-Lead: Payment for every customer completing a merchant’s desired action (subscribing to their newsletter, downloading files, etc.)
  • Pay-Per-Click: A commission for the increase in web traffic to the merchant’s website from the affiliate’s page

Successfully monetizing your web traffic is the result of effective marketing and the best way to get there is by continually building your audience’s trust.

The Three Things You Should Master

Keep your eyes on the money, but never forget that affiliate marketing is all about giving value that attracts customers and building credibility that makes them stay.

So, if you wanna be a successful marketer that will last for a long time, here are the 3 things you should focus on:

 

  • Do what you’re good at and find out how it’s going to give value to other people

 

Common sense would tell you it’s best to find a profitable niche.

Something popular that almost everyone would surely like or something that’s worth huge amounts of money, like technology.

But the truth is, your interests may lie outside what’s popular. In addition, it’s difficult to compete with seasoned affiliate marketers in a common niche.

When that happens, here are tips that you can do to still make money:

  • Be as specific as possible. If you chose fitness, you can focus on targeting pear-shaped Asian women. If you chose business, you can look into low capital high ROI business ideas for teens. Being known as an expert in one particular subject can boost your chances of standing out from your competition.

 

  • Do your audience research. Dig deep and get familiar with your customers’ demographics and psychographics so you can design your affiliate offer around that. Doing this will help you know what kind of things they respond to and where they hang out so you can deliver their expectations in the right setting. Once you can naturally insert your offer into content that’s familiar to your audience, you’ll get more clicks.

 

 

  • Optimize your website. Ensure that every step in your sales funnel is smooth for your customers. Sometimes, the bounce rate is high because your website design is not user-friendly or attractive, pages take too long to load, or your landing pages with CTAs are not effective. Remember that your website also affects your credibility, so make sure everything is smoothly aligned.

 

2. Promote brands you are already familiar with or trust in 

Successful affiliate marketers like Neil Patel would only partner with brands that he trusts and knows will help him in giving useful value to his readers.

Because he’s such an established brand, any shady offers he might promote would greatly impact his reputation and affect his sales.

The same goes for small-time affiliate marketers, especially if you’re new to the game.

Once your audience discovers you’ve been promoting disreputable brands, you can be certain they will never come back. Plus, your reputation with them is forever tainted, lowering your credibility.

To ensure that you only give quality offers, do your research and only promote brands you personally use or have great familiarity with. This will help ensure that you will never mismanage your readers’ expectations because you know what you are talking about.

Keep these things in mind when promoting an offer:

  • Give useful information, not superficial ones. It’s useless to read a “product review” and discover nothing useful because the marketer was rambling on and on about how “great” a product was without stating specific reasons. Instead of doing that, write from an angle that would help solve your reader’s problem.

 

  • Never exploit your audience’s trust. Just because you’ve established a relationship with your readers doesn’t mean you can break it, not even once, for the sake of a quick profit. If the product you used was good, say so, and you’ll make sales. If it was bad, tell them and they’ll see you as a genuine person, instead of someone who’s just out to get their money.

 

 

  • Nobody likes aggressive marketing. Don’t clutter every corner on your website or email newsletter with promotions every single time or commanding them on what they should do because 1.) they’ll feel like you’re wasting their time and 2.) you risk sounding like you’re bossing them around.

 

3. Offer FREE valuable content 

Some affiliate marketers don’t believe in giving away valuable content for free. After all, they spent time and effort in making it, so there must be monetary payment, right?

Wrong.

As an affiliate marketer, you aren’t just selling for the sake of it – you are also giving value.

When you’re not selling in exchange for money, use the time to give value to your readers in exchange for building the kind of relationship that makes them see how you genuinely want to help them instead of using them for their money.

As the saying goes, help first, sell later.

Here some things you can give out for free:

  • eBooks or PDFs –  Builds your reputation as an expert in your chosen niche
  • Worksheets – Gets your readers to interact more with you and your content
  • Video tutorials – Similar to giving out free eBooks or PDFs, but feels more “human” since your followers can see your face and hear your voice

Bonus Tip

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that there are TONS of ways to do it, such as:

Websites – You can design many landing pages, call-out boxes, and articles where you can insert your affiliate links

Product endorsements  – Promoting products and services you had a personal experience with. This can go on your blog or on your social media posts or 24 hour-stories!

How-To Videos – If you’ve got something your readers are curious about, you can make a how-to-tutorial where you can naturally mention the products or services you used and attract visitors to your page

Email list – Your newsletters can be used to lead your subscribers to a product page, which is great especially if you’re paid via PPC (pay-per-click)

Conclusion

As an affiliate marketer, you may not be selling your own products but you are selling your own brand. 

With thousands of businesses competing to get a customer’s attention, showing that you care by promoting things that can help solve their problem is the best way to build credibility and long-term customer relationships.

Mastering the arts of trust-building and value-giving is the key to effective affiliate marketing, where high trust ratings = high passive income.

This great article is contributed by our friend Thomas Holm, chief-editor at Incomeninjas.com

Check out his profile to see more of his articles.

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