When you set out on a mission to become a successful online entrepreneur, you will be faced with the decision of which business model to pursue. This decision should be based on a mix of the profit potential you desire as well as your personal preferences for the types of tasks you will be carrying out.
One of the easiest, most lucrative, and quickest ways to earn a living on the Internet is by becoming an affiliate marketer. Not everyone who chooses this career will be able to earn a living at it.
This is not because the business model itself is flawed, but because many individuals fail to understand the proper strategy that will help them achieve the level of earnings they want.
What Does It Mean to Be an Affiliate Marketer?
When you become an affiliate marketer, you are taking on the role of an expert and guide who is willing to take your consumers concerns and needs and steer them in the right direction to a product that will provide the solution they are seeking.
Affiliate marketers, in their most distilled form, are middle men between a consumer who has money to spend and a problem to solve, and the vendors who have created the solution in the form of a digital or tangible product.
Vendors recruit affiliates, or approve them when they apply, in an effort to get more eyes on their products. It takes a lot of money and effort for them to organically attract (or pay for) traffic to their product sales pages.
That’s where you step in. You will serve a role in casting a wide net to bring more people to their site so that they can increase sales. In exchange for your efforts, you will be paid a commission that is typically 50% of the sale, but not always.
There are some vendors who pay less than half of the sale, and some who pay more. You can even find products that you can promote and earn 100% commission on. This is especially true with digital products.
As an affiliate marketer, it doesn’t mean you do not have the responsibility showcasing your expertise as a niche leader. In fact, you still have to prove to your target audience that you are a leading expert who can guide them in their decision making process.
It will be your responsibility to sift through the hundreds of competing products in the marketplace, and let buyers know which ones would be best for their purpose. You can do this through blog posts, email autoresponders, social networking posts, and more.
You have a duty to be honest with your readers and protect them from spending money on products that would not benefit them. You have to have your ethics intact so that you are not simply seeking a commission, but instead take pride in becoming the go to leader people can trust.
Your Investment of Time and Money
With any business model that you are considering as an online entrepreneur, you want to look at both the time and money you will be spending in order to build your business. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that there is a low upfront cost.
In fact, there are ways to conduct affiliate marketing without spending a dime. However, it’s always best to own your own digital space online. Therefore, purchasing a domain name and small hosting account would be wise.
You can get a domain name for as little as $0.99 if you look for a coupon code or GoDaddy. Otherwise, the domain will cost you anywhere from $12 to $17 per year. A hosting account is very inexpensive and should never cost you over $10 per month.
As time goes on, you may decide to build additional websites in other niche markets or outsource the creation of your affiliate content reviews. These are costs you can incur at a later date, and pay for them by reinvesting your initial earnings if you want to.
Another place affiliates sometimes spend money is in purchasing and reviewing the products for their blog. This is not a requirement, but it can help you gain more trust with your audience.
Typically, if you are reviewing a digital product, you have the ability to secure a complimentary review copy before the launch of the product to prepare your review. Not every vendor is willing to do this, so you may have to shell out a bit of money if you want to personally check out the product.
Tangible products will usually need to be purchased by you, because most manufacturers will not send free items out to affiliates. However, as your online reputation grows as someone who consumers are turning to for advice, you can expect companies to reach out to you and offer to send their products free in exchange for a review.
Keep in mind that your followers are depending on you to maintain and ethical approach to your reviews. If you are giving companies a positive review, simply because they sent you the product, then you are failing your audience.
You will lose their trust, which will result in your earnings diminishing. Because your influence dwindles, companies will no longer want to send you products. So it is imperative that you be upfront with companies that your reviews will be honest and truthful.
In terms of the time you will be investing as an affiliate marketer, you have much more control over this than you would in other business models. If you were a digital info product creator, you would be working under a deadline for a launch.
But as an affiliate marketer, you get to go at your own pace. Of course, the more content you publish, the more you stand to gain in a shorter amount of time. If you are only able to create two product reviews per month, it’s going to take you a long time to gain any traction.
Ideally, you need to be reviewing products once a day, or several times per week minimum. The time it takes you to create a product review will vary from person to person.
Some people are able to create a product review in five or ten minutes, while others may take hours to create and publish their review. It also depends on what type of product you are reviewing and how you are doing it.
For example, if you are reviewing a tangible product, it may take you less time to discuss the features and benefits. If you are reviewing a digital course, it may take you hours or even days to go through the entire thing.
You may not be one of those affiliates who are simply discussing what is in the product, but prefer instead to create a case study that showcases your experience with the product.
In this case, it may take days or even weeks to get the final results and publish your review. With case study reviews, you may be publishing it in a series format, where a new segment goes live every day.
Finding the Best Niches to Earn in as an Affiliate
In any business model that you pursue online, you have to make a careful analysis and decision about which niche topic you will get into. Everyone has different priorities in terms of what is important to them.
Some people just want to stay busy and explore their passion and enthusiasm for a niche topic, with money as a secondary concern. Others have an immediate focus on the income stream, with their personal satisfaction for the niche not as important.
Ideally, you want to focus on a niche that provides both for you – a good influx of profits as well as a high level of appeal for the topic itself. If you focus on the money only upfront, you will eventually burn out and feel very dissatisfied with your career and having to immerse yourself in that topic day after day.
There are so many different niches to choose from, that it’s almost impossible for you to not be able to find a niche that is both lucrative and personally satisfying. Make a list of all of the topics in life that you enjoy to start with.
You might enjoy things like gardening, your cats, cooking for your family, getting fit at the gym, learning about and applying anti-aging efforts, making money online, traveling, etc.
You also want to include things that you not only enjoy, but that you have a great deal of knowledge in. It’s okay to list things that you are a beginner at, because part of what is wonderful about affiliate marketing is sharing your learning process and the products that helped you figure things out.
Next, you want to look at the niches that offer you dual income profits. What this means is that you have the ability to bring in commissions based on the promotion of both tangible and digital products.
There are some niches that only provide for one or the other. For example, if you are in the toy niche, it is primarily tangible items only. But if you are in the motivation niche, it is a digital one.
Most niches provide the ability to earn dual commissions. For example, if you are in the anti-aging niche, you will be promoting products about how to get fit and stay healthy over at the age of 40, and you will also be promoting tangible products such as at home exercise equipment, anti-aging supplements, skin creams, and more.
You want to look at the ability to earn income from your niche topic for a long time. Evergreen niches are those that will be around now and many years from now with no sign of disappearing.
You don’t want to target a topic that is solely trend based and has a high degree of trending downward quickly. While you might be able to make money in spurts like this, it doesn’t provide for the growth of a long term business.
You want to take your list of niche topics and begin looking at the various affiliate programs and products that are available for you to earn money with. If you have chosen a niche that has a few products, and not many sales, then that would not be a good fit for your business.
Start by going to Amazon and looking at both the nonfiction books and the tangible products that are available to the target audience for this niche. You want to see how vast the product lines are, how many brands are competing for this target audience, and how many sales are coming in based on the number of reviews.
When you’re looking at these reviews, you want to make sure that there are enough products that are highly rated for you to promote. If you have chosen a niche where customers are hard to please and most products have a three star or lower rating, that may be a sign for concern.
Next, go to Commission Junction and Share a Sale and look to see how many products you can find to promote there period. When you’re done, go to ClickBank, Warrior Plus, Udemy, and JVZoo and see what types of digital products you can find to promote.
Make sure you’re looking at the commission levels of all of these to ensure that you will be making enough money with your affiliate promotions to earn the desired income you hope to achieve.
Once you have found a niche topic that looks to be profitable and one you feel you will enjoy being involved in on a day to day basis, go ahead and conduct some research for keywords and choose a domain so that you can get your affiliate site set up.
Creating Product Reviews That Can Rake in Commissions
When your site is set up for affiliate marketing, it will be time for you to start creating product reviews that will begin bringing in the kind of commission you are hoping for. Being consistent with your review publications will help grow your income for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, search engine bots will be crawling your site and your rank will increase if they can see that you are keeping your blog fresh with new content. In addition to that, human visitors will appreciate that they can come back to your site on a regular basis to find new information about products and a niche they are interested in.
There are many different types of affiliate product reviews that you can write that will earn you money. If you are limited on the amount of information that you have about certain products, then you may want to create a list review.
This is when you have something such as a top ten list of products, where you name and hyperlink the product and give a simple one to two paragraph summary of the benefits and features the product has.
This is typically information that you can gather on the sales page or product listing. You don’t need any personal, hands-on experience with the product. But you do still need to recommend items that are rated well.
Another type of review that you can do as an affiliate is a thorough individual product review. This is when you dive deep into a product to cover all of the features, benefits, and drawbacks of a product as well as discuss tips on how to use the product or maximize their return with it.
These are generally the kind of reviews that you will conduct through ownership or personal experience of the product, but not necessarily. If you are willing to gather information from other sources that give you insight into the performance of these products without personally owning it, then you can create a thorough review for your readers.
You never want to mislead your audience and make them believe that you have personally tried a product, when you haven’t. It’s okay to make recommendations based on the general marketplace availability of products, without owning each and every one.
Another type of product review that you can create is one that pits two products against one another. This is basically a compare and contrast review, where the individual features, price points, and benefits are analyzed to see which product is an overall better buy and a final recommendation is made between the two.
Increasing Earnings Over Time
As time goes on, you will be able to level up with your earnings. What started out as a simple and consistent publication of blog post reviews can transform into a multimedia empire where you are covering all bases with an audio podcast, video reviews, graphics and infographics, and of course, text.
If you want to grow your earnings outside of your blog, make sure you have a presence on all relevant social media networks where the target audience for your niche is active. You’ll want to check out sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest, YouTube, and more to see if you can grow up following.
Make sure you are driving traffic back to your website, where they can read the numerous product reviews that you have put up in detail with the links. Depending on the social network rules, you may be able to link out to individual products from each item that you publish there.
One thing you may not have considered as an affiliate marketer, is that you can build a list of subscribers. This is not something that is your reserved solely for digital info product creators.
As an affiliate, you can reach out to your loyal subscribers on a regular basis whenever you have a new product review ready for them to consume. You will also be able to steer them in the right direction whenever you find out about a special discount or sale that they need to know about.
Make sure you create a lead magnet offer that entices people to sign up to your list. This could be a buyer’s guide or a tip sheet that helps them learn how to shop smart for the niche products they are interested in.
Once you have these people on your list, you can not only send them to your blog to consume the product reviews you have posted, but you can also make recommendations directly within the email itself, depending on the rules of the platform you are promoting.