The first internet affiliate marketer was a man named William Tobin, who founded PC Flowers and Gifts.
He started their affiliate program in 1989 and was granted a patent for the idea of affiliate marketing in 2000.
Thanks William, you just gave us all one of easiest ways to make passive income online ever invented.
If you’re looking for a way to start making money online or just create additional income streams for an existing business - affiliate marketing is a fantastic option.
Not only is it extremely low maintenance compared to other ways to make money (like drop shipping, ecommerce, consulting, etc.) it can be extremely lucrative when done right.
If that appeals to you - which, we’re pretty sure it does - let’s dive in!
Affiliate marketing let's anyone make money (in the form of commissions) by recommending products and services to people.
You don't need a product, a fulfillment team, inventory, or a unique idea - all you need is some channel where you have an audience or traffic - like a website, blog, social media platform, YouTube channel, email list, etc.
Essentially, stores (like Amazon, Walmart, Target) and individual brands (in pretty much every industry) allow people to sign up with them and send people to their website - and if you send someone to one of these places through your unique affiliate link and that person takes a specific action - you get paid.
Different affiliate programs pay for different actions.
In any event, you benefit because you can make a recommendation, send somebody to the brand, and your work is done. The brand benefits because they can leverage tons of people with niche relevant blogs, followings, audiences, etc. to do their selling for them!
Pretty sweet, right?
In order to get started in affiliate marketing, you first have to join an affiliate program.
Individual brands have affiliate programs, and you can simply google "brand + affiliate program" or "brand + partner program" to find them.
Have a website about dogs? Google stuff like "affiliate programs for dogs" or "purina affiliate program".
There are also affiliate marketplaces that list a ton of different brands, and once you sign up with an account at the 'marketplace' you can simply one-click apply to each brand, which is nice because you can have one login and dashboard to track multiple products your promoting.
For a more comprehensive list, check out our article on affiliate marketing programs.
Here’s an example of how it works in real life:
Let’s say George is reading your article about the best tablets on the market today. He decides that he doesn’t really need an upgrade at the moment, but later that night, he goes back on that website and orders a new laptop.
Because your cookie is still active for George, you make money on his new laptop purchase!
It's pretty much that simple.
If you have your heart set on getting started with affiliate marketing, the opportunities are out there.
Well, alot of reasons. Some we already mentioned, but here they are packaged up for you in a nice list.... Because who doesn't love a nice list?
And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for...
A tightly focused niche can help you grow your affiliate marketing following faster than a broad one.
You can do well with a broader niche, it just takes longer because there's gonna be more competitors the larger your pool is.
Take our advice and start by going as narrow as possible. Google likes niche websites.
And when we asked Google to confirm of deny if they like niche websites, their official response was:
Plus, you can always expand later.
Now, If you’re not sure what your extremely tightly focused niche should be, start by asking yourself a few questions:
Well truthfully it doesn't HAVE to be a website.
You can build anything that has an audience, but we like building websites because.... Well, we rock at SEO.
And if you're good at SEO you can rank for keywords that people are searching everyday, and make affiliate income on autopilot.
You’ve got to have a website for people to come and check out what you have to offer!
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re ready to choose your affiliate marketing program.
Check out affiliate marketplaces, big brands, and individual brands.
Now you’re ready to begin creating content for your affiliate marketing site. Nice work so far, by the way.
You can implement solid SEO on your website or blog from your very first post. All you have to do is:
There are lots of different types of blog posts you can include on your site.
Even if you’ve developed the best content out there, it won’t help you one bit if no one is reading it, right?
There are lots of ways for you to build your audience. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Leverage email marketing to collect emails by giving away freebies on your site.
For example, if your niche is in the health and wellness field, why not come up with a 7-day Keto meal plan PDF? People can have it for free if they simply give you their email address.
You may be able to write a guest post on another influencer’s blog or have them write one for yours. Either way, this is a win-win situation.
You’ll be able to get your content in front of a bigger audience.
You’ll also get backlinks and more authority, which is great for your SEO.
You’d be crazy not to create a solid social media presence. SEO can take some time to build, but social media gets your content in front of people’s eyes right away.
You can probably think of a handful of sites that you can utilize, and that list should include:
Once again, check out what your competitors are doing and make sure you do it better. That’s all you have to do to grow your following and establish your brand on social media.
As your audience grows, it’s up to you to provide them with value. You have earned their trust. That means that when you suggest products to them, they’ll seriously consider them.
Key Tip: Make sure you’re only promoting products they’ll like. Otherwise, you might lose that hard-earned trust, and nobody wants that.
Here are a few ideas to get you up and running with promotions.
Oh, and remember that email list? Use it!
All that’s left for you to do now is wash, rinse, repeat.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to starting a successful affiliate marketing gig.
Our advice to you at this point is to keep doing what you’ve been doing. Stay updated on the newest trends and keep your audience engaged.
We believe in you. You’re going to do great!
If you want help getting started with turning your passion into profits, building a lifestyle business, or just adding more revenue streams to your existing business - join the free SERP University group where we give expert advice, coaching, insider information and help you on your journey by answering your questions to get you unstuck.