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Marketing 25 min read May 17, 2022

Beginner's Guide to Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started and Succeed in 2023

Newbie's Guide to Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started and Succeed in 2022
Newbie's Guide to Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started and Succeed in 2022
Congratulations on deciding to start your own affiliate marketing journey! It’s a big decision, but it can be one of the most rewarding ones you make in your life, as long as you stick with it.

You see affiliate marketing is a great business model which is proven time and time again to work wonderfully, but it's not as easy as it seems.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about affiliate marketing, and it can be hard to know where to start.

Whether you're a complete beginner or have some experience under your belt, this guide will teach you the crucial steps you need to be aware of to succeed in affiliate marketing in 2022.

Think of this article as your personal coach who will walk you through what affiliate marketing is all about, including:

  • How to get started.
  • What to do first.
  • Common mistakes to avoid.
  • Installing an entrepreneurial framework for success.
  • And of course how to make money in your sleep!

Ready to dive deep into affiliate marketing? Let's get started!

What Is Affiliate Marketing, And Why Is It Such A Good Opportunity?

First and foremost, let's cover some of the basics.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based content marketing, where you (the affiliate) promote someone else's product or service in exchange for a commission on the sale.

In other words, you get paid for referring someone to a product or service that they end up buying.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to run an online business that can be a very profitable venture if done correctly due to the following:
  • You only have to become skilled at digital marketing
  • There is no need to create, research, and develop your own product
  • Leverage existing brands' authority and credibility
  • Let the business you promote do the customer service
  • Zero inventory management or capital investment
  • Works for both organic and paid traffic sources
  • There are an endless amount of physical and digital products you can promote
  • There is no ceiling on the income potential.
As you can see, there are countless benefits to affiliate marketing and with the ongoing explosion of online businesses incorporating affiliate programs in their businesses, there is no shortage of matchmaking customers with products and services.
Affiliate marketing spending in the United States from 2010 to 2022

Affiliate marketing spending in the United States from 2010 to 2022 [Source: Statista]

Everything is becoming more digitalized and even local businesses are transitioning to the online space, especially with the emergence of new technologies on the horizon like web3 and cryptocurrencies, the trend is set for massive growth.

There are of course disadvantages to all business models and affiliate marketing is no exception. Let's unearth what they are and how to handle the weaknesses in the next chapter.

Crucial Affiliate Marketing Mistakes No One Talks About

There are a lot of potential affiliate marketing mistakes that can doom your efforts and essentially destroy your entire business overnight. Fortunately, you're reading this guide and by doing so are already ahead of the curve.

Most affiliate marketing mistakes are avoidable with a little bit of knowledge, forethought, and awareness of the pitfalls. These are the essential mistakes that newbies should watch out for when first starting out with affiliate marketing.

Distinguish what is an asset, and own the most crucial ones yourself

You might be wondering what affiliate marketing has to do with owning assets.

The answer is: Everything!

You see, in order to succeed in affiliate marketing for the long haul, you need to own the essential assets yourself such as a website, the content, a domain name, or an email list.

The reason is as simple as it is overlooked. As an affiliate, you don't own the products you promote, the brand, or the social media platforms you use for generating traffic. You're just a middle man in the sales process of acquiring customers and the value exchange.

What most affiliates do once they acquire the attention and traffic of a targeted customer is that they simply send them straight over to the brands in order to get a quick sale and a commission.

Huge mistake.

At any point in time, a brand can decide to shut down its affiliate program or cut the commission rate by half (as was the case with Amazon).
Amazon shut down its affiliate program
[Source: Amazon]
Also, the social media platforms that you post content or advertise on, can at any time ban you for whatever reason, obliterate your traffic, or shut down the account altogether.

All of the points above mean certain death for your affiliate marketing business, and you don't want to be 'that guy'.

But there are ways to negate these issues with just a little forethought in your digital marketing funnel:

Always make sure to convert traffic to qualified leads for yourself before sending them along to the brand.

How To Convert Organic Traffic Into Qualified Leads

This can be done in numerous ways but the most common way is to place a little landing page where you collect an email address before sending them along to the brands.

Owning your own email list with a targeted customer base is your single most important piece of digital asset that you can build for yourself as an affiliate.

If a brand shuts down its affiliate program? No problem, start promoting something similar to YOUR audience.

If social media algorithms suddenly don't like you? No problem, you already acquired the leads for yourself and can contact them anytime.

It's essential to safeguard yourself in any way possible, as affiliates we often play on other people's playgrounds unless you decide to build one of your own (a website for example).

Make sure to take this entire section to heart, and re-read it if necessary. Acquire essential assets yourself and you'll be successful in affiliate marketing.

Being too niche and pigeonholing yourself

You often hear the question: What niche should I pick?

It's an ever-ongoing debate if you should pick an ultra-specific niche, or be general and broad and the truth is, you need to be able to do both simultaneously.

By going too specific in a niche, you risk picking a topic that just doesn't have a sufficient audience to market to. And if that topic becomes untrendy in a few months, then you're left with nothing and forced to start over.

The world is constantly shifting and the online world is moving very fast. As an affiliate and entrepreneur, your best weapon to combat this is through the power of pivoting.

Instead of building a website around 'small fish tank setups for kids below 12 years old', you could create a general pet brand that has the subtopics of fish, dog, cat, food, grooming, etc.

If one area doesn't work, pivot into another subtopic and so forth.

Another way is to create a personal brand, the brand of you. Inherently you won't ever pigeonhole yourself into a niche, and you can pivot into a wide range of topics that you have skills and expertise in.

Either way, avoid going too niche or risk having to start all over again if it fails or the trends disappear.

Building Your Personal Brand On Social Media: Tips And Tricks

Choosing subpar products and affiliate programs

In order to be successful in affiliate marketing, it's important to choose the right products to promote and the right affiliate programs to join.

Unfortunately, many beginners make the mistake of promoting subpar products or signing up for shoddy affiliate programs. These products and programs are often low-quality or even scams in the worst case, and they're rarely worth the trouble.

If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, it's essential to do your research and find reputable products and programs to promote. Most people join the Amazon affiliate program, and although it's the easiest way to get started, the commissions are low, and to offset that you'll need massive amounts of traffic.

Be aware of what affiliate programs exist, the pricing of the products, how established the brand is, and the commission rates. This will dictate what you'll promote, and everything you need to know is a simple Google search away.

Not doing enough research to assess traffic potential and the competition

One of the most common mistakes made when starting affiliate marketing is not doing enough keyword research.

This means not taking the time to assess the traffic potential and the competition for the topic you want to enter. Without this essential information, you're likely to waste valuable time and money on campaigns that won't generate any results at all.

Worse yet, you may end up competing with well-established brands in a saturated market, making it virtually impossible to succeed.
Take website hosting as an example, although the affiliate commissions for promoting companies like Bluehost, Wix, or Squarespace are very lucrative, the niche in itself is already dominated by these behemoths of brands. If you as a new affiliate marketer wish to compete against established companies in a market that has been around for a solid 10+ years, your chances of success are slim to none.

Even with this realization, countless blogs are created daily with the end goal in mind to promote web hosting.

Do your research upfront, invest in good SEO software such as Serpstat, and avoid these common pitfalls to give yourself the best chance for success.

How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

So you're interested in affiliate marketing but don't know where to start? That's totally understandable! It can be a daunting task to try and figure out all the ins and outs of starting a new business. But don't worry, this guide is here to help.

Decide your media content strategy, written or video?

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you have two main content strategies to choose from: written or video.

Both have their own unique set of pros and cons, so it's important to decide which one will work best for you. If you're more comfortable writing and can't stand the thought of filming yourself on camera, then written content is definitely the way to go.

The Power of Content Marketing for Small Businesses

It's a great way to share your personal experiences and provide valuable advice and insights to your readers. However, if you're more comfortable in front of the camera, then video content is a very powerful medium as 86% of marketers prefer video for their marketing campaigns.

Not only is it a great way to connect with your audience on a personal level and build massive trust, but it also has the potential for explosive growth in a short amount of time.

Both of the mediums work, but it's best to focus on one at a time as each requires a lot of work, and you might be overwhelmed by doing both at the same time.

For example, choosing a video editing software and focusing on learning the ins and outs of video marketing will directly translate into better content, more brand awareness, and ultimately sales.

Find products and services

Part of affiliate marketing is finding the right products and services to promote.

This can be done in a few ways: by browsing through affiliate networks or marketplaces, by signing up with product or service providers directly, or the easiest by far is using search engines to find specific products or services.

You'll probably already be familiar with some products or services that you use yourself, all you need to do is search for affiliates at the bottom of the brand's website and research commission percentages and how much you can potentially earn.
Learn more about the Serpstat Affiliate Program
Learn more about the Serpstat Affiliate Program
There's no use picking products that result in commissions for a few cents or dollars per sale as you'll need to move a lot of products per month for affiliate marketing to be a sustainable business.

It's also important to find products that are of high quality, people love to use, and that you feel confident promoting. You'll want to make sure the products and services you choose are relevant to your audience and offer value.

Research keyword opportunities

Whether you pick the written or video route for your digital marketing efforts, keyword research is a fundamental building block, and if skimmed over can result in your efforts being for nothing.

You'll want to find topics that have enough search volume and decent competition where you stand a chance of getting traction.

This ensures that you'll be able to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs), in the YouTube algorithm, and that you won't have to fight tooth and nail for traffic.

You can use a variety of tools to help you with this, one excellent tool is the Serpstat Keyword Research tool that lets you both find and research:
  • How much traffic a keyword receives
  • How competitive the keyword is
  • What the average CPC is (cost per click)
  • What the average search volume is and more.
Once you have a list of keywords, you can start creating content around them and targeting them in your marketing campaigns.
Would you like to try out the Serpstat Keyword Research tool to find the most relevant, high-performing phrases?
Click the button below, sign up and get a free 7-day trial!

Create engaging content and make sure to capture emails

In order to persuade potential customers to sign up for your email list, you need to upgrade your marketing skills to start producing content that's truly engaging.

This means creating content that's valuable, interesting, and relevant to your target audience. Don't be afraid to be creative and try out different formats—visuals, infographics, videos, lists, etc.

And most importantly, make sure your content is worth subscribing to. Nobody wants another newsletter cluttering up their inbox, so make sure you're providing real value in each and every email, link to your webinar platform, informational podcast, or your online course.

Once you've got people subscribed, it's important to keep them interested by sending regular, valuable content.

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative way to monetize your blog or website , but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you're willing to put in the effort, though, the rewards can be great!

How to Write Engaging Content: 8 Actionable Tips

Once traffic starts rolling in, join the affiliate program and convert traffic into sales

Once you have a steady flow of traffic coming to your website, it's time to join the affiliate program.

This will allow you to convert that traffic into sales and receive a commission for every sale you generate. However, it's important to make sure that either your website or videos are properly optimized for conversions.

Offer valuable content, use persuasive images and test different variations to see what works best. Always remember that the key to success is providing a great experience for your visitors — that's what will keep them coming back!

Serpstat For Affiliate Marketing Platforms

How To Be Successful In Affiliate Marketing In 2022

So far we've had a beginner-friendly overview of how affiliate marketing works and the core principles behind it, and online business at its core is actually pretty simple once you think about it.

Someone either has a desire or a problem, they wish to go from point A to point B, and a product or service lets them close that distance.

But when it comes to actually making things happen, you yourself are unfortunately your worst enemy. When you embark on the journey of creating an affiliate marketing business, there are a few pitfalls that you'll encounter along the way, which are typically for any entrepreneurial endeavor.

To be successful in affiliate marketing in 2022, you'll need to master the following skills:

Set goals that actually drive results

Too often, people set goals without thinking about what they need to do to reach them. They're not realistic, or they lack a plan of action. Worse yet, some people set goals that actually work against them.

For example, "I want to make a $10k next month" is an admirable goal, but if you don't have a plan for how you're going to achieve it, you're doomed to fail.

The same goes for affiliate marketing. You need to set goals that are achievable and that will help you move forward. For example, "I want to increase my website traffic by 20% in the next three months" is a better goal.

It's specific, it's measurable, and it has a timeline attached to it. When you set goals like this, you can track your progress and make adjustments along the way in order to stay on track.

Doing this is key to affiliate marketing success — you need to be constantly learning and evolving to stay ahead of the competition.

Take daily action consistently over a long period of time

It sounds cliché, but the only way to achieve success in affiliate marketing is to take daily action consistently over a long period of time.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your affiliate empire. This isn't a short-term game; it takes dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

But if you're able to put in the effort and stick with it, the payoff can be incredible. Keep in mind that affiliate marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. So make sure you have the patience and determination to see it through.

As long as you stay focused and keep putting in the work, you'll be on your way to success.

Don't reinvent the wheel and learn from a mentor who has already done it

You don't want to just jump into affiliate marketing without any guidance. That's why it's important to find a mentor who can help you walk you through the process.

Someone who has already been successful in the affiliate marketing world can teach you what works and what doesn't, saving you time and money. When looking for a mentor, make sure to find someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Take some time to do your research and ask around for recommendations. Once you've found someone who is a good fit for you, be sure to follow their advice and keep learning!

Wrap Up

Affiliate marketing can be a great opportunity to make some extra cash on the side, or even to turn it into a full-time business.

But, as with most things in life, success doesn't happen overnight. It's important to take your time in learning all there is to know about affiliate marketing and to put in the hard work upfront so that you can see results down the road.

With these tips, you'll be on your way to affiliate marketing success in no time!
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