Learning how to use affiliate marketing to promote products could help you earn a commission on your website, blog, social media profile, or video channel. To get started with affiliate marketing, you need to do more than just find random affiliate links and add them to your profile.
In this article, we will guide you through all the steps to building a valuable and ethical affiliate marketing program. Keep reading to discover what affiliate marketing is, how and where it is used, and the courses and resources you can access to increase your understanding.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
To put it simply, affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing that enables you to earn money by driving traffic to a company’s website.
Affiliate marketing is when a company or retailer pays a commission to an affiliate providing them with special links, emails, and affiliate websites to drive traffic back to the company. The commission rate varies per company and product but usually stands at around a 40 percent commission on the service.
There is a wide range of products and services that affiliates can choose from, so you can choose to promote a product that you love and use often.
What Is an Affiliate Network
Rather than an affiliate directly contacting a company about promoting a product or service, an affiliate network is like a middle-man. The network allows you, as an affiliate, to access thousands of products, helping you narrow down those that you may want to market.
Although these companies may take time to carry out thorough checks of your content and identification, it is worth the wait. Using an affiliate network is one of the keys to finding your niche. For example, if you have a health and wellness blog, you can use the network to find wellness products to make sure your audience is getting ads that they want.
Some affiliate networks include Commission Junction Affiliate, ClickBank, Amazon Associates, and eBay Partner Network. These are great to browse if you create high-quality, popular content online. CJAffiliate is one of the largest affiliate networks, with over 20 years of experience.
Where Is Affiliate Marketing Used?
You can market your affiliate products in most online spaces as long as you disclose an affiliate link. Let’s take an in-depth look at the different websites where you might find affiliate marketing.
- Facebook. You can post affiliate links on your own Facebook page, or in related Facebook groups. Some people will also use paid advertising campaigns to boost awareness of a brand or product. However, you should always disclose that it is an affiliate. Also, try not to bombard people with products as this might do more harm than good. It is best to start by trying the free, organic traffic route before attempting to use paid Facebook Ads.
- YouTube. Another popular space for affiliate links is beneath a YouTube video. If you have a popular YouTube account, you can add links to products or services that are related to your videos, and also mention them in the video.
- Blog. If you have a blog, you can add affiliate links that tie in with what the article is about.
- Affiliate banners. An affiliate banner is used alongside text links within your blog content. A company will provide you with designs for a clickable banner that links to their website.
- Resources page. If you are an expert in a particular topic, you can create a resources page on your website that has recommendations for the tools you use in your craft and can add links to your affiliates there.
- Instagram. Much like Facebook, you can generate organic affiliate traffic with your posts. For example, you can add a link to your bio, then tell your followers to check out your bio for more information on a product or service.
- Other social media platforms. If you use Twitter, Pinterest, or TikTok, you can easily add affiliates to your bio or content. It is best to have the reader or viewer in mind when finding affiliates so that you can provide your followers with items they need. What types of products do they need? How many products should you advertise, and how often? And how can you creatively tell them about these affiliates in a way that won’t deter them?
More On The Types of Affiliate Marketing
Below are the main types of affiliate links, the best way to showcase them, and why they are beneficial to building an affiliate program.
These are exclusive URLs that track the traffic from your website to the company’s website. Every affiliate marketer has a unique URL, including random numbers and letters, or a username. These are then linked within copy or pasted onto a webpage next to a product description.
Building a loyal following is key to affiliate marketing, so you should be sure to have an email list of your fans. Once your readers subscribe to your email updates, you can promote your affiliated products through regular emails.
The trick here is not to spam your followers with products, but to create valuable email content, then occasionally advertise products that you think your readers may need.
If you have experience creating a website, this may be an excellent way for you to earn extra money from your affiliate links. You will need to know about search engine optimization (SEO), how to build a website, and how to drive organic traffic to your website.
Web hosting is when you pay for server space and a domain name, i.e., “careerkarma.com.” The “hosting” will then allow you to load your website in that space.
You will pay for a certain amount of storage and traffic to your site, which your web hosting provider will manage for you. All you have to do is provide the files or folder structure for your website.
Learning Affiliate Marketing
There are plenty of online resources and classes that can teach you all about affiliate marketing. You will study the steps you need to get started, standard practices, and conversion rates. There is little downside to affiliate marketing because it is free and can be a nice addition to your income with little effort.
Affiliate Marketing: How Long Does It Take to Learn?
This is difficult to answer as it is a learning process that usually begins with research, studying, and trying it out. It can take anywhere from six to 15 months to begin earning good money from your affiliate strategy. The process may go quicker if you already have a digital marketing background and a large following on your social media or blog.
How to Learn Affiliate Marketing: Step-by-Step
Once you feel you have a good idea of what affiliate marketing is, you can begin your journey. Allow us to break it down for you step-by-step.
- Create Great Content. The first step is to create original, useful, and optimized content. There is no point in getting into affiliate marketing if you don’t have an audience to show your content to. Create material you love and develop your niche.
- Create a Strategy. Any marketing class will tell you that effective marketing begins with a strategy. This might include using a calendar tool to create and post your content at a specific time. Factor this in as you research what affiliates fit with your content.
- Create Your Website. Having a website can help boost your brand as well as your affiliate link click rate. Even using a simple WordPress website builder is a great start.
- Promote your Affiliates. Once you have enough content and you’ve created an effective strategy and website, you can begin promoting.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses and Training
There are many ways to learn affiliate marketing, including by reading blogs and books, or by taking online courses or free classes. Browse our list below to discover the most useful and reliable affiliate marketing online courses and training.
Online Affiliate Marketing Classes
Below are a few online courses and classes you may want to pursue. These will help you gain up-to-date knowledge on everything related to affiliate marketing. Plus, we included some additional studies we think will complement your learning.
- Time: 2.5 hours to 32.5 hours
- Price: $77.96 to $129.95
These Udemy classes are great if you want to learn affiliate marketing through ClickBank or Amazon Affiliate, or if you want to take an in-depth course on general digital marketing strategies. Students will learn about formatting, strategies, and traffic.
- Courses: Affiliate Marketing Foundations
- Time: Varies
- Price: Varies/First month free
LinkedIn is not just a valuable networking and professional portfolio website; it is also a great online learning platform. The above courses will help you get started in affiliate promotion, plus a few extra courses to supplement your learning. Find out everything you need to know about this type of marketing and gain a certificate that will be included on your LinkedIn profile.
Free Online Affiliate Marketing Courses
Google Digital Garage
- Course: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
- Time: Self-paced
- Price: Free
This course by Google is great for complete novices in digital marketing. If websites, social media, and SEO are confusing to you, this course should be your first stop. Think of this course as foundational knowledge that will help you get into affiliate marketing.
- Course: Get Certified in Email Marketing
- Time: 3.2 Hours
- Price: Free
This HubSpot course is a great start to understanding email marketing. This course will teach you the fundamentals of inbound marketing. It is intended for those who are inexperienced in creating email marketing content.
Affiliate Marketing Books
Another way to build your affiliate knowledge is with books, e-books, and audiobooks. These are a great way to flesh out your understanding. Below are Career Karma’s top affiliate marketing book picks.
Affiliate Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide To Making Money Online With Affiliate Marketing, Kevin Ulaner
This book discusses passive income, affiliate marketing, blogging, small business ideas, and financial freedom. Check out this step-by-step guide for beginner’s to learn more.
From Nothing: Everything You Need to Profit from Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Online Business, and more, Ian Pribyl.
This is another great beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing. Ian gets straight to the point about how to create successful affiliate marketing plans.
Online Affiliate Marketing Resources and Tools
The Internet is a valuable learning tool. Below are some examples of websites that will teach you skills and help you learn more about affiliate marketing.
Is there anything that YouTube has not made more accessible and fun to learn? Check out the experiences of YouTubers who use affiliate promotion on their very channels, and discover more about this source of passive income straight from the horse’s mouth.
This website can be used to cloak your affiliate links to stop people and malware from hijacking your URL. ThirstyAffiliates is a great tool once you have already gotten started in affiliate marketing.
For any kind of content creation, using a plagiarism checker is a top SEO tip. This will let you know if your content will be flagged by Google’s algorithm as plagiarized, which will cause your content to rank lower on Google’s search results.
Should You Learn Affiliate Marketing?
Consider whether any products align with your core values and your online presence. Decide if marketing products within your content sits well with you.
If the prospect of sharing products and services with your audience sounds exciting, then follow our steps to affiliate marketing success. Be aware that not all affiliate marketing courses available online are legitimate. Only use trusted websites like those mentioned in this article.
We hope this article has shed some light on the positive side of affiliate marketing. We wish you well in your learning process and hope you can help your followers and supplement your income with affiliate marketing.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.