Learning affiliate marketing to promote products could help you earn a commission on your website, blog, social media profile, or video channel. To learn affiliate marketing and apply its strategies, 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 how to learn affiliate marketing through the courses and resources available today.
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What Is Affiliate Marketing?
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 partner, providing them with special links, emails, and affiliate websites to drive traffic back to the company. The commission rate varies per company and affiliate 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 middleman. An affiliate 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 the 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. CJ Affiliate 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?
Types of Affiliate Marketing
Below are the different types of affiliate marketing, 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 with this affiliate marketing type 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.
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.
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.
Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing
The pros and cons of affiliate marketing are factors to consider when deciding if it’s the right strategy for you, your brand, and your content. Below we cover some of the top affiliate marketing pros and cons to think about when planning your marketing strategy.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
- Low risk. Because there’s no financial capital involved, the outcome of using affiliate marketing is low risk.
- No cost. This pro is crucial for small businesses trying to get off the ground. There is no cost to becoming an affiliate partner, and as long as you have the right savvy for building a website and producing engaging content to build a following, you can begin earning with no investment.
- Passive income. With just a small amount of effort initially, your affiliate marketing can continue to bring in profit for you as long as the link and the page featuring it are active.
Cons of Affiliate Marketing
- Commission payments. It may take some time before someone clicks and uses your links to make a purchase, and the commission payment may take even longer to be paid out.
- Competition. The competition in the affiliate marketing field is steep, with companies partnering with many affiliates as part of their own marketing strategy. Also, getting your blog or content noticed comes with tough competition.
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 down the steps to take to learn affiliate marketing, including knowing how to get started in affiliate marketing to launch your strategy effectively.
Pick a Niche
The first step in learning affiliate marketing is to decide what your niche is going to be. A niche is a unique segment that is part of a greater market. Its focus is typically on a subset of this larger market. This topic is the specialty that your brand will become known for. Deciding on a niche will help direct your plan and strategy to be one that is in alignment with your unique focus.
Choose a Platform
Next, decide which platform you would like to use to promote your affiliate marketing products. This platform is where you’ll build your following and establish your brand and credibility. The top platforms for affiliate marketing include Instagram, YouTube, blogs, or content review websites.
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.
Your strategy should also focus on how best to reach your desired audience, and what kind of content they will most likely interact with. Understanding your target audience will also allow you to promote products that cater to their needs or interests.
Find Relevant Affiliate Programs
Partnering with the right affiliate programs is very important to becoming a successful affiliate marketer and making your efforts fruitful. Firstly, it’s important to consider the reputation of the affiliate program in the marketing marketplace. Working with someone reputable will make it easier to promote their products and services and receive your commission dues.
Some top marketplaces in the affiliate marketing industry include Commission Junction Affiliate, ClickBank, and FlexOffers. You can also reach out to your favorite brands to see if they offer an affiliate program. This strategy works well as long as the brands and their products align with your niche.
Secondly, the commission structure must be worthwhile in order to glean profits from successful affiliate purchases. Good companies offering affiliate programs typically offer 10 percent to 20 percent commission on sales, so pick the one that’s right for you. Consider a company’s EPC or earnings-per-click too so that you’re aware of how clicks from your site are valued.
Build a Website
Building a website and using it to host your content can help boost your brand as well as your affiliate link click rate. Having a website where you can host a blog allows you to use the content as a place to add affiliate links or to run paid advertisements on the site.
There are many website hosting services and website builders that allow you to build beautiful websites easily, such as Wix. WordPress is also a great website builder to use to quickly and easily launch a functional website and blog.
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Create Great Content
Now that your website or platform is set up, create original, useful, and optimized content for it. There is no point in getting into affiliate marketing if you don’t have an audience to show your high-quality content to. Create material you love and develop your niche.
Build Your Audience
To build your audience, do some research on what your target audience is interested in. Considering what questions the average reader might have pertaining to your niche or chosen topic is a good place to find content ideas. Making your content clear, approachable, and trustworthy will help promote your affiliate links.
Promote Your Affiliates
Once you have enough content and you’ve created an effective strategy and website, you can begin promoting. If you’re using affiliate links, work the products into the content you’re writing about.
The more naturally the links fit into your content, the more authentic your promotion of them feels. This is where understanding your niche and writing strong content is an important part of the strategy.
Best Way to Learn Affiliate Marketing Online
The best way to learn affiliate marketing depends on how you enjoy learning. 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 affiliate marketing online courses and classes you may want to pursue. These will help you gain up-to-date knowledge on everything related to affiliate marketing. The best affiliate marketing courses go in-depth on the topic in an approachable way.
- Courses: ClickBank Success: Affiliate Marketing Without A Website | Affiliate Marketing & SEO: Amazon Affiliate Marketing | Digital Marketing Masterclass – 23 Courses in 1
- Time: 3 hours – 36 hours
- Price: $119 – $149
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 to upskill in general digital marketing strategies. Students will learn about formatting, strategies, and traffic.
- Courses: Affiliate Marketing Foundations | Creating and Managing a YouTube Channel | What is social media marketing? | SEO: Link Building
- Time: 1 hour – 4 hours
- 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 learning affiliate marketing and 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 in your LinkedIn profile.
Free Online Affiliate Marketing Courses
Below are a couple of free online affiliate marketing courses to help beginners learn about digital and email marketing. Review the list below for some of the best affiliate marketing courses free of charge and offered by top companies.
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 books for learning affiliate marketing.
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 beginners 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 online affiliate marketing resources 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 marketing 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?
Yes, you should learn affiliate marketing if any affiliate products align with your core values and online presence. If the prospect of sharing products and services with your audience sounds exciting, then follow our steps to affiliate marketing success.
However, 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.
Learn Affiliate Marketing FAQ
You can learn affiliate marketing for free through online resources such as Google Digital Garage or HubSpot Academy. These reputable companies offer programs for beginners to help them get started in affiliate marketing. There are also a ton of tutorials available on YouTube from experienced affiliate marketers.
How long does it take to learn?
It can take hours to weeks to learn affiliate marketing, depending on the learning resource you’re using. For example, one course on Udemy that teaches affiliate marketing has three hours of lessons, while another has 36 hours. Depending on how much time you can dedicate to your learning, it may take you a week or two to go through the 36-hour course.
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.
Is affiliate marketing hard to learn?
No affiliate marketing is not hard to learn. How hard affiliate marketing is to learn depends on your prior understanding of marketing concepts and strategies, though no prior knowledge is required to pick up affiliate marketing quickly.
How much money do affiliate marketers make?
Affiliate marketers earn between $39,000 and over $73,000 per year according to data from PayScale. The affiliate income earning potential varies greatly depending on how active you are in supporting your affiliate marketing strategies. You can increase your affiliate marketing earnings by employing different types of affiliate marketing.
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