Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Affiliate marketing is a popular way to make money online from the comfort of your home.The concept of affiliate network marketing is touted in many places on the Internet as an opportunity to generate small, medium, or (depending on effort) larger incomes, which can also be automated.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate internet marketing focuses on certain products and services that affiliates (partners) advertise on their own websites. In return, the affiliate then receives a corresponding commission from the advertiser. In principle, this is a commission business.

Usually, affiliate network marketing is done by advertising affiliate network links on your own website, but there are many different options in terms of remuneration models. These will be examined in more detail in the subsequent lessons of this article. However, the one thing that all models have in common is that payment is usually only made if the placement is successful.

However, how “successful mediation” is defined may vary from model to model.

For example, payment can be made by simply clicking on an ad link (cost per click – CPC). Other advertisers only pay for successful sales (cost per order – CPO). There are other affiliate models based on contact with the customer (cost per lead – CPL).

Meanwhile, affiliate network marketing has firmly established itself in the field of Internet advertising. One of the features of the business model is that it can be automated. By providing your own advertising space, it is possible to earn profits without the need for many other active activities. On the other hand, the degree of execution of affiliate network marketing can be determined independently.

According to information from Statista, online trade sales through affiliate network marketing in Germany have reached approximately € 7.6 billion in 2016.

Here you can see a significant increase compared to previous years, and even today, it is still absolutely possible to make money in the market through affiliate marketing. Therefore, this article will present the five steps you must take in order to make money successfully in the long term through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

The following will show you six simple steps on how to run your affiliate marketing business most effectively.

Step 1 – Find the right niche.

The affiliate marketing industry is now a multi-billion dollar business, which is why it’s important not to underestimate the competition.

Focus on a specific niche
Therefore, in order to optimize your own chances of success, it is often recommended to focus on a specific niche. In practice, this means targeting selected categories and should be specified at the same time.

An example to illustrate this more precisely: the topic “sports” is a far-reaching category – if not further defined – and does not represent a real niche market. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on a specific category (e.g., cross-country skiing).

Positioning in a specific niche increases the chances of gaining a steady audience and thus higher rankings in the various search engines Google & Co.

For these reasons, it is important to identify a specific category at the beginning so that you can attract a larger audience on the Internet later. Once you have managed to generate a certain amount of traffic, you can usually easily expand to other categories.

In addition, when choosing a niche, you should absolutely be interested in it. Because: A core factor that is crucial to the long-term success of affiliate marketing is consistency. And in order to be able to stay consistent over a longer period of time, it is only beneficial if, as a potential affiliate, you are also interested in the advertised product.

Becoming an expert in the field is by no means mandatory.

Google as a tool to help you find a niche
Google is often a useful tool when it comes to finding the right niche. Using cross-country skiing as an example, a study using Google search fields would output the following search results.

In this way, Google makes it quick and easy to see which keywords are frequently searched for so that you can further narrow down the “cross-country skiing” category you chose at the beginning.

At this point, for example, imagine the keyword “cross-country ski shoes,” where you can focus on your niche. This is a specific niche topic that also has a certain amount of search volume.

Once you have found the right niche, the next step is how to make money with it. This is where affiliate marketing comes into play.

By using affiliate marketing links, cross-country ski boots from selected merchant sites can be advertised on their own ad space.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Step 2: Choose a Platform

Now we move to step 2: Choose your own ad space. The main question here is which platform you want to use for your affiliate marketing campaign. Of course, there are different possibilities.

In principle, the possibilities of affiliate marketing on the Internet are unlimited. However, in the past, the following channels have proven to be relatively simple and inexpensive platforms for success.

Social media channels: Instagram, YouTube & Co.
Your own website and blog
Let’s start with a quick look at the possibilities of affiliate marketing through social media channels.

Affiliate marketing through Instagram, YouTube & Co.
Affiliate marketing is now an integral part of Instagram, YouTube, and Co. However, the possibilities on social media are relatively limited compared to your own blog.

On Instagram, for example, it is possible to place affiliate links in your profile, i.e., directly in the profile description. “Influencers,” in particular, make money in this way through affiliate marketing.

For example, in this Instagram profile, you can see the affiliate link used by Gymshark, a company that does fashion articles for the fitness industry. It can be assumed that if a follower of the operator of the Instagram profile makes a purchase through the link in the Gymshark store, he will benefit.

Obviously, a large number of active followers is a prerequisite for successful affiliate network marketing in this way. Instagram is, of course, free, but if you want to reach more people than your own followers, you will have to invest money in corresponding advertising campaigns.

YouTube is also free to use, but here too, a certain number of subscribers is a prerequisite for effective money-making through affiliate marketing.

When using affiliate links, it is often necessary to be transparent about all affiliate links and to point out that you receive income from referrals. One way to perform this on YouTube is shown in the video instructions below.

Affiliate marketing through your own website
Another way to make money through affiliate marketing is to have your own website. This method will be the focus of the rest of this article.
For many people, having their own website is the ideal way to start affiliate marketing. There are different reasons for this. On the one hand, it is usually relatively inexpensive to create and run your own website or blog. On the other hand, by using search engine optimized content, for example, it is possible to generate a lot of reaches organically without having to invest heavily in a marketing campaign.

In addition, as the operator of your own website – unlike social media channels – you take control into your own hands.

There are now multiple ways to create your own website on the Internet. One proven publishing tool is WordPress, and with this simple yet versatile software, it’s easy to set up content in the form of your own website.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Step 3: Find the right affiliate program.

However, before setting up your website, you should still deal with the question of which affiliate program you will choose. There are basically two different strategies you can choose from.

Affiliate programs with high-return niche products
One option is to specialize in being an affiliate of a partner program with a specific niche product with high returns.

An example of this is Digistore24’s partner program, an online platform that provides an interface between merchants and affiliates. The platform embodies one of the largest digital product distribution providers in the world. Many established companies, such as Klicktipp, Digimember, or Webinars, rely on partnerships with Digistore24.

Digistore24 offers an extensive membership network on its website, which includes more than 8,000 products in over 44 different sectors (education, fitness, finance, etc.).

The products on the online platform are usually digital products aimed at a narrowly defined target group. For this reason, reimbursements are often higher, even up to 75% of the product price, as shown in the chart below.

However, as a rule, products with high commissions are more competitive. On the other hand, Digistore24’s products are only targeted at a narrow group of people and are therefore not as easy to bring to market.

For this reason, as a beginner in affiliate marketing, the second strategy may be more recommended.

Affiliate programs with high search volume and low commissions
Another approach is the second one: affiliate network marketing through partner programs with high search volume and relatively low commissions. Amazon’s affiliate program is an example. Through the Amazon Partner Network, affiliates can market a variety of mass-market products through affiliate links.

The Amazon Partner Network is one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the world and includes millions of products. By providing simple tools for creating affiliate links, content creators, publishers and bloggers should support making money through affiliate marketing.

The level of compensation is relatively low, up to 12%, but the products are suitable for the public and have the reputation of Amazon.

However, it is important to note that the amount of compensation on Amazon depends on the respective product category. For example, items from the “fashion” industry are usually paid 10%, while items from the electronics and computer fields are paid only 3-4%. For a detailed description of the commission rate levels for different categories, please visit the Amazon Partnernet website.

Another advantage of the partner network is that Amazon pays commissions for complete purchases initiated by individual customers through affiliate links.

For beginners in affiliate marketing, this is the appropriate way to handle the whole thing in many cases for the reasons mentioned above.

What are other affiliate network marketing programs out there?
In addition to the affiliate programs mentioned above, there are certainly plenty of other providers on the market through which you can make money as an affiliate. Therefore, the providers listed below should be used only as a small insight.

Shutterstock: stock photo and video library (CPS – commissions up to 20%)
Wix: Website builder (CPL – $100 per referred premium customer) Website for booking travel accommodations, flights, and car rentals (CPS – up to 40% or €50 booking fee)
Your final decision on which partner program to choose depends on your own interests, knowledge, and target group.

If you want to sell cross-country ski shoes – going back to the opening example – it makes sense to look for quality products from Amazon or other sites that contain winter sports articles and market them as affiliates.

On the other hand, if you’re targeting the business sector, it makes sense to market high-income digital products from Digistore24 or a similar partner program.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Step 4: Create quality content

After you have built your website, identified your niche, and chosen an affiliate program, the next step is to create good content that will bring your own website to life.

Affiliate Marketing Quality Content
Because: in order to be successful in affiliate marketing in the long run, it is necessary to provide visitors with added value to your website. Of course, there are various ways to generate it. In this case, let’s first take a brief look at the structure of your website.

Building a website
As mentioned earlier, content plays a decisive role in building a website. Therefore, in order to build a sustainable sphere of influence, it is recommended to produce content that is rich and useful, providing the reader with the appropriate added value. When creating articles, you should consider the following questions.

How will this article help the reader?
What tips can I give the reader?
What problems do you need to consider?
What solutions can I show the reader?
How will the reader benefit from my knowledge?
What tips can I pass on?
What makes a post different from other posts?
You can also provide added value, for example, by testing different products and comparing them directly with each other.

By developing important product features and performance characteristics, potential customers can get added value that will give them a better overview.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Step 5: Increase reach and gain trust for your website

Reach is, of course, an important key factor for greater success in affiliate marketing. Of course, the more visitors you have to your own website, the higher the chances that they will click on the affiliate link and perform the desired action.

Again, there are many different ways to increase the “traffic” to your own website.

Search Engine Optimization for Greater Success
In order to rank well for your own website content over time, proper search engine optimization is almost essential. Ranking refers to positioning in the search results of search engines such as Google. Good ranking means that your posts rank high in the first results of a search query. The following applies: the higher the post ranking, the more readers will logically become aware of your own website.

Of course, top posts are the most competitive. In order to increase your own chances of getting a good presentation position, it is recommended to design your own website and number in a search engine optimized way.

Search engine optimization (also known as SEO – “search engine optimization”) describes all measures to increase the visibility of your website for users such as Google. This includes the integration of important keywords, good domain authority, high quality, and extensive content, as well as adaptation to mobile devices and general usability.

Paid Reach
Of course, the reach of your own website can also be driven by paid advertising campaigns. In this way, PPC ads can be placed through Google Ads, which guarantees traffic.

Each person must decide for themselves whether it makes sense to place paid ads. The disadvantages must also be considered here. One obvious disadvantage: paid advertising campaigns must, of course, be considered as a cost that reduces your own profits.

By paying for more traffic, you are paying upfront; there is no guarantee that the ads will eventually pay off.

On top of that, it must be taken into account that the resulting traffic depends on the paid ads. Therefore, once these have been set, the scope may also be significantly reduced again.

Paid traffic is a smart strategy if you are working with a high-revenue affiliate program and can implement conversions or campaigns accordingly. However
Using Social Media
The effectiveness of social media should also not be underestimated when it comes to making your own website more widely known on the Internet. Therefore, it is definitely worth using popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Co. to build additional reach for your own website.

The main benefit of using social media is that communication with followers is often less complex than through a website. It is possible to advise potential customers in greater depth on Facebook & Co. and thus increase the chances of successful member referrals.

It is also possible to increase your audience by providing added value through social platforms in the form of interesting contributions, videos, etc.

Step 6: Track your progress

After you are able to make your first conversion, it is advisable to keep a close eye on further developments. Affiliate partner programs often provide the opportunity to view various evaluations and statistics. These provide information, for example, about the frequency of clicks on affiliate links or the number of other products ordered through the same link.

There is a separate area in the Amazon Partner Network that contains extensive overview reports.

In the long run, it is essential to constantly observe and evaluate these figures in order to have better control over the success of the affiliate program.

This is because success can only be measured by evaluating various key data. For example, it is recommended to compare the statistical evaluation of each campaign in order to filter out the key factors that lead to higher conversion rates.

Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success
Affiliate Marketing: 6 Steps to Success

Conclusion – Success through Affiliate Network Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is not really a new business model. On the contrary, bloggers, content creators, and publishers have been using this concept for years to generate additional revenue.

Successful Affiliate Marketing
This article covers the basics needed to build an affiliate marketing program from the ground up. Of course, affiliate marketing takes time and effort to be successful, but this business model can be set up flexibly from home or done in conjunction with a full-time job.

In the end, it depends on how far you go with affiliate marketing. In principle, a high level of scalability can be achieved on the Internet, but this also involves a corresponding amount of additional work.

Therefore, as a beginner, it is recommended to first focus on the steps listed here and build your affiliate business step by step in this way.

Even today, with a good niche and good content, and a profitable affiliate program, it is definitely still possible to make money through affiliate marketing.

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