Earning passive income with affiliate marketing

Did you know that companies can make money promoting other companies’ products or services? Believe it or not, this practice exists and is known as affiliate marketing

The rewarded company is an affiliate partner (sometimes referred to as simply “affiliate”) and although the result is typically a sale, some “affiliate programs” as they are referred to can reward partners with leads, free-trial users, website views, or downloads for an app.

These programs are usually free to join, so companies don’t have to worry about high startup costs. If done right, businesses can acquire a steady flow of cash from this practice. How exactly does this all work? Looking at how to start affiliate marketing and the best advice for it will help companies advertise products or services for other companies in no time.

How affiliate marketing works

Affiliate marketing involves sharing or referring to a product or service on a blog, social media platform, podcast, or website. The affiliate earns a share of the profit every time someone purchases another company’s product or service through a special link associated with their recommendation.

Here is a list of steps describing the affiliate marketing process:

  1. A company shows an ad or link for a store on its website, blog, or social network.
  2. A customer clicks on a link that sends them to this store.
  3. A product or service from this store is purchased.
  4. The affiliate network, which brings companies together, records this transaction.
  5. The store confirms this purchase.
  6. The company receives money.

Not all commission rates are set from the get-go. They usually diverge depending on the other company and the offer. At the very least, an affiliate will earn 5% of the sale, but certain arrangements can net them as much as 50%, often when promoting a class or event. Some affiliate programs even provide a flat rate per sale as opposed to a percentage.

How to start affiliate marketing

The process of affiliate marketing sounds simple enough, and starting this process is also rather easy. Of course, starting affiliate marketing requires the same level of commitment needed for running a small business.

Here are some steps for how to start an affiliate marketing business:

Pick a platform and method

What platforms and methods do companies want to build their audiences around? Aspiring affiliate marketers can choose from a long list of approaches and platforms based on these specific methods:

  • Niche topic and review sites. These sites review products for certain audiences or put multiple products against their competitors. To do this, a company must make content related to the review space and post regularly to attract potential customers.
  • Digital content. These creators include bloggers, YouTubers, and social media influencers. They appeal to target audiences through organically introducing products that these audiences will surely enjoy. Therefore, customers are more likely to spend money, and creators are more likely to earn affiliate commissions.
  • Courses, events, workshops. Educators can incorporate affiliate partnership offers into their events.

Regardless of which platforms and methods a company chooses for affiliate marketing, they need authenticity and audience building for these platforms and methods to succeed.

When picking a platform and method, a company should ask:

  • What platforms do you use the most?
  • Which platforms do you understand best?

An affiliate that starts with a marketing platform they are comfortable with helps them create high-quality content. This coziness leads to a more engaged audience, and that leads to more sales for the affiliate.

Deciding a niche and audience

Aspiring affiliates should choose niches that they are passionate about and knowledgeable about. That way, they come across as authentic and reliable to potential customers. This approach also helps companies decide which products and brands they want to promote.

For example, a company starts a blog about birds. The head of the company owns a parrot and is passionate about helping other owners care for their parrots. The blog is called Parrot Patrons. Whoever oversees the blog regularly posts and encourages people to subscribe to an email list and share content. 

If parrots are a person’s niche, then they will invest in content marketing and optimization to grow their audience. The more posts this blog has, the more likely bloggers will use affiliate marketing gadgets for discovering their audiences and what they like, such as social listening tools, website analytics, and social media insights.

Keep in mind that affiliates are paid to sell products and not to publish blog posts. Affiliate marketing is a performance-based online business, so companies should know what their audiences like to sell them the best products and earn more affiliate income.

Promoting an affiliate offer

Even though affiliate marketing revenue can become a lucrative form of passive income, an affiliate program’s success depends on the quality of a review

The best reviews are usually the most personal. Companies should share personal experiences on their blogs, social media posts, or videos. A personal review should have an honest opinion based on the company’s experience with and knowledge of the product. 

More openness leads to more authenticity, which means people are more likely to trust a company and follow their advice. Of course, trust is important for affiliate marketing, and the level of trust needed to sell products varies depending on the industry.

Talk to a product expert

Aspiring affiliates can interview product or service owners and can even interview the person who makes or sell those products and services, which gives a review more depth and creates a narrative for the reader.

Create a product tutorial

In addition to having a following, providing a tutorial on the offer can drive higher-converting traffic.

With the popularity of “how-to” Google searches, offering a tutorial that solves an individual’s problem and showcases a product’s value will give referrals more context and therefore provide a stronger incentive to purchase a recommended product.

Moreover, anyone promoting an offer through a blog post should find the right keywords to use in a search engine.

Consider an angle

Decide how much energy is worth investing in instructional or tutorial content since that often introduces someone to a product. Some examples include a video of yourself using and enjoying a physical product or demonstrating the benefits of a digital product.

Set a distribution strategy

Share promotional content on the company’s website or social media platforms. Companies with a subscriber list can create an email marketing campaign. An affiliate marketing hub on this website, along with a Resources page, also allows companies to share a quick list of all the tools they use and love.

Offer a bonus

Marketers occasionally offer bonuses, such as a free guide or early access, to anyone who buys the offer as a way of promoting their affiliate programs. 

Keep things legal and above board

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires affiliates to disclose to followers that their post contains affiliate links. Even though it’s required, this practice can help companies connect with audiences.

Choose Beep2B as your first affiliate program

Kick-off affiliate marketing with our very own Beep Together. Beep Together amplifies your content on LinkedIn so all of your connections (and more) see anything that you post. Click here to see how you can join Beep2B’s affiliate program.