How to Start In Affiliate Marketing, Your First Steps

I’ve been covering Affiliate Marketing for a while now, many of my articles have targeted specific questions relating to Affiliate Marketing.

In this article, I am going to take a different approach. I am going to go back to the basics of what Affiliate Marketing is and how to start in Affiliate Marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing

To understand what Affiliate Marketing is, you first have to understand what an Affiliate is.

Basically, an affiliate is someone who is authorized by a company to market the company’s products and services. In return for their marketing efforts, affiliates receive a percentage of the sales they generate via a commission paid by the company.

Affiliate Marketing, is a general term, it can be used to describe how companies use affiliates to assist them in generating sales. In addition, it can also be used to describe how affiliates use various marketing strategies to help companies generate sales and ultimately generate commissions from their efforts.

For the purposes of our discussion we are going to focus on the Affiliate side of Affiliate Marketing.

Affiliate Marketing Overview

Click to see larger image!

Here’s an Example (refer to the image above);

  1. Joe registers to become an affiliate with Acme Sporting Goods.
  2. Upon registering Joe receives a unique affiliate URL, this URL tracks the activity of anyone that uses it. Acme Sporting Goods tracks Joe’s unique URL, identifying any visitors using this URL as coming from Joe’s marketing efforts.
  3. Joe decides that for his marketing strategy, he is going to email his email list with a review of the latest running shoes offered by Acme Sporting Goods. In the email, Joe includes his affiliate URL, uniquely tracked to him, where his list can purchase the running shoes he is reviewing.
  4. Sue gets Joe’s email, she reads the review and likes the shoes. Being an avid runner, Sue clicks on the URL and visits the Acme Sporting Goods website, where she purchases the running shoes that Joe’s email reviewed.
  5. Acme Sporting Goods processes Sue’s order and sends her the running shoes.
  6. In addition, since Sue used Joe’s unique URL to make her purchase, Acme Sporting Goods sends a commission check to Joe!

Although this may be a very simplistic definition of Affiliate Marketing, from an affiliate standpoint. You can see that everyone benefits from this marketing arrangement.

“Everyone Benefits from Affiliate Marketing!”

Sue gets her shoes, Acme Sporting Goods makes a sale, and Joe earns a commission for his work!

Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Choosing a strategy for your affiliate marketing depends on several key elements.

  • Website – a niche blog related to the products/services you are promoting
  • Email List – a targeted list of emails recipients that would be interested in the products/services you are promoting
  • Willingness to invest Money – The holy grail of affiliate marketing

Which strategy you choose, will depend upon which of these key elements you have or are willing to develop. If you are just getting started in Affiliate Marketing, and you don’t have an email list or you’re not willing to spend a lot of money on marketing, then your best choice is to devote your time to building a niche blog.

However, if you have the email addresses of recipients that you know would be interested in the products/services you will be offering, then using the email marketing strategy would be in your best interest and would offer you the best solution for for how to start in affiliate marketing.

If you have money to burn, and you’re willing to invest that money into various approaches for affiliate marketing, then our money strategies will help you get a jump start on Affiliate Marketing.

Affiliate Website (niche content)

Let’s start by talking about the least expensive method of how to start in Affiliate Marketing, creating a niche blog.

So what exactly is a niche blog (website)?

Let’s say you are going to be promoting running shoes. You would create a website (preferably blog), relating to running shoes and then offer reviews and product advice specific to running shoes on that blog with your affiliate links. The secrets with this approach is;

  1. Your website should target a specific niche – Don’t try to target all sporting goods products. Choose a product like running shoes which is a smaller segment of the entire sporting goods merchandise.
  2. Choose a domain name –  select a domain name that focuses on your niche. In my example – would be a good domain name for your website.
  3. Write content related to your niche – this is where the work starts. You need to write consistent, thorough and relevant content for your niches blog.
  4. Rank your articles on the Search Engine – the higher your articles rank in the search engine, for search terms related to your niche, the more traffic you will get to your website.

Initially, your website will be brand new, so you won’t have a lot of visitors or traffic to your website. Your goal with your niche blog is to build website traffic over the long run.Find Your Niche

Writing articles and reviews about the products will get your website ranked in the search engines and eventually your website traffic will grow and more people will find your website. The more visitors you get to your site means the more people that will see your affiliate links.

As your website traffic grows, you will begin to see sales being generated from your affiliate links. How long this takes depends on the amount of traffic you have and how well your articles are being ranked in the search engines.

There is a lot of training available online that will go into depth on how to choose topics to write about, writing good articles, and ranking your articles on the search engines. Therefore, I am not going to cover this topic much in this posting.

Using a niche content blog is a good method for how to start in affiliate marketing. However, it takes time and requires consistency and quality content. In addition, go sparingly on your affiliate links. You don’t want your website to look as though you are only interested in selling your visitors something.

One benefit that many people overlook with their niche blog is that it allows for you to begin growing your email list. Be sure to add a monthly newsletter to your niche blogs offering. Get your readers to subscribe to your blog and use your blog to build your email list.

Email List for Affiliate Marketing

If you already have an email list, that you have built up over the years, then you could forego the niche blog approach. Although, eventually you will want to be able to grow your list and the niche blog is still the best (least expensive) approach for that.

Email Marketing is probably one of the most effective approaches for your Affiliate business. That’s assuming, you have a highly targeted list of emails, which you know are interested in the products and services that you are offering.

The effectiveness of your email marketing not only depends on how well YOU know your list, but, also on how well YOUR LIST knows you. If your email list knows you, and believes in you, then the possibility that they are going to buy something you are recommending to them becomes greater. This is were the combination of a niche blog along with a well maintained email list goes hand in hand. Your niche blog users know you, they read your articles, and trust your opinion.

If you decide to use this approach for how to start in affiliate marketing. I suggest you track your email results, tweak your email content, track your undeliverable emails, and maintain your email list by segmenting your buyers from your non-buyers. Using segmentation in your email campaigns will enable you to tailor your emails to your audience and ensure optimum effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Invest Money Into Affiliate Marketing

It’s been said;

“If you have the money, you can buy anything!”

Well the same is true in Affiliate Marketing.

With Money – You could hire someone to build you a host of niche websites, maintain them, write content for them, and maintain your affiliate agreements.

With Money – You could purchase a list of individual email addresses, for people that are interested in your niche, and send an email to them, attempting to sell them your affiliate products or services. Then analyze your results, restructure your emails and your campaign, and email them again. Using this strategy you continuously tweak your campaign to get the best Return on you Investment (ROI) for your email list. Or just hire someone to do all of this for you.

With Money – You wouldn’t need to worry about Affiliate Marketing at all…

Just go lay on the beach somewhere!


  1. Shalene Kritzinger says

    Great post. I have a lot to learn in this space and you have a great way of summing it all up. Thanks for this!

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