Affiliate 101: Becoming A Successful Merchant or Affiliate - All You Need to Know

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How to Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer or Merchant


For me, affiliate marketing is extremely easy. But for you, the answer maybe different. We already put up the manual that'll help you along the journey on this page. I pretty much use the same manual. Read it. Digest it. And make affiliate marketing easy for you too.


If you are reading this right now, you are either curious researching your work on how to up your affiliate marketing effort or you are curious to learn one or two means through which you can be making some money online while you engage your normal activities in the real world or other activities online again.


We call it passive income. - make money while you sleep, play games, attend fairs, tour the world or while you just do anything other than working for the money you make; that keeps coming.


Well, in either case, researching to up your affiliate marketing game or just wanting to start making money off affiliate marketing. I think you have landed at the right place because by the time you are through with this page and if you really understand the content therein, you should be set to up your affiliate marketing effort or launch in head first.


For majority of people who are making money online while they sleep... leaving big, what they do mostly is affiliate marketing.


But you might be wondering if it's really that easy already.


Well, for some it is while to others, it's really hard. But I do not intend to scare you neither have I any intention to sugarcoat this rather, frankly you're the one who's going to decide how hard or easy affiliate marketing is at least; for you.


Meanwhile, I would also like to point out, if you truly understand the content of this page, then you'll find that affiliate marketing is extremely easy.


So, if you are ready to learn, you should be ready to consume some really vital info about affiliate marketing right here right now in this page.


So let's start with the big terms in affiliate marketing first.


Ready?


What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the act of promoting products or services to prospective buyers and earn a commission off each of the sales generated from your efforts. Your efforts being the promotion and the commission being your reward for the efforts.


From the definition given above, one can easily deduce the parties involved in affiliate marketing being:


  1. The producer
  2. The promoter
  3. The buyer

But there is one other party involved in affiliate marketing system that's not pronounced in the definition but by intuition one should know that all affiliate marketing activities must and could only happen through a channel which is the Affiliate Network.


Of course, if you're a producer yourself, you can be an affiliate marketer promoting your own products and services as well.


And if you have no products or services to sell or promote, that's even better because you can find other people's products and services to promote.


Now that we have explained what Affiliate Marketing is, let's talk about the parties that make up a complete affiliate marketing circle.


The Producer: in the affiliate marketing circle the producer is the one who makes available the products or services to be promoted. In your own language or understanding, you can refer to the producer as the vendor, merchant, seller or whichever word you could think of that means just the same.


The producer could be a big company like Amazon or an individual like myself. It doesn't really matter how big or known the producer is, what does matter however, is that they have a set of products and or services to be promoted.


The Promoter: in the affiliate marketing circle, this refers to the person, a company or a group of people promoting the producer's products and services.


The Promoter is mostly called the Affiliate.


What Does it Mean to Be An Affiliate?

An affiliate is the person or a group of people making up a company whose responsibilities are to promoting merchants products and services on an agreement that such affiliate would be rewarded an agreed commission from each sales attracted to the merchants products and or services through his; the affiliates efforts.


As an affiliate you can choose to promoting your merchant's products via a site, a PPC or CPC program, banner and or whichever means is deemed valid by the merchants.


You can also decide to using content marketing systems such as blogging and SEO or content feed systems such Facebook, Twitter etc.


The choice of which channels to explore in favour of your affiliate marketing promotions is largely determined by you; which ones you find easier, comfortable and affordable to use.


The Buyer: this is the target in the affiliate circle.


The producer makes available his products and or services to be sold to the buyer. And the promoter takes the producer's products and market it to the buyer.


In essence, both the merchants and the affiliates efforts are targeted at the buyer.


In short, in the affiliate system, if the buyers fail to buy, the affiliate would earn no money.


The consumer who is also referred to as the buyer here, determines the rewards of the entire affiliate marketing efforts.


More notes on choosing which medium to explore in promoting your products as an affiliate to achieve maximum earning potential is discussed down this page.


Lastly, the Affiliate Network: this is the intermediary between the Affiliates and the merchants.


Just as earlier noted, the Affiliate Network is not reflected in the definition for affiliate marketing because many do not regard the affiliate network to being part of the affiliate circle as some do.


In any case, both are right. Some affiliates are known and huge enough to attract merchants on their own without any affiliate network mediating between them just as some merchants have the capacity to recruit Affiliates on their own.


But most affiliates go through affiliate networks.


Besides, for a beginner, the simplest way to start off as an affiliate is by joining a reputable affiliate network that has quiet a large selection of items to promote and not just that; one that really pays and whose rules are flexible and friendly to affiliates.


More notes on choosing your affiliate network are discussed down the page.


The Basic Phases In Affiliate Marketing System


In the previous paragraphs, I believe we have explained what Affiliate Marketing is in a much broken-down terms,


Henceforth, we'll be talking about the phases in affiliate marketing, which phase you fit in, which one you should belong and how to start off.


Phases in Affiliate Marketing are:


  1. the Affiliate Marketers
  2. the Merchants

You can choose to become an Affiliate Marketer or a Merchant. And you can choose to be both provided you have all that it takes at your disposal.


For example, if you have some products to sell, you already qualified to being a merchant in the affiliate marketing circle. And if you have a blog that has really huge traffic and fan base, you can decide to enrol as an affiliate and promote your products to your followers via your blog and by that, you are both an affiliate and merchant.


You make money doing both.


Now, let's talk about how to be one, an affiliate or a merchant at a time.


How to Register and Become An Affiliate


1. Decide Your Niche: the very first step which is the most important step to take as an affiliate marketer is this Focused Niche Decision making.


Before you decide on which niche to focus, you would want to make sure the niche sells easily, less competitive or maybe a better question is; how fast and easily you can beat the competition. What audiences do you already have and what are your audiences interest.


Most importantly, you need to be sure you have all it takes including knowledge, exposure, familiarities and the resources you need to funnel the niche you choose.


Ask and answer these questions yourself so you can better decide which niche is best for you.


If you already have a blog, a YouTube channel or a Facebook page or group that already discusses phones specs and reviews, definitely; your best niche to focus and that would readily sell to such audiences are phones, tablets and probably PCs.


2. Enroll with An Affiliate Network: unless you are already a big time digital marketer who has successfully established a really successful platform, you cannot be an affiliate without enrolling with an affiliate network.


ClickBank, Amazon, Paxful, CJ, ShareAsale, Jumia, Konga and a number of others all have really good affiliate system you can enroll with.


Apart from their affiliate system being good, most of them has really huge number of products to market which make them the best spot for any affiliate to start from.


Simply visit their affiliate portal by clicking the link above or visit their website directly and sign-up as an affiliate.


Detailed note on what to consider before choosing an affiliate network is further discussed down this page. If you are interested in it, you may watch out for the note.


Now that you have chosen a niche and registered with some affiliate networks you think are best for you, you are probably confronted with the BIG question: how do I start to making some money as an affiliate?


Not to worry. Just read further instead.


Since this page is dedicated to educate you from scratch, containing every info needed to make your affiliate networking journey fairly smooth, easy and profitable is a priority.


Now, below here, I share with you, some really working methods notable affiliate marketers have used and still using to making really reasonable money on daily basis promoting affiliate links.


Ready to tag along?


Let's go!


How to Start Making Money As An Affiliate


1. Create and Publish Reviews: when you have succeeded at deciding which niche is best for you to focus, start creating reviews to be published in forums, groups and blogs.


If you already have a group, channel or blog, you can begin publishing your reviews on them. If you have no blogs, channels or group yet, it's a good idea you start one.


WordPress is a very good and popular blogging platform but if you find that too expensive for your budget or complex for your liking, Blogspot is a free and better alternative.


YouTube is best for lengthy and detailed video tutorials. And if short videos are all you can start with, Instagram is especially good for that and growing followers on Instagram is extremely easier than you can imagine.


Detailed note on how to write successful reviews that would boost your affiliate earnings are further discussed down this page. Watch out for it.


2. Create and Grow a Mailing List: e-mail list has been around for a fairly long time now. It's being awesomely doing fine and still one of the best channels businesses explore to boosting their sales, keep their customers informed and engaged.


You can easily grow an e-mail list from your blogs, YouTube channels, Twitter, Instagram or even Facebook groups and pages.


When you have a really active e-mail list, it doesn't matter how large or small your list is.


Even as few as between 200 and 500 active list, you can be sure of consistent earnings from such a list in as much they are specifically acquired for your niche.


In a later post on cashflow, we'll be discussing how to grow and nurture an extremely active mailing list. You can bookmark this tag for follow up: Affiliate Marketing Posts


3. Host Webinars with Your Audiences: other than the enjoyment and possible profits you stand to reap off the promotions via webinars, webinars let your audiences trust you more - thanks to the live interactions between your audiences during the live webinars and yourself.


If used to its fullest potential, webinar is a sure fire way of engaging with your audience one on one, an avenue to showcase the product you’re promoting, an opportunity to provide answers to any questions they might have.


For example, you may decide to:

  • Tell them a brief info about the brand
  • Your previous experiences with their previous products you have tried
  • Present the product’s features to them
  • Show them different use cases of the product
  • Talk about its benefits and drawbacks
  • Tell your audience your personal history with the product
  • And if it's within your capacity, help your audience get the most out of the product

...the list is endless.


Following your webinars, however long or short, you won't believe how eager your audience would be to relate with the product in person especially when they have just seen all of the cool things that product is made of.


So, how do I make money off webinars?


To reap a pile of profit off your webinar, all you need to do is embed your affiliate link at the end of the webinar so your audience can grab it once.


Trust me.


hint: it is a good practice to use short url services such as bit.ly or any similar service to shorten your affiliate URL.


That'll be a soft sell for you.


4. Use PPC Advertising: wait. Before considering PPC as an option to driving traffic to your affiliate links and expecting some really good results profit-wise, you need to make sure every penny invested in your PPC campaign is worth the possible returns.


In essence, you should only consider PPC advertising as an option to driving traffic only when your affiliate business had started giving returns because PPC advertising could really drain your resources within a very short while leaving no reasonable results as returns.


In a later post, we shall discuss how to using paid advertising to funnel your affiliate business efficiently and in a manner that will give you the expected ROI, if you have any targeted ROI in mind.


Google advertising, Twitter and Facebook advertising especially are a must to talk about since they are the leading and biggest paid advertising channels as of now.


Okay. We have concluded all that there is in becoming an affiliate marketer


The next section would be discussing how to become a merchant in detail.


How to become a merchant in the affiliate system


While it is extremely easy to start up and become an affiliate, making reasonable income as an affiliate in the affiliate marketing circle would take sometime at least, 2 to 3 months and that is if you put in a great deal of time and discipline otherwise, you may get bored and quit before the money even starts coming whereas as a merchant, you can start making money even at the very hour you start.


Having said that, to become a merchant in the affiliate marketing circle, you must have products to sell or services to render.


And before you can have a product to sell or services to render, there are some steps which as a merchant in the affiliate marketing system, you must go through the processes.


Further down this page, we shall discuss the processes one after another.


To become an affiliate program merchant and make money by having affiliates sell your products or services, there are these simple steps that you should take.


These steps are simple but tactical which means, you need to thread slowly and steadily or you get it wrong.


And that's something you do not want. Right?


Good. Now, let's proceed.


To become a merchant in the affiliate program, you need to;


  1. Decide your target audience or industry
  2. Determine your capacity
  3. Have or seek a product idea
  4. Validate your idea
  5. Create your product
  6. Promote the product

Decide Your Target Audience and Industry:


If your intentions are to become a merchant in the affiliate system, you need to first decide your target audience and or industry.


For example; you are a savvy blogger who knows a lot about blogging


From AdSense optimization and SEO to design and content marketing etc.


For someone like you, if you are willing to become a merchant in the affiliate marketing system, your target audience are the would-be webmasters and content marketers in the general industry.


General because you can choose to selling eBooks that detailed how to doing SEO for a particular product or offer to rendering AdSense optimization services.


And as far as I can tell, technology, banking, media and all other industries require the skills you have; savvy blogger who knows a lot about blogging from AdSense optimization and SEO to design and content marketing etc.


Now, supose you have elected to targeting media industry.


Your next step is to determine your capacity.


Determine Your Capacity:


As a merchant, either you're operating as a company or an individual, like it or not, your name becomes a brand name regardless of either you have chosen to using a brand name or individual's name and you've got to protect it.


This is why you need to determine your capacity.


Think of a known brand name you know of; adidas, amazon, eBay etc., these are company names but known ones with extremely powerful presence.


Now, think of an individual whose name is now generally known as a brand and has powerful presence online similar to the big brands we just mentioned earlier:


Neil Patel, Harsh Agrawal, Jide Ogunsanya etc...


These are powerful individuals whose names have had such a powerful influence similar to the big brands mentioned earlier.


They are, in one way or another, affiliates and bloggers. And they have really done awesomely fine and still doing.


Want to know why they have such a powerful influence as an individual?


Trust. Simple as that.


They have such a powerful influence because they are trusted by their followers.


And the easiest way to be trusted online is by doing things that are not beyond your capacity.


As a merchant in the affiliate system targeting media marketing industry, if, supposing your eBook promises to give 200% ROI if used, make sure it does just that or out does it.


If your SEO optimized article promises to rank number 1 on SERP for a particular keyword, it should not go below the number 3 on the same first page of the SERP for that keyword.


Determine your capacity and then, upgrade as you improve.


Have or Seek A Product Idea:


Now that you have decided your target and determined your capacity, your next action is to have or seek a product idea.


As an individual who is a savvy blogger and knows a lot about blogging: from AdSense optimization and SEO to design and content marketing etc., you should already have gotten a massive number of products to produce.


Your product could be an eBook that detailed how to establish a successful blog, design an infographic that talked about the best design set of themes for a particular niche blog.


You could even create a set of video tutorials that explains how to make thousands of dollars from Google AdSense within 3 months based off your AdSense experience. Design a course that teaches people how to create WordPress theme or Blogspot.


Those are just a few product idea. Right?


You could even think of a lot more than those? Fine.


What's important is; would people readily and willingly pay for whichever product you come up with?


And if they did pay for the product, would they still come back for more or refer their people?


And that takes you to the next stage...


validating your product idea.


Validate Your Product Idea:


This stage is especially important because it gives you an opportunity to actually know the possible outcome of your potential buyers before you even started working on the product.


How? Good question.


Instead of investing your time and some money in creating a product that people may not eventually buy, what you'll just do is create an avenue or as many avenues as you may have, that'll enable you ask questions from your potential targets if they'll like to have such product or not.


Mind you, just like in my case, greater number of people would say they'd like to have your product but you're creating the product to make money not give it away.


Right?


So, you'll have to also give them a means of paying for the product.


I used PayPal. You could use PayPal or another medium most loved by your audiences.


But mostly, people trust PayPal for their refund policies so, I'd recommend you use PayPal too.


Besides, you may have to refund them if not enough people are really willing to pay for the product. Remember?


So, how do you gather these people?


Another good question.


First, create a page dedicated for that product or services idea on your blog or website. On that page, make sure you include every details about the product on the page.


The details should include an intro to the product, why you think it is needed, the purposes for the product etc.


You should also let your target audience have their say such as, what suggestions they have in terms of design, price timeframe etc. - that way, they'll feel more comfortable doing business with you.


hint: you would need to drive as many traffic as you can to this product page via Facebook, Twitter and forums topics on similar product idea.


This will allow you gather as many like minded people who may likely prepay for the product on that page.

Secondly, include a payment option on the page so that those who would really go for the service or product would be able to prepay for it right there on that page.


Thirdly, if your target is reached, get to work.


Supposing your initial target is 30 people and you make it known to your audience that if 30 people prepay for the product within certain period say; "30 days", you'll produce the item otherwise, they'll get their refund.


Fortunately your target is met.

Now is the time to get to work and create your product.


Create Your Product:


Although these guides work for any product type, we've been using digital skills as examples from the start because of this stage.


Why? Digital products are easier to create. Requires no capital or very little capital investment and less time-consuming and almost stress-free.


So, in view of that, digital product creation is our focus so you won't have to waste your little capital test-running or waste your limited time on product that may not sell.


With that said, until we start pushing entrepreneurial posts on cashflow, I'll only point you to some digital products creation resources that I have personally found useful.


Good.


Now, supposed you have created your product and delivered to your initial customers, now is the time to push your product beyond its limit by joining an affiliate network appropriate for your product type.


Promote the Product:


Here, appropriate is key to success.


In our examples here, we have been talking about digital products which means, you'll need to look for affiliate network suitable and appropriate for digital products.


In the case of one-off downloadable files such as theme or eBook; Gumroad DPD, Envato etc. are suitable and appropriate.


For online courses; Coursera and Udemy are one of the best and most appropriate options out there.


For digital books, Amazon Kindle is still leading, setting the pace in that industry as of now but Lulu is also an option.


If you have other product for which you're not sure of whom to partner with, simply ask in the comment.


We'll respond to your comment as soon as we can and accordingly.


Conclusion


While it's extremely easy and quick to start realizing constant money as a merchant in the Affiliate program system, becoming a merchant does often require certain advanced or unique set of skills. Or, unless you are an established producer in reality, you may not find it that simple to start up as a merchant.


And when you take a critical look at the affiliate program, starting up as an affiliate promoting merchants products is not a bad idea either especially when all it may require you is just your time.


Besides, as an affiliate, you can make quiet a lots of money as well; even within a month of starting, you just have to start with the right affiliate network suitable for you.


In our later posts, we shall be pushing other methods that we have used and found to be working fast (for us) in the affiliate business.


For now, I believe we have covered all that you may need to know to start up and get going with your affiliate business.


Below here, we provide answers to some questions we think you may have. And if you have some other questions not answered in the list, use the comment box and ask.


We'll attend to your questions accordingly in the shortest time possible.


Possible Questions You May Have On Affiliate Marketing Business


How Much Can I Earn As An Affiliate Marketer ?

You can earn pretty much and pretty low. There is no set or fixed amount you can earn as an affiliate marketer. Your earnings is largely determined by your efforts as an affiliate, the product or niche you focus, your promotion method, the affiliate network you are working with among a host of other factors.


How Can I Become An Affiliate Marketer?

Simple question. Just decide your niche, find an affiliate network in that niche, register with the affiliate network, choose products or merchants in your niche and start your promoting their products.


Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?

For me, affiliate marketing is extremely easy. But for you, the answer maybe different. We already put up the manual that'll help you along the journey on this page. I pretty much use the same manual. Read it. Digest it. And make affiliate marketing easy for you too.


What Are the Basic Needs for Affiliate Marketing Beginners?

1. Internet connectivity. 2. Some mentor. Could be guides, some books or blog posts etc. and depending on if you have decided to start as a merchant or affiliate; other requirements are already discussed above.


How Does Affiliate Marketing Work for Beginners?

This depends on the individuals' nature. I was once a beginner. Can't say I'm a pro yet but I'm pretty much doing fine now.


How Can I Be Successful In Affiliate Marketing?

This is a simple question that demands simple answer. Consistency in the right lanes is the only reason you can be successful as an affiliate.


Which Affiliate Network is Best?

There is none. There is no best affiliate network. I would rather ask "which affiliate network is appropriate?" and the appropriate affiliate network is that which is directly related or connected to your focused niche.


Which Affiliate Network is Best for Me?

The best affiliate network for you is that affiliate network that is directly related or connected to your focused niche.


What Are the Highest Paying Affiliate Networks?

Earnings per product paid by each affiliate network is mostly determined by the cost of the product you promote. Though, some affiliate networks naturally pay higher, it's hard to name any as the highest paying affiliate network.


How Long Does it Take to Be Successful In Affiliate Marketing?

In order to provide appropriate answers to this question, you need to define what you mean by success. If successful affiliate to you means those who are able to making money in affiliate marketing business, a month to 2 months is okay to achieve that though, it depends on your niche, products, efforts, marketing methods and your affiliate network payment threshold or payout terms.


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