We have all been hearing a lot about different types of marketing techniques that are now getting adopted by businesses across industries. At times we have been caught unawares with the variety of methods involved in getting your business going. Although, we know a few like PPC or CPV or banners et all, there are a few that we need to highlight more in order to get ahead in this stiff competition. Your business is your lifeline and you would do anything to survive in a highly competitive market. So what all can you do to ensure that your business not only survives but thrives!
Let us take a quick look at a concept as well as how to start affiliate marketing.
When did Affiliate Marketing begin?
‘Affiliate’, the term suggests ‘association/ partnering’. It probably predates the boom of the World Wide Web.Like a shoemaker offering a discount to the customer who suggested another friend of his to get his shoes made at his shop. The only hitch in doing this offline was that, there was no concrete way to track the affiliate who referred the person. This used to often result in the payment not getting through to the original referrer. So this gives you a fairly low key idea about how offline affiliate marketing worked. The introduction of the internet revolutionized this idea by taking it to millions of people across the globe, rather than being restricted locally.
With people turning to the internet for every small thing, there was a lot of scope of expansion for the business. Much technological advancement led from one thing to another, and finally the concept broke ground on the internet by William Tobin. He conceived, implemented and then patented the concept called affiliate marketing in 1989 and set up the first program for his flower shop. Post that there was no looking back.
Amazon, the biggest e-retailer / ecommerce website, was the first to actually use affiliate marketing with the launch of its associate’s program way back in 1996. This took the world by storm and before you would know it, there were other retailers backpacking on this idea and implementing it on their own.
So how does one actually get started with affiliate marketing?
Since we now know about the humble beginnings of affiliate marketing, let us now take a quick look at few ways we can actually begin affiliate marketing.
Analyze your strengths: It is very important to understand what you are good at. By this we mean, that you need to know which subject interests you like travel, IT, Styling, lifestyle products, home décor, etc. There are many topics one may be good at, but there are few that you really can venture into. Once you know this, you can build your audience around it by building a site.
Some things that you can keep in mind while finalizing your subject is- does the topic have any money in it; can I actually deliver multiple posts about that niche and are there multiple ways to explore that topic; are there many others involved with this subject or only a handful, etc.
Study the Affiliate programs carefully: Choosing the right affiliate program is key to your success and, of course, monetary benefits. Once you have figured out what you want to venture into, do a little deep dive to understand the market analytics for the products and services you want to get associated with. Some pointers to keep in mind- companies involved in this type of products; commission you will make when you promote these products; scope of the promotion; do you feel passionate about investing a considerable amount of time in this promotion; customer support for these products on the affiliate websites. You need to have a clear view about the products you are going to promote in order to get any yields in that field.
Create a website: Now that you have actually done your research and analyzed all that you want to do, it’s time to give your sketches a shape. Build a great website that will talk about the products, a place where you can write about them and use the affiliate links to promote it. You need to get a domain, invest in hosting services, install a content management system, get your theme in place and finally write content that is suited for the website to get the message across to your audience in a clear format.
Content writing: This is crucial to your website, after you have followed all the above steps. This will help the audience to get a clear message about the products you are writing about and what you are recommending. Adding facts and data here will go a long way in convincing your audience to purchase the product / service. This can include reviews about the products, blog posts, content that never fades away and is useful anytime anyone visits your website, and informational products such as giveaways in ways of mini courses, free registration, e-books, etc. are great ways to entice the audience.
Create your audience: To build an effective audience you need to regularly communicate with them through various modes. Either by writing a blog post every day or uploading podcasts, through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.; writing guest posts on high traffic blogs, using effective SEO techniques, generating an email list to promote your products through regular email blasts, etc.
Promote your partner offers: Finally you want to promote your affiliate products through various mediums to get the traffic going and the revenue increasing. Do it through effective banner ads, paid advertising, product reviews, discounts and offers, email marketing, in-text content links, etc.
Once you pay close attention to all these points and implement them, it will give you a great boost on how to start affiliate marketing and make the most of it. These are time tested methods and there is always scope of improvisation, depending on the market conditions, products, requirement and audience engagement.