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How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
Affiliate marketing provides the opportunity to earn a commission from the sale of products or services offered by other companies. It is an excellent option to supplement your income from the comfort of your home. Fortunately, it’s also easy to become an affiliate of well-known companies. Read on to find out how to get started with affiliate marketing in the United States.
Become an Affiliate
1. Sell what you know.
To start, only sell products or services that you are familiar with. Online marketers call this “picking the niche.” Choose a niche that represents your current interests or occupations.
• For example, if you are an expert in interior design, it will make more sense to sell comforter sets than car parts. You will do a much better job in terms of marketing efforts if you are selling a product that you know well.
2 Create a site related to your niche.
Before you become an affiliate, many companies will want to know the address of the site where you want to sell your products. They want to make sure that the content on your site will not damage their reputation.
• It is very easy to create your own site, thanks to pages like WordPress.com.
• Add content that is not too commercial. Your site should gradually become an authority in your niche.
3 Look for affiliate programs.
Find one that offers products or services in your niche.
• Amazon sells just about anything, so your niche likely includes products sold on that site. This is a good starting point if you want to get started with affiliate marketing.
• Commission Junction is another great option as it allows you to become an affiliate of many companies you already know (eg Overstock, Office Depot, Boscov’s and many more).
• Clickbank is also a good option that many affiliate marketers use since the commissions from the companies on that site are very lucrative.
4 Join an affiliate program.
Almost all affiliate programs are free to join.
• In fact, if you are asked for a credit card number to become an affiliate, it may be a scam. The most reliable companies that offer these types of programs allow people to join for free.
• However, you will need to provide bank account or PayPal information. Keep in mind that this does not mean that the company wants to take your money, but rather that they need a place to pay you the commission that you have earned through successful sales.
• In some cases, you will need to provide the URL of your web page. Simply provide the URL of the site you created earlier.
Promote products on your website
1. Add affiliate links to your content.
An ideal way to earn a commission without appearing to sell anything is to incorporate affiliate links within your content. This way, when people click on the link, they will be redirected to the company’s site, and if they make a purchase, you will earn a commission.
• For example, if you’re writing about decor and include purple quilts, create a link with the words “purple quilts” that takes you to the Amazon site where readers are shown the available purple quilts. People will be able to see the various Amazon offers and maybe buy an item they like.
• The good news is that companies make it very easy to include links on your site. How you add links varies from company to company, but it’s usually very easy to find a link for the products you’re looking for.
2 Include visual aids in the sidebar.
Your website, like most, may have a sidebar. This is an ideal place to include visual aids for products relevant to your niche.
• Again, you will find companies with affiliate programs that make it very easy to get the images and links needed to get visitors redirected to their pages. It’s almost always as easy as copying and pasting the code into your sidebar.
3 Keep producing content relevant to your niche.
Your goal is to keep people coming back to your site, right? Therefore, you have to keep producing original content that is valuable to visitors. Digital marketers call it “content marketing.”
• Good content keeps visitors coming back to your page. This means that at some point, they might click on your affiliate links and make a purchase.
• You can also use content to include affiliate links as previously mentioned. The more content you produce, the more affiliate links you will have. The probability that your users will buy on the site of the companies with which you are affiliated will increase accordingly.
4 Use analytics data to measure your success.
You can think of them as information about what you sell, how you do it, and who your customers are. Fortunately, many affiliate marketing sites allow access to valuable analytics data so you can define what works for you.
• If you notice that a particular type of product is selling more on your site, produce content that allows you to further promote it.
• Use Google Analytics to better understand the demographics of your visitors. Focus your content marketing efforts on these people.
• Pay attention to the posts that receive the most visitors. If you find that some posts are much more successful than others, consider adding an affiliate link to them.
• Focus on what works and get rid of what doesn’t work for you. The analytics data provided by the company will tell you which posts are working and which are not delivering results. Use more advertisements than those that work and eliminate those that do not work.
Operate your business
1 Prepare for taxes.
If you make money through affiliate marketing, you will have to pay taxes on the earnings. At the beginning of each year, your partner companies must send you a 1099 tax form. Otherwise, you must still report the income to the Internal Revenue Service.
• If you operate your affiliate marketing business as a sole proprietor or LLC, you will need to report 1099 income on Schedule C: Business Profit or Loss.
• If you operate your business as an S or C corporation, you will need to report income on Schedule K-1.
2 Expand your business.
Your business can expand or contract, so you should always look for growth. Otherwise, your business will be affected and it will provide you with a lower profitability.
• Look for new products that you think you can sell online. Do a search on the various affiliate sites. Find businesses that have recently joined and partner with them if they offer something you think you can sell.
• Promote your business online constantly. Use social media, email, and other channels to promote your business and keep people coming back for new deals on the products or services you offer.
3 Delegate routine tasks.
Once your business takes off, it’s time to focus on growing it while delegating routine tasks to other people. While there is a labor cost involved, the investment is worth it if it allows you to develop new ways to promote your affiliate marketing business and build it even more.
4 Automate everything you can.
There are many digital marketing tools available. Again, some require an investment, but will give you more time to continue building your business, and the returns on that investment will be positive.
• Focus on creating a long-term strategy for your business while your tools and employees take care of the daily and routine tasks. This way, you can deal with “overhead” responsibilities to make sure your business continues to grow.