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What is Affiliate Marketing? 7 steps to make money 💸 for beginners!

In the following I explain how affiliate marketing works, how beginners can earn money with it, what commission models there are and I show 7 steps how to best start with it.

I also get to the bottom of the question of whether you can make a living from affiliate marketing.

[This article is part of the Affiliate Basics article series]

What is Affiliate Marketing?

I keep getting asked the following question: What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?

This question is a good introduction to explaining this popular source of income to affiliate marketing beginners. If you've been involved with affiliate marketing for a long time, then a lot is clear to you.

But who for the first time on the topic Affiliate marketing meets, who is often overwhelmed by the many English terms and wants to get to know the basics instead of professional tips. So I'm going to cover these affiliate basics in loose succession.

Definition: affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing comes from the USA and is also popular in this country as Affiliate program designated.

Simply put, affiliate marketing is an internet based commission system. Companies that sell products online in a shop, for example, pay commission to website operators who “send” visitors to their online shop, who then also buy something.

For example, Amazon offers its own and very lucrative partner program, but also thousands of other online shops and other Internet providers.

In contrast to, for example, normal banner advertising, the remuneration for affiliate marketing is success-dependent. As a website operator (also known as an affiliate, partner or publisher), you only get a commission if the Internet user referred does something specific on the company website. So e.g. go shopping.

For example, I can get 1,000 visitors to my website to click on an affiliate link (this can of course also be an advertising banner with a corresponding affiliate link). If you don't buy anything in the online shop you clicked on, I'll earn 0 euros.

But if I manage to get 10 people to click on an affiliate link and 5 of them buy something in the shop, then I get 5 x commission. In affiliate marketing, it's not just about quantity, but above all about quality. But more on that in another article.

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How does affiliate marketing work?

The following is a schematic representation of the affiliate marketing "cycle":

This should make the basic functioning of affiliate marketing clear. In the following video I explain what affiliate marketing exactly is and how it works.

The basic principle should be clear:

I make sure that someone goes to a company's website and does something there. Then I get a commission for it.

What are the advantages of affiliate marketing?

There are advantages for both the merchant (e.g. an online shop) and the partner (also known as an affiliate). The online shop only has to pay a commission to the affiliate if sales have been achieved. If the affiliate makes an effort and sends a lot of visitors from his website to the online shop, he usually gets a lot of commissions and thus good income.

The online shop makes more sales and thus more profit, the affiliate also earns good money and the referred customer has found the product he was looking for or that solves his problem.

Ideally, it is a win-win-win situation that everyone involved benefits from. That's why you can make very good money with affiliate marketing.

How do you start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

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Even with affiliate marketing, the beginning is not so easy and you usually need perseverance and perseverance to make good money with it.

Above all, it is important that you really start today and not tomorrow!

I always recommend that my readers simply create content, whether that's a website, podcast, blog, or other platform. In the first step, it is important to build reach and gain the trust of the visitors.

In the second step, you can then approach affiliate marketing, select partner programs, make optimizations and generate income.

7 Steps - Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

  1. Select an idea with income potential and a partner program
    Is the idea profitable and is there a good partner program for it? This is where the basics of a successful beginner affiliate website are laid.
  2. Hosting, WordPress and plugins for affiliate website
    The simple installation of the affiliate website with WordPress, the right hoster and I also list recommended plugins that I use for my affiliate websites.
  3. WordPress theme selection and layout adjustments
    The web design for the new affiliate website is pending. Here I give tips on how to choose a suitable WordPress theme and give practical tips.
  4. Build in content that brings traffic
    What content is suitable for affiliate websites and how can I get hold of this content? Plus practical tips for writing.
  5. Integrate affiliate links optimally
    This part of the beginner series is about registering for partner programs and installing affiliate links.
  6. Traffic for the affiliate website
    What measures can you take for your affiliate website to get traffic, which SEO measures make sense and what should you pay attention to?
  7. Maintenance and optimization of the affiliate website
    To conclude the series of articles, I'll cover how to maintain an affiliate website and how to optimize it for more income.

How Much Money Do You Make Affiliate Marketing?

How much you can earn with affiliate marketing depends on various factors:

  • Your own reach

    On the one hand, an important factor for the amount of income is your own reach. So how many people you can reach with your own articles, videos, newsletter emails and so on. The more people you reach with it, the higher the potential number of people who click on affiliate links and then buy something in the shop in question.

  • The selected affiliate programs

    The partner programs that you include on your own website, for example, must of course match the visitors and their wishes, needs and problems. It probably makes little sense to advertise a sewing machine shop on a soccer website. Hardly any visitors will click on these affiliate links and buy something. At a shop for soccer jerseys, things look very different. So get to know your visitors and their wishes and concerns. And then offers the right products via affiliate links.

  • The trust that has been built

    Whether these visitors then click on an affiliate link and, above all, buy something in the linked shop depends heavily on the trust they have built up. It is therefore very important that you come across as authentic yourself, describe your own experiences, publish helpful content and appear trustworthy. Only then will you get a lot of affiliate link clicks and sales.

  • The optimizations made

    Simply adding a few affiliate links and banners is not enough. As an affiliate you have to test a lot and optimize the affiliate links, but also the content. Only then will you really make good money with affiliate marketing.

What commission models are there in affiliate marketing?

Of course there are different variants in affiliate marketing. So you can't just make money when someone buys a product. There are various so-called commission models in affiliate marketing, but the most important are sale and lead.

At the Sale it is simply a sale. This is the typical case that a visitor to my website clicks on an affiliate link and then buys something in the shop in question. Usually you get a percentage commission of the value of the goods. So if the sale commission is 5% and the referred customer buys something for 50 euros, then I receive a commission of 2.50 euros.

At Lead it's about establishing contact without making a sale. You can find this very often in the insurance sector *, for example. If I include an affiliate link with me and someone clicks on it, then I get money if that person simply requests an insurance comparison. Often there are fixed amounts.

The referral of long-term customers is particularly lucrative. If, for example, I refer people to an online service and they become permanent customers there (e.g. pay a monthly fee for a newsletter service), then I also receive a small commission on a permanent basis as long as the person referred remains a customer there. This is called lifetime compensation.

The so-called lifetime commissions are particularly lucrative. Here you refer a customer to a newsletter service once, for example, and as long as he is a customer there, you receive a commission every month. You can earn really good money with it.

There are other variants that I will go into in more detail in other articles.

Can you make a living from affiliate marketing?

An exciting question that I would answer with “Yes, but”.

The nice thing about it is that there are many affiliate programs from online shops, online services, insurance companies, hosting providers and many other companies, so that you will definitely find something suitable for most websites.

However, it takes time and a lot of work to build a website or blog that has enough visitors to make affiliate marketing worthwhile. It should be a few thousand visitors a month to earn more than pocket money.

In order to make a living from it, you need a lot more coverage, although it is important to get the right visitors here. If most of these come with a buying interest or are looking for a solution to a specific problem, then you will of course achieve much higher affiliate income than if these visitors are only looking for free entertainment.

So you can make a living from affiliate marketing (I do that and many others too), but it doesn't work by itself and not overnight.

The best affiliate programs

As already written above, it of course depends on your website visitors and the topics covered on your own website what the best affiliate programs are for you.

Nevertheless, there are some affiliate programs with which I have had very good experiences over the past few years and which I can definitely recommend. This of course includes the Amazon partner program, which includes all possible products, offers good conversion rates and pays out reliably.

You can and should try these out, but the most important thing is that you test out what the best partner programs are for you.

The best affiliate networks

The situation is similar with the affiliate networks. These are providers who provide services for online shops so that they do not have to worry about the technology, billing, etc. of a partner program themselves.

Affiliate networks such as AdCell, SuperClix, Digistore24 or Awin contain thousands of partner programs for small and medium-sized online shops. As an affiliate you will definitely find what you are looking for here and I have had good experiences with it.

I have already presented the best affiliate networks for me here in the blog.

Your questions

Do you have a question about affiliate marketing?

Then leave a comment in this article and I will answer your question here or, if necessary, take it up as a separate article.

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Categories Affiliate Basics, Affiliate MarketingTags Affiliate Marketing