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How To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing

Getting Started In Affiliate Marketing


On Monday a friend asked me how he could get started in affiliate marketing, make money from his website and generally make money online. We had a good chat and I gave him a lot of information. It can be a lot to take in at first if you are not familiar with online marketing, so I emailed my friend the main points of our conversation.

Just for a bit of background, my friend is a very experienced martial arts teacher and already has a website. He has started doing YouTube videos and he already has a few of his own products that he created (a book and a few dvd’s) that are sold offline. The book however has recently been added to Amazon Kindle.

So, this is what I told him…



So to recap on our conversation about affiliate marketing, here are my suggestions that will help you with the next steps.


Start running a blog on your website


blog - cc - some rights - affiliate marketing

Image byy Cortega9 via Wikimedia Commons

This is not a quick way to monetize your site but it has many other benefits. In time as you build up a readership you should be able to make money from your blog. To give you an idea, it took me about 8 months before I made my first affiliate commission through my blog.


However, the other benefits of running a blog are:


  • It will help your site rank higher in the search engines with regularly updated content. Google loves to see this
  • It gives you many opportunities to rank for different keywords each time you write a post
  • It creates many opportunities to build links for your site
  • It helps you to build your brand
  • It helps you to build an audience and let people see you as an authority and someone to listen to in your niche


How to blog


You should do at least one post per week however, 3-4 posts per week is optimal and will help your site rank more quickly. This is ideal, but it can be hard to maintain sometimes.


Each post should be as long as it needs to be to get your message across however, 400-700 is the optimal. If it is too short it doesn’t leave you much to work with when you want to rank for your keywords. If it is too long then only your die hard fans will read the whole post. People seem to have a short attention span online and are easily distracted by other things.




Affiliate Marketing

Created by Pvdkerk via Wikimedia Commons

Check your keywords for high monthly searches and low competition. Here is a video I did on this a little while ago. The video is about ranking for long tail keyword domain names but the process for how to find the keywords with high searches and low comp is the same.


Make sure your keyword is in the title of the post and also appearing in the first sentence. Then ideally you want it appearing about 5 times in the post and in the last sentence also if possible but not really necessary. Also make sure your keyword is in your tags and description box.


What to blog about

There is always loads to blog about but also think about occasionally doing product reviews and of course have your affiliate link to the product in the post. You can also do list posts sometimes which is basically comparing say 5 different products that are similar and giving your opinion on them. You can also have an affiliate link for each of the product so it doesn’t really matter which one a person ends up buying.


The great thing about these kind of posts is that it will always be on your blog and more importantly, it will always be on the net ready to find when someone searches for it. This is a good example of why it is important to optimize the post well so that it will be found easily. You can look at each one of these kinds of posts as a source of passive income as they can potentially make you money when someone finds your post, ie they do a search, your post (not your websites homepage) comes up in the search, the person clicks on it and is on your post straight away.


For other ways to monetize your blog, have a look at this post I wrote a little while ago; 6 Ways To Monetize Your Blog


This post is definitely worth reading…



Build an email list


This is one of the most important things to do in online marketing and is one of the main (and only) ways to make money online doing affiliate marketing, the other main two (there are a few more ways) are blogging and paid ads.

reply-all-97621_150 - affiliate marketing

To do this, write a short ebook/free report or create a video that you can give away for free in exchange for people’s email address.


Open an account with an auto-responder company. I use and recommend Aweber, they are generally the best in the industry.


Create an opt-in box in Aweber displaying your free gift (ebook/video, whatever) and place it in the sidebar of your site (this should also make it appear in the side bar of your blog also). As a person opts in to receive your free gift, they are then added to your list and they receive the download link by email.


Within your Aweber account you then want to create a follow-up series, which is a series of email (can start with just 5 or 6 and build on it over time) that are automatically emailed you the subscriber at times and intervals that you set, say once per week for example. Each email can be either a free tip, useful info, a product that you recommend (with your affiliate link of course) etc.


With the kind of niche you are in, it also fits nicely to have a ‘quote of the week’ email. Personally, I would look to have your tips, useful info and product recommendations emailed to your list once per week, say on a Monday, and also a quote of the week mailed also once per week, perhaps on a Friday would work well. This way people will start to look forward to not only receiving your useful tips and recommendations but also a quote at the end of the week too :)


Here is another post I wrote on this with more detail on how to do it; How to set up an effective email marketing campaign


In this post it also shows you a quick way to set up something called a landing page (also known as a squeeze or opt-in page). This is basically a one page website with your free gift, the highlighted benefits, a picture and the opt-in box. Basically, at these pages the person has only two choices, either opt-in or leave. Here is an example of one of my landing pages


With this landing page you can provide the link for it on your YouTube videos…


YouTube Videos are a great tool for affiliate marketing


You are already doing this and I know you are starting to build a following here. This is a really great and you need to maximize it as much as possible…


Create clickable links actually on/in your YouTube videos, not just in the description box below the video. You can do this in the channel settings tab of your video manager in your YouTube account.


Optimize your keywords in YouTube by making sure:


  • Your video is named as what you want it to be called before you upload it to YouTube with your keyword.
  • Put your keyword in the tags
  • Have your keyword appearing around 7-14 times in the description box, therefore write a lengthy description. Doesn’t have to be anything special as most people don’t read them, just need to have it so you can intersperse your keyword. (Just writing your keyword 14 times doesn’t work, it ideally needs to be every 40-60 words or so)


Once I did these points I got a lot more searches to the videos that I did this to quickly so it is well worth spending the time to do this.


Something worth bearing in mind also is that YouTube has technology that can recognize keywords spoken on the video too so you may want to choose a keyword that you have spoken in your video as well. (Personally I haven’t been thorough enough to do this, I’m far too lazy for that ;))


Social Media is used a lot to drive traffic and build a presence in affiliate marketing


Facebook - Like - affiliate marketingThere are many platforms as you know, however they can be quite different when it comes to using them for business and affiliate marketing. Some are more suited to some kind of businesses than others.


Facebook is generally good if your business can involve sharing cool videos and/or pictures. If you just upload written content Facebook doesn’t really rate it highly and it will not get shown as much. If you do upload a blog post to Facebook make sure it also has a picture.


So that being said, definitely put all your videos on Facebook after you have uploaded them to YouTube.


In the niche you’re in it can also work well to upload your photos. I think it would work well for you to write quotes on your pictures. Here’s some free software you can download online that will allow you to do this: Gimp


You can also do the same thing with Pinterest. Pinterest is a social media platform for sharing cool pictures. Also Instagram is another one that may be worth having a look at.


G+ is also definitely worth using. It’s not quite as business like as LinkedIn but it is more professional that Facebook and Twitter. One of the main reasons for also using G+ is that you get much more seo kudos for your website and posts when you then share your content on G+ mainly because it is owned by Google.


Creating your own products – Being a Vendor:


This is one of the best ways to make money online. You can create digital products (I know you already have a few) like ebooks, dvd courses, audio etc and not only sell them yourself on your blog and through your email list, but you can also get other affiliates to promote them for you.


Once you have created your products you need to create a sales page and then you can go to places like ClickBank, Commission Junction, Digi Results etc and list your product. Then, you can contact other affiliates in your niche and encourage them to sell your product for you.


Bear in mind that the typical commission on affiliate products is between 50-75% so you will have to offer this kind of incentive to the the affiliates to promote it for you. Likewise, if you decide to be an affiliate for any digital products on your blog or through your list then this is the kind of commission you can expect to make.


If you are an affiliate for physical products then typically you are looking at 4-15% but could be up to 30 or more, but that’s quite rare. If you want to be an affiliate of physical products, look for ones that also have a high retail value to help maximize your commission ;)


There is more to say but I’ve just realised I’ve written 4 pages and I need to go to bed, so I’ll paste this into an email to you. This is the main things we talked about on Monday and should definitely keep you busy for a while.


Best of Luck!




There is loads more advice I could give my friend but it was getting pretty late. What advice would you have given my friend? What would you add to help a person get started with affiliate marketing and earning an income online? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

SteveWest-Signature-SM - affiliate marketing


  1. 2-21-2014

    That is quite the extensive blogpost. Well done!
    I agree with all the steps that you outline here.

    I personally don’t use “publishing” as a main source of traffic for affiliate marketing.

    In my opinion it is very time costly. I prefer advertising because it’s FAST! There is a little bit of skills necessary to learn first but anyone can learn with 1$ a day of facebook ads.

    I personally use publishing(blogging) in conjunction with my autoresponder by dripping quality content to my new list subscribers and build trust.

    Anyway, there is a million way to a million dollar.

    To the top,

    Pick a Niche, build a capture page and drive traffic.
    Renaud Gagne recently posted…How to Choose a Good Clickbank Offer in 6 StepsMy Profile

    • 2-26-2014

      Hi Renaud,

      Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog :)

      Yes you are right, paid ads are definitely faster as I am aware however, I don’t yet have much experience in that myself, it is something I am wanting to master soon. Great tip to start with $1 Facebook ads :)

      Yes I also use my blog for the same reason as yourself also.

      Thanks again for your comment and I hope to see you here again soon.

      Best, Steve

  2. 2-21-2014

    Hi Steve,
    Although the title of this post reads “how to get started in affiliate marketing in a nutshell”, I want to disagree that the info shared is in a nutshell. I would say it is a comprehensive post for a beginner :)

    The share is quite informative and instructive. It also reminds experienced affiliate marketers of what really matters with affiliate marketing.

    I am sure your friend would be elated to have this information and so would all your fans!
    Thanks for sharing this practical guide!

    I have shared this comment in – the content syndication, aggregation, and social bookmarking website for Internet marketers and bloggers, where this post was found and “kingged”.

    Sunday – contributor

    • 2-21-2014

      Hi Sunday,

      Great to see you here again!

      Yes I guess the title is not so accurate, I published the post late in the evening and didnt put much thought in it, maybe I will change it ;)

      Thanks for your kind words, Im glad you thought the post will be useful for people!

      Have a great day,


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