Affiliate marketing is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 10%, making it a $6.8 billion industry by 2020, according to a study Rakuten Affiliate Network commissioned to Forrester Consulting.

Affiliate marketing or performance-based marketing continues to be an impressive way to generate leads and grow revenues. It is a flexible, no-hassle, and almost-no-cost way to make money without having to develop, produce, or sell a product or service. As an affiliate marketer, you basically compete with other businesses to get the best performance for a product or service that a third party offers.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a simple business model in which you use your own marketing efforts, such as your blog, email list, website, or social media, to promote another company’s products. When a visitor reads or views your marketing efforts and clicks on a link to order a product, that person is taken your affiliate partner’s shopping cart to make the purchase. If the person buys the product, you get a commission.
In the beginning, you may not an earn a windfall of cash. However, this venture requires little of your own money. The only money you need to pay for is website hosting and a domain train to begin reaping the benefits of affiliate marketing.

Follow these steps to building an affiliate marketing business:

  1. Do Market Research
    Check out social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to find out what products or industries people are liking and talking about. See what happening in the news and determine which issues are getting the most headlines and then determine how certain products or services can solve them. Find out what the best sellers are on Amazon and read reviews to find out why people like the products. All of these ways will give insight into what products you should promote.
    Currently, yoga, wellness, gluten-free, organic, supplements, financial and investment advice, dating, and online video games are some of the more popular niches. Finding a way to use these niches in your sector will put you on the road to success.
  2. Know Your Audience
    Know your target market and then promote products that would add value to their lives. Picking the right products, services, or memberships is key to a successful strategy. When it comes to making choices, follow your gut. If millennials are your audience of choice, for example, you won’t want to partner with the priciest products. This generation doesn’t favor extravagant items and often makes purchases based on reviews and whether products are organic or ethically produced. In this case, a good product to promote would be one that benefits society or is good for the environment.
  3. Choosing the Right Affiliate Partner
    Though there are many available, not all affiliate partners are created equally. Like with any other relationship, you don’t want to embark on one with an affiliate that has a bad reputation, isn’t trustworthy, and doesn’t follow through on payments. Before you partner with any affiliate network, know what you are getting into with it. Check digital forums, their social media platforms, and online to find out their reputations.
    Also, you and the merchant that will benefit from your promotional efforts must have something in common or the relationship will simply not work.
  4. Keep It Mobile-Friendly
    As you develop your site, make sure it displays as mobile-friendly. You automatically knock out a lot of competition if your site is mobile friendly there’s is not. Also, make sure the business products or services you are promoting also has a site that can accommodate mobile devices. If not, you will waste time directing traffic to sites that don’t end up netting you any commissions.
  5. Try the Product (or Service) Yourself
    Though affiliate marketers are not required to try products before they promote them, many will find it easier to tout them if they used them. Firsthand knowledge adds value and legitimacy of an item. Also, it establishes your credibility and trust as an influencer. Once you have a steady following, some businesses often will offer you free samples of products. Just remember, if you accept a complimentary item, make sure you disclose it to your audience. If not, kiss your integrity goodbye.

The Big Pay Off

With consistent work, affiliate marketing can provide you with a steady, high-level of income. It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow these critical steps, you will find yourself on your way to a successful, profitable affiliate marketing business.

Author Aixa Vilar:

Aixa is the Chief Marketing Officer at Pinwheel Pay, Europe’s most convenient payment gateway. She’s an expert in inbound marketing, content marketing, and lead generation. Aixa is also the drummer of Go Betty Go, you can catch her and the band when they head into your town next time they’re on tour. Follow her on Twitter at @aixaauthority.

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