You have probably read a ton about affiliate marketing and you have made up your mind that you want to get started as soon as today, or right now, isn’t it?
But you don’t know exactly where to start or how to make the right entry into it and how to build a solid foundation for your affiliate business that can pay you for years to come, true?
Well, I will be taking you through a list of 8 actionable steps that will answer your question on how to start affiliate marketing today.
I am going to show you exactly how I would personally do it if I were to do it all over again from scratch with zero knowledge on affiliate marketing.
I hope this will give you some insight on how to go about it on your own as well as help you get set up and all ready for growth in the right direction that can help you create a full-time income from it.
So let’s get rolling. 🙂
8 Actionable Steps to Begin Affiliate Marketing Today
Before we get into things here, I would like to point out that the steps work well when you have the proper basic understanding of affiliate marketing and how much it costs to do it.
This helps a great deal when it comes to creating your business as you will have gotten the basic concept of the business model and which route you will go as far as cost and initial investments are concerned.
I would encourage you to read my beginners guide to affiliate marketing to get a good grasp of the basic foundational concept of affiliate marketing. It will give you lots of insight into what you are up for and how things work.
Also, my post on how much it costs to do affiliate marketing might come in handy for you on deciding whether to invest some capital to your affiliate business as you set out, how much it will cost, and the other options you have.
After you have read those, I believe you should now be ready to follow the steps below very easily to build your affiliate business today.
1. Decide which platform you’ll use
The first and most important step to take is to make a decision on which platform you will be using to do affiliate marketing. Many people think there is only one way to do it, and that is through a website or a blog.
But there are more other options you could use such as social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, or a YouTube channel or podcasts.
There are also those people who use websites but don’t build their businesses the usual way. They take the PPC (Pay Per Click) route which requires less effort and more money compared to the traditional way of building a website with barely any money and putting in the effort of promoting it.
Either way, it is up to you to choose what works best for you.
Many people have found that using affiliate websites is more convenient than the other platforms because of the ability to drop links in a couple of places, but, I personally believe that every platform has its own benefits and downsides.
And the good thing is that there are people who are succeeding on every platform. So it is all about how you look at it and how much you are willing to work on whatever platform you settle for.
Choosing a platform is not hard at all.
You can start by asking yourself which platform you like generally and which you feel can work for you.
Other questions you can ask yourself that can give you more clarity include:
– What is the best platform for me based on the content creation strategy – do I love writing, taking photos or video or podcasting?
– How much time do I have to work on my affiliate business, when will I be working on the business and which platform goes well with that time?
– Which platform do I have more resources for?
– Which platform would I like to be known in as a brand?
These questions will help you have a better understanding of the platform that is more likely to be your right fit. You can also ask yourself other questions based on your lifestyle and other needing factors in your life so that you can get what is specifically good for you.
After you have answered the questions, take your time, and evaluate the options you have and choose the ultimate one.
2. Decide which niche you will work with
Now that you have a platform, the next natural step is to decide which niche you are going to venture into. This is quite a crucial step as it helps you know the topic you will be discussing, the kind of audience you will be targeting, and the kind of affiliate products you will be promoting.
Choosing a niche is one of the foundational steps that help you remain focused on your content and promotions.
You have to be careful when choosing your niche as it can make your affiliate journey easy or exceedingly hard. Some people have failed and given up on affiliate marketing because of choosing the wrong niche and it affected them greatly.
When choosing a niche, there are usually 4 key factors to keep in mind that help you find a niche that is a good match for you. Here they are:
* How passionate you are about the niche – The niche you eventually settle for should be one that you love and are passionate about. It should be based on a topic that you find interesting, love to talk about, know more about, or would love to learn more about it. See, there is a point you get to in affiliate marketing where things get fairly difficult and discouraging and the only thing that keeps you going is your interest in the niche.
So, if you chose a niche you don’t love, you will have a hectic time building the business and being consistent. Whenever you are starting an affiliate business especially when you are a beginner, you simply want to work with a niche you feel comfortable with and which excites you every time you think about it.
* How profitable the niche is – The other thing you want to be sure of is how profitable the niche is. It is one thing to choose a niche that you think is going to get you money and it is another thing to actually make money out of it. There are many niches out there that are not that profitable and you might find yourself in one of them and head to a dead end after a short while.
The profitability of a niche is measured by the amount of audience and the affiliate programs there are in it. If you don’t have a good number of people who are interested in different areas of the niche, how are you going to get traffic that you can monetize? And if you don’t have affiliate programs for products in that niche, how will you make money?
So it is always essential to do some research to figure out how many people love the topic you are thinking about and how many affiliate programs there are for the different products in it. It is also possible to build a business around a profitable niche without necessarily loving it but it is much more difficult for a beginner and it weighs you down compared to something you actually love.
* How competitive the niche is – It is also worth taking a look at the kind of competition there is in the niche you want to get into. There are some niches that have huge competition with lots of established brands that are hugely authoritative. Fighting these brands and expecting to make money in the next few months is like trying to wrap water in a piece of cloth.
Niches like weight loss, making money online and health are niches you want to avoid as a rookie because you are going to take time before you can beat the competition and get to start making good money. Although you can beat them if you are determined, skilled and patient, it is not worth the effort in the long run.
Taking on a highly competitive niche might take you almost twice the time it would take you to make money with a fairly competitive one.
So you want to do your calculations right.
Spare some time and look into that niche, see the number of popular brands there is and if they are more than 10, you may want to look for another niche.
The main idea here is that you settle for a niche that you won’t have a lot of trouble establishing yourself in. The lower the competition, the easier for you to succeed in the niche.
* Availability of content for the niche – There are some niches that barely have anything to talk about. And this can be a huge hassle for you as you try to get topics to talk about in your business. I once had a problem with this.
The niche I had chosen didn’t have even 10 topics I could write about and if you have the same problem, you are going to struggle to make something substantial out of it and will most likely end up frustrated.
This means you will want to have a niche that has got plenty to talk about and you could see yourself creating content every day around it for the next 5 to 10 years.
This way, you will be sure that you will always be growing and becoming a brand and getting more and more relevant audience.
So how do you apply these factors when selecting a niche?
Here is a list of steps to help you get the right niche in a short time.
Step 1 – List all the niches you are passionate about (get about 20 of them). These could be your hobbies, your fantasies, or things that pique your interest.
Step 2 – Out of the 20 niches, drop 10 that you feel you love but you are not as passionate about as the others.
Step 3 – For the remaining 10, take your time and list the different aspects of each niche that you can talk about. Write about 5 categories for each. Google them if need be.
Step 4 – Look each niche up on the platform you will be using and discover how many competitors you have.
Step 5 – For each one of them, write down the popular and well-established competitors you have.
Step 6 – Go through all the 10 niches and cancel the once that have more than 10 established competitors
Step 7 – Drop the niches that have less than 5 categories you can talk about
Step 8 – Look up the affiliate programs there are in the remaining niches by typing “the name of your niche + affiliate programs” in Google and click on the search button.
Step 9 – Drop 2 to 4 niches with the lowest number of affiliate programs and good quality products you can promote.
Step 10 – Make a decision on the remaining niches and choose the one you feel is much better for you.
3. Build your initial foundation
This is your first step to creating your business in the practical sense and it is mainly aimed at helping your get up and running. Since you have already known the platform you will be working with and the niche which your business will be based on, it is now time to make things serious.
Here, you will go to your chosen platform and create the first phase of the business. You will be getting your own section of the interest and create your spot for your business.
If you are going to do business with a website, you will have to create the website, either a free one or a self-hosted on depending on your plan and budget.
You should also give your website a brandable name that people can easily remember and relate it to your niche.
If you are going to do YouTube, create your channel and give it a good business based name.
The same case for your social media accounts. You can give the accounts your first name and the second name can be the name of your niche. For example, Joseph Yachts or Joseph with Yachts.
For podcasting, you can also give it a business based name that can make a good brand name or use the social media route of the personal-business two names.
The main reason this step is important is because it gets you started immediately with your business. You take your idea and research and make them count.
And it also gives you the motivation for you to take the next step and keep growing. The most difficult part of getting into any business is starting (there is a reason why Nike insists on “just do it”).
Having taken this step has opened the door for the start of your business.
The next part I will be showing you how you now grow your business the right way.
4. Get a good training course for your platform
One thing you need to realize about affiliate marketing is that there is a lot to learn about it and there is a lot of information out there than can get quite confusing for you.
There are thousands of websites and blogs and even more YouTube videos that talk about affiliate marketing and some offer great content while others offer outdated content that worked years ago but no longer does today.
Also, most of the reliable information on the business is so scattered and might take you a lot of time and effort to gather and benefit from it.
It is also worth knowing that affiliate marketing is so wide and deep that almost no affiliate marketer out there can be able to address everything about it and fully exhaust everything about it on their website or channel.
So where am I driving at with all this?
The need of getting an online affiliate marketing training course for yourself.
In my opinion, you cannot get all you need about affiliate marketing from affiliate marketing-based websites. You might get a good deal of value but mostly you will only get the essence and the general idea of what you are looking to learn more about in the area.
But there are other tiny but critical aspects of it that you should know in order to succeed at it that you might miss.
That is why I strongly encourage you to get a good online course for affiliate marketing for the platform you are going to be using.
The course will not only show you how to do certain things in terms of skills, but it will also help you understand why you are doing it and the impact.
It will allow you to get the basics right, understand the critical elements, and how to work around them with your business, and grow the website with specific tasks each day.
This is going to make it easy for you to implement the steps every day and get the kind of results you desire.
Let me give you a good idea of how courses are better than trying to get information online from Google.
Suppose you want to learn how to get started with affiliate marketing today with a website and wanted to know how to do it practically.
If you went to Google, you would see results telling to create a website, create good content, optimize the content and the website, and build backlinks, and keep growing the business.
This is what bloggers and website owners, including me, in the niche will tell you.
We will give you the most important information and attempt to go into details but cannot do it as well as a well-created training course on that.
But how do you create a good website with good design and user experience? If you don’t have a course, you will need to perform another google search.
And you might be directed to another website that offers contrasting information from the first website that you had read.
This gets confusing after a while and you start losing morale.
But if you get a good online course, you will be taken from zero knowledge and be taught how to create a well-running website and how to go about almost everything you need.
The course will teach you how to build a good website, aspects to keep in mind as well as how they work and everything you need through your business building phase and even what to do after you are done with the course.
On top of that, you are taught by one person or one institution from beginning to end, which makes it easy to understand concepts and connect the dots fast and get to see where the trainer is coming from as they explain certain points as opposed to using different websites that have different information.
Therefore, a course has many more benefits than doing it the “street style”.
Here are the steps you can take to find a good online course for affiliate marketing:
Step 1 – Search for the best online courses available for your specific platform. You can search for phrases like “best affiliate marketing courses for YouTube” or “best podcast affiliate marketing courses” or “top 10 affiliate marketing courses for websites”.
Step 2 – Go through each and look at what they offer in terms of training, see if they offer a free trial, and if their prices match the value they offer.
Step 3 – Look at the user reviews of the courses from review sites. Pay attention to those that are genuine and honest in their reviews and try to get the general perception and experiences with the course.
Step 4 – Make sure the course offers up to date information, is well detailed, has a reasonable price, has a good support system, has no tricks to get more money from you (hidden upsells), is genuinely based on helping the users and it has an above-average rating from the previous users.
Step 5 – If you get a course that seems good and genuine, sign up for the free trial to get a personal feel of it.
Step 6 – After the trial, consider buying the course.
Personally, I used Wealthy Affiliate to learn affiliate marketing with websites and it came in handy. I would encourage you to give it a try too if you want to create an affiliate website business.
5. Take action on the course right away
Once you have bought the course, you will want to start learning from it and applying the knowledge to your business as soon as possible. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. After you have gotten the course, you should give yourself a 30 minutes break and then come back and get started learning.
Implementing things immediately is what moves you forward and encourages you to keep going. Some people think that, because they have gotten access to all the information they need in something, they don’t need to struggle anymore, they have achieved their goals, which is quite the contrary.
It is only the beginning.
And the peak of value of getting access to something valuable is to get started making the best use of it.
If you want to have your business built today, you have to start now. Even if you take baby steps, just take action. I had to address this since I came to learn that it affects many people.
6. Create your daily working schedule
After making use of the time you have to create the initial setup of your affiliate business, you should consider creating a new working schedule that accommodates your affiliate business.
This might mean squeezing in some time, maybe a few minutes or hours every day, to learn from the course and apply it in your business.
You may have to give up your break time for it or your favorite hobbies so that you can make it happen. If you are doing it full time, you have an opportunity to go all-in on it, which will help you make progress much faster.
Also, you need to make up your mind to follow the schedule.
Don’t get lost in the fantasy of the idea of having your own affiliate business for a day and then forget about it. Make up your mind to be working on it every so often and whenever you get the opportunity.
7. Get the tools needed for the course or initial business set up
If you have decided to invest in the best resources for your business, this is the best time to get them.
Look the resources up and determine which one is the best for you and get them immediately.
If the resources are free, do what is required to get access to them. If they are paid, get the money and purchase them.
Make sure that today you have everything you need to start building out the business.
Make a list of all the resources and start acquiring them without wasting time, one by one, and when you get the first, tick it off your list and then go to the next one until you have all of them.
If you are doing a website, get the required plugins, website theme, content and keyword research tools, and anything else you think is going to be useful in your beginning phase.
If you are doing a YouTube channel, you can get the video editing and analytics tools and other equipment you will need.
The same goes for any other platform you decided to go with.
8. Look for a community or support system to get help when you need it
One thing I have greatly benefited from through my years of affiliate marketing is the use of affiliate marketing forums and communities.
These things take your affiliate experiences to the next level and fill in many gaps that would have otherwise made your path to failure much easier.
And they are things I would definitely recommend you get yourself into.
Some of the benefits of joining these forums are getting help with problems in your affiliate business for free, gaining new insights on different areas of affiliate marketing that boost the value of your specific business, getting a better understanding of different relevant concepts through explanations by other experienced marketers, getting motivated by others who are going through the same things you are and feeling very much at home because you are chatting and discussing with like-minded people.
Forums save you big money that you would have spent on support services from freelancers and they make a good complement to online training courses.
Some courses may not have reliable support systems, and forums can make up for that.
The forums I would recommend you join are at least 5 forums for affiliate marketing and then 5 other forums for your niche.
To do this, just search for affiliate marketing forums for the first 5 and then “your niche + forums and communities” for the niche related forums and pick the ones that are popular and have many members with discussions in the recent weeks or days.
Then join them by filling in the required information.
Niche related forums help you get more ideas for your content and they also help you have a clearer understanding of your niche.
However, you should remember to follow the rules of the forums you join.
Don’t go to spam your affiliate promotions there or mistreat other members.
Think of the forums as an opportunity to meet new friends who love what you love and help as well as grow each other.
Tips to keep in mind as you build and establish your affiliate business
You now have all the information and steps you will need to have to successfully launch your affiliate marketing business this very day and have a proper plan that will take you for the next couple of days, weeks, and months as you work on it. All you need is to follow the steps seriously and put them into action as best as you can.
Moreover, here are some rewarding tips that will help keep the levels of quality at an all-time high with the affiliate business you just began and make as much progress as possible:
– Follow through with the course every day and aim to not go for more than a day without learning from it
– Apply what you learn and keep growing every day and never give up
– Focus on building your personal brand
– Focus on helping your audience in the best way possible and often better than your competitors
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need help. You can ask me, the creators of the course you will be using or the members of the forums and communities you will join
– Always be ready to meet difficulty frequently and fight them
– Be willing to learn from your weaknesses and failures and make permanent improvements on them
– Take your affiliate business like any other serious business you know, because it is an actual business
– Be willing to learn from others and also to share what you know with others as that is how we all grow
– Don’t take long pauses on your affiliate business. Take a few minutes rest but not more than a day otherwise that’s when you will start to kill your business
That is pretty much how I would personally do it if I was to start all over again.
I would like you to know that each of the steps counts as it adds some crucial value to the whole business and will come to pay off in good time if you stick to your business.
Based on my experience, this is how I would tutor a beginner to do it since it’s the way that has worked for me over the years.
However, other affiliate marketers might tell you something different and that is okay too.
I have always said affiliate marketing is a unique and personalized experience and journey for everyone. So feel free to take your time to evaluate the information you get and see what works for you.
And then stick to it.
I wish you the best with your new business. You have an exciting journey ahead. 🙂
If you ever need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a question in the comments and I will shoot you an answer right back.
Cheers to new beginnings!