Affiliate marketing is a broad term used to describe a simple concept: using different mediums to showcase products and encouraging viewers to buy them.
I wrote this article to show you 3 ways to earn money via affiliate marketing so that you can choose the one that might work best for you. Get started today, for free, with this step-by-step guide.
Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of affiliate marketing on YouTube, a blog, and through paid advertisements.
What You Need to Know
This guide is meant for those of you who already have some basic knowledge of how affiliate marketing works. If that is not your case, I recommend reading our Affiliate Marketing for Beginners Guide first.
YouTube: Pros & Cons
- 73% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube, making YouTube an excellent platform for you to promote products. It is the second most used search engine after Google.
- YouTube allows you to make video reviews of the products you are promoting, so you can easily communicate to viewers why they should buy that product.
- Creating a YouTube account and uploading videos is fast and easy.
- Adding affiliate marketing links to your video description is in line with YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
- Getting views and subscribers, especially when you are just getting started, can be quite challenging. You need to be willing to put in the work.
- Creating video content can be more time-consuming than other types of promotional content (such as text or images)
Required costs: YouTube is completely free to use, but creating YouTube content can get expensive. Making videos many times requires scripting, filming, and editing; however, your smartphone’s camera and basic (free) video-editing software will be enough to get you started.
Starting a Blog: Pros & Cons
- Fairly low start-up cost, as you only need to invest in a host and domain name if you do not have those already.
- Affiliate marketing links are easy to integrate into your already-existing or new blog posts, and the process requires very little experience to get started.
- Great source of passive income, especially if you are already blogging regularly as a hobby.
- It can be time-consuming if you want to be successful as it will require keyword research and search engine optimization.
- There is quite a lot of competition in the “blogosphere”, which could make it challenging to stand out.
Required costs: Blogs require a small start-up investment on your part, which will usually stay under $100 depending on how much of your blog you set up yourself. The main costs tend to be a website host (where your website will be stored) and a domain name (your URL).
If you are able to set up your own blog using one of the many drag-and-drop website creators out there (such as Wix or Squarespace), you will save some money; however, this will be time-consuming. If you choose to hire someone to set up your blog for you, be ready to drop some money on it.
If you already have your blog set up and simply want to integrate affiliate marketing links to earn money, then you will not incur any additional costs.
Paid Advertisement: Pros & Cons
- It can help you gain exposure to your website or chosen affiliate marketing platform and reach audiences beyond your already existing friends and followers (on Facebook, for example).
- The process of creating paid advertisements on platforms such as Facebook has been simplified, requiring you to simply fill in the requested information and follow the given steps.
- It allows you to use content twice (once on your website or YouTube channel and then again on a social media platform such as Facebook), which makes it an ideal addition to one of the other two ways to earn money via affiliate marketing.
- Paid advertisements are – you guessed it – paid for, and therefore will require you to make a small investment (which is usually worth the money).
- Best practice shows that you should have media (either images or videos) to go with your paid advertisements, which can be time-consuming to create.
- Some platforms, such as Facebook, have strict rules on advertisements, and typically the best way to promote affiliate marketing products is by promoting your website (so this method is a little harder to use on its own).
Step-by-Step: Getting Started
Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing on YouTube
Step One: Identify Your Goals
It is important that you have a clear objective when you start your channel.
Deciding on your main target focus (getting people to click on your links, getting people to visit your website, etc.) should be the first thing you do.
It is important that you plan out where you want to direct people, and how: Will you mention the links in the description box in your video? Will you add a “card” with the link in your video?
Step Two: Choose Your Niche
One of the best ways to guarantee that people will trust your review or recommendation of a product is to establish yourself as an “expert” in that area.
For example: if a food-focused YouTube channel suddenly recommended a smartphone in one of their videos, wouldn’t it feel out of place?
Take some time to write down your interests and research niches before committing. Try to choose a niche or an approach to that niche that has not been done too much before.
Step Three: Find Affiliate Offers to Promote on YouTube
You probably already know that in order for you to make money off of promoting certain products, brands need to know that the promotion is coming from you.
You need to find an affiliate program that creates the links you need to use and pays out commissions to you. Some well-known platforms that offer these programs are Amazon and eBay, but there are many others.
Step Four: Create Your Channel & Upload Videos
Setting up your channel (including things like thumbnails and channel art) is important in order to create credibility. Spend some time looking at similar channels in your niche for inspiration, but remember to be original.
Finally, upload your videos, and don’t forget to take full advantage of things like hashtags, cards, end screens, and thumbnails. Add the affiliate product links to your description box and you are ready to go!
Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing by Starting a Blog
Step One: Set Up Your Website
If you do not have a website yet, the first thing you need to do is set one up. As I mentioned above, you will have to decide whether you want to do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Wix or Squarespace are great options to get started on your own.
Step Two: Know Your Readers
There are 600 million blogs in the world, so if you want to successfully earn money with affiliate marketing by starting a blog, you will need to know your reader well. Decide what kind of products you will promote carefully and establish why they fit well with your brand.
One smart way to do this is to incorporate affiliate links to already existing blogs in a way that makes it look like you are helping your readers. For example, if you have a DIY blog, make sure to link all the necessary materials using affiliate links. This way they won’t have to look for the products themselves, and you make money.
Step Three: Join an Affiliate Program
The base of any kind of affiliate marketing is a good affiliate program, with which you can create the links to the products you want to promote. Just like with YouTube, affiliate marketing within a blog also requires joining a program like the ones offered by Amazon and eBay.
Step Four: Promote Your Blog
To gain organic views, people need to be able to find your blog. You can do this in two ways: SEO and advertisement.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is making sure that search engines such as Google will pick up your blog posts. You can read more about this in our article on Search Engine Marketing.
You can also advertise your blog post on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter so that your already existing followers will see it, or so that you reach new audiences through paid ads.
Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing through Paid Advertisements
Step One: Choose Your Platform
You can take advantage of the benefits of paid advertisements on many different social media platforms, including Facebook. The first step is to pick the platform you believe will be best for you, which will typically be the platform you are most familiar with.
You should also take into consideration your desired audience, as different platforms feature different demographics.
Step Two: Get Familiar with the Advertisement System
Most of the paid advertisement systems on social media platforms, like the one on Facebook and Instagram, are very simple to use. They require that you fill in the information regarding the product and select certain parameters, like for how long you would like the ad to run.
Make sure that you get familiar with the terms and conditions, as platforms such as Facebook have very strict requirements regarding which products can be promoted.
Step Three: Plan Your Strategy
There are several things you will need to decide in order for your advertising campaign to be successful:
First, you need to decide on a budget, which will typically determine how long the ad will run.
Then, decide on what you want to promote through your paid advertisement. Are you promoting an affiliate product directly (and if so, is that in line with the platform’s policies)? Will you be promoting your website?
I hope that this guide on 3 ways to make money via affiliate marketing was helpful and that it has inspired you to begin (or improve) your affiliate marketing journey.
Choosing the right platform for you is the first, and most important, step towards earning money via affiliate marketing. If you follow the steps outlined above for your chosen method, you will be on your way towards making money with affiliate marketing.
Have any questions or comments? Make sure to leave them in the comment section below. If you found this guide helpful or know anyone who might benefit from it, feel free to share it with them!