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Anyone with a decent-sized blog, website, or social media presence has eventually asked “how can I start making money off of this?” Chances are, whether you run a beauty channel or a podcast, there’s an advertising partner out there that’s right for you. Below, we’ll explore how to start affiliate marketing.

Here’s a quick breakdown of affiliate marketing for beginners. Advertisers want to reach new customers with ads and offers. Those advertisers pay individual creators or even large-scale publishers of content a commission to steer customers to their website. The content creators (“affiliates”) are responsible for coming up with engaging ways of serving those recommendations to their audience.

Affiliate marketing is well worth considering for any digital business. But it isn’t easy—you’ll have to come up with a workflow timeline, regularly create trending content, and stay productive throughout.

You can’t become a successful affiliate marketer overnight. It takes time and effort and a little bit of luck. Here’s how to get started.

Tips to start affiliate marketing

Choosing your network

When getting started as an affiliate marketer, there are some simple steps you should take to protect yourself. First, choose an affiliate network and advertising partners that you trust.

Affiliate networks are services that connect advertisers with affiliates. Apple, Amazon, and Google all have developed affiliate programs, and there are many more to choose from. If you’re starting out in affiliate marketing, it’s better to choose an established network early on than to try to deal with individual advertisers and products—that can come later.

Once you’ve chosen the advertisers you want to work with, make sure that you vet the product that you’re marketing. If you’re going to be steering customers toward a product, you want it to be something worth their time. The only thing you have is the trust of your readership, and if you blow it on a substandard product or one that doesn’t fit their needs, they may be less likely to click through to your advertisers in the future.

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Build up your own brand

Once you know who your advertisers are, your focus should shift to making your audience excited about that product, and to translating their excitement into clicks. Make sure that you’re producing high-quality content that keeps your subscribers coming back to your page.

If you find that you’re having a hard time writing blog posts, try out Ulysses, a robust writing app that can help you eliminate writer’s block. If you’re looking for a way to bring more structure to your posts, consider Manuscript for outlining. And if you just need some inspiration, News Explorer can help you find the best trending news for your topic.

You should also try producing video content, which works very well for affiliate marketing. You can always squeeze a new video out of each product you’re marketing by doing a sponsored review. Capto is a fast and easy way to record screen video on your Mac.

Another great way to turn your audience into an affiliate marketing resource is to offer incentives for them to join an email list. With services like Mailchimp, you can serve them content (and links to your advertisers) right to their inboxes. This direct approach will also let you see how successful your marketing attempts are by letting you track the clickthroughs.

You’ll probably need to scale up your website along with your content. Use RapidWeaver to build out the website you deserve without writing a line of HTML. And use Yummy FTP Pro to transfer and backup as many files as you want quickly and securely.

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Over time, you can develop your strategy based on how different approaches perform. If you’re interested in making money at affiliate marketing, you can’t neglect the email list.

Managing expectations

One more piece of advice for beginners: manage your expectations. Unless you already have hundreds of thousands of devoted followers, you probably won’t generate enough money to quit your day job just yet. Don’t be taken in by get-rich-quick promises from disreputable affiliate marketing courses.

Done right, affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick idea. It’s a make money from something you already do without doing much extra work idea. It takes time to find the right fit and the right approach. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t being honest.

Making money as an affiliate

It’s easy to get started in affiliate marketing. Making money as an affiliate marketer takes a little more doing. If you approach it with patience, determination, and reasonable expectations, you’ll likely end up turning a profit.

Just remember that it’s all a factor of how much your followers trust your recommendations. If you steer them right, they’ll keep clicking through your ads, and you’ll keep getting paid.

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