10 Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Are you here because you want to know if affiliate marketing is for beginners? You want to know how it works? And how long does it take?
Well, if you said YES to any of these questions, welcome to your FAQ guide.
We started out as affiliate marketers just like you. We know what you want to know. And what you need to know. And how to help you get started.
When we started out, we had a million and one more questions. This is completely normal. After all, you are interested and you naturally want to learn more about this stuff.
So, let’s answer some of the commonly asked questions that are likely going through your head right now.
The 10 FAQs About Affiliate Marketing
- Is affiliate marketing for beginners?
- What is online affiliate marketing?
- How does affiliate marketing really work?
- What is an affiliate marketing network?
- How do I become an affiliate marketer?
- How long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?
- How much money can I make from affiliate marketing?
- Do i need a website for affiliate marketing
- What are the best affiliate programs to join
- How can I learn about affiliate marketing
Q1. Is affiliate marketing for beginners?
A: Yes. Absolutely.
A be·gin·ner is a person who is just starting to learn a particular skill or activity. This person doesn’t have any experience with the skill they want to learn.
No affiliate marketer is born with advanced skills. Every affiliate marketer starts out as a beginner. Whether it was 1 year ago or 12 years ago, every marketer started out with no experience and had to learn the skills they have today.
Training is actually quite easy to access these days. You have so many options of online courses to take on your own schedule and time.
But in general, affiliate marketing is not necessarily easy. It’s marketing. Marketing involves engaging with people. Humans with emotions and passions and unpredictabilities.
Marketing is a skill like any other. Just like you have to learn to be a doctor, a teacher or a people manager, you have to learn to be a marketer.
But, if you want to learn how to be an affiliate marketer, there is have never been a easier time.
Q2. What is online affiliate marketing?
A: Affiliate marketing is the concept of promoting products that are not yours.
Products that you do not own or make. But you do commissions for sales.
So, on·line af·fil·i·ate mar·ket·ing is the concept of marketing and promoting other people’s products while being connected to another computer or network.
Affiliate marketing online takes on many forms today. And leverages internet marketing skills.
Like, promoting your affiliate products on a website. Or by communicating information on social media. Or sending communications in by email.
When you venture to learn affiliate marketing today, you will learn ways to promote your recommended products online and across the internet.
The benefits for promoting online is that it is really easy to track your sales referrals. Usually you can recognize when a website URL is actually an affiliate link.
You will see affiliate information added to the end of the website name or page like this:
The information behind the ? is an affiliate ID. a_aid=d8a91845. This ID number maps to a specific affiliate (i.e. person) who is promoting the product.
You may see some other variations of affiliate IDs like this:
This is how your referrals are tracked. Through a unique ID that only you will have. All affiliates have individual and unique IDs of their own.
So, for online affiliate marketing, you just add your affiliate ID to the product links you want to track referrals and sales on.
Try tracking your affiliate referrals offline. Definitely not as easy!
Q3. How does affiliate marketing really work?
A: Affiliate marketing is essentially a business relationship between three different groups of people:
- Merchant / Advertiser
- Affiliate / Publisher
- Customer / Consumer
The merchant, also known as the advertiser, is the company that has products they want to sell. The merchant agrees to an affiliate program where they pay out commissions to people who sell the merchant’s products.
The affiliate, also known as the publisher, is a person who sells the products available from these merchants. The affiliate spends their own time and money to promote these products. When the affiliate makes a sale, they receive a commission from the merchant.
The customer, also known as the consumer, is a person who buys the product from the affiliate. Customers usually buy solutions to problems they are trying to solve.
The way the actual buying process works is:
- Customer needs a solution
- A customer starts looking for a solution to their problem. They do an online search for more information or ask people on social media for options.
- Customer finds a website with recommended solutions
- The customer finds a website with information on their problem and recommended products and solutions.
- The product solutions are provided by an affiliate
- The customer leverages the information provided by the affiliate. The affiliate has strategically placed affiliate links to the suggested products.
- The customer is connected with the merchant
- The customer clicks on the affiliate’s link and is taken to the merchant’s website to purchase the product. The customer buys the product. The merchant tracks the sale from the affiliate. The affiliate gets paid a commission.
Q4. What is an affiliate marketing network?
A: Because affiliate marketing requires a merchant to have an affiliate program, there are networks the merchant can join instead of figuring out how to create and manage the affiliate program themselves.
If you think about it, managing your own affiliate program as a merchant, can be a lot of work. On top of just managing the products they create and sell.
So companies exist to provide structure, services and management of the affiliate program to these merchants.
These companies are called networks because they connect merchants to affiliates, and affiliates to merchants. You as an affiliate, are able to discover many products from many different companies that you can promote and sell.
It’s a win win situation for both sides and the network gets paid for creating and managing the connections and tracking the sales.
Some popular affiliate networks are:
- Rakuten Marketing
- CJ Affiliate
Even though affiliate networks make this process easier, there are companies that manage their own affiliate programs themselves.
So networks are not the only way to find products to promote.
Q5. How do I become an affiliate marketer?
A: There are 5 basic steps to becoming a really good affiliate marketer.
Step 1 : You have to want to.
Like really want to. There’s no other way to put it! If you do not want to do it, then you are less likely to keep at it.
Affiliate marketing takes time. So you need to be willing to stick with it. The same as with learning any type of skill, you will not see successes overnight.
Step 2 : Start training.
Just like signing up for a degree program from a college or university, you need to sign up for affiliate marketing training.
Fortunately, you do NOT need to actually go to a university or physical place to learn. Or spend $100,000+ on tuition fees.
Online training these days is really cheap. You can learn anything you want to through various course options on the web. More about our suggested trainings in the last section below.
Step 3 : Build while you train.
While you learn, you will build out your affiliate marketing business. Just like when you go to school and have working assignments. You practice what you learn by doing it.
For online affiliate marketing, the suggested path is to choose what group of people you will be targeting, recommended solutions to suggest to this audience and build a website where these recommendations will live.
When choosing a training program, it is important to choose training that will easily connect you with the tools you need to build while you learn.
Step 4 : Finish the training.
You must complete the training. No matter how long it takes. 1 month, 6 months or 2 years. It does not matter if work a full-time job, have a family.
You will need to stay dedicated to this if you really want to see success. And success usually means money from the commission sales. Profitable so you can support yourself and be a full-time affiliate marketer.
Step 5 : Find more training.
Because you will market your business online, you will need to learn internet marketing skills.
You will use internet marketing strategies to drive traffic to your website in order to generate sales commissions.
You will learn how to work with the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
You will learn how to correctly engage and promote on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram or Pinterest.
You will learn how to create content to help support your recommended solutions.
Not only is there a lot to learn today, there will always be something new to learn as the internet and technology landscape change in the future.
If you do not like the idea of constantly learning new things and adapting to new technologies, then online affiliate marketing may not be for you.
Q6. How long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?
A: This is a loaded question.
There is really no 1 answer to how long it takes to be successful at affiliate marketing. There is no real defined timeline that applies to everyone.
Everyone learns at a different pace. So, everyone’s answer is different.
It is really up to you to how long it takes you to:
- make make your first commission sale
- make enough money to buy that thing you want
- quit your full-time job to work for yourself
Here are some real-life examples of how long it can take:
- It took me 3 months to make my first sale online – Kyle
- My first year I didn’t make a dime. – Dylan Reiger
- Two and half years later, Dylan sold his website for $40,000.
- I’m at about the 15 month mark at this point ($1000) – craigrut
- Who wouldn’t just quit at 7 months and making only $10? – Grace
- It took Grace 19 months to make make $1,000.
- When I started at WA, it took me six months to start building up my websites and eventually earn my very first commission over $10. – Owain
- Owain has since made $2K in one day.
Although it is not impossible for you to make money within the first 3 – 6 months, you should ideally plan for 6 – 12 months before making any money. And depending on how fast your site traffic grows and how good your marketing strategies are, it may take 12 – 24 months before you see 4 digits.
Once you figure things out, you will definitely be quicker at repeating success for yourself.
Q7. How much money can I make from affiliate marketing?
A: This is another loaded question.
Once again, there is no one answer for everyone to how much money you can make.
As you can see from the examples listed above, how much money you can make is really unlimited.
There are 1 million and 1 ways to do affiliate marketing. And there are 4 billion people online connected to the internet. Which leads to a million, if not a billion, of different ways to connect these people with product solutions.
- Kyle is likely a millionaire…although he doesn’t disclose his earnings
- Dylan is earning $5,000 a month
- Grace is making over $4,000 a month
- Brok (not mentioned above) recently broke the $10,000 a month mark
The sky really is the limit here. In another words, there really is no limit. How much you make is really up to you.
Q8. Do I need a website for affiliate marketing?
A: Yes. The easiest way to do affiliate marketing today is online with a website.
How else can you easily connect with people across the world from your own location, not theirs? How else will people across the world find you and your information?
A website is a digital store. A store that is very inexpensive to have open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Try staffing a real store location for that time and not go broke real quick. You will need a lot of in store traffic and sales to keep a real store location open during your “open” hours.
That’s the beauty of the internet. Having a digital store doesn’t require your store to be shutdown or unavailable during specific hours. Being digital never has to close and opens up more options of traffic to come to your store, without the limitations of locations and travel.
So do you really need your own website?
You may read tips of how you can make money online without a website. You may read that you can create own products and sell them on Amazon. So this is not really affiliate marketing.
For affiliate marketing, you may read of how you can try to find other websites to add your product affiliate links to. But many websites do not like affiliate links. Some websites like Google+ will remove content with affiliate links.
You really need to host your affiliate links on websites that allow affiliate links and direct traffic to those pages. The easiest way to do this is to have your own website because you can completely control the layout, the content and everything about the site. So you can essentially control where your affiliate links are.
Q9. What are the best affiliate products to promote?
A: Well. There are MILLIONS of products for you to promote as an affiliate. Maybe even BILLIONS?!
The best products are going to be the ones that offer the best solution for your audiences.
Before you start promoting products, you must choose a specific category of products with specific people to promote to. This is commonly called a niche.
Niche is a specific market of people who have their own requirements. In very basic terms, a niche is just a category of people with similar problems looking for similar solutions.
The 5 most popular niches are:
These niches are called evergreen niches. Why? Because these topics for people do not lose popularity over time. They are considered timeless markets.
Ev·er·green in affiliate marketing is a market that does not change in popularity. An evergreen niche is considered to be a timeless market of people.
These are markets of people that want to be healthy, wealthy, in love, happy and fulfilled. The desire for solutions in these areas have not changed much over the years and are not expected to change in years to come.
But before you go promoting just any ole’ health product…
Naturally, these markets are REALLY POPULAR to promote solutions for. And naturally, these are VERY COMPETITIVE markets to promote in.
So, the best way to find affiliate products in these categories is to find smaller subsets of people with very specific problems. You just need to do some research to find out what problems people are trying to solve. Then dig deeper to find specific subsets of people with very specific solutions targeted to them.
Examples products for Health would be:
- Skinny Jane 8 Week Weight Loss Kit – Diet Plan for Women
- Peppermint Natural Diet Pills – Fast Fat Burner and Natural Detox Features
- Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser + Oils
- NutriBullet Pro – 13 Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System with Hardcover Recipe Book Included
A few sub categories mentioned from the products listed above are:
- Women – You could recommend different health related products for women vs. men. (e.g. different fitness clothes, different exercise routines, different vitamins, etc.)
- Natural supplements – You could recommend natural supplements and relaxation products for general health, anxiety, depression, etc.
- Smoothie recipes – You could recommend recipes and products to make smoothies for energy, weight loss, weight gain, kids, etc.
Q10. How can I learn about affiliate marketing
To learn affiliate marketing, you should find good training. If you are a beginner, find a good beginner training course.
From books, online video courses to marketing degrees, your training can come in many forms. Now, I don’t think there is an actual degree for affiliate marketing but there is for online marketing, which are the skills you use.
You want a solid foundation that will teach you in-depth strategies on how to be a good affiliate marketer. Lucky for you, there are SO MANY inexpensive choices for you to choose that it can be completely overwhelming to know where to start.
Other affiliate marketers have written their own books and launched their own online courses. Udemy and Lynda.com both have TONS of courses to learn affiliate marketing.
Personal recommendations are online affiliate training communities: Wealthy Affiliate or Affilojetpack. You will find me, Kim Wolfe, on each. Both offer very extensive training and support from other affiliate marketers.