Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
We’re in the midst of a difficult time in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a health crisis, and both the economy and jobs are suffering as a result.
While many of us can work from home, others cannot. But if a silver lining exists, perhaps it’s this: Now is the perfect time to learn a skill or launch a new career. Affiliate marketing gives you that opportunity.
So I spoke with Anna Gita, CEO of MaxWeb, our affiliate marketing network. Here she explains how to start a potentially lucrative career by working from home as an affiliate marketer.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketers are “traffic partners” who help online companies get customers and are paid a commission for every sale they send to a brand’s website. You can work with big brands like Victoria’s Secret and small brands that sell products on Amazon.
Affiliate marketers aren’t just social media influencers or bloggers. Have you ever shopped for a product online and then seen ads for similar products on Facebook the next day? That’s affiliate marketing. You can also use any traffic-generating approach like email, Google advertising, and TikTok.
Why is this a good opportunity right now?
Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative business with real financial stability, and there’s great growth potential because it’s a relatively unknown opportunity. It’s similar to starting an Amazon business but simplified because you’re selling others’ products instead of your own.
Getting started is low-risk because expenses are minimal. You can market to your existing social media followers for free or set daily spending limits like $20 on Facebook ads while testing what works.
You can get paid $100 per customer; so if you send 500 customers in one day, that’s $50,000 — which is what many affiliates make.
But what’s especially relevant today is this: You can work from home and get started by investing just a few hours a day. Many courses and resources can help you learn and practice as a side hustle while maintaining your day job.
Why do companies use affiliate marketers?
When brands spend money on advertising, they’re paying for “traffic” or website visitors, but there’s no guarantee it will convert into paying customers.
Rather than hiring a marketer or figuring out how to get customers on their own, brands can leverage affiliates’ expertise for attracting customers with a performance model where they pay a predefined commission per sale, meaning they invest nothing upfront.
What do you need to become an affiliate marketer?
All you need is a laptop and an internet connection; but to succeed, you also need a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you get stressed out when faced with a problem; with a growth mindset, you’re excited about learning new things.
If you enjoy learning, you’ll do well. Like any new business, you have to put in the work and teach yourself, but it’s relatively simple. If you’re committed to investing a few hours a day, that’s more than enough.
How do you start?
First, choose what kind of affiliate marketing you want to do. I recommend starting with something easy, like Facebook or Google advertising. You don’t need an email list or Instagram followers to be an affiliate marketer, but if you have them, take advantage by focusing on email marketing or Instagram.
Stick with just one platform and focus on mastering it. You can do your own research on forums like OfferVault and Stacked Marketer. Then once you have a stable income, you can expand your horizons by learning new platforms.
While you can work directly with brands, it isn’t easy — especially when you’re new, and they don’t know or trust you. That’s why affiliate networks like MaxWeb exist.
What are affiliate marketing networks?
Affiliate networks bridge the gap between brands and affiliate marketers. They provide language (copy) and graphics you can use, a unique link to track your conversions and other metrics to improve your campaigns. They also ensure the brand websites are optimized, so your visitors convert into customers and you get paid.
How do you find the right network?
Choose a network that has a good reputation and offers tested content and creative, tracking and tech support, and reliable cash flow. Look for networks that test everything for you and will pay you on time, at least weekly. Research “affiliate marketing networks” for recommendations and reviews; online communities and Facebook groups are an excellent resource.
Don’t worry about making $50,000 per day initially. Focus on earning the equivalent of your annual salary while working fewer hours. Earning a few hundred dollars a day is achievable with a growth mindset and effort.
No matter what uncertainty you’re experiencing right now, I’m here to tell you: it will improve, and a lucrative career is possible.
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How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money in 2023
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
To start affiliate marketing without money, people often think you must become a blogger with a dedicated website — draining money and resources. Although it is helpful to have a blog when you can reinvest in your business and scale upward, it’s not essential. Affiliate marketing with no money means affiliate marketing with free traffic.
Tiktok doesn’t use follower count as a ranking signal, so you don’t need a million followers to make money as an affiliate. You just need to reach the right people. Here’s how to start affiliate marketing on TikTok.
Choose a niche affiliate program
To succeed in affiliate marketing on TikTok, focus on what people spend their disposable income on and stick to it. Once you provide hacks around these areas, you can influence people to purchase them using your link.
An example of this is the Shein Haul. Some categories you could consider include clothing, makeup, electronic gadgets, food, lifestyle and fashion. As a Tiktoker, you can simply start by showing off some items you got on Shein. Add links to the items, as people want to order any clothing they like during your try-on.
Hack your TikTok channel growth with emerging trends
At the core of TikTok genetic makeup are “trends.” The app is built around trends. To grow your TikTok reach and start affiliate marketing with no money on the platform, you have to begin to understand trends. Creatively tap into TikTok trends by:
- Using trending music and sounds; remember to use these sounds while they are still new, so your content gets the impressions while it’s still hot.
- Joining challenges, dances and mashups. Always bring in something new and unique to challenges. If possible, make a better and improved version so others can draw inspiration from yours.
- Take content clues from already viral videos and look out for patterns. What sounds, hashtags and captions did they use? What was captivating in the first few seconds, and how did people react in the comments?
- Initiate trends with your content and make it irresistible; mash-up popular sounds and switch up a current challenge. When you create videos with exciting sounds that are easy to replicate, it’s bound to go viral, as FOMO would want others to replicate
When your content finally goes viral, capitalize on the content that goes viral to build momentum in pushing traffic to your affiliate offer. How can you do this? Engage with every comment on your profile, welcome new followers and ask them what they want to see. This will skyrocket engagement with the viral video and increase its reach. Replicate this process in other videos.
Implement the product into your videos organically
People will scroll away if you sound like a robotic sales ad. To do affiliate marketing on TikTok, infuse your products organically by doing a storytime while using the product, adding it to your daily routine, sharing the product as a reply to a comment asking about it or doing a product review. Try to be as objective as possible.
Essentially, your priority should be to provide valuable information to your audience in an entertaining manner. Then strategically weave the affiliate product into the fun videos.
Promote like crazy
Once you get the views, it’s time to promote your affiliate links and maximize your engagements. You can do this by:
1. Linking affiliate products
Add your affiliate links in easily discoverable areas by:
- Using a popular hashtag if there are other similar affiliate products
- Including your affiliate link in your bio or through a bridge page
- Adding an affiliate URL in your content description
- Offer a coupon or your unique discount code in the comments
2. Build your other social platform audience
Redirect your generated traffic to build engagements and followers on your other platforms. Do this by customizing your profiles and adding a Youtube or Instagram link. Also, let your viewers know they can watch the full clip on Youtube (if you have one).
Starting affiliate marketing with no money means building an audience with a free traffic source — in this case, TikTok. Though TikTok does not restrict organic reach, unlike most social platforms, it still requires a great deal of consistency. Remain consistent in creating entertaining yet valuable content. When you finally start making money doing affiliate marketing on TikTok, invest in TikTok paid ads to scale even faster.