So you made the decision. It’s time to make money online with affiliate marketing. The only issue remaining is to work out exactly how to do that. Well, today we’ll speed through the fundamentals of how to make your first dollar in Affiliate marketing so you can get started fast.
What You Need to Make Your First Dollar in Affiliate Marketing
When it comes to affiliate marketing, there are a few key things you need to have before you can start making money. The two key items are
- an attractive offer to promote
- suitable traffic to send to that offer
In theory, that’s all you need. But you should notice those adjectives. “An attractive offer” and “suitable traffic”. You need to find enough individuals online who are interested enough to take an affiliate offer and present that offer in the most appealing way.
You might strike it lucky by scanning an affiliate network, finding a great offer and discovering a good traffic source, but it’s better not to rely on luck. Instead, there are two tools with can help you to make your first dollar with affiliate marketing. An affiliate tracking tool and landing pages.
A. Affiliate Tracker
These tools let you see what combinations of traffic and offer work well together. With that information, you can remove unprofitable options, buy more matching traffic, and identify what parts of your campaign need improving.
From a high-level, you might notice that the traffic from one traffic source likes one offer more than another (while the reverse is true of a different traffic source). But that’s just the foundation of their insights. A powerful tracker can let you including
- Identify what types of devices and connections are more effective.
- Discover if you are buying a lot of bot traffic.
- A/B test different offers, landing pages, or combinations.
So while you technically can run affiliate marketing campaigns without a tracker, you do need to use an affiliate tracker to be successful in affiliate marketing.
B. Landing Pages
Sometimes these web pages get called different things like sales pages, squeeze pages, pre-landers, and landers. Whatever you call them, they provide you with a chance to persuade a website user to convert on an offer. Without one, you’re relying on whatever the offer owner provides on the offer page (or their own landing page). Often, your landing page can be the difference between loss and profit. For instance, one company found that using a targeted headline on a landing page lead to a 115% increase in conversions [Neil Patel].
C. Useful Skills
It’s not just the technical side that you need to make money with affiliate marketing online. There are some skills that can help you maximize your profits.
You may already have these skills, spend some time learning them or find some smart ways around needing some of these skills.
- Web development (drag and drop website builders can help)
- Graphic design (you can hire a designer)
- Copywriting (you can find good examples online)
Be careful here. It’s possible to get obsessed with learning skills and not actually taking action. It’s better to get started and learn from doing than read books for months till you finally feel ready to start.
By starting, you’ll discover that the theoretical principles stick in your memory more effectively than if you had just read them in a book. You’ll also see practical examples in action (thanks to the Baader-Meinhof effect) and also find exceptions to the rules.
Basically, it’s good to do some reading and research, but it’s also important to apply what you learn and take action.
Can I Make Money Online Without a Website?
This is a real “yes, but” situation. It is possible to make money online without a website, but it is much more difficult. (If you’re asking this question, I’m assuming you are including landing page hosting tools as well as a dedicated website).
There are offers in some niches that perform better when direct linking. Plus some affiliate offers include landing pages, eliminating the need for you to create your own.
In both situations, you are reducing the amount of optimization you can perform on a campaign and trusting that your ad and the offer are enough to convince a prospect.
In the majority of cases, a landing page or even a multi-step landing page setup is critical to persuading prospects into taking an offer and improving your conversion rates.
How to Make Your First Dollar in Affiliate Marketing
The first step is often the hardest in any task but getting over it helps build great momentum. That’s why working out how to make your first dollar in affiliate marketing is so important. Once you have made one dollar, making the second is much easier.
1. Find a Good Offer
If you have bad offers, then you’ll never get a profitable campaign. You can employ all sorts of marketing tricks but it’s an uphill battle that isn’t worth fighting. A few factors can contribute to a bad offer including
- Bad design and packaging
- Too cheap and so suspicious
- Poor delivery system (doesn’t work on certain browsers or connections)
2. Select Some Suitable Traffic Sources
Once you’ve got your offer — and you’re sure it’s not junk — it’s time to find a matching traffic source. There are a surprising amount of variables when it comes to traffic sources and they all play a part in finding a good match. Some of these qualities are obvious like
- Traffic quality: is it full of bots or real users?
- Ad format: are Pops better for your vertical, or maybe push traffic?
- GEO: does it have traffic from the country your offer is for?
But there can be other factors that can play a role too. Some traffic sources provide niche interest traffic that can match your vertical. Others may have more targeting options or better terms and conditions that suit your needs. Basically, there are a lot of factors that can influence your choice of where to buy traffic.
3. Design Attractive Creatives
Depending on your ad format, you will need to provide some form of creatives. These might include graphics and copy. Some offer owners and affiliate networks may provide creatives that you can use or adapt.
There can, however, be downsides to using stock creatives and this is a point where you can improve your campaign performance.
Make sure you stay on top of the latest trends in your chosen ad format.
4. Create an Effective Landing Page
Once someone has clicked on your ad, they are probably going to your landing page. You can start with offers that don’t need a landing page, find offers that provide landing pages or find landing page templates that you can use and later adapt.
In most cases, you’ll need a way to host these pages. Even if you don’t know how to host your own webpages, you can use drag and drop landing page solutions.
5. Track All the Variables
Plug all your campaign elements into an ad tracker like Voluum. This will direct the flow of your traffic and allow you to compare high-level factors like traffic source, as well as more granular factors like whether a certain model of android device isn’t working (because it can’t display your landing page).
With your tracking set up and traffic follow, you should be starting to get conversions. Soon you should have made your first dollar in affiliate marketing but this will be your first dollar revenue and possibly not profit.
You can even find pockets of profitability within a campaign, such as a particular segment of a certain traffic source that is profitable while the rest isn’t.
At this point, you may notice that some things just won’t work (like the offer, or the traffic source) but you may also notice some parts performing better or worse than others. Now, it’s your opportunity to start optimizing and increasing your profits.
6. Optimize Your Campaigns
Good traffic sources will give you some inbuilt optimizing tools. These include pausing certain targeting options; for example, desktop or mobile, certain GEOs, particular keywords, or niches within the platform. All traffic sources will let you bid up if you find a successful combination.
Bidding up will mean that you get more of the best-quality traffic which is more likely to convert. You need to be careful to strike the right balance here between buying enough, quality traffic and overspending which will reduce your profit margin.
7. Test Different Setups
Once you’ve got a profitable setup that works, and you’ve made some simple optimizations, it’s time to experiment.
You should always be testing when it comes to affiliate marketing. You may discover a hidden opportunity within your larger campaign or identify a trend that is emerging while protecting yourself against sudden campaign issues.
Perhaps that’s why Voluum users who A/B testing regularly see 30% improvements in campaign performance.
Start Your Affiliate Business Today and Get One Step Closer to That First Dollar
Now you know how to make your first dollar, all you need to do is get your system in place and get started. Join over 5,000 affiliates who use Voluum to run their affiliate businesses.