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  • Depending on who you ask, you have probably heard of how affiliate marketers can rake in substantial incomes.

    If you are keen to join the affiliate marketing community, here are five steps you can take to kickstart your journey:

    Find your niche

    It is a very crowded space, so you will need to establish your own voice and stand out from the noise.

    An easy way to do so is to identify small topical pockets where you can carve a niche for yourself. If you have a specific skill set or specialized domain knowledge, highlight this. You should use it to your advantage as it will help differentiate your content.

    And rather than focus on a generic category such as "electronics", narrow it down to a product segment. For example, concentrate on smartphones or gaming peripherals. Build your base and expertise from there.

    If you are unsure where to plant your flag, think about what is really popular and in demand. This is because these categories are more likely to grab eyeballs and traffic. There will also be more solution providers offering affiliate programs to pick from.

    E-commerce, for instance, is burning hot right now. So, there will be many players in this space and a vast targeted audience from which to gain referrals.

    Gardening and fitness are also popular. You can quickly build a comfortable niche for yourself here as an early influencer in the space.

    Bonus tip

    If you choose a niche that you are personally passionate about, putting in the work to hone your craft will become less of a chore.

    Pick a marketing medium

    Once you have decided on your niche, think about the various media on which the products and services can be best highlighted.

    For example, it may be dull for your audience to read about web hosting services. Consider adding a YouTube video to offer a how-to guide on signing up for and using the service.

    It is also relatively cheap to start your own blog site, and you can then easily tag it with affiliate links.

    Bonus tip

    Extend the reach of your content by tapping on a few platforms. Choose the most suitable one to showcase your product, such as Instagram if it is a food review or LinkedIn if you are highlighting a business solution

    Hook up with affiliate programs

    Obviously, you cannot start making the dole until you have signed up for at least one affiliate program.

    You can do so either directly with the brand and solution provider or through an affiliate network. The latter typically will have a ready network of brands you can work with. Networks also handle your relationship with the brands, including reporting, tracking, and payment.

    On the other hand, connecting directly with a brand will enable you to work more closely with the provider whose solutions you are trying to promote. However, the brand will be solely responsible for tracking your referrals and conversions as well as payments. Make sure you are working with companies that have a good reputation among affiliate marketers. They should also run well-established affiliate programs.

    Bonus tip

    Brands tend to offer higher commission and conversion fees compared to affiliate networks. But with a ready pool of merchants, the latter provides an easier way to work with several brands at once.

    Create compelling content

    Without the eyeballs and traffic, you will be hard-pressed to gain enough referrals and commissions to afford a cup of coffee.

    So, think carefully about what will best engage your audience.

    For instance, if you are on a platform such as Forex4you, consider creating how-to tutorials on trading and analyzing stock market movements. You can also publish posts on how you have made your own capital grow.

    This will help establish your own credibility and brand as a trader and encourage people to join you -- all of which will help increase referral volume on Forex4you.

    Bonus tip

    The goal here is to build your personal brand in your chosen niche, so you will want to produce content that compels others to view you as a legitimate source in the field.

    SEO and research

    Becoming an effective affiliate marketer is a marathon, so be prepared to put in the work.

    It is not enough to simply create quality content and link up with multiple affiliate programs. Adopt good SEO practices that will place your content high on search engines.

    Understand what your targeted audience will likely be searching for and ensure the content you create to address these requirements.

    Monitor the effectiveness of your content so you can continue to tweak it to attract more eyeballs.

    Bonus tip

    New affiliate programs will pop up, so regularly assess your portfolio. Add or replace affiliate programs for higher payouts. New up-and-coming solution providers will also enter your market segment. You may want to work with them, especially if they are popular with your targeted audience.

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