How to become an affiliate marketer? Newbie FAQ
Affiliate marketing is a niche with a high entry threshold. The main issue for aspiring affiliates is that they aren’t sure where to start and what to study. We’ve compiled a list of questions frequently asked to newcomer affiliates and covered the many nuances of the profession as well as how to become an affiliate marketer.
What skills do I need to become an affiliate marketer?
To become a good affiliate marketer, you need to master a whole list of skills. The ideal affiliate marketer should know how to:
- Work with traffic sources. This is one of the core skills, since being an affiliate involves setting up advertising.
- Work with creatives. Without quality ad materials, traffic won’t convert into leads. An affiliate marketer should be able to edit a video, make a collage or banner in a photo editor, design a useful and catchy creative.
- Analyze. Analytics are vital in affiliate marketing. It determines how correct your approach was and it evaluates the offer, the country and the vertical.
- Work with texts. The text is the part of the creative that helps illustrate the advantages the offer brings the client. Properly preparing the text will significantly boost the conversion rate.
- Possess technical skills. Sometimes an affiliate marketer is forced to work with a backend. For example, link an app to Facebook to launch ads. Having this skill will make the affiliates job significantly easier in the long run.
- Have soft skills. These are personal qualities that can be useful in your job, but don’t technically have a direct connection to it. An affiliate marketer must be disciplined and attentive as well as able to manage their finances and time.
Should I master these skills on my own or pay for a training course?
Practicing affiliates rarely have the time to train newbies. And successful affiliates don’t even have the incentive to – the money they make is more than enough.
The ideal option is to get into an affiliate marketing team. If there’s a personnel shortage, a team might hire and train a newbie. The newcomer will get a chance to learn the necessary skills in practice and turn to their more experienced colleagues for tips.
If there’s no way to find an open team, you can always master all the skills yourself. In this case, you need to look for relevant data and constantly apply it in practice. Self-taught affiliates are usually more self-motivated than course graduates.
Affiliate marketing conferences can also be used as a place to learn and grow. Networking will allow you to share your experience with others and in return find out about the approaches and bundles of other affiliates, as well as stay up to date on all the relevant traffic sources.
Can I track the creatives of other affiliates?
You can and you should. Tracking the success of other affiliate marketers will allow you to evaluate the potential of a particular bundle, as well as let you copy the working approaches of other specialists. There are several services for tracking other people’s ads.
The most popular and convenient one is Publer. It allows you to track ads on Instagram, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, MyTarget, Facebook and teaser networks. Since you’re just starting out, the free version of the service will be more than enough for you.
With the data this tool provides you, you can:
- Find promising offers
- Pick out well-performing GEOs
- Choose the right approach to the audience
- Just copy the work of other affiliates and follow a beaten path.
What does an affiliate marketer do?
Globally, the work of an affiliate marketer consists of two stages – making preparations and driving traffic. Let’s go over each stage in more detail:
This part involves analytical activities you need to do before you start driving traffic to the offer. Here’s what this stage includes:
- Choosing an offer and an affiliate network. Picking the right offer is important in order to drive traffic to well-performing ones. While choosing the right affiliate network will ensure you get constant support and assistance in your work.
- Choosing a GEO. A well-chosen GEO significantly increases your chances of success. If you make the wrong choice, you might make additional mistakes when designing creatives or start driving traffic to a burned-out audience.
- Analyzing the audience. An affiliate must know their audience by sight. This allows them to design the creatives and set up the advertising more accurately.
- Analyzing your competitors. You can evaluate the results and experience of other professionals. This will protect you from mistakes and help you choose the right approach to your audience.
- Farming accounts and taking care of the technical part. Sometimes for a bundle to work, you need to also take care of some technical issues. Preparing accounts, apps, landing pages – this is the technical aspect of being an affiliate marketer.
Here’s what the affiliate does to actually drive traffic:
- Designs creatives. Based on analytical data, the affiliate prepares promotional materials.
- Sets up ad campaigns. When the creatives are ready, you need to test out the offer. You launch multiple ad campaigns and use tests to find the best approach to the audience.
- Optimization. Once the approach is identified, the affiliate improves the bundle, adds creatives and attempts to lower the CPC.
Which vertical is better to start with?
In affiliate marketing, offers are divided into several categories. These different in their nature areas are called verticals. When just starting out, it’s important to pick a growing vertical, with which you can work in the long run.
Here are the most popular verticals:
- Finances. Most often these are offers of (micro)loans and other banking services and working with financial exchanges. The vertical is growing steadily and is not overly saturated with affiliates. Suitable for a start as a stable and promising direction.
- Nutra. Various weight-loss products, dietary supplements and drugs. A stable vertical, one of the oldest in affiliate marketing. It might sometimes be hard to pass moderation, but if you get the hang of the vertical, it can turn into a stable source of income for you. However, starting out with nutra is still not the best idea.
- Dating. Includes both regular and 18+ dating. A stable niche, where the level of competition isn’t as high. Suitable for a start thanks to its reliability and light moderation.
- Gambling. Mainly casinos. One of the most profitable verticals. The main challenge here is passing moderation (+ you’ll also need some technical know-how). Starting out here won’t be a walk in the park, best to look for another vertical.
- E-commerce. Most often this vertical involves working with large companies. For example, the Aliexpress affiliate program with payouts for people making purchases after following your link can be considered e-commerce. The niche is constantly growing and shows no sign of stopping.
- Insurance. In most cases – travel insurance. Not the most popular vertical out there, which lets you work with a non-burned-out audience. But requires the affiliate to really know their way around its inner workings. A good place to start only if you’ve already had experience working in this area.
- Apps. One of the most promising verticals. Traffic sources are increasingly opening up opportunities for working with apps, not to mention that audiences trust apps more. To work with apps, however, you need to be quite tech-savvy. Not a good place to start.
- InCent. Offers that allow motivated traffic. This means that the user will receive a reward for performing a specific action. Suitable for newbies as long as they already have a loyal audience. Otherwise – best to look for another vertical, not exactly much space to grow here.
What traffic source should I start off with?
When choosing a traffic source, check out how “fresh” it is, how low the entry threshold is and whether it allows you to work with modest budgets.
These 3 traffic sources are the best to start off with:
- Native networks. Teaser ads but with a different approach. Native ads are performing well, developing and growing over time. Native ads have good prospects, they can be your first ad format.
- Google UAC. A fresh ad network based on promoting apps. The technical aspect is a bit complicated. If a newbie manages to get the hang of this tool – they can forget about having to worry about other traffic sources for a long time. The source is promising, effective and is actively gaining ground.
- Facebook. One of the oldest and most fundamental traffic sources in affiliate marketing. Despite Facebook increasingly tightening the screws, the social network still remains a powerful advertising tool. Being a stable source of traffic for any GEO, this is a good platform to learn the ropes.
What sort of starting budget do I need?
The budgets depend on the traffic source and technical expenses. 30,000 rubles should be enough to start your training. It will be enough to cover your account and\or app expenses and let you start testining out offers. To drive traffic without any serious issues however, best to have at least 50 thousand.
Important! Do not invest all your money into affiliate marketing. There are absolutely no guarantees that your traffic-driving endeavor will be successful.
What to focus on when choosing a GEO?
When choosing a country, you need to take into account several aspects at once.:
- How burned-out it is. If the selected offer has been promoted in this GEO for a long time, you run the risk of the audience being completely burned-out.
- Local features. In order to design high-quality creatives, it’s crucial you know local trends, traditions, media celebrities. That will make your task that much easier.
- Experience promoting offers in this country. It often happens that offers from different verticals perform better in specific regions. For example, Canadians love gambling, while nutra products are especially popular in Latin America.
- The ad cost. Offers pay differently for users from different regions. For example, ads will cost the most in Europe and America. It will be tough for a newbie to handle the fierce competition and get enough funds to work with expensive regions. Better to choose cheaper countries like India or Latin America.
- What’s going on in the country. It is important to monitor the events in the region. For example, the unstable situation in Ukraine has opened up a lot of opportunities for working with the financial vertical.
How to design effective creatives?
When designing creatives, you need to focus on several factors:
- Usefulness to the audience. No one pays money for just nothing, meaning it’s vital you show the person the benefit the offer brings them
- Simplicity. The creative must be clear and concise. No one’s going to study your ad for 30 minutes.
- Localization. The creative should be written in a way the audience can understand while covering all the essential info. For example, always remember to include the price on the creative.
- Format. Always take into account the specifics of the niche and traffic source. If you can, it’s better to use videos. They are more informative and preferred by the audience.
- Call to action. It is important to correctly lead the person to the target action. Compile a call to action based on the value the audience will get from the offer and its goals.
In all other aspects, focus on the format when designing a creative. If you choose the video format, you can film it yourself or make a compilation of publicly available clips. Next you add the text, graphic elements and sound edits. The same formula applies to static creatives (images) – you need to find photos and edit them.
Which creative editors are the most convenient?
- Canva. Lets you compile creatives using templates. Saves you a lot of time.
- Pixlr. An online alternative to Photoshop. Provides extensive ways to edit creatives or design them from scratch.
- InShot. A simple video-editing application. Allows you to splice videos, cut parts out, add sound and text. More than enough features to design creatives.
- Synthesia. A paid service that uses a neural network to create videos of the same format. The format is similar to a news report in that it’s a background+narrator. The neural network allows you to create such videos without actually filming anything.
How to properly pick an affiliate program?
An affiliate program for a beginner should:
- Have open registration.Not all affiliate programs open their offers to beginners. Make sure you can actually register before checking anything else.
- Have offers for various areas. This will allow a beginner to select a vertical to their liking and gain diverse experience.
- Have a responsive tech support team. Tech support managers should help affiliates work with offers. Even seasoned professionals enlist their help.
DoAff fits all the criteria and is a good affiliate program to start acquiring and then toning your affiliate marketing skills at.
How to test an offer?
Now that all the preparations are made, time to test out the offer. Tests involve driving small volumes of traffic to multiple ad campaigns simultaneously. They help you determine whether your approach is viable or not. Here’s how you do it:
- Budget calculation. Ideally, you should have a specific amount allocated to each creative you want to test. Payment for 2 target actions (DOI) is the best model for calculating this budget.
- Segmentation. Divide the audience into several groups depending on sex, age and device type.
- Upload the creatives, tailor the ads to the audience you selected, set daily limits in the amount of payment for two targeted actions.
- Launch your ads.
- As soon as the limit’s hit, analyze the results. Disable the campaigns that failed to attract leads. And scrutinize the ones that did. When analyzing, keep in mind the features of your creatives and audience.
- Based on your findings, identify the best approach. This can be a bundle of 25-35 year old Ukrainian males who reacted to a microloan creative featuring a girl.
- Keep driving traffic to successful ACs and add new creatives. When developing and optimizing the campaign, bear in mind the test results.
What’s a bundle? What terms should I know?
A bundle is an affiliate’s approach to advertising. It consists of an offer, GEO, audience and creative that brings the affiliate profit. And here’s a list of some more terms you will come across at one point:
- ROI. Return on investment. A high ROI is a sign that the affiliate is working efficiently.
- Offer. The thing you’re promoting. You get offers from advertisers or affiliate programs.
- Creative. An ad unit, any sort of promotional material.
- Lead. A purchase request. Will bring profit after approval.
- Conversion. The action that turns a user into a lead.
- Approval. Customer to lead ratio. The more leads were approved, the better the affiliate did their job.
- Profit. The money you made.