Getting started with affiliate marketing

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Starting out as a publisher and starting an online business can be a daunting prospect and it is not always easy to know where to begin.

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Fear not, Awin's publisher success team is on hand to support your affiliate marketing journey, even if you are a complete beginner. 

How to become an affiliate marketer with Awin 

So you’ve decided to become an affiliate marketer. You’ve come to the right place. Awin is one of the world’s leading affiliate marketing networks, so we are fully equipped to help guide you in the right direction and show you how to start affiliate marketing.  

At Awin we refer to affiliate marketers as publishers. As an Awin publisher, you’ll have access to over 15,200 advertisers looking for dedicated people to join their affiliate marketing campaigns. With so many advertisers available it’s easy to get a little excited and start applying left, right and center. While wearing many hats may seem like a great idea, our advice is to find something you’re good at, something you enjoy, and do it well. Once you get the ball rolling there will be plenty of opportunities to expand your network and build a successful online business that has longevity for both yourself and your advertisers. 

Choosing an affiliate niche 

Step one is to choose an appropriate niche. What is a niche? This is an interest, category or topic appealing to a specific and often smaller section of the public. As mentioned, spreading yourself across many different categories is spreading yourself thin.  

A key factor in becoming an affiliate marketer is building trust with your audience. Choosing a niche you have knowledge in or are passionate about will create an authentic rapport with your audience, which will make them more inclined to purchase from you. Brainstorm a few ideas in this space, ensuring the niches you are thinking about are specialized. For example, if you’re interested in sustainability, ‘sustainable products’ isn’t really a niche. The category is too broad and very popular, meaning there will be extremely high competition and minimize your potential for success. A niche could be ‘Australian-made sustainable dishes.' This may sound oddly specific, but in a world of overwhelm, specificity is essential. You can then use online tools to research further about the potential market available for your niche.  

Quora is a great website to delve into research. It is a community-driven website where people ask questions on almost any topic. Searching for your niche on community forums will help you understand what people are looking for around this topic and once you understand an audience’s problems, you can establish how you can solve them. 

You can also research using the Google Keyword Planner - this is a key tool for anyone in the field of SEO. Understanding what keywords are popular, the price you would have to pay for a click on that keyword and who your competition is can help you establish how profitable a niche could be for you and your advertisers. 

Sign up to our affiliate network as a publisher 

Signing up to Awin as a publisher is a short and straightforward process using our online form. This form will ask you for your user details, affiliate details, promotion details and financial details. For more information on filling this out, visit our Wiki guide here. 

A $5 deposit is required upon signing up to the network, which can be paid by debit or credit card. This deposit is simply a security measure enabling us to verify your bank details for your program prior to your first sale. It also ensures you are willing to join our network and you are not a robot. 

The $5 payment will be visible in your account and you will receive this money back in your first commission payment, once you have met the payment threshold. The payment threshold is the amount of confirmed commission you will need to earn before a payment is transferred to your account. 

In addition, the $5 will be refunded should your application be declined or if you choose to close your account prior to your first commission payment. 

Once you have submitted the form, your program will be reviewed within two working days by a member of the Awin publisher success team. When approved, you will receive an email from Awin asking to verify and activate your account. 

Completing your publisher profile

Upon approval to the network, you will be asked to ‘Complete Your Profile’ to ensure you are visible to our advertisers within the Publisher Directory and to increase your chances of being approved onto advertiser programs. Advertisers use the Publisher Directory to browse publishers on the network and open means of communication for collaboration.  

We recommend you provide as much detail as possible and ensure your profile is 100% complete so advertisers can obtain a clear idea of how to work with you. It should provide an advertiser (or their account manager) with all the information they need to understand you, including your website and your concept. Include all of your contact details in case an advertiser wants to get in touch and highlight key promotional spaces so they can get a good idea of how you will support their brand. 

The process of doing this is simple and you can use our guide to achieve a complete profile with just a few steps.  

Making sure your brand is ready to be viewed 

You need to make yourself appealing to advertisers because, as mentioned, they don’t always have automatic approvals set up for those applying for their program. This is your chance to really highlight yourself, including your website, social media or other platforms you intend to use for your affiliate marketing.  

Showcase your website 

Your website should have a clear connection to your niche and the niche of the advertiser you’re hoping to work with. Your audience will be most responsive if you’re promoting brands that fit within your brand image, as it speaks to your authenticity. This will help to keep users engaged and returning to your site. Equally, advertisers will be most responsive if they’re clearly able to see the relevancy and synergy between your affiliate site and their products, indicating more sales and commission for both parties.  

Opportunities for promotional space should be obvious including sale messaging, coupon codes, banners and imagery. Adding these tools to your website, alongside informative content pieces or strong calls to action, can all work to persuade a consumer to purchase through your site. Take advantage of seasonal focuses to tap into key customer behavior trends and maximize your sales potential.  

What happens next? 

It might feel slightly overwhelming when you log into the user interface (UI) for the first time as a new affiliate marketer, but over time it will all make perfect sense. 

Take time to sign up to the right affiliate programs 

After you’ve spent time working on a concept for your website, the next step will be to find relevant retailers. Remember to stay true to your niche. Focusing on applying to the right types of affiliate programs for you will help to maintain the quality and integrity of your website. 

Add affiliate links 

Once you have been approved by an advertiser, it’s time to add these links to your website. At Awin, there are several options for adding links to make the process as simple as possible for every affiliate: 

  • Link Builder – If you’re writing about or featuring something specific, simply copy and paste the URL for the product page into the link builder in the Awin interface.  After selecting the program you want to promote, this will automatically generate an affiliate tracking link unique to you that can be added straight on to your website. 
  • Convert-a-Link – This is an easy solution if you’d prefer to focus on your content creation and let Awin manage the rest. Simply ensure you have Convert-a-Link switched on in the user interface, copy and paste the piece of JavaScript code onto the bottom of every page of your website, and you’re ready. Once integrated, the JavaScript will automatically convert your normal links into tracking links, without changing their appearance on your website.  If you’re not signed up to a retailer you’ve mentioned, Awin will automatically sign you up to their affiliate program, and you can start earning commission as soon as you’re approved. 
  • MyAwin – Download our Chrome browser extension that allows you to browse any Awin advertiser’s site and generate a custom tracking link at the click of a button. You can also share these links directly to social media with just one click. 
  • Create-A-Feed – If you want to showcase or compare a range of products from one or several advertisers, the Create-A-Feed functionality allows you to create a custom feed that can be downloaded via XML or CSV directly into your site interface.

Keep in contact 

As a new affiliate, it will take time to build up a group of advertisers that want to work with you regularly. It’s important advertisers and account managers are able to get in contact and find out more about you. Introduce or even re-introduce yourself, and showcase what your website has to offer – take the opportunity to shout about your USPs. Always try and respond to emails or phone calls, even if it’s something you can’t take part in. Awin is always happy to host a friendly face, so get in touch with our publisher success team and come say hello to our client services teams. 

You can also use the Opportunity Marketplace within the Awin interface - where all advertisers are able to browse - to showcase your promotional value and offer the opportunities you have on your website to a wider audience. Simply upload a post explaining your opportunity, cost, timeframe and the sort of advertiser or sector this would be relevant for. This can be anything, from a newsletter feature to a blog post around beauty products, to an appearance you’d like to be sponsored for.

Monitor your performance 

The Awin interface offers a comprehensive range of reporting that allows each affiliate to fully understand the sales and commission they’re making for any given time period. Ensure you are monitoring this on a regular basis to get a better understanding of what customers are buying through your website, and which advertisers are bringing you the best converting traffic. This will then help you to tailor your approach moving forward and really optimize your affiliate marketing potential by focusing on those advertisers and products that have the most synergy with your audience. 

You can monitor a range of reports in the interface that will help you better understand your traffic. All of the reports are fully customizable by advertiser selection, date range, transaction or validation date and commission group (limited to certain reports): 

  • Performance Over Time – This will give you a view on total metrics per day, month or year across your advertisers. 
  • Commission Group Performance – This will show you which types of sales are performing best for you. These can be split down differently depending on the advertiser’s level of product tracking, so it’s important you look at these more closely rather than across all your performance. 
  • Advertiser Performance – This will show you overall performance per advertiser for a given time period. 
  • Product Performance – Here you can see which individual products have performed the best for you and resonated well with your audience (advertiser program dependent). 

Make the most of network expertise 

At Awin, we are always happy to hear from you. With a team of account managers ready to talk to you about any of our 15,200 brands, and a dedicated publisher success team on hand to answer any questions and offer advice for how to develop your business, don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions. 

You can also sign up to our Market Insights newsletter, which highlights key network and industry trends from the previous month, and our publisher newsletter, which rounds up the best offers and incentives from advertisers across the network. 

What are you waiting for? Get started as an Awin publisher today, and look out for more tips regarding the interface, advertiser approvals and link building tricks. To view all of our current tips, see here. You can also check out our how to guide for getting started on ShareASale here

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