What is Affiliate Marketing? [For Noobs]

My cousin (Saurabh) is in high school and one of his friends (Aniket) called me to learn about affiliate marketing. Saurabh knows that I do something related to websites and he connected me with Aniket so that he can clear all the doubts about affiliate marketing.

After the initial formalities, here’s how the conversation went on…

Aniket: Hey, can you tell me about affiliate marketing? What exactly it is and how does it work?

Me: First, tell me everything that you already know about affiliate marketing.

Aniket: Nothing much, I just know that you have to share affiliate links of courses and stuff with your friends and in random WhatsApp and Facebook groups and when people buy through your links you earn a commission.

Not sure it’s what I am saying but this is what I know as of now. I have watched a few YouTube and Instagram videos about it.

Me: Awesome, you know all the basics then. But… let me ask you a question: when you’re browsing Facebook and come across a random link for a course, would you buy it? Or do you buy anything from random links sent by someone in a WhatsApp group?

I mean, when you’re not actively looking for products whose links are shared with you by someone, right? So it has a close to zero percent chance of someone buying through those links.

Aniket: Yes, I agree. I have never bought anything through those links and I think no one else would buy either.

Me: Exactly!

In affiliate marketing, the challenge is not to join and get approved by an affiliate program. The challenge is to build a niche-specific traffic source that brings people to your website (or any other social site). And then you casually recommend a related product to them.

As I explained earlier, sharing links in random groups is not always very specific to what they are looking for. But… if you build a site where people are coming to get information about an industry or product, the chances are higher that they will click on the link as it’s related to what they are looking.

In fact, sometimes, you can directly write about the product and that brings even more targeted traffic to the site. And the conversion rate, in that case, would be higher too.

Aniket: Wow that’s informative. But how do I get started? What niche I should focus on?

Me: I always recommend choosing a niche in which you are comfortable and can create content for months without getting bored. That way you will also learn a lot about the related topics.

For example, a friend of mine was very interested in birds she’d always keep reading about and watching videos of birds. So I recommended starting a simple blog where she’d document everything that she learns about the birds. The site has now around 3000 monthly visitors and she earns around $100 by promoting bird food and other accessories through Amazon affiliate.

I am just explaining this to you to have some idea of what’s possible.

Aniket: Starting a blog seems like an amazing way to learn about the topic and earn money on the way. I have a huge interest in Calisthenics and now I think, I should start writing and making videos about it.

Me: Yes, that’d be amazing.

Start a blog/YouTube channel, create useful and informative content, and monetize the traffic by promoting health products that you genuinely believe in.

Easy peasy.

And that concludes our conversation on the subject.

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