If you are looking to earn income online, affiliate marketing is one of the best available options. The growing e-commerce market has persuaded many bloggers and publishers to set up affiliate marketing in India.
Affiliate marketing helps you to earn commissions by promoting other people (or company’s) products. Affiliate marketing in India contributes nearly 15% of total sales across online retail sites. Popular e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart can pay up to 15% commission on a successful sale.
As consumers increasingly rely on online research to decide which products or services to purchase. Businesses are partnering with bloggers and content publishers to promote their business online.
How to set up affiliate marketing in India?
1. Find your niche or product category
Find a product category or niche to build your content. It is among the most crucial steps when it comes to getting started with affiliate marketing. The selected niche or product category has to be an area that you understand well and aligns with your interest.
Niche is a small, super-specialized market for a product or service. For instance, travel is a broad category, and adventure travel is a niche. If you building content around broad categories like Travel, you will more likely end up competing with large players like TripAdvisor and Airbnb.
Factor in seasonality while selecting your niche. For instance, if you create your content around a niche segment like Umbrellas, you will not be able to monetize it.
There is no point in getting into affiliate marketing if you can’t monetize your niche. Ensure that the niche selected has enough affiliate programs that you can partner with to monetize the content.
2. Build your audience
Once you have identified your niche, start by creating compelling content that attracts the specific audience. You will have to publish content frequently till the time you have a sizeable audience on your blog or social platform.
Make sure you are part of all the platforms that are relevant to your niche. Growing your audience can be an extremely painful process. It will take at least 6-12 months before you start seeing any visible results.
Make sure your audience is an active part of the entire content creation process. Find opportunities to engage with your audience at a personal level. Don’t just blindly curate products based on the Amazon bestseller list but test the products first to provide detailed reviews to your readers.
3. Sign-up for an affiliate program
There are basically three types of affiliate programs in India that you choose from:
High volume, low affiliate programs: These are affiliate programs that pay extraordinarily well but has a limited pool of buyers. They also tend to be more competitive, considering the higher commissions involved. This can turn out to be extremely competitive if you don’t have deep pockets to scale your content creation efforts.
Low paying, high affiliate programs: These are affiliate programs with mass appeal but have low payouts. For example, consider the gaming category. The average cost of a game is Rs.3000 – 4000. This means that you will earn an average of Rs 150 – 200 if you are lucky.
The redeeming quality of this program is that you will have a wide range of products to sell. Such programs usually offer a commission on the entire value of purchase rather than just the product you purchase.
High paying, high volume programs: These are programs with mass appeal and high volume. For example, credit cards fit into this category. Customers continue to stay with the credit card brand for years and sometimes even decades. The challenge with these types of programs is that they are pretty competitive, and you can find it very difficult to compete with larger publishers.
So having discussed the three types of affiliate programs, which one should you choose? The program you choose has to be relevant to your audience and the niche.
If you’re targeting consumers, then go with low paying, high volume affiliate programs.
If you’re going after the business audience, then target high paying, low volume affiliate programs. Web hosting and software products are among the most popular choices in this category.
4. Get Clicks to your affiliate links
Just because you have amazing content doesn’t mean your visitors will click the affiliate link. Your content has to solve the visitor’s problem.
Most affiliate marketers don’t make an effort to sell every link on their website. The copy that precedes the link should persuade the user to click it. Link placement is also of paramount importance when it comes to getting users to click the link.
Links that are usually placed at the bottom of the page usually don’t get clicks. Also, the link has to be contextually relevant to the topic that you are writing about.
Additionally, you can use callouts to attract the reader’s attention. For example, wirecutter uses callouts to share their top picks while doing product reviews.
5. Convert clicks to sales.
You have to get your visitors to click your affiliate links for which you can use some of the suggestions we have shared above. But your ultimate objective is to get the visitor to purchase the product. The challenge here is that the merchant controls the checkout process.
To make sure that your affiliate links ultimately lead to purchase, consider the following factors:
Report: Refer to public income reports shared by other affiliate marketers. If other affiliate marketers in your category are making decent money, it is likely that the product converts really well. Just type in the keywords ‘income report (amazon affiliate)’ to find articles from other bloggers on how much money they made from the program.
Ask Questions: If you have questions about the affiliate program sign-up and ask questions. You can ask questions like what is the average commission most affiliate partners earn from the program.
Product Type: If the product offered by the merchant is solving a unique problem that your customer has, then you must consider it irrespective of the size or scale of the program.
We have covered the fundamentals of how to set up affiliate marketing in India. If you are starting off, don’t expect life-changing income or flexibility to quit your 9-to-5 job. Affiliate marketing takes time.
Focus on growing your traffic and reader base by solving your customer’s problem. The passive income that you desire will soon follow.