Starting affiliate marketing in Canada is a great way to make money online. Whether you want to supplement your current job with secondary income, or you are looking to quit and begin your own entrepreneurial journey, affiliate marketing is a great way to get started.
In order to succeed, you will need patience and perseverance. It’s not as easy as it may seem at first glance. But with the right information, guidance and execution of your plan, affiliate marketing can be a lucrative business that will grow over time.
This guide will give you the necessary knowledge you will need so you can learn how to start affiliate marketing today!
We will touch on everything you need to understand how to start affiliate marketing, including:
By the end of this guide, you will have a firm grasp on how to start affiliate marketing from scratch and begin your journey to financial and creative freedom.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing in Canada
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a business arrangement where you promote affiliate products and services on your website, email, or other content platforms, and earn commissions when readers of your particular content service purchase those goods or services.
In most cases, you make money when someone travels from your content platform to the retail store and makes a purchase. Some affiliate programs reward you for simply generating leads or clicks, but it will all vary depending on the program.
These programs typically require zero startup cost and can be incredibly profitable if you choose the right ones.
What Does An Affiliate Marketer Do?
An affiliate marketer works as a publisher of their own content, and as a promoter of different products and services. In return for these promotions, the marketer receives a commission for any sale of a product that occurs via their referral link (unique link).
An affiliate marketing course can provide you with the skills you need to become an affiliate marketer. You will learn about the different types of affiliate marketing in Canada, how to find the best products to promote, and how to create effective marketing campaigns.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
After you have created a blog, website, podcast, or social media platform for the use of advertising products in a particular niche subject, signed up for affiliate programs that have products or services you wish to advertise, and collected your unique link, the process of affiliate marketing is as such:
- Display a product or service on your blog using an ad or link, with your unique link attached
- A member of your audience clicks your unique link and travels to the site where they can purchase the product
- The customer purchases the product
- The affiliate site associated with the product records the purchase
- The store where the product was bought confirms the purchase
- You are paid the commission
Now, this is a pretty simplified version of the process that doesn’t account for returns, cookies, and other technical details but stay tuned for our glossary that will provide you with definitions of the most common terms to keep you well-informed.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
While the concept of affiliate marketing sounds simple, creating your own platform and becoming successful selling products doesn’t come without hard work, and skillful planning. This is why we are going to outline the 4 basic things you need in order to get started.
Choose Your Content Platform
In order to build an audience, you need a method in which to attract them. Preferably, this method will be one that caters to your strengths as an entrepreneur and works well with the topic/products you want to talk about and sell. You should also think about the type of content you want to create, as that will be a major factor in your decision. The most popular affiliate marketing platforms are:
- Blogs (Informational)
- Websites (Product Reviews)
- Instagram (Influencers)
- Youtube (Entertainment)
- Email Marketing
Choose Your Niche Topic
The key to being successful with affiliate marketing is choosing the right niche topic to base your whole content platform around. You want to choose a topic that is very specific, and does not have a tremendous amount of competition. The key word here is specific. You want to be able to communicate with a specific set of people, without having to compete with massive companies in order to attain them.
For example, camping is a very broad topic that will have an incredible amount of competition. The best gear to use for camping in the winter in Canada is much more specific and will come with a lot less competition. Not the best example, but you get the point.
In the affiliate space, high ticket affiliate marketing programs give entrepreneurs the opportunity to capitalize on their hard work, and scale their commissions to the next level. You have the chance to earn commissions anywhere from $100-$1,000 per sale.
Register Your Domain and Choose a Hosting Service
If you decide to create a website or start a blog, you will need to register your domain (the name of your website or blog) and find a service like WPX Web Hosting to host your website. You need a domain for copyright and trademark purposes. A hosting service helps keep your website running smoothly and protects you from intruders.
Check out our list of the best web hosting services for Canadians
Choose Your Affiliate Program and Products
Once you have created enough content and got your product up and running, now is the time to choose affiliate programs and products you would like to advertise. Look for products that you like, will help your audience, and that have competitive commission rates.
Pro Tip: To be accepted into affiliate programs, you need to fulfill the minimum requirement for content. We recommend creating your content with certain brands and affiliate programs in mind. Having everything created before being accepted will make it easy for you to simply attach your unique link once you have finally been approved.
We will look more in-depth on how to choose affiliates in the next section.
Choosing Affiliate Programs
It is in our experience, that the most effective way to find the best affiliate programs in Canada is by using an affiliate network. These networks are not only one of the easiest ways to find high paying offers, but they also have some great tools that can be used to enhance your affiliate search experience.
In order to be a successful affiliate marketer, you have to promote products and services that will provide your audience with genuine benefits. If the products you promote don’t align with the content you’ve written for your readers then your reputation and credibility will be tarnished.
When you are sifting through products or affiliate programs, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Will my readers benefit from purchasing this product? and;
- Does it fit in with the brand I am creating?
For example, if you are starting a travel blog you wouldn’t want to promote computer software. You would want to promote products such as backpacks, tents, air travel sites, hotel packages, etc.
Affiliate programs can be found in a couple different ways, but the most promising method to find reliable programs are through affiliate networks or marketplaces.
Some of the best affiliate marketplaces in Canada are:
If you have products that you love and believe could be of service to your audience, look on their website and see if they have any affiliate programs. Large companies typically do have them but their commission rates can be quite low, so just keep that in mind because you could potentially be leaving a lot of money on the table.
You must meet certain minimum requirements to be accepted for any affiliate program. So read the fine print and understand what your content source needs to get accepted and start your journey to monetizing your content.
Learn How To Start Affiliate Marketing in 7 Simple Steps
We discuss how to start affiliate marketing with these 7 steps that you need to get started in this exciting and profitable field. Affiliate marketing in Canada can be a great way to generate income, and it’s something that anyone can learn how to do.
Writing Content for Affiliate Marketing (Blog or Website)
Structure of Content
For those that have aspirations of starting a blog or creating your own website, well-written content will be the cornerstone of your success. Your content will be what conveys your knowledge to the reader, provide them with useful information that will resolve a problem or satisfy a need, and help them make purchasing decisions.
The basic structure of your basic blog post or website article should be something like this:
- An introduction that captures the attention of your audience and introduces the problem/need you will be solving/fulfilling in the piece
- Elaborate more about the topic at hand. Stress why it is important that the community you are writing to is informed of this issue, and also what they can do about it.
- Provide your recommended solutions while linking to the products you are affiliated with and expand on why these are the products that will do the job the best.
- Explain in detail the benefits of each product, and also mention any cons that you have come across. This will help keep you credible and will be greatly appreciated by your audience.
- Keep your conclusion brief and clear. Outline everything you have discussed in the piece and if there is an opportunity to link to another article of yours, do it!
Pro Tip: Remember to disclose that you are compensated if the reader purchases a product you promote. This will be beneficial to keep you legally in the clear but also once again keep you credible.
Different Types of Written Content
You will want to have a good variety of content for your audience to read, and you will want to complement your niche with the right types. These could be:
- General Information Articles
- Product Reviews
- Product Comparisons
- News Pieces, etc.
There are so many different routes you can take when coming up with content ideas. Need help with inspiration? Investigate a blog or a website that you regularly go to for information, and see what type of content they are creating.
Look to choose topics that complement your niche well, and that helps satisfy a need/problem for your audience. Providing value in that form will be the fastest way to becoming a reputable source of information within your space.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget that your website/blog is a business, so make sure you are writing pieces that can be Monetized and can make you money in the long run.
Hiring Writers for Content
If writing is not your skill set, consider hiring a freelance writer or blogger to help create the content for you. Use mediums like the ones below to find available writers:
- Upwork; and many more
Pro Tip: Use this content writer job description template to save some time
SEO and Keyword Research
The importance of great content cannot be stressed enough, it is a vital part of this whole business model. But the other piece of the puzzle that is equally important, is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keyword research.
The content you create needs to be optimized for Google so that your audience can find you easily, and you need to have specific keywords in your content so that when they turn to Google you show up in the search results.
Here are some best practices for both SEO and keyword research:
SEO Best Practices
- Conduct regular audits of your site to understand performance. Consider using Google Analytics to assist in this endeavour.
- Keep user experience in mind (load speed, page layout, on-page elements, etc.)
- Use infographics, pictures, videos, and other elements as well
- Have a clearly mapped out site structure
- Make your site mobile friendly
- Use internal links
- Update content regularly
- Use keywords in your headers, page titles, and meta descriptions
- Keep page titles and meta descriptions at an appropriate length. No more than 60 characters and 160 characters respectively
See our infographic below for a more comprehensive on-page SEO checklist.
If you are looking for assistance in becoming an expert in the space of SEO, there are plenty of online courses available. A course that has enhanced my knowledge of SEO at an unparalleled pace and has helped me increase my affiliate revenue is Matt Diggity’s Affiliate Lab. Check it out if you are interested!
Keyword Research Best Practices
- Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush for accurate results
- Use these tools to understand your niche better and what your audience is searching for
- Look for high volume keywords with low competition
- Check the DR (Domain Rating) of the websites that rank for the keyword you are targeting. If it is low, this is good news
- Use KW research to come up with content ideas
- Consider using KW research for a niche idea if you are just starting out
Affiliate Marketing with Social Media
There are a couple of ways that social media can be utilized as a marketer, and both have their places in the affiliate marketing business model:
- You can promote your content on channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to build and grow your audience. This can help you increase traffic and convert more readers into customers. By using social media to direct traffic to your content rather than using it as a means of direct advertisement of products, you are able to create a sales funnel, be in more control of the flow of visitors, and use analytical tools to analyze the engagement of your audience.
- On the other side of things, many successful entrepreneurs have used social media tools like YouTube to create a very lucrative affiliate business. Doing so by creating tutorials, reviews, comparisons, and overall experiences with products and linking to them in the videos. In order to build an exceptional level of trust and reliability, we recommend limiting the number of affiliates that you promote on your channel. With that, only review products that you use or that you have had the opportunity to at least test out.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have an opportunity to test out the products, get in touch with a product expert and get some in-depth info from them. Or even consider an interview with them.
With little risk and investment, the potential money you can make through affiliate marketing in Canada is limitless. Having the willingness to work hard, learn, and prioritize providing value to your readers are all necessities. Follow our guidelines, and you will see the growth come at a pace you wouldn’t expect. Good luck fellow Canadian entrepreneurs!