What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a process of earning a commission by promoting or selling other people’s or company’s products/services and earn an amount of profit for each sale.
Affiliate Marketing is an easy way for publishers to monetize their blog and bring in extra income. You can build a website and start campaigning. There is no start-up cost. But you have to pay a minimal amount for web hosting and domain name for a website.
Building a website or blog for your personal brand allows you to create a home base for your affiliate marketing content.
Affiliate marketing can be the lifeline for a blogger/influencer. You can easily promote and sell products/services with lots of followers. You can earn good commissions by reviewing the products/services on your blog with a call to action to your followers.
Affiliate marketing is three steps process:-
- Recommender a product/service to your followers
- Followers purchase the product/service using your affiliate link
- If a sale is done, you will get a commission
Consider a few important metrics before making affiliate marketing strategies:-
- Choose your Niche – Your website niche determine what type of content you create, who is your target audience, and what kind of products/services you will promote. It’s key to choose a niche that’s financially viable. You need to find your niche that enough people will be interested in. Keyword research execution is also important at this stage, to find out what keywords are driving the most organic traffic.
- Understand the Product & Audience – Get to know about the products /service in details is good to serve the audiences with the right information. It will create trust among your followers makes them come back again to your website. You have to recognize the needs of the client that what they are exactly looking for.
- Promote product using Search Engine Marketing – Getting organic search results through a search engine is always a better approach. Search engine marketing service will help you to achieve the desired results effortlessly.
- Focus on the Content – Quality content is the only foundation of any website/blog. You must create valuable content that has useful information that relates to the audience.
- Choose the Right Affiliate – Affiliate marketing allows you to leverage the power of influence to get people to buy from you. Always choose your affiliate products/services intelligently by going through all affiliate marketing programs.
- Discloses your Affiliate Network – Readers will appreciate when you will transparent about your affiliate associations. Build a trust factor and gain a loyal audience.
Most brands use affiliate marketing to increase conversions and brand awareness. It’s consisting of the following elements:-
- Affiliate – Affiliate is known as the marketer. This person is running a website/blog that contains affiliate links. Affiliate is the middleman connecting the customer to the product/service. It can be small to big size company. Affiliates create the marketing funnel which includes landing pages, text links, and ads. Affiliates attract potential customers and convince followers about the value of the products and make somebody believe you to buy the product/service.
- Affiliate Networks – Affiliates networks are the connection between merchant and an affiliate. Networks are called a marketplace for offers. There are a number of popular affiliate networks that hold thousands of products/service. There are hundreds of merchants who have the best products/services, but don’t have an affiliate program due to various reasons:-
- They can’t afford
- They don’t have a perfect tracking system
- They want to outsource the whole process
Affiliate network plays an important role for these merchants. Affiliate network has state of the art software to monitor affiliates’ activity and pay directly to them on behalf of the merchant. It is always better to start with the affiliate marketing network because you would have the option of products/services. You can test, analyze and compare the return on investment with different merchants and focus on the high returns websites.
When you join an affiliate network, you will be assigned an affiliate manager. An affiliate manager is the contact person for all the issues related to your campaigns and new offers to promote.
Affiliate networks are optional. You can work directly with the merchant like Amazon’s Associates or Affiliates. Advertisers or merchants are their own internal affiliate programs to directly sign up.
- Merchant – This is a company that sells products/services. It is the retailer or a brand name for which the affiliate sells. The merchant can be a single person or an enterprise. Merchants are partners with affiliates to generate more leads through Pay Per Click (PPC – when number of visitors are sent to the merchant’s website), Pay Per Lead (PPL – when referred customer provide information through fill up the contact form), and Pay Per Sale (PPS – when merchant pays the percentage of the sale price when the purchase is fully done). But merchant/advertiser like Amazon just needs a product to be sold.
- Traffic Source – It’s from where your customers come. If you have a website, you need to make people visit your website. Many websites sell ads on their sites, like Facebook and Google. This is how they sustain themselves.
- Direct Traffic Source – Here, you can purchase banners directly from the website itself.
- Ad Network – It is a marketplace where you have a bunch of different websites.
- Customer – The one who is buying the product. When a customer clicks on product/service link and goes to the merchant’s website to buy the product and you get the commission. A cookie period is offered by the merchant until whom an affiliate is entitled to a commission. Cookies are used to track affiliate referrals and earnings. Each affiliate for a product/service gets a unique ID that gets stored as a cookie. An affiliate cookie is usually inserted using a special link that is given by the merchant. Each cookie is valid for a set time period. If a purchase is made with set time period with an active cookie then affiliate receives a commission. Once the time period is over, the affiliate will no longer get a commission. Affiliate referrals can be tracked by using special landing pages or by unique coupon codes. The affiliate gets the commission, if someone comes from the special landing page or when the coupon code is used.
A list of a few well-known Affiliate Marketing Programs is available, here as under:-
CJ Affiliate – It is the oldest affiliate program which was established in 1998, previously known as Commission Junction. They offer some great features like cookieless tracking, affiliate personalization, monetization suite. It’s one of the largest affiliate networks and it’s hard for other programs to rival it in size.
ShareASale – It is one of the oldest affiliate networks and has been in business for 19 years. Merchants on ShareASale provide tools such as product links, banners, text links, coupons, deals, and other creatures to help you promote a product. It has over 3900 merchants across every niche. It has digital and standard payout options available. Affiliate can choose from a huge library of products to promote.
ClickBank – It is a diverse marketplace filled with merchants that you pick and choose to promote, based on your audience preferences. An affiliate can register and get instant approval for different merchants. It has the easiest product database to navigate any on the list. The commission rates depend on the merchant and can be in between 1% – 75%.
Shopify – It is the leading eCommerce platform that lets affiliates to start their own online store. It’s used by bloggers and online retailers. You can earn a lot per referral. Shopify is the leading competitor. You can earn $58 for each referral.
Rakuten – Rakuten is a Japanese business company. It is in the business of lead generation for the developers and also in affiliates marketing. Rakuten is an award-winning store with a partnership with big brands as well. But you have to apply individually for each brand you want to promote. It has a good affiliate support team to help.
MaxBounty – It is considered to be the network for affiliate marketers. They also offer a $1000 bonus to affiliates who make over $1000 in their first 3 months. They have hundreds of campaigns across different models like CPL, CPA, and mobile.
vCommission – It’s India largest affiliate network. They have hundreds of offers to choose from. They provide real-time reporting and fast payment to help you.
Amazon Associates – Amazon is a goldmine for affiliate marketers. Amazon delivers anything from candy to drone at the doorstep. It is a great starting point for an affiliate. It’s a one-stop shop for people. But cookies only last for 24 hours and if any customer returns back and purchase after that period, no revenue will be paid. You will get the payment by cheque, bank transfer or Amazon gift card.
eBay Partner – It’s a user-based vast marketplace. Affiliate can promote products using eBay’s partner network tools. There is no complex rule to follow. You can earn a double commission for the first 3 months.
StudioPress – It is a renowned name in the WordPress industry making the best suitable themes. Their themes are fast and responsive. You will get a 35% commission for each sale. It provides all the creative like affiliate links, banners, and more to help you promote.
Bluehost – It is one of the most popular web hosting providers. It is available with affordable prices, flexible packages, and a great support team. Simply sign up and share your referral link and get paid. Bluehost is recommended by WordPress to host their platform and you can trust. It has a very generous affiliate program which allows you to earn $65 for a single sale. But there is an unnecessary deadline of a minimum of $100 within 12 months for first referral payout.
KWFinder – It is one of the most affordable SEO tools. Spending money on KWFinder is not a big deal for individuals and small businesses. It gives a 30% commission for every sale you generate. KWFinder has an intuitive dashboard from promotional material to unique affiliate links.
SEMRush – It is considered to be the best SEO Tools. Its affiliate program offers 40% commission per sale. It’s free to join and can get all the promotional materials.
The Hoth – It is a reliable SEO services provider and includes content creation, link building, local SEO, reputation management and more. It offers a 25% commission with 60 days cookie and can earn $100-150 for each referral.
ConvertKit – It is a very popular email marketing tool with many great features. ConvertKit is recommended by many top names in the industry. Some of your audiences will not be using it, so this isn’t a great affiliate. You can earn a 30% commission for each referral. It has 30 days no questions asked refund policy, so you don’t get commission until 30 days have passed.
GetResponse – It offers a 33% commission for each sale you generate. Your commission will increase if the user upgrades their account. It provides you with marketing materials like email copy templates, banners, text ads, and infographics with the real-time status of your sales.
Thrive Leads – It’s a popular name in the industry, you can easily promote it. It’s a WordPress plugin you can use to grow your email list. You can display opt-in forms and popups on your website. It offers a 35% commission per sale and a 25% recurring commission.
OptionMonster – It helps you to grow your email list. Their commission rate in only 20%. But you can make $118 per sale you generate. You get access to promotional material to promote hassle-free.
Some promising sources to leverage affiliate promotions include:-
- Bloggers – Bloggers write about tend to organically rank in the search engines. They post information about the company and reviews about new products/services.
- Coupon & Deals Websites – Many visitors love the saving power of coupons. They often search for discount vouchers or various coupon and deals websites before shopping for any product/service. It makes coupon & deals websites an important affiliate for any business. These websites have an established member base that can be quite beneficial to any business to improve conversion rates.
- Review Websites – These blogs help you to promote any products/services effectively. They drive customers who are really interested in making a purchase. These are popular with affiliate marketers. They review up to 6 different advertisers in a particular niche. The affiliate will earn a commission when they refer some business to any advertisers.
- Loyalty Portals – These have a large membership base and render offer as an advertiser to its members and sometimes even contain a cash back policy.
- YouTube Videos – 40% millennial admit that their favorite YouTubers understand them better than their friends. Popular YouTube videos can help you drive instant traffic and sales in getting products featured.
Don’t Make These Mistakes –
Spamming – Newly recruited affiliates think spamming is the standard way of selling. They open new social media account with a fake ID, find people and blow their own trumpet about their amazing system. This is not only to waste their time, but they lower down the reputation of the whole affiliate business.
Email Spam – Email marketing service providers prohibit users from placing affiliate links in their emails. Facebook doesn’t allow affiliate links. You have to place a link to your own webpage to promote products.
Competitive – First, you need to make your website known. An SEO technique is the most essential element to drive organic traffic. In paid traffic, you need to know the ways to advertise.
Patience and Don’t Give Up – Business don’t come overnight and rather build up slowly. Keep a watch on your statistics; and make changes when required, and follow the same process every day to promote your affiliate products/services. Don’t give up and keep trying.
Conclusion – Affiliate marketing is the business of focus and patience. Nobody gets results in the initial phase. Every biggest affiliate had made so many mistakes and got failures. Don’t get demotivated and keep working. The most important factor is what your audience do like.