Affiliate Marketing is not a secret anymore. Many people earn a good living from Affiliate Marketing , some even make a full time income. With all of the information at our disposal, it’s hard to believe that there are still many people who haven’t heard about this opportunity yet. Affiliate marketing is a way to earn commissions by promoting products. Affiliate marketing consists of affiliate networks, which track the traffic coming from links and advertisements, then pay affiliate site owners based on the number of users who visit the site and make purchases. Affiliate marketing is the marketing of products or services using other people’s products and services to earn income. Affiliate marketers are paid commissions for recommending products and services, usually through clicks on banner ads, sales pages and other forms of advertisements.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another. Affiliate marketing is a great way to drive sales and generate significant online revenue. Extremely beneficial to both brands and affiliate marketers, the new push toward less traditional marketing tactics has certainly paid off.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Because affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibilities of product marketing and creation across parties, it leverages the abilities of a variety of individuals for a more effective marketing strategy while providing contributors with a share of the profit. To make this work, three different parties must be involved:
Seller and product creators.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing. For example, the seller could be an ecommerce merchant that started a dropshipping business and wants to reach a new audience by paying affiliate sites to promote their products. Or the seller could be a SaaS company that leverages affiliates to help sell their marketing software.
- The affiliate or publisher.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made. Affiliates often have a very specific audience to whom they market, generally adhering to that audience’s interests. This creates a defined niche or personal brand that helps the affiliate attract consumers who will be most likely to act on the promotion.
- The consumer.
Of course, for the affiliate system to work, there needs to be sales — and the consumer or customer is the one who makes them happen. The affiliate will market the product/service to consumers through the necessary channel(s), whether it be social media, a blog or a YouTube video, and if the consumer deems the product as valuable or beneficial to them, then they can follow the affiliate link and checkout on the merchant’s website. If the customer does purchase the item, then the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made. However, keep in mind that the customer must be aware that you, the affiliate, are receiving a commission off the product. According to the Federal Trade Commission, an affiliate marketer must clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationship to the retailer, thus allowing the consumer to decide how much weight to give your endorsement.
Types of Affiliate Marketing
Here are the categories to help you decide which route to take.
In the unattached business model, the affiliate marketer has no connection to the product or service they are promoting. They have no expertise or authority in the niche of the product, nor can they make claims about its use. Typically, an unattached affiliate will run PPC (pay-per-click) marketing campaigns, using an affiliate link in hopes that shoppers will click it and make a purchase on their own. While unattached affiliate marketing may be attractive due to its lack of commitment, it’s generally for those who simply want to generate an income without investing in the product or customer relationship.
A happy medium between unattached and involved, related affiliate marketing is for those who don’t necessarily use the product or service, but who are somehow related to the niche audience. These affiliates often have some sort of influence in the niche and an established following, and can therefore offer some authority. For example, perhaps you’re promoting a clothing brand you’ve never used before, but you have an audience through a fashion blog or YouTube channel. In this case, you would be considered a related affiliate marketer. The advantage of this type of affiliate marketing is that the affiliate has the expertise to generate traffic, however they may risk recommending a bad product or service if they’ve never actually used it before, potentially costing them the trust of their audience.
As the name suggests, involved affiliate marketing describes those who are closely tied to the product or service they’re promoting. The affiliate has tried the product themselves, trusts that it will provide a good experience and has the authority to make claims about its use. Rather than relying on pays per click, involved affiliate marketers use their personal experiences with the product in their marketing efforts, and customers can trust them as reliable sources of information. Of course, this type of affiliate marketing requires more legwork and time to build credibility, but it will likely result in greater payoffs down the road.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
- Pay per sale.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of affiliate marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the affiliate product before they are compensated.
- Pay per lead.
A more complex system, pay per lead affiliate marketing programs compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads. The affiliate must persuade the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action — whether it’s filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial of a product, subscribing to a newsletter or downloading software or files.
- Pay per install.
In this payout system, the affiliate gets paid each time they direct a user to the merchant’s website and installs a product, generally a mobile app or software.
So, if a retailer budgets for a $0.10 bid for each install generated via an affiliate program, and the campaign results in 1,000 installs, then the retailer will pay ($0.10 x 1,000) = $100.
- Pay per click.
Affiliate marketing is largely about generating traffic to websites and trying to get customers to click and take action. So, the myth that affiliate marketing is all about SEO (search engine optimization) is no surprise.
However, while organic traffic is free, SEO simply can’t sustain affiliate marketers in such a saturated market — which is why some affiliate marketers utilize PPC.
PPC (pay per click) programs focus on incentivizing the affiliate to redirect consumers from their marketing platform to the merchant’s website. This means the affiliate must engage the consumer to the extent that they will move from the affiliate’s site to the merchant’s site. The affiliate is paid based on the increase in web traffic.
There are two common concepts in PPC:
- CPA (cost-per-acquisition): With this model, the affiliate gets paid each time the seller or retailer acquires a lead, which is when an affiliate link takes the customer to the merchant’s online store and they take an action, such as subscribing to an email list or filling out a “Contact Us” form.
- EPC (earnings-per-click): This is the measure for the average earnings per 100 clicks for all affiliates in a retailer’s affiliate program.
Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?
- Passive income.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
- No customer support.
Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased.
Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.
- Work from home.
If you’re someone who hates going to the office, affiliate marketing is the perfect solution. You’ll be able to launch campaigns and receive revenue from the products that sellers create while working from the comfort of your own home. This is a job you can do without ever getting out of your pajamas.
Most businesses require upfront startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no unexpected fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
- Convenient and flexible.
Since you’re essentially becoming a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
- Performance-based rewards.
With other jobs, you could work an 80-hour week and still earn the same salary. The good thing about affiliate marketing is that it is purely based on your performance. You’ll get from it what you put into it. Honing your reviewing skills and writing engaging campaigns will translate to direct improvements in your revenue. You’ll finally get paid for the outstanding work you do!
Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
Most affiliates share common practices to ensure that their target audience is engaged and receptive to purchasing promoted products. But not all affiliates advertise the products in the same way. In fact, there are several different marketing channels they may leverage.
An influencer is a content creator who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population.
This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
Influencer marketing campaigns are particularly popular on Instagram and TikTok, where brands form partnerships with influencers who are seen as experts or authorities in their specific niches. Depending on the deal, a campaign could consist of a series of product reviews with photos, account takeovers or live videos.
While an influencer might have their own branding and aesthetic, it’s important to add elements that tie up with your brand to ensure brand recall and recognition. This can be achieved by using apps like Instasize, where you can quickly edit and customize your campaign’s creatives in a tap.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions through content marketing. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site.
The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
- Paid search-focused microsites.
Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of affiliate sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
- Email lists.
Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product.
Another method is for the affiliate to build an email list over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
- Large media websites.
Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions.
These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.
One of the most well known sites is the Amazon affiliate program, Amazon Associates, which boasts the largest market share of affiliate networks (46.15%).
Other big-name affiliate marketing programs include:
- CJ Affiliate.
- Affiliate Future.
Or, if you prefer, you can even reach out to retailers directly and see if they offer an affiliate program. If not, they may still be willing to offer you a special coupon or discount code to share with your audience to help drive traffic to their online shop.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money online and even offline. It’s essentially selling products from a manufacturer and earning commission as an anchor or lead for other people who will purchase the product at a lower price. Affiliate marketing is a popular strategy where affiliates are paid directly by the online retailer for driving traffic and sales on behalf of the company. It is a great way for you to earn passive income from home with very little up-front investment. Affiliate marketing is the process of using someone else’s product or service to generate sales leads. The affiliate marketer will be paid a commission after the sale takes place.