What Is Affiliate Marketing | Affiliate programmes | Which should you adopt
What Is Affiliate Marketing
Are you interested in becoming an affiliate marketer but you aren’t sure where or how to start? Or are you looking to learn how affiliate marketing works?
If you answered yes to either of the above questions, then you’re in luck.
Typically, you can do affiliate marketing as a merchant or an affiliate marketer.
In this article, we’re going to learn about affiliate marketing for affiliates.
We’re specifically going to dwell on the following areas:
- What is affiliate marketing?
- How does affiliate marketing work?
- How much affiliate marketers can earn through affiliate marketing?
- The four components of the affiliate marketing business model.
- How to start affiliate marketing for beginners.
- How to find the best affiliate programs to join.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Affiliate marketing is one of the realistic ways to right now.
That’s why a whopping 81% of advertisers and 84% of publishers are doing it according to a .
In fact, by 2022, businesses spending on affiliate marketing in the U.S. alone will hit .
As you can see, there is no better time to start affiliate marketing than now.
But before you get started, you must learn how to do it correctly.
That’s why we’ve prepared this guide to teach exactly that.
Let’s dive in.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way of making money online as an affiliate, by promoting other company’s products, placing affiliate links in your content(on blog posts, YouTube videos, or articles). When someone clicks the affiliate links and buys the products you promote, you earn a commission at no extra cost on them.
“When promoting other company’s products as an affiliate, you assume the role of a salesperson for that particular company but virtually,” says Johansen Kreig, the author of the article titled how to .
You help the company to make sales then the company pays you a certain percentage of the total cost of the product you promote.
Affiliate marketing is not as easy as it sounds though.
There is a lot of work to be done from finding a profitable affiliate program and products to promote to educating your readers about the products until they buy.
Affiliate marketing involves 4 different parties: the merchant, the network, the publisher, and the customer.
We’ll talk about all the parties involved in the business model in a moment.
But before that, let’s cover some basics.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Below is an infographic of how affiliate marketing works by
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That’s a summary of how affiliate marketing works.
But to explain the process further:
As an affiliate, you find products to promote then join some profitable affiliate marketing networks and get a unique link that you place on your content while promoting the product(s).
The merchant or affiliate network tracks the links to identify the party that brought the sale.
Now, in the scenario above, assuming someone clicks your affiliate link, small text files called cookies are stored on their device.
The customer will be redirected to the merchant’s website to learn more about the product or buy it.
Cookies play two significant roles here:
- The cookies help the merchant, or seller to know what affiliate link attracted the customer.
- They also help to store information about your involvement in the product even when the customer comes to buy the products you promote later.
Even if the customer comes to buy the product later via your affiliate links the merchant can track and know what link brought the customer to their website.
Some merchants such as Amazon have a 24-hour cookie duration. That means that you’re going to be paid your commission even if the customer you directed to their website comes to buy the product you promote within 24 hours.
You can promote other company’s products using a link or an ad on your blog, email list, or social media posts.
How Much Can You Earn In Affiliate Marketing?
As seen above, affiliate marketing is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
But the question is “how much can you make from affiliate marketing?
The true and honest answer to this question is that there is no limit when it comes to how much one can earn from affiliate marketing.
This is evident in a recent poll conducted by the where affiliate marketers were asked about their annual income.
From the poll, it’s evident that:
- Top affiliates and influencers like John Chow, Pat Flynn, and many others earn more than $100k per month.
- Middle-class affiliates earn around $1k to $10k a month.
- Beginners have ZERO affiliate earnings.
The reality is, successful affiliate marketers are earning six or seven figures out of affiliate marketing.
In his annual affiliate earnings reports, made over $100,000 in December 2017 and earned over $19,000 in October 2019 in affiliate commissions.
But if you’re starting, you won’t earn big bucks right off the bat.
Just don’t get discouraged.
With time, hard work, and the right knowledge, you can reach the levels of successful affiliates.
Read on to learn more.
The Four Components Of Affiliate Marketing Business Model
Now that you know what is affiliate marketing and how much you can make with this business model, let’s take a look at 4 parts of the model.
The merchant, sometimes known as the seller, creator, retailer, business, company, or brand is the party that creates the product or offers a service.
It could be a physical or digital company offering tangible products or software.
For instance, AWeber the renowned company behind the powerful email marketing software, or Dyson the manufacturer of vacuum cleaners can be the merchant.
Or it could be an individual/solo entrepreneur who creates online courses.
The merchant doesn’t play an active role in the marketing side but is responsible for the creation of a product or service.
The merchant partners with affiliates either directly or through an affiliate program; and decides how much commission affiliates earn.
Also known as the publisher, advertiser, or distributor, the affiliate is the party that promotes the merchants’ products or services to potential customers in exchange for commissions.
An affiliate can be an individual, a huge organization, or a company.
You can become an affiliate marketer for as many merchants as you want.
You’ll have to learn how to promote products correctly to make good money in affiliate marketing.
As an affiliate, you can create a review blog or affiliate network site where you talk about the merchant’s products or services or promote products on your social media and YouTube accounts.
In a nutshell, you need to find smart ways of promoting the products or services to customers to increase the merchant’s sales and earn huge commissions.
Without the customer or consumer, there are no sales so the affiliate cannot earn commissions.
Affiliate marketing isn’t complete without the customer.
The affiliate promotes the products to the consumer using a unique affiliate link whether through social media, on a blog post, etc.
It’s important to disclose that you’re in an affiliate marketing system to your customers for them to decide whether to use your affiliate link or not when buying the products you promote to them.
Some affiliate marketing guides don’t mention the network as part of the affiliate marketing equation.
However, the network plays the role of connecting the affiliate with the merchant. So, it’s an important party to mention when talking about the components of affiliate marketing.
Also known as an affiliate marketing program or platform, the network serves as a database of tons of products. It’s also tasked with tracking, report generation, etc.
Affiliates come to the network to choose what products to promote based on the terms and conditions provided.
Amazon, eBay, ClickBank are just a few of the most popular affiliate programs out there. We’ll take a look at them in a moment but before that, here is something worth noting.
In the affiliate marketing realm, you can build an affiliate marketing network like ShareASale; become a merchant and have affiliates promote your products, or become an affiliate marketer to promote as many products or services as you can and earn commissions.
Most people prefer to take the affiliate route because it’s easier to get started.
However, driving high-quality traffic to generate significant income through affiliate marketing is no easy task.
That’s why we’ll show you how to get started with affiliate marketing step by step.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing Step by Step
To do affiliate marketing, you’ll need to choose your niche, decide what affiliate marketing network or program to join, find profitable products to promote, start reviewing the products either on your YouTube channel, social media channels, blog, etc. You’ll also need to build an email list so you can connect with your audience at any time you want.
Follow these seven steps to learn how to get started with affiliate marketing.
Step #1: Choose a Suitable Platform
Ideally, you can do affiliate marketing on any platform, as long as your target audience is there.
However, you need to choose a platform where you can build an audience that’s interested in what you promote to increase your affiliate sales.
In that case, you’d
The two suitable channels to do affiliate marketing is a blog or YouTube channel.
With a blog, you can attract people who are interested in your content, and on YouTube; you can attract people looking to watch your videos.
The good news is that starting a blog today isn’t only easy but is also cheap.
Creating a and uploading content is even free.
The trick is in how to optimize your channel for search engines to increase your rankings.
Once you optimize your , you can start adding your affiliate links to your descriptions.
For a blog, you’re going to need to disclose to your readers that you’re doing affiliate marketing as required by most trade laws.
Step #2: Choose a Profitable Niche
According to statistics, there are over blogs on the internet currently.
You can imagine the state of competition you’re going to face if you’re creating a blog today to start affiliate marketing.
There is a way to stand out from the crowd though- choosing a .
You need to choose a specific topic that you are knowledgeable about and can write content around for many years.
Ensure you choose a niche you’re interested in because consistency is key when you want to become successful with affiliate marketing. If you choose a topic you don’t have passion or interest in, you’re going to suffer burnout faster than you can imagine.
The going will get tough at some point in time and only if you’re passionate about a topic, you’ll keep going.
The topic on niche selection is a lengthy one that we cannot cover everything but you just need to consider your interest and profitability of the topic/niche.
You could also hire expert writers in your chosen niche to handle some of the tasks involved such as content writing, and more.
Step #3: Find the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Niche
To promote products of other companies as an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to find affiliate programs for your niche, and then sign up to become a member
You’re going to choose from three different types of affiliate programs which are:
- Affiliate programs for niche products that are high-paying with minimal appeal.
- Low-paying affiliate networks with mass appeal (high sales volume).
- High-paying affiliate programs with mass appeal.
How to decide which affiliate programs to join will depend on your niche and level of expertise.
You could also do a quick Google search to know what affiliate programs to join.
There are tens of thousands of affiliate marketing programs out there, but you don’t need them all. Below are a few of the best you may want to consider:
The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
Here are some of the best affiliate programs for both beginners and experts alike:
CJ affiliate is one of the largest affiliate platforms with products for different niches. In fact, many other affiliate programs have partnered with CJ Affiliate.
If you’re looking for a suitable e-commerce affiliate program then join this one.
The program has a market share of almost .
This affiliate program has a scrutinous application process so you can expect your request to be accepted or rejected.
ShareASale has a similar business model as CJ affiliate although this one has more offers to choose from.
You must have used or heard of Amazon even if you’re new to affiliate marketing. Their affiliate program is the largest of all with over 12 million offers to choose from.
You’re going to find Amazon products to promote, regardless of your niche.
eBay Partner Network
It’s not possible to mention the best affiliate marketing programs and forget the eBay Partner Network. This affiliate network has more advertisers and is straightforward.
The ClickBank is an online marketplace where digital content creators connect with affiliate marketers to promote digital information products.
ClickBank operates much like ShareASale and has an easy-to-use database. You can find products promote pretty fast.
Paxful is a crypto affiliate program that enables the trading of digital currencies.
If you’re looking to promote products in the web hosting realm, then WPengine would be the suitable affiliate program for you.
Other web hosting affiliate programs include SiteGround, Kinsta, Cloudways, etc.
If you’re looking for an education affiliate program then look no further than Coursera.
Udemy is also one of the largest education affiliate programs with many courses to promote than Coursera.
Other education affiliate programs include Teachable, Skillshare, DIY.org, etc.
You can get a huge list of the best affiliate programs .
Step #4: Share Epic Content on Your Platform
Without content marketing, no business can succeed online.
To get people coming to your affiliate platform (blog or YouTube channel) you need to create high-quality content and add your affiliate links naturally.
Remember that people are using the internet to learn how to solve a problem.
If your content can help them find solutions to their problems then you’d drive a ton of visitors to your affiliate site.
Step #5: Review Products in Your Niche
Now that you have decided which affiliate program to join- and you know what products to promote, it’s time to talk about them.
Yes, you really need to talk about products you like or have used in your niche then place affiliate links at specific places so your readers can click and purchase them.
You could talk about both digital and physical products, as long as you give your target audience the reason to click and buy using your links.
Depending on the channel you’re using, you can review products on your blog posts or in your YouTube videos.
Remember that you’ll always get your affiliate links once you sign up with an affiliate program.
Also, place the links naturally and follow the terms and conditions stated by the affiliate network you join.
Step #6: Attract Traffic To Your Affiliate Business
Whether you’re promoting your affiliate products through your blog or YouTube channel, there are many ways to attract traffic than you can imagine.
And because you already have epic content in your channel, the next step is to complement your efforts with a few strategies as below.
Search engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your content to rank high in search engines.
It’s one of the effective ways to drive qualified traffic to your affiliate blog or YouTube channel for free.
To drive quality traffic using SEO, you need to find out what your target customers are searching for, create content around the topics they are searching on the internet, and then adjust the technical stuff of your affiliate site.
You can amplify your traffic through PPC ads, although this will dig into your profits.
Besides, you’re going to lose money before you can start counting the dollars in your bank account.
You’ll also need to pay for ads constantly to keep traffic coming to your affiliate site.
We’d recommend trying other methods of driving traffic to your affiliate website before using paid ads if you’re new to affiliate marketing.
Collect emails of your visitors
Chances are that people coming to your affiliate site will not come back again.
To stay in touch with them every time you share fresh content, you need to build an email list.
With an effective email list, you can drive tons of traffic to your site every time you post new content.
You can also use your email list to send promotions to your subscribers directly.
Remember that persuading people to give out their emails is no easy task.
So, you need to learn how to do it.
Once you attract your target audience to your affiliate site, the last step is to persuade them to click on your affiliate links.
After all, how are they going to find the products you promote if they don’t click your affiliate links?
Now, this is where you need to learn how to place your affiliate links correctly inside your content.
You could use clickable text, images, or buttons but ensure everything doesn’t look spammy.
What is Affiliate Marketing: Final Words
To recap our in-depth guide, if you’re looking for how to get started with affiliate marketing then you should follow every step we have outlined above.
The reality is that affiliate marketing is a profitable way of making money online when done right.
We hope this article has helped you and we’d be happy if you could share it to help other aspiring affiliate marketers out there.
Susanna Balashova is a six-figure affiliate marketer who owns several affiliate marketing websites and products out there. Besides, she also works with the in the UK. Susanna is also the author of the . You can follow her on or connect with her on .