Basic knowledge of ‘Affiliate Marketing’ before joining

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.

 

In fact, affiliate marketing spend in the United States increased from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion in 2022 — which means there’s plenty of room for those looking to get a piece of the pie.

 

This step-by-step beginner’s guide will walk you through how to launch your affiliating marketing business and what benefits you can expect.

 

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 affiliate or advertiser.

The consumer.

 

Types of Affiliate Marketing

It’s often unclear whether an affiliate marketer has actually used the product they’re promoting or if they’re simply in it for the money — sometimes it may not matter to the customer one way or the other.

 

But other times, such as with diet services or skincare products, the customer may not trust an affiliate unless they know that he/she has tested and approved the product themselves.

 

In 2009, renowned affiliate marketer Pat Flynn categorized affiliate marketing into three types — unattached, related and involved — to help differentiate between affiliate marketers who are closely tied to a product versus those who are not.

Unattached.

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.

 

Related.

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.

 

Involved.

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?

A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer?

 

The answer can get complicated.

 

The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently.

 

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 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.

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.

 

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.

 

Cost-effective.

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.

 

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.

 

Influencers.

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.

 

Bloggers.

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.

 

Tips to Help You Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer

Ready to try your hand at affiliate marketing? Here are our top online marketing tips to help you get started.

 

Develop a rapport with your audience.

When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.

 

Make it personal.

There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote.

 

You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, or even products from your favorite brands, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.

 

You’ll also want to get really good at email outreach to work with other bloggers and influencers. Use a tool like ContactOut or Voila Norbert to gather people’s contact information and send personalized emails to garner guest blogging and affiliate opportunities.

 

Start reviewing products and services.

Focus on reviewing products and services that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product or service you are promoting.

 

Almost anything sold online can be reviewed if there is an affiliate program — you can review physical products, digital software or even services booked online, like ride-sharing or travel resort booking.

 

It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.

 

Use several sources.

Instead of focusing on just an email campaign, also spend time making money with a blog, creating landing pages, posting on review sites, reaching out to your audience on social media and even looking into cross-channel promotions.

 

Test a variety of digital marketing strategies to see which one your audience responds to the most. Make frequent use of this technique.

 

Choose campaigns with care.

No matter how good your online marketing skills are, you’ll make less money on a bad product than you will on a valuable one. Take the time to study the demand for a new product before promoting it.

 

Make sure to research the seller with care before teaming up. Your time is worth a lot, and you want to be sure you’re spending it on a product that is profitable and a seller you can believe in.

 

The Final Word

An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, webinar software and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized.

 

Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.

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