Affiliate marketing 101: What do you Need to Know?

Wondering why so many business-minded individuals are turning into affiliate marketing? 

You can make money during the wee hours of the morning while you’re still in dreamland. 

Defining Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing wherein an affiliate markets someone else’s products and earns commissions for doing so. As an affiliate, you have the freedom to choose any item you’re passionate about or believe to be a moneymaker. After the selection process, you then work hard to promote that product. Every product you’ve sold entitles you to a financial reward from the seller. Affiliate links are used to track the sales your company is making.

Affiliate marketing sounds like a walk in the park. If it’s really easy, how can it help you earn money? Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

  • More than 80% of publishers and brand names take advantage of affiliate marketing.
  • Every year, there’s a consistent 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing costs. 
  • Jason Stone’s Millionaire coach was responsible for a total of 7 million dollar earnings for their partners in June and July 2017.

This popular technique helps brands become more successful by driving traffic, consisting of potential consumers, to their partners’ websites and other pages. The collaboration benefits all parties involved. 

If the numbers were able to sway you, keep reading to find out more about Affiliate Marketing.

Understanding How Affiliate Marketing Works

To understand how affiliate marketing works, there are three vital players, which are:

  • Vendors and Manufacturers
  • Affiliate Marketer
  • Customers

The central premise involved in affiliate marketing is to outsource item production and marketing. Therefore, there’s a higher chance of tapping experts and expanding your reach for a better campaign. In turn, these individuals receive compensation for their help, which is a fair share of the sales. 

The Key Players

The Vendor or Manufacturer

Vendors are individuals or companies that distribute the product to the market. Products can range from actual items, such as a mattress, to a service, such as an online course,

In affiliate marketing, the sellers don’t really play a huge role when it comes to marketing. However, they can also be marketers and split the profits linked to affiliate marketers. This is the case for eCommerce merchants with a dropshipping business targeting new markets. They search for affiliate websites to sell their products and reach new audiences. 

The Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate website owners are also known as publishers. Affiliates can either be a sole individual or an entire business that promotes the vendor’s products to potential clients or customers. When they are effective and can manage to turn interested individuals into becoming actual buyers, they receive a part of the seller’s income.

Affiliates don’t have general audiences. Their website names are rather specific to attract individuals who are in different stages of the consumer journey. Some affiliates disclose that they receive a sum for their services, but customers are unaware of this fact in most cases. 

The Customer

Customers are the driving force of affiliate marketing. There are many ways to call customers’ attention as affiliates make sure to reach out to them in every way possible — social media, websites, and blogs. The amount paid for by the consumer is split in two. The percentage each party receives is on a case-to-case basis, depending on what was guaranteed upon. The affiliate’s share of revenue is always factored in the retail price. It’s relatively uncommon for a customer to pay more on top of the retail value to cover the affiliate’s income.

Five Types of Affiliate Marketers

There may be similarities to how marketers operate, but different marketing channels allow affiliates to sell the products in their own way.

  • Influencers: They are the new celebrities that have become famous due to their strong online presence. These people can influence their following, particularly when it comes to their purchasing decisions. An influencer has the advantage of directing individuals to a brand by posting about them on social media and other means of interacting with their fans. 
  • Bloggers: These people are really useful in converting interested parties into paying customers. Bloggers test out products or services and write about their experience in their blogs. Most bloggers can rank high in search engine queries that they can leverage to spread the word about particular goods and services they like. 
  • Email lists: Email marketing is still alive and kicking. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to drive up sales for affiliates. Marketers have lists for promoting the items or services. In some cases, marketers take advantage of email newsletters to insert hyperlinks to items. 
  • Paid microsites: Search-focused microsites are excellent in sales generation. Affiliate marketers operate these websites in partnership with a site or a search engine’s sponsored listing. Since they are distinct from the organization’s main website, they provide more specific material catering to a particular audience. They work because everything a potential customer needs is right there, especially a very straightforward call-to-action (CTA).
  • Media websites: These websites’ primary goal is to attract millions of people to their page. By selling products to their audience, they generate high income for the affiliate and the seller. Big media websites use contextual links and banners to put the products in front of consumers.

Ways Affiliate Marketers Earn Money

Affiliate marketing is suitable for businesses looking for an efficient and economical way to sell their products. 

But you’re still probably scratching your head about how they get paid after directing the customer to the seller. For this, we’ll have to get technical.

Customers don’t have to purchase the product for affiliates to receive compensation because the latter earnings will depend on the agreed-upon program with the seller.

  • Pay per sale: One of the most common practices in affiliate marketing. The vendor pays a fraction of the product’s total price after a customer has made a purchase.
  • Pay per lead: This one’s trickier. Affiliates earn money depending on the leads they were able to convert. In this case, affiliates direct the customer to the vendor’s website to achieve the desired action, such as contact form submission, product trial signups, software or apps downloads, and newsletter registration.
  • Pay Per Click: Affiliates receive incentives from vendors by leading customers from their marketing platform all the way to the vendor’s website. It’s the affiliates job to establish rapport with the target customer enough to convince them to check out another website.

The Latest Affiliate Marketing Trends in 2020

Here are some trends to take part in to improve your affiliate marketing game. 

  • Plenty of affiliate programs implement last-click crediting, giving affiliates the last click the incentive for the sales. Be on the lookout for attribution models and reporting features to help you develop a better marketing strategy.
  • Long-tailed keywords and hashtags are now in the spotlight. Therefore, it’s become more useful for influencers to advertise products related to the specific niche they’re in. One thing’s for sure, influencers may not drive a lot of people to the seller, but they do provide sure leads.
  • The General Data Defense Guideline or GDPR stated that affiliates should gather data by way of opt-in permission in 2018. This method is not only applicable to European citizens, even though the guidelines only cover the EU.
  • Since vendors are now largely dependent on affiliate channels for their marketing needs, it can request bigger commissions or better arrangements. 

Reasons to be an Affiliate Marketer

One of the best reasons has to be passive earnings. Any job will demand you time and energy to make money. But here comes affiliate marketing that allows you to earn money while watching TV or catching some zzzs. 

But aside from this apparent reason, here are other motives that will convince you to get in on the affiliate marketer movement:

  1. There’s no need for client support. In any business, having to answer to your clients or customers can be time-consuming. It also requires a great deal of patience and skills to ensure that they are fully satisfied. In affiliate marketing, client support doesn’t exist. All you need to do is connect the seller to the potential customer. Anything that happens after that has nothing to do with you anymore.
  2. It’s profitable. Most companies need to invest financially to get their business off the ground. Affiliate marketing will only require you to spend a few quid so you can get started right away.
  3. You can work from the comfort of your home. This, honestly, is self-explanatory. But apart from convenience, you’ll also be able to save up some dough from not having to use public transportation and eating out for lunch. Moreover, you can travel and still earn.
  4. No work hours. Affiliate marketing is, at its core, freelancing. Therefore, you’re responsible for your time, which won’t be a problem if you’re self-sufficient.
  5. It’s flexible. Affiliate marketing poses minimal challenges should you decide to pivot your business direction. You can select the items that you’re naturally curious about and be in total control of your goals. It’s up to you if you want to broaden your portfolio or channel all your knowledge into simple campaigns with a single focus.

Tips to Help you Build Your Name in Affiliate Marketing

These tricks of the trade are not exactly secret but can be beneficial to newbies and a reminder to seasoned publishers.

  1. Connect with your audience. When starting out, you need to reach out to people that match your target products. Therefore, these individuals should have very particular interests. Once you establish yourself as an expert that understands and relates to their needs, you’ll be able to leverage your position and market to them without sounding salesy or pushy.
  2. Level with your audience. If one product doesn’t work out, you can move on to the next. However, I advise you to choose products that you’re fond of. Doing so allows you to understand how customers think to be able to carve your name in the niche, increasing your conversion rate in the process. 
  3. Be resourceful. Utilizing more than one source is much better than sticking to a single campaign. You can take advantage of various options, such as cross-channel promotions, social media ads, blogs, and email campaigns.
  4. Take a hard look at what you’re offering. You need to understand the services or products within your niche so you can market them better. Providing relevant information establishes your expertise, making your target market respect and accept your recommendations more freely.
  5. Stay relevant. The fact that affiliate marketing is within reach for anyone who is willing to put in the work makes the competition really fierce in this line of business. It’s crucial to establish your reputation and keep up with the current trends to entice the customers more. Newer strategies can help improve your conversion rates as much as possible.
  6. Choose campaigns properly. It doesn’t matter how much work you put in. You’ll likely earn more with a product that sells itself than a bad product. Make sure you don’t solely rely on your capabilities. Research the seller and the product before putting in the time and effort.  
  7. Select products that you’re comfortable and confident with. As I’ve mentioned earlier, you have the option to promote a product that you advocate and really believe in. Backing up an item you’ve never tried before or is substandard can cast a shadow on your expertise. Also, never force an individual to buy a product. Your key role here is to captivate possible customers, and the way to do that is to provide reliable recommendations.
  8. Utilize SEO well. You can acquire tons of traffic through search engines should you play your cards right in SEO. It only makes sense since most people search online when they need something. These days, however, you need to put in work to get results. So it would help if you discovered how to insert SEO in your affiliate marketing business.
  9. In affiliate marketing, the more adventurous you are, the more things will bode well for you. Don’t focus all your efforts on one venture if you don’t want to have limited earnings. Look for merchants in your niche and see to it that you can offer varying items to bolster your business.
  10. Understand your sources better. Try to figure out where it’s coming from and the demographics of your primary audience. In this way, you can prepare marketing tactics that will captivate these individuals, and you’ll be better equipped to recommend affiliate items that are more suitable for them. Bear in mind that traffic sources come from social media, natural, paid, display, email, referral, and of course, direct traffic. Use tools that will allow you to pinpoint the time, location, and basic information of these traffic sources.
  11. Always examine and work on boosting your conversion rates. Measuring your performance is the best way to determine which areas need work and which are faring well. 

The Takeaway

Partnering with a vendor is an efficient way to earn income without placing a huge capital or coming up with your own products, be it an item or a type of service. 

Affiliate marketing is an ideal venture for individuals who can focus on running a performance-based business without minimal pressure. Some of the methods affiliate marketers use are social media, blogs, reviews, and so much more. There are plenty of opportunities, so don’t dare miss out.

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