What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is selling someone else’s service or product for which you receive a commission. What makes it so attractive to marketers is that you don’t have to worry about producing, updating and supporting the product or service. That is all completed by the product or service owner.
As an affiliate, your job is to try to push as much converting traffic as you can to the sales page of the product or service. This way you benefit as you get your commission and the owner benefits as they make money too without having to worry about traffic etc.
The majority of the big online stores have affiliate programs (such as Amazon) and the built-in affiliate tracking is why so many digital product creators use services like Clickbank or Digiresults. Anything you can buy on the internet probably has an affiliate program.
The commission structures are different for all products and services. For example, Amazon only pay a small percentage for select items. Clickbank products tend to pay out between 50% and 75% of the total cost.
This does not mean that promoting Clickbank products is necessarily more profitable though. We will discuss this further later on.
Price comparison sites are just giant affiliate sites. They show you the best price and when you click to jump to the cheapest site, you are using an affiliate link. This is how they make their money.
What Are The Benefits?
The biggest benefit of being an affiliate is you don’t have to worry about creating the product. Most products also require some sort of support after the sale has been made and once again, this is not the responsibility of the affiliate.
All an affiliate has to worry about is getting quality traffic to the sales page and hoping that it generates sales (of which they earn a percentage).
It is a symbiotic relationship between product owner and affiliate: one deals with the product, one deals with traffic.
If the product or service has a recurring cost, such as a monthly membership fee, then the affiliate earns commission every month too.
What are the Disadvantages?
The most obvious obstacle is that other affiliates are also competing with you to drive traffic to the sales page.
You cannot control the quality of after sales care and support that your traffic receives after they buy the product. Sometimes this can reflect badly on the affiliate.
How Does it Work in Practice?
To become an affiliate of a particular product or service, you need to get your own affiliate link.
This link is what earns you commissions.
Any visitor that arrives at the sales page from your link will earn you commission if they buy the product or service.
Links will pay you for all purchases on that site up until a set number of days after the initial click of the link. This number of days is called cookie length and it varies for each affiliate program. Some can be 60 days, some only 24 hours.
Some systems, such as Digiresults or JVZoo, require that you apply to become an affiliate and must explain how you plan to promote a product. Others, such as Clickbank, allow you to be an affiliate for all products or services once you have joined up.
Once you have joined an affiliate program, often the product owner will supply the affiliate with banner ads to use and emails to send out to lists. For the beginner this takes some of the work out of promoting the product.
How to Promote Your Affiliate Link
There are a few proven ways to make money from your affiliate link which have stood the test of time.
If you have a blog on a particular subject, putting advertising on the blog for related products using your affiliate link is a tried and trusted method. The important point here is to match the advert / product to the visitor to the site.
If you have an email mailing list, you can send an email promoting the product with your affiliate link in the email. When you hear that ‘money is in the list,’ that is how the majority of email lists become profitable. We will touch upon this further in a later post.
Amazon affiliate sites are very popular. The reason being that although you might only get a really small percentage of commission on an Amazon purchase, most Amazon visitors buy more than one product at a time. The affiliate gets paid commissions on all those purchases and any others up to 24 hours after they first clicked on the affiliate link.
This is why even though the commission percentage is small, it can be more profitable than a 75% commission program.
Review sites are very popular for affiliates. In this case, the affiliate ‘reviews’ the product or service (usually in a positive way!) and places affiliate links on the review site hoping that a visitor will click on it to then make a purchase.
Banner advertising is a slightly more expensive way for affiliates to make money. However, a well targeted banner will more than pay for itself. As with all paid traffic, this needs testing and analysing properly otherwise it is very easy to lose money.
One rule that is true no matter what you are promoting is that monthly payment affiliate programs are worth their weight in gold. Imagine promoting something once and getting paid every month for every commission. These type of programs, such as web hosting, are particularly competitive.
Affiliate marketing is a great way for a beginner to start their internet marketing business. It teaches a lot of the basic principles needed to be successful in internet marketing such as traffic, content creation, conversions etc.
Almost every full-time marketer uses affiliate marketing as a large part of their income.
Every single niche or market on the internet has an affiliate program so no matter where your interest lies, there is a program for you.