What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products and services online, earning a small cut of the revenue – called commission – for every resulting sale made. This is done by posting links to your website’s content or reviews.
How does it work?
You have to find a product you want to promote and sign up for their affiliate program. You will receive a special link that allows the merchant to track people who clicked your link. The tracking is done via a cookie, the email used or the IP address, let the merchant know that if a sale is made, it came from you.
You earn a small commission every time a visitor clicks on an affiliate link and buys something. These commissions are either a percentage of the sale or a flat fee per order. Remember, the seller pays you a commission, but the final price for the buyer doesn’t change. The buyer isn’t losing anything by purchasing through your link.
How to do affiliate marketing?
- Narrow down your area of expertise. Online marketers call this “picking your niche”. Your site’s focus requires clarity on your specialization and the needs of its target audience. To succeed, promote products and services that you can vouch for and that interest your website’s visitors. Communicate with your existing audience and ask questions through comment prompts and forums, or surveys. Think about the problems your audience faces, and propose a solution (the product).
- Build a website. Most companies want to ensure that the content on the website will not hurt the company’s reputation and so, will request for a URL of the website being used. With simple, user-friendly website building tools so widely accessible, it is very easy to build a website.
- Research affiliate programs. Find an affiliate program that offers products or services in your niche and put thought into which products you promote. You can promote a physical or an information product or a service. It is crucial to promote high-quality products and services that you have personally used. Review the terms of any affiliate program you are considering; some of them require you to disclose the terms of your relationship.
- Join an affiliate program. Most reputed companies allow people to become affiliates free of charge. You will be asked for bank account or PayPal information so that it can pay you the commission you earned, and for the URL of your website. Never disclose credit card information if asked, as it might be a scam.
- Add affiliate links to your content. Add affiliate links within your content by reviewing or recommending the product, instead of trying to make a sale by placing an advertisement. Companies make it very easy to get links to their site, and the way to do it varies for each company. Include prominent, carefully-designed Calls to Action (CTAs) that encourage clicks.
- Create quality content. Show your audience why they need the product or service. Create reviews for each item with lots of images and detailed information. Always produce original content, relevant to your niche. The more content you produce, the more affiliate links you have, and thus, more possibility of a sale.
- Use analytics to measure your success. Analytics is information about what you are selling, how you sold it, and to whom you sold it. Most affiliate marketing sites offer helpful analytics so you know what is working for you. Produce content that gives you the opportunity to market it even more. Focus on what works; eliminate what doesn’t work.
Affiliate programs for beginners:
- Amazon Associates. Amazon sells just about everything, so it is likely that your niche includes products sold on Amazon. It only requires one approval from the company and has simple linking tools for every kind of marketer.
- WordPress.com Affiliate Program. You can refer as many contacts as you want, and get paid for every premium sale you refer. It is easy to launch and manage your campaigns, track your traffic, view detailed statistics, customize reports, check your payments, etc.
- ClickBank is a privately held Internet retailer of both physical and digital products. Through its affiliate network, ClickBank assists in building visibility and revenue-generating opportunities for entrepreneurs.
- Flipkart. It has an extensive range of tools available, ranging from simple banners & widgets to APIs, and real-time reports that provide extensive data about the activity of your links, conversions & performance across all categories that empower you to optimize your campaign performance.
- Yatra.com Affiliate Program. Commissions are paid upon booking and they offer a 30 days cookie duration, online reporting, and tracking, an easy implementation that allows you to start earning commissions within a few minutes of acceptance.
Getting started in affiliate marketing:
Affiliate marketing can seem intimidating at first, especially if you have no experience with this kind of sale and earning. However, it is a beginner-friendly way to earn money from your site. The hindrances to enter are low. It is a way for you to earn some money for recommending products or services to your friends or readers.
Promoting popular products is a smart way to attract more traffic to your site and improve your brand exposure. If the commissions are small, you will need lots of content views for affiliate marketing to be capable of working successfully. You can sign up for as many affiliate programs as you like.
This most relieving part is that you don’t have to create your own products, or necessarily build additional content specialized for these products. You just include affiliate recommendations in your existing content.
Things to keep in mind:
- Avoid spamming your site with too many promotions or pushing low-quality products, since this can hurt your reputation.
- Ensure that your affiliate links don’t harm your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Getting it off the ground with that initial idea, website, content and sale, and making that first conversion is a big deal, and a big challenge. Breaking in and getting up to a irreversible momentum of income takes a lot of hard work, risk-taking attitude and a willingness to fail, but perseverance in the right direction pays off eventually.
Affiliate marketing is a very relevant industry in the modern marketing age, and remains a viable career opportunity for those who understand it.