Affiliate marketing is an important part of Digital Marketing. This performance-based type of marketing rewards content creators with sales commissions for each item sold via their website.
The affiliate marketing generates revenue for your website without having to resort to display ads, over which the publisher has less control.
In this article, we will help you understand everything there is to know about this type of marketing and how you can make money with it.
Ready to learn? This content will guide you through:
- What is affiliate marketing?
- How does affiliate marketing work?
- What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
- What types of affiliate marketing channels are there?
- How to become an affiliate marketer and make money with it?
- How to build a successful affiliate marketing strategy?
What is affiliate marketing?
Before starting your journey with affiliate marketing, you must understand what it is and why it works.
Affiliate marketing is an option for website owners to make passive income by promoting links to products on their websites.
By that, we mean you can make money even when you’re not working.
The concept of affiliate marketing is to leverage your content to drive sales for a website by becoming a part of the Digital Marketing Funnel of specific products or brands.
A publisher can, through content directed towards a niche audience, gather views on a webpage and then promote affiliate links on it in exchange for a commission.
That means a single piece of content can generate revenue for a long time. The more content and visitors you have, the bigger the chances of making money with online affiliate marketing.
All sales are automatically tracked via your affiliate link code, and you get a part of the profit every time a visitor buys from your links.
How does affiliate marketing work?
As you can see, for online affiliate marketing to work, you must have a website or another channel where you can promote links of merchants.
Used by many big brands, such as Amazon, affiliate marketing campaigns have four key players:
- merchants: retailers or brands that promote affiliate marketing ads;
- networks: which provide offers to content producers;
- publishers: who promote affiliate links within their content;
- customer: the ultimate goal for marketers.
The process for building revenue this way is easy and consists of the following steps:
- publish content with added links to products that may interest the audience of that content;
- make the offers attractive to generate as many clicks and purchases as possible;
- every time a customer clicks on your link, they are driven to the partner’s website;
- if your customer decides to make a purchase, you’re in luck;
- the store will record the transaction using your unique affiliate link to calculate your commission;
- as soon as the transaction is confirmed, the commission will be credited to your account;
- in due time, you get paid for your monthly commissions and are free to start the process all over again, linking to other products on your website.
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
There are many ways to generate revenue if you have a website. So why choose affiliate marketing among all of them?
There are a few key reasons that make this strategy ideal for all the four players involved.
We’ll talk about them right below!
With affiliate marketing, you can pick your partners
One major challenge publishers face when promoting ads using services like Google Ads is controlling which messages are associated with their content.
Affiliate Marketing lets you choose the partners that will appear on your website, picking the ones your customers are more likely to interact with.
Besides that, you can work with brands you know and trust.
That’s is why affiliate marketing became a $12 billion industry in 2017 and keeps growing.
Brands get better advertising with affiliate marketing
Affiliate Marketing is also better for brands when compared to pay-per-click campaigns, and that’s what makes 81% of them rely on this type of program.
An affiliate partner is likely to get a company’s message to the right audience, reaching high conversion rates. IAB reports that, yearly, users visit affiliate links 5.6 billion times.
Take less risk with Digital Marketing using affiliate links
When a merchant pays for pay-per-click ads, they don’t necessarily get the performance they need.
Frequently, clicks are just that: a visit that doesn’t become a sale.
On the other hand, organic visits are much interesting for business, and those are the ones a brand gets with online affiliate marketing. After all, organic visitors are 5.66 times more likely to convert.
Use affiliate marketing for brand awareness
It’s hard to get the attention of consumers, and pay-per-click ads lack one thing affiliate marketing has: credibility.
A customer clicks on an affiliate marketing link because he trusts the recommendation of the publisher responsible for posting it.
That trust is lent to the brand that promotes the ad and can be the start of a lifelong relationship between consumers and companies.
What types of affiliate marketing channels are there?
One of the most popular types of Digital Marketing channels for affiliate marketing is blogs.
They are packed full of content, already have a solid audience, and can lend credibility to brands like nothing else.
Whether sampling the product before recommending it or analyzing its characteristics, a blog has a lot to contribute to the online affiliate marketing world.
That is why a lot of major players started blogging to make money from affiliate commissions
2. Email lists
Though email marketing has been around for a long time, it is a great way to get traffic to affiliate links.
Email lists cover a wide range of topics and, oftentimes, a captive audience.
Using them as a channel to deliver affiliate content can help you make money with affiliate marketing.
3. Coupon sites
Customers are always looking for the best deal. That is why the internet is filled with coupon websites, ready to show you how to save money in most chains.
Those types of pages are great ways to promote affiliate links. Publishers with a better understanding of their audience are the ones more likely to make a plenty of conversions in this channel.
While influence marketing and affiliate marketing aren’t at all the same, influencers can benefit a lot from using this strategy to make money.
They have a faithful audience and can direct consumers with ease to product links organically.
5. Review sites
Another great channel to promote an online affiliate marketing strategy is review sites.
This type of page is visited by consumers who already have, at least, a vague understanding of what they are looking for, and want to learn more before their purchase.
Well-placed affiliate links are at the right place at the right time and have higher conversion rates because of that.
How to become an affiliate marketer and make money with it?
Each affiliate marketing program is different, and you can learn a lot from their partner pages.
But there are general guidelines you can follow to start working with affiliate marketing as soon as possible.
Pick a niche
Affiliate marketers are more successful when they focus on a niche audience.
That makes it easier to target ads and develop Content Marketing to drive traffic to your website or mailing list.
Research the programs
There may be more affiliate programs than you imagine that fit your niche. So do your homework and find at least one to start working with.
Read their guidelines and look for other content creators that worked with the program in the past to hear what they have to say about it.
Start creating content
After picking your first partner or partners, it’s time to start creating content.
Focus on quality, don’t stuff your keywords, and don’t forget to optimize your website for search engines.
Build an audience
Now, all you need are readers to start engaging with your affiliate links. Build social network profiles and engage with your audience to create a following.
Check out those affiliate programs to get you started:
- Amazon Associates;
- Leadpages Partner Program;
- eBay Partners;
- Shopify Affiliate Program;
- Bluehost Affiliate Program.
How to build a successful affiliate marketing strategy?
Ready to start making money with affiliate marketing?
Now that you know all about how it works and why it is a great way to generate revenue for your website, it’s time to look into the best practices to make the most profit.
The following steps will help you develop a successful affiliate marketing strategy!
Step one: start small
One of the main risks of affiliate marketing is entering as many programs as you can. It will only make it harder to accumulate income through affiliate marketing, as it will spread your earnings on too many different channels.
Therefore, the best way to start is small. Enroll in one program, measure the results, and focus on the products that interest your audience.
It’s ok to try out more online affiliate marketing programs as time goes by to make sure you are using the right ones for your brand, but don’t do it from the get-go.
Remember that less advertising sources make tracking your goals easier and are the best choice when you’re starting with affiliate marketing.
Step two: build your brand
To be able to get as much income as you can, you will need to build a brand for yourself.
Your webpage should be easily recognizable and trustworthy so that visitors will feel safe to click on your ads.
A good branding foundation is also essential to get organic results with your website.
Focus on developing a rapport with visitors, so they will jump at the opportunity to shop using your affiliate links.
Step three: create quality content
The quality of the content your website publishes will make a big difference in how much money you make with affiliate marketing.
Finding a niche, producing a vast amount of materials for it — ranging from blog posts to interactive calculators and anything else you can put your mind to — is the way to guarantee longer visits and more exposure to your links.
That exposure, aligned with quality well-sourced content, will grant your influence over customers and make them more prone to clicking your affiliate marketing links.
Step four: don’t forget mobile visitors
Is your site ready for mobile navigation?
Today, a big part of online traffic comes from mobile devices. Thus, forgetting to adapt to that reality is a major problem that will impact your earnings with affiliate marketing.
According to research published by CNBC, almost three-quarters of the world will use just phones as their main mean to access the internet by 2025.
Making your site mobile-friendly will guarantee that those visitors can consume your content and click on the affiliate marketing links.
Step five: learn to read your website’s data
Data is a big friend of affiliate marketers, and that should come as no surprise.
Using your website’s Google Analytics page info, you will be able to understand better who visits your pages, what types of content gather the most attention, and where you should place affiliate links to obtain the biggest revenue.
Make it a habit to check on that data at least once every month and keep clean records of the most important Digital Marketing metrics.
Looking at them over time will be fundamental to help you learn how to improve your content and make online affiliate marketing one of your main gigs.
Step six: don’t rely on a single source of income
In step one, we said that you should test the waters with as few affiliate marketing programs as possible.
But as you advance and learn more about this marketing strategy, you will feel more comfortable to explore other programs and see if they resonate with your visitors.
Maintaining relationships with a few brands and participating in more than one affiliate marketing program is natural once you start to get the hang of things.
Keep tabs on how each one of your website’s affiliate links works to see what program brings the best ROI and which ones need improvements to perform as you expect them to.
Step seven: use email marketing to get ahead
Don’t be fooled into thinking your website is the only way to make money with affiliate links.
Email marketing is an effective strategy for most niches and will be of great help in selling more products.
Work on building a list of your blog visitors by handing out free high-value content, such as ebooks and white papers. Then use that list to grow your sales.
Good email marketing campaigns are set to work on autopilot and will be of great help in making sure your affiliate marketing links reach the right people at the right time.
Affiliate marketing is an opportunity to make some money on the side with a niche subject that you enjoy. Therefore, if you’re looking for opportunities to diversify your income, it might be something you want to invest in.