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.
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.
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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 four players involved.
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 why affiliate marketing became a $12 billion industry in 2017 and it continues to grow.
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 more interesting for businesses, 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
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 Make Money With Affiliate Programs
There are a few non-negotiables to keep in mind if you want to actually make money by utilizing affiliate programs:
- Create a website that’s chock-full of solid content
- Products that sell well should be promoted
- Targeted traffic from Google
- Promote products that people are actively looking for
- Optimize your links
How Much Money Can You Make From Affiliate Marketing?
It is possible to earn income from affiliate marketing in a variety of ways. Depending on the affiliate program, some will make a few hundred dollars per month, while others will make six figures. Affiliate marketers can make more money if they have a large following.
Affiliate Marketing Strategies
A great way to boost your brand’s visibility, increase reach and grow your business is through affiliate marketing. Here are a few strategies that can help you get started:
Choosing the Right Affiliates
There’s still no better marketing tool than word of mouth. But, of course, you’d want affiliates with engaged followings that trust them. Don’t forget to consider engagement, authority, rapport and page views when making your decision. Work with affiliates who have audiences that match your target segment or fall under the same field of interest as you.
Consider an Influencer Partnership
It’s all about social media influencers these days. According to a 2021 poll from CivicScience, 14% of older Gen Z’s bought something based on an influencer recommendation in the past six months. Influencer marketing yields 11 times more ROI than banner ads, according to a study.
Influencers make great affiliates for a lot of reasons. One of the most significant advantages is that they already have an audience. There’s no need to work with celebrities to create content. There are a lot of ordinary people who can build big followings on social media with engaging content!
Develop a Diverse Affiliate Program
The purpose of diversifying an investment portfolio in finance is to reduce risk. Diversifying your affiliate program is the same thing. You can start by relying on one or two affiliates, but you might not be able to sustain it for long. Create a diversified affiliate program if you want to maximize the potential of your program. You can also create future opportunities by reaching out to new audiences.
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 fewer 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, and 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.
There are many email marketing tools to get started, such as Mailchimp or Benchmark Email. Both offer free options so new users can try the tools.
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 Materials
A lot of time and energy goes into creating quality materials for affiliates to promote your products, even though they know what their audience likes in terms of topic-related content. If affiliates were provided with branded materials for their social media and blogs, wouldn’t their work be so much easier? Affiliate productivity can be improved by providing affiliates with high-quality, branded marketing materials. Your affiliates will benefit from the following promotional materials:
Images and Graphics
In comparison to a long wall of text, blog posts and reviews with images and graphics catch people’s attention much faster. Your visitors will be able to see the best side of your product or service by using original photos or branded graphics.
Videos of all kinds — whether reviews, vlogs or tutorials — are popular on the internet. By watching videos, they can see how products work, what others are using them for, and how they can use them themselves to solve problems.
Providing your affiliates with a brand guide is one of the best things you can do at the beginning of their work. Although a brand guide cannot cover all topics, questions, and issues, it is an excellent place for introducing your business and products, answering frequently asked questions, or providing a tutorial for affiliate tools and widgets.
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.
And if you’re looking for more techniques to boost your strategy, learn with the best brands by checking out 6 Digital Marketing examples that will inspire you!