What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing might sound like a very confusing term but we have been doing this all our life. If at one point in your life you have tried selling various items to people, then you might have done Affiliate marketing. In its most basic sense, affiliate marketing is a performance based method of marketing where you earn from selling products or services from another company. There are three components in this relationship; the business or brand that sells the item, the affiliate (you), and the buyer. When a buyer buys a product from the brand through you then you earn a commission.
You may ask, “why would the businesses even bother doing stuff like this? Why not just sell directly to the buyer?” Well, certain companies understand that no matter how much they spend on advertising, they will never reach everybody. So instead of wasting money on advertising, they would rather award it as commission to individuals who exert marketing effort to sell their products or services.
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
Obviously, the best benefit of affiliate marketing is the money you earn without having to come up with your own product or service. Now, you don’t have to wait for that “million-dollar” idea to earn money. All you have to do is to create some noise so people know what you are selling and you should do your best to “sell” it in such a way that you get more conversions.
Another benefit of affiliate marketing is that you will be part of a community of resellers. This will not only good in a social setting but also in a business sense. Imagine how many people you can partner up and/or collaborate with for future projects? Maybe you can find somebody who thinks just like you and you can work towards a common goal.
One other thing people like about affiliate marketing is that because of its inherent business design, you will be focused more on selling the item instead of micro managing different parts of the business such as customer service or product development. This gives you laser targeting in terms of priorities. Also, because it is performance based, you earn depending on how successful your marketing is. You can either spend 8 hours a day to market or 2-3 hours depending on your mood.
Is affiliate marketing business profitable?
Anything is profitable if you know what you are doing. In the case of affiliate marketing, you have to consider various factors. One would be the quality of the product you are selling. A saying comes to mind with regards to this once told by a popular marketer. He said that no matter how you sell crap. Put it in a box, add a number of adornments, or hire a well-known individual to sell it. It will still be crap. So make sure that the product itself is good and marketable. Another thing about products you have to consider is their commission rate. Some products (which are usually priced higher or are hard to sell) give bigger commissions. On the other hand, smaller products that sell easily have smaller commission rates. Try to see which one you are more comfortable with.
Next thing in mind would be the target market. Is the target market of said product within your reach? What can you do to reach them?
Remember that affiliate marketing is a performance based form of marketing so you earn as much as you sell. So make sure you have a good product worth selling to a population you understand and can easily reach.
How much can I make with affiliate marketing?
As what was mentioned above, your earnings with affiliate marketing depends on your performance. This means that your earnings have no limit as long as people are buying. You may earn as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars if you are doing good.
Note that the commission from product to product changes. One product may give you 10$ per sale while the other 50$ per subscription but this doesn’t mean you should go with the item with the higher commission rate.
The secret is to try and see which product you will have no problem selling. It doesn’t matter if an item will just give you 3$ per sale when you can sell a thousand items in just a week. A 50$ commission product that sells only 2-3 times a month is not really a good item to start.
Where people post affiliate links?
There are actually a lot of ways to share your affiliate links. Some people spam it on relevant forums, on social media, and other places online where people gather. While it may give your link some exposure, people hate it when marketers spam links so they will most likely get removed or ignored.
Currently, the best way to advertise your affiliate links is to create your own blog and put it there. Nowadays, it is easy to create a blog around a certain topic. For example, the products you are promoting are tools . You may want to start a website that focuses on tools like ToolsHaven. Create an article or two a week regarding saws and other tools and you can easily place your links on the content. You can even create widgets to advertise the product you are selling on your own blog. Now that you have your links on the blog, all you have to do is to advertise the blog itself. This way, your affiliate link won’t look spammy to your readers.
Best affiliate marketing programs
There are a lot of affiliate marketing programs out there and I personally can’t say one is better than the other. While some affiliate marketing programs can provide better commissions, others are also great for new users, while some programs have a long list of products you can sell. Here are some of the more popular affiliate marketing programs you can enroll to.
- CJ by Conversant
Considered to be the most popular affiliate marketing program for publishers, CJ is also hailed as the most technologically advanced program in the bunch.
Rakuten and CJ have a compete very closely in the industry but the selling point of Rakuten is the quality of their advertiser support that is considered the best in the business.
If you are relatively new to affiliate marketing, Amazon is the best program to start with. The wide variety of items available for sale and the ease of use make Amazon the most newbie friendly program out there.
- eBay Partner Network
Who doesn’t recognize eBay and it’s logo? Recently, the eBay partner network got even bigger when they absorbed Pepperjam.
Once the “go-to” affiliate marketing program, Clickbank got the short end of the stick when changes happened in the areas of promotion and disclosures. They are still considered to be a popular choice for starters who are looking for easy and reliable programs.
Top Affiliate Marketing Strategies
Affiliate marketing can be a very profitable business but there are still strategies that can make everything easier for you. Here are some of the strategies you can implement so your business will be successful and profitable in the long run:
- Focus on one niche first
Most starters make the mistake of covering various niches right after starting. While this tactic looks good in paper, focusing on one specific niche can be a much better option. Focusing on one product or niche means that you are putting all your effort on one specific niche that you can do research, write content, and advertise for. Getting it right on your first try is hard and having only one to mind makes it easier for you to get acquainted to the idea.
- Create excellent content
So how can you attract visitors to visit your blog? Well, go and create content that is not only unique but of value to your visitors. Think about it, will people be convinced of what you are selling if you can’t even sell it to them properly? The secret is not in quantity but in quality. Publishing a 2000-3000 word guide once in two weeks will be much better than publishing 10 500-word articles that are of no use.
- Don’t just sell, create a brand
One of the biggest mistakes that newbies make is that they create a blog or webpage solely to sell a product. While this may work, this is just you wasting time and effort. Instead of just making sites or pages just for selling, create a brand. One good way of doing this is starting a niche specific site that makes reviews, news articles, or opinion articles. Depending on the products you are selling, you can easily pepper your content with links as long as you don’t overdo it.
- Vary your traffic sources
Many times I have seen affiliate marketers fail because they put all their eggs in one basket in terms of traffic sources. Focusing only on organic search traffic can be doing your brand more harm than good. That’s why you should try to vary your traffic sources. Try to include social media and forums in your list and you should be good to go.