What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the promotion of other businesses products or services through a promotional link or code in exchange for an agreed commission on every sale you make.
With consumer behavior constantly changing and evolving to a more internet-based seller's market, companies now rely on this effective method to increase engagement levels with their clients and attract new business from all over the world.
An example of this would be your favorite YouTuber or social media influencer that promotes a certain brand or product by encouraging you to use their promo code or click on their link to buy the product.
You often times hear this in the form of an ad read throughout videos on YouTube, as well as see it in the descriptions of posts, videos, and bio's for Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and more.
Affiliate marketing has low overhead costs since many affiliate programs are free to join and don't require physical commodities. You may not be making six figures at the start, but the business can become quite lucrative as you build and grow your audience.
If you're looking to get started with affiliate marketing today, here is a complete guide on how to do so below:
How it works
As an affiliate marketer, the brand you're promoting provides you with a unique link that you can add to your blog, website, or social media accounts. Through this, the company can record and track your referrals. So, when a customer clicks the link, they're directed to the store, where they can make a purchase. This transaction gets recorded in the affiliate network, and you receive a commission after the purchase is credited.
Different companies pay affiliate marketers in different ways.
Here are the different ways you can earn money through affiliate marketing:
- Pay per sale: You get paid an agreed percentage of the sale price for every sale you generate.
- Pay per click: Since affiliate marketing is about generating traffic, you can also be paid for every link click even if the user does not complete the sale.
- Earnings per lead: Payment for any leads generated. For instance, when a customer completes a free product trial or subscribes to the company's newsletter.
- Pay per install: This applies to digital tools like apps or websites. Therefore, you earn a specific percentage when a customer installs the product.
How to get started
Below are the basic steps to get started with affiliate marketing:
1. Identify your niche
In a broad market with many different niches, you will want to choose yours strategically. You'll want to choose a popular niche that interests you and piques the interest of others. For instance, you can decide to focus on lifestyle blogging or personal finance primarily.
To find a profitable niche, ensure you:
- Know the market demand, e.g., by reading market reports.
- Analyze the competition. A busy niche is favorable because many prospective customers already associate with such spaces.
Aside from that, consider researching and learning more about the niche to become an expert in that area. This way, you can present your audience with detailed content that will actually generate sales and put money in your pocket.
2. Choose the right affiliate marketing platform(s)
This is the social media platform you'll use to market the products. There are different networks for this, and the approach differs per person. It's best to do what you enjoy and are already good at, especially for beginners.
For instance, you can opt for blogging if you're an outstanding writer. On the other hand, if you spend most of your leisure time creating social media videos, then a YouTube channel or an Instagram account might be the best pick.
Below are some platforms you could potentially market your affiliate links on:
- Running a website
- Paid ads
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing, for instance, using an Instagram or Facebook account
- Starting a YouTube Channel
3. Find the best affiliate marketing program
In today's world, almost every company uses affiliate marketing. Therefore, because there are so many affiliate marketing programs, you can be selective and choose the one that works best for you. That is, not only a well-paying program but one that provides the best offers and products that resonate with your audience.
Here are some factors to consider before getting your links:
- The partner's market reputation: Ensure the company is trusted as this directly impacts your traffic.
- The commission rate: A good program pays 10% and above on sales.
- Earnings per click rate: On top of the commission, find a program with a high EPC rate to maximize your profits. (Should be at least 2x your cost per click.)
To deal with products or services you enjoy, try reaching out to some of your favorite brands and ask if they can consider building an affiliate relationship. Also, affiliate marketplaces like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, FlexOffers, and ClickBank can connect you to the best merchants and products.
4. Create engaging content
Remember that if you can't connect well with the customers, they likely won't click or even buy the recommended products. For that reason, ensure you publish high-quality content to increase the level of engagement you pull from your audience. For instance, if your niche is in personal finance, post engaging content on financial planning to instill interest while educating the users. Potential customers may choose your product right away if they're impressed. Putting out good quality work also makes you come off more credible
Below are ways to drive traffic:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When dealing with a blog, you must understand what prospective customers usually search for and create blog posts around those topics. Use keywords well to rank your affiliate site in search engines and get consistent traffic. Add the links to your content, including calls to action.
- Have an Email list: You can get customer emails from entry points, especially if you own a website. This allows you to speak directly to your audience, inform them about new content and convince them to keep coming back.
- Paid traffic: If you find a high-paying affiliate program, consider paying for traffic to gain more numbers. However, if you're working on a tight budget and it's a low-paying program, this might not be necessary as it could cost you a lot in the early stages.
5. Add your affiliate links
Despite creating engaging content, people may still fail to click on your links. Therefore, to improve the chances of getting more clicks, ensure:
- You balance your link placement among various platforms and make them easily accessible. (e.g., in your bio, post/video descriptions.)
- The links fit into the context of what you're promoting.
- Include a call to action: e.g., “Click the link in the description to sign up today”
These clicks convert into sales the moment a visitor purchases the product through your link, earning you a specified percentage. Therefore, always track your results to see what works and doesn't work to optimize your campaigns and increase profits.
Affiliate marketing is an intelligent way to earn passive income flexibly, in less time, and while doing what you enjoy. With this side hustle's growth potential, you can certainly scale up pretty quickly and set yourself up for success with some initial consistency and hard work.
Above is a guide on what affiliate marketing is about, how it works, and how to get started. The key to making sales through your affiliate links is to find a trustworthy partner you feel proud to promote. Your audience will most likely feel your passion for the product in return, which will always generate to more sales.