Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing in which a merchant, or product owner or company or an advertiser, who owns a business rewards one or more affiliates for an action taken by a visitor or a sale from each visitor or customer brought to the merchant by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
Over the last decade, affiliate marketing business has grown so much in complexity from the initial three key players and publishers just putting up a website without much competition, starts to earn commission. It has mostly four different components as key players now and also the emergence of a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.
There has also been a change in the mindset of people wanting to earn online or increase their income. Originally the only options were to find new jobs or start your own brick and mortar business,
but the internet has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for those willing to try something new in order to diversify their income and start earning from home.
There are a number of reasons as to why this is the case, but the basic ones are that there is very little outlay to get started, no great technical knowledge is required and it’s just not that complicated if you can get a good knowledgeable mentor to train you.
Hence it is a perfect business for those that don’t have any background or experience in any techie business.
So What is Affiliate Marketing?
Simply put affiliate marketing is the process where you as an affiliate marketer promote a merchant or vendors products or services to the public. When someone clicks on your link and is directed to the
merchant’s website and buys from them, you get a commission for the sale.
Affiliate marketing is the process by which a person promotes other people’s or merchants’ product(s) or/and service and then earns a commission or a percentage of the sale made, as a result the action taken by the prospects or visitors that are brought by the publisher, person promoting the product.
As an affiliate marketer and website owner, you may create valuable content and provide great value and benefits to your visitors. These visitors would end up trusting you as an expert they can listen to, in order to solve their problems or relieve them of their pains.
When you introduce any product(s) or service to such visitors, some of them are most likely to buy through your recommendation. You are regarded as a publisher, that is an individual or company that promotes other people’s merchant, (an advertiser’s) product(s) or service in exchange for earning a commission
A certain commission is now paid to you to compensate you for your hard work.
In a nut shell, in affiliate marketing programs, you research and find a product or service you believe would solve the problems of your visitors or list, based on various time tested factors, promote it to others, and then earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make for the merchant or product owner.
How Affiliate Marketing Works: The Basic process Of Affiliate Marketing Business Industry
Affiliate marketing at its very core is about relationships. These days, it is a relationship among four parties.
Affiliate marketing programs have four core players:
1. The merchant (also known as ‘advertiser’ or ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’ or ‘product owner’),
2. The publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’),
3. The customer (also known as the ‘consumer’)
4. The network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments)
The product owner or company or advertiser on one hand, secondly, the publisher who is promoting the product or service to the consumers who are his visitors, thirdly, the network who takes care of the offers for the merchant and the affiliate(s) needs and also the payments by the consumer and to the affiliate(s) and fourth, the consumer, who is the last component of the relationship who completes the circle.
He needs the product(s) to solve some problems and then makes purchases.
The consumer is the one who actually sees the promotion in form of a review. or an article or an ad and then takes an action.
This action may be in form of submitting their information via a web opt in form or by just clicking through a link on a web page which in turn then takes them from the the publisher’s web site to the product owner’s (or advertiser’s) website to complete the action.
In most cases,these process is handled in one form or the other by the network, partially or totally.
These most popular third party network companies in the industry among others are
- Warriorplus.com (Warrior WSO)
- CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction),
- and many others.
From an affiliate marketers perspective there are many advantages, no managing of products or stock, no dealing with customers and invoices and no responsibility towards making the sale other than directing the prospective customer in the right direction.
How To Get Started
If you think this is something you might enjoy it’s fairly easy to get started. You can choose to sign up with several affiliate programs that manage merchants looking for affiliates to promote their products or even find a private program and work with a merchant one on one. Just do a search for affiliate programs and have a look through the results.
Many affiliate companies pay once a month using PayPal or direct deposit depending on the size of the company and its location.
Once you have registered as an affiliate with any of the above networks, it’s time to consider what you want to promote and start doing some research on keywords around the products you have chosen.
You can do this using the free Google keywords tool. This will give you some indication as to how many times your keyword is searched and how competitive the niche is, which you need to use as an indicator as to whether it will be worthwhile or too hard to pursue that particular niche.
When you have your product names and keywords, you will need to register a domain, purchase hosting and setup your website to promote your niche. Many of the larger merchants will provide you with
banners, images and your affiliate link (this is needed for you to get credit for any eventual sale) to put in your website. It’s important to write unique and original content when promoting your product as Google will give a lot more credibility to valuable content as opposed to regurgitated articles.
Affiliate Marketing Business Strategies
Various methods of Affiliate marketing include publishing reviews of products or services offered by a merchant, (PPC – Pay Per Click), (PPA – Pay Per Action), organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing, Adwords, Bings Ads, Yahoo Ads, Facebook ads, e-mail marketing, content marketing and other forms of advertising such as solo advertising, banner advertising, video advertising through youtube, vimeo and others, podcasting and now webinars.
Once you have your site setup its time to start getting some backlinks to get yourself on the front page of Google, or at least that’s where you should be aiming to be to get maximum traffic for your keywords.
Building backlinks is beyond the scope of this article but there are many free tutorials and videos on the internet to walk you through the process.
You will need to put in a bit of work to get started. It’s never going to happen overnight. So don’t give up if the expected results are not achieved immediately. You need to understand the steps to achieve success in your affiliate marketing effort. Just be persistent until you start to see results and then scale up those steps you are doing right.