The internet has become an inalienable part of our lives in the last decade and a half as it shapes our decision-making process in numerous ways. This influential nature of the internet has also created avenues for anyone who knows how to leverage that influence for their benefit. Those who are well versed with the tactics of gaining the trust of internet users are poised to profit from the same.
Affiliate marketing is one such tactic of leveraging the online influence commanded by an individual or a group of people/organization. Affiliate marketing has emerged as a pioneer in the freelancing world in terms of the extra income it can help generate. It provides an affiliate with an option of earning a good revenue without the hassle involved in a normal nine to five. All you need is a fair bit of online clout or skills to persuade/influence people online — using various methods to choose from — to perform a certain action.
Do you want to know more about what exactly affiliate marketing is? Fret not, we have you covered! Keep reading.
We are going to introduce you to the exciting world of affiliate marketing in this article. We will start by learning the basics of affiliate marketing and understanding the working of the whole concept more closely. Not just that, we will also equip you with the best practices involved in affiliate marketing, to set you up for a head start in the field. Lastly, we will introduce you to some pro tips that can make your venture into affiliate marketing a resounding success, while avoiding the pitfalls involved in it.
What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s get started without any more beating around the bush!
The process where an affiliate(also known as a ‘publisher’), an individual or a company, promotes the products or services of a seller to a set of prospective customers in exchange for a commission from the seller, is known as affiliate marketing.
Now, it may sound very simple, but it is a little more layered and complicated than that. First of all, the most pressing question that arises is:
Who is (or can be) an Affiliate?
As mentioned above, an affiliate or a publisher can be an individual, a group of people, or a company that markets the product/service of a seller to prospective customers. To put it simply, an affiliate has the job of persuading and influencing the decision-making process of the consumers, appealingly. The persuasion has to hinge on adding value to the consumer through the said product or service being promoted, with the end goal of convincing them in favor of the product/service. The affiliate earns their share of the profit once the consumer ends up buying the product.
Generally, affiliates are known to market to a niche audience, one that they command more influence over. They promote products based on the interests of the target audience, to ensure better conversions.
The other important query that comes up is:
How does Affiliate Marketing generate revenue?
It is clear by now that affiliate marketing seems to be a fast, inexpensive and effective way to make money, barring all hassles like – working for someone else, actually selling a product, worrying about customer feedback, or customer service. But the question that remains is how exactly does the revenue come by? Well, the answer is not a straightforward one, to put it mildly.
It’s not always necessary for the customer to buy a seller’s product/service; there are multiple ways in which an affiliate’s commission can be calculated — which can be fixed, or a percentage of the profit made by the seller/creator. Some of the common ways in which an affiliate earns their money are discussed below:
- Pay per sale: This method involves paying a commission to the affiliate by the seller/creator in terms of a percentage of the selling price of the product/service being promoted. Simply put: the consumer actually needs to invest in a product for an affiliate to get compensated. This is the standard mode of payment in an affiliate marketing structure.
- Pay per lead: In this method of compensation, an affiliate needs to drive the conversion of leads. The job of the publisher, in this case, is to lead the consumer to the seller/creator’s website to make them complete the desired action — which can be signing up for a trial, subscribing to a newsletter, filling a contact form, or downloading some software, etc.
- Pay per click: Here, an affiliate has the easier job of redirecting the consumer to the merchant’s website. The affiliate needs to perform actions that can lead the consumer to move from the affiliate’s platform to the merchant’s website. In other words, the merchant pays the affiliate to help increase the traffic on their website.
The last question that might pop up in your mind is:
Why should one become an Affiliate Marketer?
There is more than one reason why you should. The most enticing ones include:
- It is cost-effective: Affiliate marketing requires little investment to start if any. This translates into an ease of starting up, and that too quickly.
- It generates passive income: As mentioned above as well, any normal job requires you to be at work, either physically or virtually, in today’s context. Whereas affiliate marketing gives you the freedom of earning more in addition to your regular job from the comfort of your home, and without having to report to anybody else. All it requires is a fixed investment in the form of your time, which fetches continuous results for a longer time.
- It is convenient and flexible: Affiliate marketing grants you the freedom and independence to set your goals, choose for marketing the products that interest you and even set the desired work schedule. You can focus on diversifying your portfolio owing to this convenience.
- Rewards are performance-based: Compensation for affiliate marketing is solely based on your performance; you get paid for the work that you do. It doesn’t have to be the same fixed salary that you would earn for a 60-hour workweek.
- Best use of SEO and digital marketing skills: Organic traffic is the favorite of search engines. A systematically done SEO helps in ensuring a steady flow of such traffic. It’s a fact that users look on the internet for most of the information that they require. Therefore, affiliate marketing can benefit from a good understanding of SEO basics. Various digital marketing services can be availed to take care of this aspect, for example, multiple free backlink checker tools available on the web.
( Also Read: Google Adsense vs. Affiliate Marketing )
Best Practices in Affiliate Marketing
Create fresh content regularly:
Whether you are a blogger, a social media influencer, or a website owner — the common thread that connects you as affiliate marketers is content. It is your content that has to influence and persuade prospective consumers to invest in a product or service. Therefore, you must realize that your content shouldn’t be lagging. Adding fresh content to your respective platform is the best way to keep your audience engaged, for engagement is your bread and butter. The reason is simple: the fresher content you churn out, the freer traffic it generates. Thus, creating quality content regularly is one of the most important best practices in affiliate marketing.
Invest in detailed research before investing your time in a product/service:
Having a plan inferred based on rigorous research is yet another important basic tenet of having a successful affiliate marketing strategy. You need to deduce whether the product that you are taking up for promotion can turn out to be profitable — which is measured by the number of people it would need to reach so that you could generate revenue off of it. In the beginning, affiliate marketing is a time-intensive business. Therefore, you need to carry out detailed research to ensure that your business can be profitable.
Save up, re-invest, outsource:
You should, without exception, save up the initial profits made by your affiliate marketing business. The reason being savings can be later re-invested towards growing your business to increase the profit percentage even higher. Outsourcing is the answer — the practice of relegating excess work to outside professionals. Your business can expand exponentially, and in turn, your profits. There are various ways like hiring expert developers, part-time or full-time assistants, etc.
Stay focused and maintain consistency
Affiliate marketing is one of those fields were staying consistent and putting in a sustained effort is of utmost importance. You will not find success overnight as affiliate marketing is a marathon race, not a 100m sprint. Getting a sustainable target audience requires unfettered focus and patience. You will have to stay put and wait for results because when they do come, which they will, the wait will be worth it.
Tips to make Affiliate Marketing a Resounding Success
Develop a relationship with your audience
Foster an audience that has specific interests so that you can tailor your content accordingly. In this manner, you can develop a relationship with your audience, making them trust what you have to say. The idea is to focus on quality rather than quantity by putting your audience first and appealing to the niche where they belong.
Personalize the experience to add value
Only promote those products that have the qualities worthy of adding value to the life of your audience. In this way, your platform becomes reliable for consumers and translates into higher conversion rates.
Focus on conversion rates rather than commissions
The mantra for success for many successful affiliate marketers is promoting sellers/creators with better conversion rates instead of chasing higher commissions. The logic is simple: a greater conversion rate ensures profit in bulk and more than compensates for steering clear of products that appear to offer more commissions.
Review products and services
When you regularly review products and services falling under your niche, you stand to benefit from the relationship that you have fostered with that particular audience. Leverage the trust between you and your audience and inform them about the benefits of investing in the product being reviewed.
Don’t forget to keep a track of what works
You must keep tracking the analytics about user engagement on your platforms to understand what content works. Take the help of various analytics tools like Google Analytics to do the same. You can also rely on the tools provided by your affiliate network. Working around insights about the aforementioned helps you tweak, omit, or change the parts that perform underwhelmingly.
Be mindful of the latest trends
Staying on top of new trends helps you reign supreme amongst your ever-increasing competition. You should also be vigilant about the newer marketing techniques and implement them positively to stay up to date. Making sure that you move ahead with time will reflect positively on your conversion rates.
Don’t be a rule breaker
One must play by the rules in the realm of affiliate marketing. What does that imply, you ask? Well, it implies that companies and brands that you work with have created a name for themselves with hard work and years of experience. Therefore, they are sensitive towards how you approach the promotions of their products.
Make sure that you don’t make false claims about their products/services because that can hurt the image of their brand. Also, steer clear of paid search advertising and depend on SEO best practices to drive organic traffic. Follow all other guidelines as specified by the brand before posting affiliate links. Never void the terms and conditions.
Now that you are familiar with the necessary know-how about affiliate marketing and its best practices, you are good to go for starting your journey or strengthening the one that you have already embarked on. Remember that affiliate marketing depends mostly on the trust between you and your audience. It requires you to aim for the long haul because it depends on consistency and commitment. Once you find your footing — which you will, upon following everything this article talks about — there’s no turning back. The returns will keep on increasing.