Affiliate marketing is something that was a little slower to take off than other marketing methods but is now rising in popularity. There are benefits both for the brand and the affiliate, and we’re going to take a look at how you can make the most of affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Ultimately, affiliate marketing is a means of increasing sales and generating income. It’s different to some other types of marketing, because it’s a collaborative effort that benefits both parties. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is where one person (the affiliate) promotes someone else’s (the brand) product or service and earns a commission in the process.
Up to 81% of brands and 84% of publishers use affiliate marketing to drive traffic to their websites and increase their sales. One entrepreneur, Jason Stone, who’s known as The Millionaire Mentor, generated $7 million in retailer sales in two months in 2017, showing that affiliate marketing really works!
For affiliates, affiliate marketing is an easy means of making money without much effort. You don’t have to create a product yourself, you just have to recommend someone else’s. It’s particularly popular with bloggers who use affiliate marketing as a side hustle.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work for Affiliates?
The actual promotion of the product or service is the easy part of affiliate marketing. An affiliate finds a product they want to promote, sign up for the vendor’s affiliate program, and get a link (or button for their website) that ensures that they get their commission.
It gets more complicated when it comes to the actual process of working out the commission. There are three different possibilities with affiliate marketing commission structures.
1) Getting Paid Per Sale
This is probably the most common means of getting commission, and it’s straightforward. If you promote a product, a visitor clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission. The key thing is that the visitor completes the purchase. With this kind of affiliate program, there’s no commission if the visitor abandons the checkout process.
2) Getting Paid Per Lead
Pay-per-lead affiliate commissions are more complicated. When a visitor clicks on an affiliate link and visits the merchant’s site, the affiliate gets a commission if the visitor completes a specific conversion goal such as signing up for a trial or downloading a file.
3) Getting Paid Per Click
For affiliates, pay per click is probably the easiest way of getting commission. They’re paid on the basis of increasing traffic to the merchant’s site, and every time a visitor clicks an affiliate link and lands on the vendor’s site, there’s a commission made.
With pay-per-sale affiliate programs, the biggest benefit for brands is that you only have to pay commission to the affiliate when a conversion goal is completed, or a sale is made. This means that you’re only paying a small percentage out when there’s already been a sale, which makes the marketing budget go much further. It’s a relatively risk-free way of increasing sales and awareness of your brand.
Exposure is the next biggest benefit for brands. With affiliates, your product or service gets promoted all over the internet. What’s more, because there’s something in it for the affiliate, they’re going to work harder to promote your product. This increases overall awareness of specific products and your brand in general. In many senses, it’s similar to word of mouth marketing, because people online tend to look for recommendations and affiliate marketing serves that purpose well.
One form of affiliate marketing that is particularly beneficial for brands is having affiliates who are considered to be influencers. These are people who have huge blog and social media followers, and who can generate huge amounts of traffic and sales for your product. If you have a niche product then the benefits of influencers are even greater.
Reaching worldwide audiences through affiliate marketing can dramatically increase your reach in a way that other online marketing methods can’t compete with. Your affiliate partners already have an established audience that you can tap into for a relatively small commission.
When you partner with a respected affiliate (particularly influencers), you not only increase traffic and sales, but you also benefit from valuable backlinks that can improve your SEO. Your ranking will improve as a result of successful affiliate marketing.
Using affiliate marketing effectively is like extending your sales team without having to pay a salary. That’s got to be a huge benefit for any business. You generate leads without any effort, freeing you up to work on creating more products that your affiliates can promote.
High quality affiliates can help your brand to increase your market share, especially if your competitors aren’t taking advantage of the affiliate marketing. You can leave your competitors trailing in your dust whilst you maximise your revenue with affiliates.
The benefits for affiliates are numerous. The first, of course, is that being an affiliate is a passive way of earning money. You don’t have a product to create. You don’t have to spend money on a marketing campaign. All you have to do is write about a product or service on your website in such a way that your audience is encouraged to click your link and make a purchase. What’s more, you write the post once but continue to reap the rewards long afterwards. You can be earning money whilst watching Netflix and stuffing yourself with popcorn, as your affiliate post does the work for you.
Secondly, you don’t have the hassle of dealing with customers needing support with a product. It’s not your product, so it’s someone else’s problem and you don’t have to worry. Affiliate marketing is like building a bridge that links your visitor with the vendor of the product you’re promoting, and then taking down the bridge once they’ve crossed. No fear of customer complaints – even if the customer complains to the vendor, your commission is still safe.
A third benefit is that there’s no cost involved with joining an affiliate program (mostly). You can start earning commission without shelling out a penny yourself. It’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any maintenance. Compared with creating and selling your own products, affiliate marketing is a real winner.
Fourthly, there are affiliates who’ve been able to quit their full time jobs to dedicate themselves to promoting affiliate products. It can be a lucrative business if you do it right, and you can run the whole thing from your bed if you want to. No daily commute and business clothes. You can earn your affiliate commission income without ever getting out of your PJs!
Being an affiliate is flexible. If you make your affiliate promotion into your main business, you’re essentially a freelancer. Unlike other freelancers, however, who only get paid for the work they do, and don’t get paid holidays, you can be earning money from your affiliate commissions whilst sipping a mojito on a beach in Barbados. No boss breathing down your neck. No one telling you which products to promote. You’re in control of how big your affiliate business becomes.
Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
If your brand is looking to make the most of affiliate marketing, there are some things you’ll need to take into consideration. We’ve put together a list of tips for success.
1) Use third party affiliate platforms to get started. Although it can be tempting to set things up yourself, that’s a recipe for disaster if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Third party platforms make affiliate marketing simple and allow you to better track your results. They also automate affiliate payments for you, too.
2) Aim for influencer affiliates to maximise your results. Look for affiliates who already have a sizeable following and can give your brand the right kind of exposure.
3) Do your research. Don’t just dive in and expect instant results. You need to investigate the best platform, find the right affiliates, and understand which kinds of products work best with affiliate marketing.
Naturally, if you’re an affiliate, you want to make the most of the opportunity to generate a passive income. Here’s some tips that can increase your commissions from affiliate marketing.
1) Choose affiliate products that your audience are going to be interested in. It’s no good promoting products with the highest commission rate if your audience aren’t going to be interested. It’s more valuable to find product that you can actually get commission on!
2) Believe in the products you’re promoting. Affiliate marketing has been around for long enough that people can recognise posts that are promoting affiliate products. You don’t want to lose readers by promoting products you’re not convinced about or are only promoting for the commission rate.
3) Write content that stands the test of time. For affiliate marketing to be truly passive, you want to write content that will still result in clicks, sales and commission months or years after writing it. The technical term for this is “evergreen” content or “timeless” content. These kinds of posts can keep on generating income for years, and they’re a real boost for your affiliate marketing business.
Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time now, but it’s growing rather than waning in popularity. There are benefits for both brands and affiliates and this kind of marketing can be a great source of revenue for both sides of the partnership.
Affiliate marketing is definitely something that you should be taking advantage of you, whether you’re a business with a product to market or a blogger looking for a passive income on the side.