what is affiliate marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work? (An Important Guide to Get You Started)

Affiliate marketing is not a new term. It has been in use a long time before eCommerce and the internet became a thing. It is a mode of marketing whereby an organization compensates an affiliate marketer for generating the market for their products – and that is the essence of affiliate marketing. However, its prominence is due to eCommerce and the internet.

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which an individual (promoter, influencer, YouTuber, or marketer) earns a commission by promoting a product or service of another organization. Affiliate marketing is a pay-for-performance marketing scheme. 

As the internet and eCommerce gain more ground, the need for affiliate marketers to generate leads or traffic for business to sell their products or services arises. Organizations compensate affiliate partners for leads generated and business created from the affiliates’ marketing scheme. 

Who Is An Affiliate Marketer? 

An affiliate marketer is an individual or an organization who help to promote other companies product and services for a predetermined fee. This includes bloggers, content creators, influencers, marketers, and other individuals with an online presence.

As an affiliate marketer, one of the things you must always do is to learn. In order to be successful in this business, we have curated some top affiliate marketing blogs you should follow.

Steps to becoming an affiliate marketer

  1. An affiliate registers for the program to get an ID, username, or URL. This is the same URL you will use for your marketing
  2. You will include your unique ID or embed the URL to your blog post, email, or any marketing platform to invite your audience.
  3. When one of your audiences uses your ID or follows the link you have provided to the merchant’s website, a cookie identifies you as the referrer. 
  4. When the buyer makes the purchase (even if it is not immediate), a cookie identifies you and ensures you get compensated.
  5. The merchant publishes the affiliate report so that the clicks and sales from the affiliate can be monitored.
  6. The affiliate commissions are paid at the end of the payment period.

An affiliate link is a unique link that identifies you. It might be in the form of a URL, a username, a number, a unique code, or a combination of any of these. If a customer clicks the link or buys a product using your ID, the company will know they got the customer through your link. You will then be credited and paid for getting that customer. Companies track and pay their affiliate marketers through affiliate links/IDs.

You can also check our article on how to start affiliate marketing as a beginner

Affiliate Marketing Models

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing and there are three basic models in affiliate marketing.

  1. Pay-Per-Click: This is the simplest form of affiliate marketing and it is suitable for beginners. The organization pays an affiliate for all the valid clicks generated. It does not consider the result of the clicks in the form of lead generation or sales.
  2. Pay-Per-Lead: This takes the Pay-Per-Click model a step further. The organization tracks the action the click generated, and the affiliates get paid based on the action. This action can include leads, sales, submission of forms, sign up forms or completion of a survey.
  3. Pay-Per-Sale: This is similar to pay-per-lead with just a slight variation, sales must be generated. The affiliate gets compensated through qualified sales. This is usually a commission (a percentage of the sales or profit) agreed upon by both parties.

The Affiliate Marketing Process

  1. Define your Method: 

A good market always provides diverse approach methods for different audiences and platforms. The same thing goes for affiliate marketing. You must figure out the platform you want to build your audience around. 

Some of the common methods are:

  • Digital content creation: If you tread the part of a digital content creator, like YouTubers and bloggers, you will need to create contents that roll with the target audience. You will strategically acquaint your audience with the product or services they would enjoy. With this, there is a higher probability your audience would buy and you will earn a commission. 
  • Review writing: This is a streamlined content creation whereby you create content on products for a target audience. This can include spec sheets of products, hands-on review, product comparison, or first impression review. 
  • Event planning: Another major aspect of affiliate marketing is the use of events such as courses, workshops, talks, and shows. You can integrate affiliate marketing into your events to generate leads and markets.
  1. Find your platform:

There is a lot of online marketplaces that offer affiliate marketing. Examples of such include Expertnaire, Affiliate Future, FlexOffers, ShareASale, ClickBank, RevenueWire, AvantLink, LinkConnector, and CJ Affiliate.

  1. Find your products: 

It is the job of an affiliate marker to promote a product or service. Therefore, It is an important task to find the perfect product. Your audience must be able to connect with the product you are promoting. It has to be a product that your audience genuinely needs and you have to get and give out credible information to your audience.

Would you like to be an affiliate for a product or an eCommerce site? You can visit their website or get into correspondence with their marketing team. Large companies, such as amazon habitually have services they promote on their site.  You can also reach out directly to the owners of the products or services if they offer any affiliate marketing program. 

You can approach as many owners as you think are relevant to your audience. For example, if you’re a mobile-tech blogger, you can reach out to mobile phone producers or sellers, mobile accessories merchants, or mobile apps developers to sell their products for them and earn a commission.

What You Need To Start Affiliate Marketing

You need an organization that would supply the program you wish to promote; a platform where you can promote those products, time, and customers. These are just the basic things you need to start, but as you grow as an affiliate marketer, you will need a lot more such as talking to a product expert, setting your distribution strategy, creating a product tutorial, considering your angle, optimizing your terms, offering bonuses, and keeping things aboveboard.

There are no standard qualifications required for you to start. You do not need a huge start-up budget as an average individual already possesses most of the things needed to become a successful affiliate marketer. The earning opportunity is also limitless and the amount you earn as an affiliate marketer depends on the products and services you are promoting, the number of visitors viewing your promotion, buyers motivation, and the conversion rate.

In conclusion, an affiliate marketing program would have terms and conditions that you must fulfil if you want to excel in the program. You would have to pay rapt attention to this while selecting your affiliate program and prompting your affiliate offer. Hope you enjoyed this knowledge? Good luck as you begin your journey to affiliate marketing.

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