If you have been in the Online Marketing business for some time now you will have come across the term Affiliate Marketing by now and are probably making use of some type or another. If you are new to the business and have no idea what I am talking about, let me enlighten you.
Affiliate Marketing according to Wikipedia is:
“A type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards an affiliate for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
In other words, a person (or company) introduces or creates a new product online. They offer you (the affiliate) a commission of all sales that are made via your referral. You receive a percentage of the sales price or a fixed fee for directing the customer towards the purchase of said product. Now how do you refer someone to a product? There are some variations on how to receive commissions from the person/company offering the product.
- In most cases you will receive a referral link when signing up to the affiliate program. You make use of this particular link to market the product. Visitors to your website, blog, advertisement, etc. follow the link to the products website and if they buy the product, you will receive your commission.
- Another form of affiliate marketing involves you receiving a commission if a visitor takes some type of action after following your link to the site. This includes signing up to a service, completing a survey or filling in their name and email address.
You, as an affiliate, will receive either a percentage of the sale’s price as a commission or a fixed conversion rate, depending on the terms of the provider. The referral link provided to you has a unique identifier in it with which the provider can track where the referral came from.
Now you probably ask yourself why these programs are so popular among advertisers and other companies?
Imagine you have a product and you would like to make the general public aware of it. You spend quite a lot of money on advertising (online and offline) and receive enough response to make a small profit. If you make use of affiliate marketing strategies you only pay out a commission when an actual sale is made. This way you will only have expenses when you already sold a product. In the long run, you will earn a much bigger profit on the same product. Why spend a lot of money on advertisement when you do not know what the outcome might be and the results might be marginal at best. There are many many affiliate marketing opportunities out there today. However, it is not necessarily easy money just ripe for the picking. There is hard work and many hours of online interaction involved. The success or failure of your Affiliate Marketing Campaign relies mainly on the following factors:
- Website traffic is of great importance to the success of your Affiliate Marketing efforts.
- find the right products you want to market (there are risks involved, which will be mentioned later)
- market quality products (you might end up hurting your brand name rather than improving it)
- building a community of trust with your readers
- your audience must be in a “buying mood”
These reasons are not necessarily the only ones, but they are the most important ones.
I just mentioned certain risks in Affiliate Marketing and I want to quickly touch up on that.
I am sure that once in your life you have had someone constantly bugging you and pushing you to buy their product. And I am certain that the more he pushed the more reluctant of buying his product you became. It is the same with Affiliate Marketing practices. If you arrive on a page that tries to sell you something every step of the way without giving you any useful content, you will not come back. Will you? Make sure you are absolutely confident of the product you are promoting. If you promote a bad quality product and your trusting readers buy it and find out that you have been lying just to make a quick buck, you will lose them in a heartbeat. Not only that, your reputation and your brand name will suffer with it, because guess what, people talk all the time. You also have to remember that not all websites or blogs are suitable to be platforms for affiliate marketing. Some website’s content might make it very hard to find a product worth promoting or the main audience is not the buying type. All these things have to be well thought of before venturing too far into Affiliate Marketing.
Now that you know all about Affiliate Marketing, let’s get you started.
The first thing you would want to do is find a relevant product you can promote. It does not matter what it is, as long as it is of good quality and fits into your marketing niche. Another important thing to remember is that your product must be interesting to your audience. There are many ways of finding Affiliate programs on the Internet. The easiest way to find the right product is by making use of Affiliate Networks. Affiliate Networks are intermediaries between affiliates and the affiliate programs provided by the person/company. There are many of these out there, but the most well-known of these are:
Find the category you are interested in and start your search. Another way of finding affiliate programs for your specific niche market is to do a Google search on “your keyword” + affiliate program and have a look at what is offered there. Most reputable online stores (Amazon, eBay, etc.) have some type of affiliate program available. Even though the commissions are not very high on these programs it is quite easy to earn a commission via a referral sale. At last, but not least, have a look at what your competition is promoting. What works for them, might work for you as well. Have a piece of the pie.
OK, you have found the product of your choice and have set up all the necessary links on your site. Now you need to promote and sell this product.
There are various ways to do this and I will tell you about the main trends at the moment. Do you have a blog that enjoys a good following? Make use of it. Put a banner on the side promoting your affiliate product, or write a review about it (with a referral link at the bottom). You do not have a blog yet? Why not get one from the Empower Network? It is a personal blog on a viral blogging platform AND an affiliate program all-in-one (already indexed by search engines and 100% commissions). Make use of Social Media Networks. The best advertisement is word of mouth. Once you have exposed your product to your friends and acquaintances on the social media hubs (and they are interested) your commissions might sky-rocket. Write and submit articles about your product to various articles directories. Article Marketing is one of the most exploited and successful way of affiliate marketing. However, some article directories will not allow affiliate links in your articles. In that case, create a good blog post with all the affiliate links in it and link to it via your articles. Always create an effective Call to Action box paragraph which urges the reader to click the link provided. Some good article directories out there include:
The most effective way of building trust and a quality following, is to subscribe to an online forum related to your niche market and keep active on it. Set up a signature line, including your affiliate link and post useful threads. The more you interact within the community the more the people will start trusting you. The last piece of advice I want to give you on your journey to success is that you should try to build an email list, because “the money is in the list”. Most big earners in the online marketing business have huge email lists of faithful followers. The Empower Network provides you with capture pages which generate these Leads for you. All you need to do is market it. :-) That is all I can tell you about Affiliate Marketing. I hope you can use this information in your future success formula. Please do not hesitate to comment (ask questions, voice opinions, argue, add to my information, etc.) and link to this blog post.