4-part Affiliate Marketing process — The Comprehensive guide to starting and growing your Affiliate Marketing business.
The online world and technology have affected our everyday lives.
Do you ever imagine our lives without online communication?
Technologies opened up so many exciting opportunities.
With Online shopping, businesses are no longer confined by location or restricted by infrastructure. Businesses are exposed to more customers and opportunities to create partnerships.
Headquarters in a big city, massive sales team, and huge number of employees are no longer needed. All you need is a computer and the internet connection, and you are ready to take your business to the world.
We have seen more and more one-man businesses grow and expand their reach globally. Entrepreneurship has become a popular business model which helped so many wonderful business ideas come to life.
What does this mean for you?
There are so many different ways and strategies to set up and grow a business, depending on the timing of your idea, niche, resources, skills, etc. Most of these opportunities are a part of the online world, and new opportunities keep popping up.
One of those is affiliate marketing.
Before we dive into defining Affiliate marketing, I just want to set the expectations.
The goal today will be to show you the real potential of affiliate marketing and how developing a strategy of your own can help you profit from this huge opportunity of starting and growing your affiliate marketing business.
For starters, you need to know the difference between a Merchant and an Affiliate as these require two different strategies, knowledge about affiliate programs and the essential affiliate marketing tools will be essential parts of your strategy as well.
Your goal will be to learn as much as possible about affiliate marketing opportunities, different affiliate programs and tools with a plan which will be oriented towards one idea — starting and growing your business as an affiliate marketer.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
As Pat Flynn puts it; Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting another company’s product (or service).
Approximately 15% of the digital media industry’s revenue now comes from affiliate marketing. (Business Insider)
Affiliate marketing will affect 14% of all e-commerce purchases in the United States. (DigitalCommerce360)
Affiliate Marketing Facts:
- Affiliate marketing is an amazing opportunity to your income as an affiliate.
- Content is the best way to promote affiliate links.
- Affiliate marketing will continue to have an important role in e-commerce.
The entire concept of affiliate marketing is focused on sharing the revenue by partnering up with others.
Perhaps the best-known affiliate program today, Amazon’s affiliate program, was launched in 1996 two years after the first affiliate program was launched.
Even though there have been several business models in affiliate marketing, with the integration of social media, affiliate marketing became more available to the ordinary people, bloggers, influencers, as a perfect way to monetize their online efforts.
Measuring Performance and getting paid as an Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing.
This means that the efficiency of the goal that needs to be achieved is evaluated and rewarded based on the performance, at specific intervals.
The main reason for an affiliate promoting any product or service in the first place is to increase sales for the merchant and of course income for themselves.
Once they enter the program, they are able to promote the merchant’s products using any possible means (Social media marketing, S.E.O., paid ads) at their exposure, in order to increase sales.
Performance is tracked using trackable links and they are paid based on the conversions (number of sales) they achieve.
The most important person in the Affiliate Marketing business (Digital buyer)
Apart from merchants and affiliates, who take an active role in affiliate marketing, the most important participants to mention are the digital buyers.
These are the modern consumers who are experiencing the buying process in a completely different way especially with online and offline behaviors changing rapidly.
Digital buyers explore products before they buy and they want to see the benefits of the product. In the process, they look for recommendations from friends and people they respect (bloggers, influencers, etc.).
Understanding your role in the merchant, affiliate and digital buyer relationship respectively are some of the basics you need to understand to be able to explore how you can leverage the potential of affiliate marketing.
4-part Affiliate Marketing Process…
- Affiliates join a program and start advertising the product using online resources.
- Their activity is being tracked through links. Once the digital buyer or online user clicks on an affiliate link, that activity is stored in the user’s browser cookies.
- When the user buys a product, and this has been detected as a visit originating from an affiliate link, that affiliate is paid a commission.
- The time interval during which the cookies stay in the browser can be different from one website (merchant) to another, but it is usually a period of 30 or 45 days sometimes less.
Let us imagine, the user clicks on the affiliate link, checks out the product, but decides not to buy.
However, if the same user goes back and buys the product after a few days.
This sale can still be attributed to the affiliate provided the user doesn’t delete their cookies from the browser.
3 most common Types of affiliate websites to share your Affiliate Marketing links
- Price/Feature comparison websites
- Product review websites
- Personal websites
By the way if you want to learn how to create your affiliate marketing Website or Blog without getting delayed by the technicalities of coding, even if you it’s your first time building a website, Watch this video start by signing up for Wix Free here.
What are the Benefits for affiliate Marketing?
There are a lot of Affiliate Marketing benefits to both Merchants and Affiliates, below are some of the benefits to Affiliates.
No prior investment needed
Affiliate marketing helps you promote and sell products with little to no investment in terms of money from your part. Since you do not own the products, so there are no costs of making or buying products. The only investment needed is time and commitment.
Minimal or no operating costs
To start, you will need to create a website (or blog) and to set up social media channels, and these in most cases won’t cost you more than $150 and in fact, you can decide to take on some of the tasks yourself.
What are the costs of starting an Affiliate Marketing Business?
The costs involved would be for website maintenance, content creation, and content promotion.
Luckily for you, you no longer have to spend a lot when it comes to designing and launching your website nowadays, with a lot of free content creation platforms and Website builders out there that do not need upfront costs and have inbuilt content promotion tools and integrations.
For example, if you sign up for Wix, you have the power to build your complete blocks for your website for Free and launch it when everything is in place.
No need to stock products
Since you do not own the products you promote, you will not need a warehouse to stock the products.
The best part is, if they are physical products, you will not be involved in the shipping process either. The only goal you have is to promote the product.
Handling the products and shipping is done by a merchant, and it does not require your involvement.
Possibility to earn a passive income
Affiliate links bring you profit at any moment of the day.
Any time the visitors click on the link the activity is tracked and there is a possibility to earn a commission if the conversion is made. This is what we call passive income.
When it comes to learning affiliate marketing, there is a lot of great resources out there like Neil Patel’s detailed post coming up every time I do search on affiliate marketing, and Patt Flynn with one of the best definitions of affiliate marketing our there.
It all comes down to collecting as much information as possible on any topic or idea before investing your time or money into it.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — everyday I’m learning something new.” - Richard Branson
In conclusion, the online environment is a world that continually changes and anyone who wants to stay in the game needs to follow the changes.
Lifelong learning is a very essential skill that will help you explore the possibilities of improving your affiliate marketing business.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, it all begins with choosing the perfect niche and programs.
I talk about How to choose your niche in more detail in my Free Affiliate Marketing Course.
Choosing your niche is the first step and by far one of the cores of choosing a high-quality product and promoting the right product to the right people who have the interest and therefore the highest possibilities of making conversions.
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby
After choosing the right niche, you need to build an influence (reputation) by coming up with great, relevant content to help you in implementing your affiliate links in your content, not forgetting optimization of web pages for mobile devices to optimization of email messages and leveraging the promotion on social media.
Merchants and affiliates should explore and focus on mobile optimization and how well their content is adapted for the mobile users.