William J. Tobin exploited affiliate marketing for the very first time in 1994 as a component of a publicity campaign. He did so for the company he owned, PC Flowers & Gifts. This term is mentioned more and more after the company Amazon, two years later, started using this marketing technique to promote its products increasingly.
As technology develops, numerous and various ways to make money online are appearing on the Internet. An example of an online way to earn passive income is exactly affiliate marketing. In the rest of the text, we will bring you closer to this technique, which is still not so present and widely used, and it should be.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way to make money by promoting the goods of businesses and other people, in general. It has the most similarities with the job of a traveling salesman.
As you know, salesmen go door to door and offer a specific product to customers. After the realization of the sale, salesmen realize the agreed commission of the profit. The difference is that your income is not limited in time or space.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
As three basic factors participate in the process of affiliate marketing, we will bring you closer to the functioning of the process itself from all three angles. Participants are a company (legal entity), individual (affiliate marketer), and customer (follower).
The company starts and ends the process. Businesses that provide IT services or manufacture and distribute products produce goods for marketing. After trying various marketing strategies to promote their own products, companies also open the option of affiliate marketing. They recruit individuals (affiliate marketers) and allow them to present and promote products approved by companies in a unique way.
The company enjoys the benefits of more creative and cheaper marketing of its products, and it also expands its sales channels.
Individuals, that is, affiliate marketers (partner sellers), as we mentioned, promote the products and services of the manufacturer to their audience in exchange for a sales commission. Marketers agree to the commission amount with the company.
Promotion is done on different platforms: website, blog, YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram accounts… depending on which platform they gather the largest number of followers. They recommend products to their followers through links. When a follower (customer) enters the link, the company receives information from which source the customer entered (using Google analytics). When the customer makes a purchase, the affiliate marketer earns the agreed commission.
Customers or followers?
From the company’s perspective, this category is called customers. Conversely, on the affiliate marketer’s side, this category is called followers. At the same time, these are people who follow the affiliate marketer’s work on social networks and buy the products he or she promotes.
What You Should Pay Attention to if You Are Starting Affiliate Marketing
As in any business, there are incentives and tips on how to do the job in the best possible way. In the rest of the text, we will try our best to reveal to you in a few steps tips that will help you to successfully perform affiliate marketing.
Create Quality Content
If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to create quality and interesting content on the platforms where you will advertise products. Focus the content on the readers. Answer their questions and provide them with detailed information but in a creative and interesting way. Know your audience and create content regularly.
From the affiliate’s point of view, the larger the audience, the more potential customers.
It is very important that after choosing the topic you will cover, you determine to whom you will market that content. Constantly adhere to one niche if you desire to establish successful affiliate marketing. So – one platform, one topic, and one target group. The best ways to target your target audience would require a whole new article, but we will scratch the surface a bit.
You should do market segmentation first because it allows you to get to know your customers, identify what is needed in your market segment, and determine how best to meet those needs with your product or service. Segmentation is carried out on the basis of various factors and in relation to them, it can be geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral.
How can you implement market segmentation?
- Analyze existing customers;
- Make a summary (profile) of an exemplary consumer;
- Identify opportunities in each of the selected market segments;
- Research potential segments.
Track the Development of Your Affiliate Marketing
Once you have gained enough traffic, you need to go back in time to be even more effective in the future. Namely, you need to see where and how visitors come to the selected platforms.
Use Google Analytics of visitors to learn more about them. What proportion of visitors are new and what proportion are returning? Which platforms enable you to interact and communicate with the audience the most? Which links are most clicked by visitors? Which pages are most visited before conversion (sale)? These questions will provide answers you can use to improve your affiliate business.
Get To Know the Products
The products you promote should be related to the content you publish on the platform. It is very crucial that what you promote via the affiliate program, as well as what you converse about through your channels, align.
Knowledge sets you apart from others. Convince your followers that you are an expert in your field and gain their trust. As an affiliate marketer, you give your visitors recommendations for different products. In order to stand out in the sea of marketers, you must be seen as an expert or at least a ‘place’ for them to get detailed information about the products you promote.
Keep Your Followers
The most effective marketers stay in touch with their audience. If you have a blog, YouTube, or Instagram profile, always allow comments. This will give you the opportunity to chat with your followers. Filter spam. If you reply to most of your commenters and start dialogues, they will come back to continue the conversation.
Another strategy is to pose a query at the conclusion of the blog post or video: Would you like to learn more about this subject? What do you think about this topic? Or something directly related to the topic you covered in the video or blog itself. You sustain interaction and create a group of people who share your interests in this way. When replying, use (mention) the commenter’s name wherever possible. The more visitors see the site as a community of like-minded people, the more likely they are to buy the product you are advertising.
Do Not Just Sell, but Provide Information and Help
One of the reasons self-promoting bloggers and influencers fail at affiliate marketing is that they focus too much on themselves. Strengthening your personal brand does not guarantee success in this area of business.
Provide lots of interesting information. Provide helpful tips to followers to keep them coming back again and again. As we mentioned earlier, it is the content you create that brings in and keeps potential customers.
Always Test and Improve
It can always get better! Why use this sentence only when you are not really satisfied with the achieved success? Use it even when you have completely fulfilled your expectations and goals. You should always strive to improve your business, viewed from the side of the affiliate business.
Create tests and charts to measure business performance. Starting an affiliate business does not require a lot of prior knowledge and investment, but success, as in any business, requires new and expanded knowledge as well as constant persistence.
Take the Time
Affiliate marketing is not really a quick way to become rich or successful.
To become successful you have to invest time. Affiliate marketing requires constant effort, so be prepared to take the time off and roll up your sleeves to generate passive income.
Set Appropriate Goals
Be realistic in your expectations. It will take awhile to succeed, as was already stated in the text.
Determine your own goals, i.e. where do you see yourself in a couple of years in this business? Define goals according to the SMART methodology. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. Read a little about it…
Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing
In practice, the terms affiliate and influencer marketing are often mixed up. Although there are similarities between these two marketing strategies, it should be emphasized that they occur only when it comes to involved parties of affiliate and influencer marketing. This means that, in both types, we have three roles: the marketer (affiliate or influencer), the company (whose products are the subject of advertising), and the audience.
In influencer marketing, the business offers the influencer, or person of influence, the opportunity to promote its goods. Once both parties have agreed to the terms, the two parties can begin working together. But in the other hand, affiliate marketers can be anyone who is interested in the field. The very fact that you contact the company and choose the product you want to advertise differs from influencer marketing. The affiliate marketer’s job is to sell as many things as they can while also getting the product in front of as many clients as they can. On the other hand, the influencer promotes the agreed product and does not have the direct goal of selling it.
How to Choose a Platform?
When it comes to affiliate marketing, the most used platforms are websites and blogs. Apart from them, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook are also present, and lately also TikTok accounts. Each of the listed methods for affiliate marketing has its advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s say you do not have the knowledge to create a website. There is a pretty straightforward fix. WordPress is the simplest and most popular platform that allows you to create a professional website in a few hours. Using WordPress, you can also create a blog, where you will cover selected topics. A blog requires minimal investment and is very easy to start and offers the possibility of earning.
YouTube is still a platform with billions of users. If you are communicative and creative and have no fear of the camera, you can create a YouTube channel. Record authentic video content and upload it to your channel. Make each of your next videos related to one topic (for example, cars, music, travel, sports…).
Facebook has almost three billion users. In contrast, Instagram has one billion users. This means that the range of users is very large. The more users of these platforms you attract to follow your work, the greater the chance of earning.
Let’s not forget email. The practice of advertising affiliate links using carefully prepared and highly targeted emails via VerticalResponse is known as affiliate email marketing. Such messages are written to grab your subscribers’ attention, as well as increase site traffic and conversion rates.
When choosing a platform, it is very important that the chosen platform is the one on which the target audience is located. If your target group is not largely present on the YouTube platform, choose another solution, that is, the platform where your audience is present to a large extent. By combining knowledge and interesting information that you transfer and present on the above-mentioned platforms, you open yourself up to the possibility of gaining a larger audience and developing affiliate marketing. Each of the platforms is available and accessible to everyone. Start working on the one where you feel most natural and where it will be easiest for you to create your own affiliate marketing.
Criteria for Product Selection
Considering that through affiliate marketing you are promoting and selling a product that you did not create yourself but is the work of someone else’s hands, first of all, familiarize yourself with it. Learn all its pros and cons so you have something to say about it. You will do this best if you own that product yourself.
If a company offers you to advertise a product that you are not satisfied with, it is simple – do not advertise it, regardless of whether they offer a higher commission or various other benefits. When people buy a bad product, and you recommend it to them, they will consider you a layman and will not order other products that you recommend. Long-term success is much more profitable than short-term.
Affiliate is a specific business model, which provides many options to engage in it and express yourself at your best. The possibilities are limitless. Work, persistence, and perseverance are required of you.
Take advantage of the various benefits of affiliate marketing, present yourself in the best light, and earn money with it.