Want to become an affiliate marketer? Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to earn a passive income online. In this post, we’ll share 9 important things you must know before you become an affiliate marketer.
Online businesses have not only proved to be more rewarding than the typical day job, but they are also easy to start up and very successful.
There are many different ways to make a living online, but one method remains outstanding: that is affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to build a full-time income stream online because it is so simple and easy to get started.
However, if you are contemplating becoming an affiliate marketer, there are some important things you should know before you jump into it.
By the time you are done reading this post, you will know whether you really want to become an affiliate marketer, and everything you need to know to become an affiliate marketer.
Are you ready to get started?
Great! Let’s begin with the basics…
1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between a company and an influencer where the influencer gets a commission for referring sales or website traffic to the company.
An influencer is just someone who has an audience that knows, likes and trusts them.
For example, let’s say you really like the shaving cream you use. In fact, it’s such an amazing shaving cream, that you want to tell your friends about it.
You look on their website, ShavingCream.com (I’m just making this up, by the way), and you notice that they have an affiliate program. You apply to join it. They approve your application, and give you a unique referral URL (e.g. ShavingCream.com/myspecialcode).
You write a blog post all about shaving creams, and why you love your shaving cream the best. In the post, you include a link using your unique referral URL.
People start reading your blog post and clicking on your link. Some of them decide to buy the shaving cream after clicking through to ShavingCream.com from your link. You receive 30% commission from that transaction.
That’s what affiliate marketing is.
2. Who is an Affiliate Marketer?
An affiliate marketer is an influencer who shares products and companies that they enjoy with their audience in exchange for a commission when someone buys.
The commission is usually a percentage of every product that is bought. For example, if the seller offers a 30% commission on each product, then the affiliate marketer should be earning this percentage per sale generated. So, $3 per $10, $30 per $100, etc.
Affiliate marketers do not work for a company. They are completely independent, and may choose to work with whatever companies they wish.
3. How Affiliate Marketing Works
So why and how does affiliate marketing work, exactly?
Well, businesses of course want to make more revenue, grow and dominate the market. For this to happen, they have to work hard to attract more customers.
One way they do this is by partnering with influencers (affiliates) who will promote the business to their followers, thereby making more customers and sales.
But why wouldn’t companies just pay for advertising?
The reason affiliate marketing works so well–even better than ads–is because consumers are far more likely to purchase based on the recommendation from someone they know, like, and trust than based on an ad from a faceless business they have never heard of before.
That’s why influencer marketing is far more powerful than advertisements.
So if you are going to become an affiliate marketer, you need to become an influencer. You need to grow an audience of people who know, like, and trust you. That’s how the affiliate marketing system works.
4. The 4 Parties and Their Roles
There are four parties involved in this affiliate marketing system who play distinct roles. They are 1) the merchant, 2) the affiliate, 3) the consumer and 4) the affiliate network.
The merchant is also known as the seller or the business that sells products or provides services. This could be an individual or the entire business body. The merchant has the responsibility to supply the marketable products or services and provides the strategies to promote their offers.
The affiliate or affiliate marketer is the person (you!) who implements the available strategies to promote the merchant’s products and services and gets a commission per generated sale. They are generally webmasters or bloggers. They use links, banners, ads and other marketing tools to promote merchant products on their own websites.
The consumer refers to all individual customers who click on or follow the marketing elements put in place to buy a product from the merchant. This will apply to your audience who may be interested in these offers.
The affiliate network is a digital platform that the merchant and the affiliate use to manage referral link clicks, purchases, and payouts. As an intermediary body, the network is automated to track the affiliate’s clicks and sales, and calculates payments due from the merchant.
5. How to Succeed as an Affiliate Marketer
To become a successful affiliate marketer you need to know a number of things that will not only boost your earnings but will make you stand out in the mind of your customers, and the merchant as well.
Choose the Right Products
First you’ll need to choose the right products or services that will be in great demand by your audience. This determines the rate of your success or failure. Remember the know, like and trust factor? To get your audience to TRUST you, you should only recommend products that you yourself have personally used and vetted.
Having a blog and social media presence is what will make you KNOWN to your audience. By sharing more and more online, you’ll also get your audience to LIKE you. Write engaging articles or reviews on a regular basis about your affiliate products, and always remember to share why you personally approve of the product.
Be 100% Honest
Provide the most accurate information about the products you promote. Never exaggerate to quickly make a sale. Your audience will see through it and they will turn their backs on you. Instead, if the product you are promoting isn’t perfect, say so! It never hurts to explain the downsides to a product because this just proves to your audience that you are being completely honest with them. Also–this is very important–be transparent about your relationship with the merchant! It is legally required that you disclose your affiliate relationship, so any time you share an affiliate link you need to let your audience know. Make sure you are following the latest FTC guidelines here.
Communicate with Your Audience
Add a contact page where your visitors can easily get in touch with you if they have any questions. Interact with your audience in the comments section of your blog or your social media posts. the more you communicate with your audience, the more they will come to know, like, and trust you, and you’ll be able to make more sales!
6. How to Promote Affiliate Links
Smart affiliate marketers are always looking out for unique opportunities to promote their affiliate links and maximize their earnings. Here are some ideas for you…
Write a engaging reviews about the products you promote. Study each product carefully before you promote it so you can provide honest information and think about exactly what your audience needs. Never pressure them to buy the products, but include your affiliate link several times in your review so that they have a few chances to click through.
Always be thinking about how you can get your audience to join your email list. This way, you can reach them at a later date by email anytime you have a new review or a product is having a sale or a special promotion.
Social platforms are great opportunities to reach more of your ideal audience. Visual platforms are especially great for promoting affiliate products, like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., because you can really show your audience how the product works.
7. Earning Potential of an Affiliate Marketer
Here is the most interesting part of this post. I mean the money is what you are looking forward to, right?
Some affiliate marketers target a particular figure. Whether or not you decide to do that, making goals for yourself is a good thing.
In a poll published on the STM Forum asking “How much do you earn in a year?”, the results showed that about 18% of affiliate marketers earn $20K or less, 13% earn $81-$120K, 12% earn $121-$200K, and 11% earn $1M-2M per year.
8. Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Now let’s be perfectly honest and say that not everything about affiliate marketing is great. You need to be aware of both the pros AND the cons before you decide that affiliate marketing is right for you.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is free and easy to join: Most affiliate programs are free to join and no experience is required in most cases. You only need to fill a signup form and begin to promote the offers. Just join, promote and earn.
Multiple income channels: It is good to know that there are no restrictions to the number of affiliate programs you can join. Joining multiple programs mean you will be earning from multiple sources. Hence, an opportunity to make more money.
Easy management: All marketing tools and affiliate links are provided by the merchant. You never have to bother creating banners, links and all that. You only have to use what has been provided by the merchant. Also, you do not have to handle orders, ship any inventory, or deal with the customer. The merchant handles all that, so you are only focused on promoting the offers to your audience.
No financial risks: The business you promote belongs to someone else. In most cases you do not have to invest a dime in the merchant’s business. So you run no risk of losing your money.
Cons of Affiliate Marketing
High level of competition: Affiliate marketing has become the most popular online marketing system due to its profit margins. This has attracted entrepreneurs to create many new such businesses online. Because of this, there is great competition as everyone fights to get the attention of consumers. This has made it difficult for new businesses to grow.
Dependency: This is the biggest con, so pay attention! Affiliate marketers depend on the merchant to make their money. If there were no merchants or affiliate programs, the possibility of being an affiliate marketer would not exist. It even becomes more frustrating if for one reason or the other a merchant suddenly stops running the business or their affiliate program. This can potentially deprive the affiliate marketer of his one-time steady source of income.
SO, to combat this, never put all your eggs in one basket by relying on a single affiliate program for your revenue source! Instead, become an affiliate for multiple different businesses, or even create your own products to sell (like online courses) in addition to the affiliate products you promote.
9. Best Affiliate Networks to Join and Promote
There are so many of affiliate networks on the internet. When choosing to join any of these networks, there are a few things to consider.
Legitimacy: To avoid being scammed make research on each program you are about to join to check legitimacy.
The niche: Choose programs or categories whose products or services that have a high demand and that you are passionate about.
The commission rate: If you want to earn more, then look out for programs that offer high commissions. In such a case you still make good money even if you generate just a few sales.
Payment methods: Not all affiliate programs use the same methods to pay out. Before joining, first check that the payment methods provided are available in your country. You don’t want to miss your money!
Limitations: Some programs are limited to specific countries, so you may want to check this as well before you join.
Below are three recommended global affiliate programs that you can join today and start earning…
ClickBank is a web marketplace where merchants all over the world place digital products to be promoted by affiliate marketers. They accept affiliates from all parts of the world and offer high commissions. Payment methods are PayPal, check and direct deposit (for U.S residents).
Amazon Associates is the affiliate program for the biggest online shop that retails a whole range of products from different merchants and producers worldwide. Amazon deals with both digital and physical products, and has a very good affiliate marketing plan with high commissions. They pay via direct deposit, check, PayPal and Amazon gift cards.
ShareASale has been in business as an affiliate marketing network for 18 years. Their technology has received accolades for speed, efficiency and accuracy and they have a reputation as a well-known, honest business within the industry with over 3,900 merchants. Payments are made automatically on the 20th day of each month when your account balance reaches $50 or more for the previous months’ transactions.
Affiliate marketing is, without a doubt, one of the easiest, home-based, online businesses to get started with.
Now that you know all about it, do you think affiliate marketing is right for you? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!
I am from Cameroon and I speak English and French. In addition to writing, I am into affiliate marketing and blogging. I have a BA in Fine Arts. I draw and paint in my free time and teach part time. I am passionate about creativity and enjoy helping people find a path in life as much as I can.