When ever I publish my Income report or share how I earn money with my blog, I often mention a term call Affiliate marketing. Bloggers and internet marketers who are into online marketing from years, most of these people know what is Affiliate marketing and how it’s the most lucrative way to earn online. In this article I will share the basic of aff. marketing and all details which you need to know and understand how Affiliate marketing works.
What is Affiliate marketing and how it works?
Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest form of marketing, where you refer someone to any online product and when a person buys the product based on your recommendation, you will get a commission out of it. This commision amount varies from $1 to $10000, depending on what product you are promoting and recommending.
Now, the most common question is, how companies track the record of who is sending the traffic and who is making sales. The simple answer is tracking URL, which is a unique link given to you by affiliate company or product company, which is used to keep a track of all the traffic and sales you are making via your Website or other promotion techniques. Many old fashioned Affiliate programs, let buyer add the Email or referral details, which is also accounted for affiliate sales, but certainly not the best way to track progress.
So, in simple words:
Many online companies who sales product like Shoes, Webhosting space or any service, and you offer an affiliate program. You can go ahead and sign up for the program and get your unique tracking link. Now, when ever you writing about the product, you can simply use special tracking affiliate link to, recommend the company site and if your readers will buy anything, you will get commission out of it.
Every affiliate programs have their own set of TOS, for example many of them offer 60 days cookie period. Which means, if a visitor use your special affiliate link to land on sales page of site and instead of buying today, he buys in next 60 days, you will be entitled for the sale income.
Here are some of the common terms associated with Affiliate marketing:
- Affiliates: Publisher like me and you who are using affiliate program links to promote and make sale.
- Affiliate marketplace: There are many marketplaces like Shareasale, CJ, Clickbank which works as central database for affiliate programs in different niche.
- Affiliate software: Software’s used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product. Ex: iDevaffiliate.
- Affiliate link: Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
- Affiliate ID: Similar as Affiliate link, but in this case many affiliate programs offer a unique ID, which you can add to any page of product site with ?affiliate ID.
- Payment mode: Different affiliate program offers different mode of payment. For ex: Check, Wire transfer, Paypal and many more.
- Affiliate manager: Many companies have dedicated affiliate manager to help publishers and make them earn more and give them optimization tips.
- Commission percentage/amount: The amount or percentage of sales amount you will be getting as an affiliate income for every sale.
- 2 Tier affiliate marketing: This is a great way of making money from affiliate program. In this, you recommend others to join affiliate programs and you will get a commission out of it, when sub-affiliate make a sales. More like MLM (Multi-level) marketing. Also popularly known as Sub-affiliate commission.
- Landing pages: A unique product sales or demo page to increase the sales. Most of programs which you will be promoting, they have many landing pages, and you can run A/B testing to see which converts more for you.
- Custom Affiliate Income/ account: Unlike a generic affiliate account, many companies offer custom affiliate income to people making most affiliate sales for them.
- Link clocking: Most of affiliate tracking links are ugly and using a Link clocking technique like URL shorteners, Gocodes plugin, you can turn ugly looking links into human readable links.
- Custom coupons: Many Programs let affiliates to create custom coupon, which is also used to track sales. Also, custom discount coupons help you to increase affiliate sales.
For companies who offer an affiliate program, this is one of the best way to get free promotion and save on advertising. For example, when ever you see coupons or discounted links, most of the time such links are affiliate links, and when you make a purchase, webmasters make money out it.
FAQ about affiliate marketing:
So, I believe by now you have a basic understanding of what is affiliate marketing and how it actually works. If you have any question regarding the same, you can always ask it via comments. Now, let me answer some of the common question asked by webmasters and marketers related to aff. marketing.
Is affiliate marketing bad or illegal?
No, it’s not as you will be just using the special link instead of direct link to link to any site.
Aff. marketing and Adsense : Can we use both?
Yes, you can as affiliate marketing doesn’t violate any Adsense TOS. Infact, for me Affiliate marketing works better than adsense and that’s one reason you see less Adsense ads here at ShoutMeLoud.
How to find Affiliate link for any product?
Not all companies offer affiliate program, but for the companies who offer Affiliate program, you can always check on their site or FAQ page. Another way is to do a simple google search. For example, simple search with following term “Product name + Affiliate program” and Google it. Replace product name with the product you are promoting, and you will have the landing page. Many companies uses the affiliate marketplace like shareasale, CJ, clickbank which is free to use and you can go ahead and create a free account.
How to find new products to promote?
Affiliate marketplaces (Mentioned above) are the best place to start with. You can browse your niche and see top performing Affiliate programs. Alternatively, many niche based forums is a great place to find new products to promote. For example, I often use Warriorforum to find products related to IM and blogging niche.
Is it important to have a Blog for Affiliate promotion?
Not necessary. Though, Blog is the best way to promote but you can always use many things like PPC or advertising to promote a product. But, this is more like hit and run affiliate marketing and best way to make most out of it is, have a blog and use it for hard and soft promotion.
How much is cost to join an affiliate program?
These is no charge for joining an aff. program. Though cost depends on what promotion technique you are using. For example,a Blog post doesn’t cost a dime. Where as PPC marketing, Email marketing or advertising comes with a price tag.
Qualification to become an Aff. marketer:
Literally there is no qualification require to become an affiliate marketer. Though having a good copywriting skills and marketing skills will be an added advantage.
If there program which automatically converts links into affiliate links:
How much money one can make from Aff. Marketing?
As I mentioned above, there is no limit to amount you can earn from affiliate programs. It all depends which program you promoting and how much conversion you are making. I started with $47 as my first affiliate income and now, I make almost $4k-5K/month by promoting products which I use day-to-day.
Alright, I understood what Affiliate marketing is all about, how do I get started:
Here at ShoutMeLoud, me and many guest author have covered some of the best guides to help you understand in depth about getting started and some of the pros and cons. Here I’m creating a list from our Aff. marketing archive which will help you to get started.
- How to make money with Amazon affiliate program
- Free WordPress affiliate plugins
- Become a Dreamhost Affiliate to earn from Hosting
- How to start with Webhosting Affiliate programs
- How to sign up for Thesis Affiliate program
- What to include in affiliate Email newsletter
I hope this starter guide to Affiliate marketing, will help you to get started. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask me via comments.
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