Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by selling someone else’s products, goods or services. Basically, you drive customers to someone else’s website from your website and when someone buys something in the advertiser’s website, you make money.
One good thing about Affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to create your own product and neither you need to worry about selling it. You stand as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller and earn a commission from the seller for driving buyers to the seller’s website.
How affiliate marketing works
So how does affiliate marketing work?
In order to make you understand how it works, I will share a real life example.
Let us assume you have a website on shoes. You write about shoes and sell some of your own products. You get lots of traffic to your website every day. Most of these users do not buy a product from your store but they come to your site looking for something and then they decide to leave (which is normal).
You want to earn money from these users who are coming to your website and not purchasing anything. So you decide to promote someone else’s product on your website. It could be your competitor or a product that operates in your niche.
So you find a product which supports affiliate marketing and sign up for it. Let’s call this product X. When you sign up as an affiliate partner at Product X website, that website will give you a unique affiliate link. This is the link which is unique to you and only you.
All you need to do is now paste that link in your website, preferably in a visible area so that it gets clicks. When visitors come to your website and click your link (affiliate link), they will go to the website of Product X.
If 100 users click that link, maybe 5-6 will end up buying that product.
You have just referred customers from your website to someone else’s website and some of these customers ended up buying a product. Which means, you have given business to that person in an indirect way. Hence, you are entitled for a comission, also known as Affiliate earnings.
How much commission you are going to get paid depends on the terms of the affiliate contract. Some publishers pay as high as 60% per sale while some pay 100% for the first few sales, it completely depends on what is the term of the affiliate contract.
So here, we see there are 4 parties involved
- Customer: The person who buys an actual product or service.
- Advertiser: The person whose product or service is being bought
- Affiliate: The person who is referring the customer to the advertiser (which is you)
- Product or service: The product or service the customer is buying.
And here is the cycle of a typical affiliate sale
- You develop a website which attracts lots of users
- You add affiliate links of relevant products which you want to promote through your content.
- People come and read your content.
- They click the affiliate links and go to the Advertiser’s website.
- A fraction of the users who clicked your affiliate link buy the product.
- A new sale is registered
- You get paid from the advertiser for each valid sale.
Common questions related to Affiliate marketing
I understand you will have a long list of questions regarding Affiliate marketing. Don’t worry, when I started testing the waters of affiliate marketing, I too was a beginner and had plenty of doubts in my mind. I cleared all these doubts one by one and I will try to answer most common questions related to Affiliate marketing in this post
What do I need to start with Affiliate marketing?
You need a website or blog with lots of interesting, useful and informative content. You need to attract lot of relevant traffic to your website or blog who are genuinely interested in reading the content which you are writing. This is the hard part.
And then you need to sign up with relevant affiliate products and promote them in your website, blog posts, and other relevant places. This is the easy part.
The hard part is developing relevant content which will bring in the traffic. Once you have highly targeted traffic coming to your website, conversions and sales will follow in time.
What is the eligibility criteria to get started with Affiliate marketing?
There is no such eligibility criteria as such which includes your age, gender, race, country of origin, educational details and other things. All you need is a website with original content. Some affiliate marketplaces require that your website has some traffic but there are affiliate marketplaces which doesn’t have that criteria.
In short, there aren’t too may stringent parameters which is going to hold you back.
Do I have to pay a fee to join an affiliate program?
No you don’t need to. Affiliate programs are free to join and anyone can join it and no registration fee is required. An affiliate program which charges an entry fee is not common place and should be avoided.
How much money I can earn from affiliate marketing?
It totally depends on your ability to create highly informative original content and convert visitors into valid affiliate sale. There is virtually no limit to how much you can earn by selling affiliate products, I know bloggers who earn a six figure income just by reviewing useful products on their websites and creating highly engaging and informative content on a regular basis. There is no limit to how much you can earn and yes, you can surely earn better than your day job 🙂
How do I find relevant affiliate products?
Well, finding relevant affiliate products that pays well is not that easy and it will take you some time to figure out the right affiliate products for your website or blog.
The best way to do this is to do a Google search on the niche where you write the most. For example, if you write about WordPress, you can find affiliate products in WordPress niche. This includes WordPress themes, plugins, tools and other products or services which offer affiliate payouts.
If your website is about clothes and garments, you have to find out affiliate sites and products in the same niche. You can try Amazon affiliates and other ecommerce fashion stores or niche boutique stores.
Another good way to find Affiliate products is to join Affiliate marketplaces such as ShareaSale, Comission junction
In short, you will have to dig deep into the web and find out relevant affiliate products which you can promote in your niche. This includes scanning affiliate marketplaces, keeping an eye on new products being release in the market, checking what fellow affiliate marketers are doing, networking with others and the list goes on. You will get the knack of it when you keep doing it on a regular basis.
All right, so how so I get started with Affiliate marketing?
The first step to get started with anything is to start developing the product. In this case, your website or blog is the product and the content that you write is what you sell.
I will give you a step by step walkthrough on how you can go about that path.
- Decide your niche first. Don’t make it too broad or too specific but ensure that this niche has enough scope.
- Once you have decided the niche, register a domain name and get your website live.
- Once you have gotten your website live, start creating useful, informative content which will attract relevant traffic over time.
- Once you have built traffic to your website, you will need to make a list of affiliate products you would be promoting on your website or blog.
- Once you have built that list, you will need to sign up with those Affiliate products as a publisher.
- Next, you will need to add your affiliate links to those posts which gets maximum traffic. You will need to add affiliate links in your website naturally, where it fits the context of your post and makes sense for the user.
- Next, you will consistently need to churn out useful informative content which will bring more readers and thus increase your earnings over time.
This is a continuous process and often takes years to execute successfully. If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest you start a website on the side and do not quit your job. Keep building that website on the side and keep growing it’s content, it might take 2-3 years of your time until you have a steady base of content which attracts a steady base of users.
Once you have some steady traffic, start experimenting with affiliate products and see what works and what doesn’t. You will most likely make some sales. The sales will keep growing as you grow the traffic of your site. Eventually, you will understand how this works and the next steps will follow with time.