What is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing is performance-based in which a business rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s marketing steps. Another way to put it, Businesses pay affiliates each time a customer buys from their marketing strategy. How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? The best way to describe how affiliate marketing works is to break it down into easy-to-follow steps. Step 1. Find products you want to promote Step 2. Apply to relevant affiliate programs Step 3. Receive your affiliate link and marketing equipment Step 4. Start promoting products as an affiliate marketer Find products There are 350 million products currently on Amazon, including 12 million of Amazon’s own products. That sounds pretty intimidating just from one location alone. Many sellers don’t have their own in-house affiliate programs. They use more extensive affiliate networks to host their affiliate programs which include: CJ Affiliate ShareASale Awin Rakuten FlexOffers MaxBounty ClickBank eBay JVZoo Even though you won’t view many details, these affiliate networks have thousands of sellers. Many sellers don’t have affiliate programs, so it’s easier to use large affiliate networks to host their affiliate programs instead. Take the Amazon Associates program, for example: Creating an account is simple with 3 steps. Start by going to the Amazon Associates home page. Select your primary language and click the yellow Sign Up button in the header image. The next page will request you to sign in with an existing Amazon account. If you don’t have one, click the Create your Amazon account button below and go to a registration page. Once that is set up, your account, return to the Associates’ homepage, and sign in with your details. Then, you can file the application for their affiliate program. Personal Details and Website Information Next, go through the application step-by-step. For example, on the first page, Account Information, you’ll be asked to provide and confirm your personal details, primarily your name, address, and phone number. At the bottom of that page, select the primary contact for the account that you’re creating. You can pick yourself as the payee by checking the above payee. Alternatively, you can add another person by selecting the second choice. When you’re done, click Next to move on to Website and Mobile App List: Here, you can add web addresses where you plan to promote Amazon products, including Websites Blogs YouTube channels Mobile apps Building Your Profile The Profile page will request you to provide information about your website(s) or mobile app(s). Start by setting your Associates ID. You can also use your name or your website’s name for this. Keep in mind that the ID will also appear in your affiliate links. Write a few sentences describing what your website is about. Select the topics that best describe your website from the dropdown lists provided. Pick the type of Amazon products you plan to promote and select the website(s) or app(s) you own. Traffic & Monetization Next, in the Traffic & Monetization section, you’ll need to clarify to Amazon how you’ll drive traffic to your websites and generate income from your content. Use the lists Amazon has to select the options that apply to your site: Just select finish, and your profile is created. Fair warning to read the Associate’s Program Operating Agreement which mentions the Contract Terms. Once your profile is built and your application is submitted, you’ll find information about using your Associate ID and navigating the affiliate program. You can enter your payment details and tax information, but you can always do that later. Amazon reviews your application once you’ve made the first sale through your sites. Your application will be withdrawn if you don’t produce at least three sales within the next 180 days. That’s it – you’re now an Amazon affiliate! Some affiliate programs offer instant approval. You have to wait for others to approve your account while evaluating your application. Many vendors are sketchy about allowing just anyone to join their affiliate program. It’s normal for them to inquire about how you plan to promote them. Vendors want to avoid affiliates that may make them look spammy and damage their credibility. What Tools Are Needed for Affiliate Marketing Once accepted to an affiliate program, you’ll be given a unique affiliate link and marketing tools to help promote. You’ll also be able to review statistics on how well you’re doing in your dashboard. Here’s the breakdown: Affiliate Link Every affiliate has a unique affiliate link. This is how the vendor can connect sales or leads to you and compensate you accordingly. Typically, an affiliate link may look something like this: Make sure your affiliate link does not appear as spam. Try to make your link shorter. Try not to post the naked URL, e.g., somesite.com/?aff=name. Instead, use anchor text. Anchor text is the seeable, clickable text as a hyperlink. Some people don’t want to click on random affiliate links. Customers won’t pay more for a product if they find the vendor via an affiliate link. However, some individuals just don’t want to click on affiliate links for one reason. Cloaking your affiliate link, people may see it’s an affiliate link after clicking on it. You’ll still receive credit for the sale regardless if they don’t buy something straight away because of the triggered “cookie” from the merchant’s website. Different vendors have different cookie lengths. Usually, cookies will last at least 30 days. So, if a customer only makes a purchase 30 days later, you’ll still make a commission. Obviously, there are exceptions to the above explanation about cookies. Remember that bot traffic and your own clicks may mess with your results. Google expects affiliate links to have rel=” sponsored” or rel=” nofollow” attributes. These attributes apply to all outbound links that Google considers advertising or paid links from your site. Marketing Tools Any suitable vendor will provide you with marketing tools to support you promote them. At the very least, these tools include banners in different sizes that you can add to your website. Banners usually look spammy and don’t add value or contribute to a good user experience. Unfortunately, many individuals have become blind to banner ads. According to Wordstream, the average CTR is around 0.25%. How to Promote Products for Affiliate Marketing To succeed as an affiliate marketer, you need to build trust with your audience through enticing content. You need to show consistency with quality content that makes a difference. But what kind of content should you put together? How do you promote your products on your website without appearing messy or shady? Well, here are two fantastic ideas. Build an in-depth resource page. Let’s take a personal fitness trainer who grew a strong following online. Naturally, your audience wants to know more about how you successfully obtained rock-hard abs and super-toned muscles. They’ll like to know what you eat, the kinds of fitness programs you’ve joined to get where you are today, and the water bottle you use to keep track of your hydration. As a leader in the industry, you want to share this knowledge with your audience. And there’s an easy way to do this: a resource page on your website. This page should list all the products, programs, and services you value with affiliate links to buy them. When you make something like this, you give your followers easy access to all the recommended products, programs, tools, and services. Write about specific products. As an affiliate marketer, the main focus is to help your audience determine good buying. Although you’ll need informative articles to build trust with them, spend precious time writing in-depth content about the products you promote. There are three ways you can accomplish this: Product reviews. Product comparisons. List posts. Of course, this doesn’t mean stop giving your regular informative articles, educating and entertaining your audience the way you do best. Think of creative ways to promote your affiliate products. Again, your role is to promote a product, not sell it. Leave the selling up to the vendor. Instead, you need to warm up the leads. Then, when they visit the vendor, your audience is no longer cold traffic. What Is the Best Way to Do Affiliate Marketing? Even though organic traffic is a longevity strategy and takes time, you can speed up your progress. Some strategies include email lists, subscription products, and high ticket products. Affiliate marketers spend tens of thousands of dollars learning to run ads to affiliate offers. This is difficult with a low-value item because your profit margin is minimal. With high ticket sales funnels, however, things are very different. High ticket sales funnels offer more potential for big commissions coming in. Testing & Measuring With Paid Ads Running paid ads can be done with a low budget. But you’ll eventually want to scale up when you find a winning ad that delivers a steady profit. This can take a long time with a lot of testing and measuring. Starting affiliate marketing with paid advertising is tricky. You need data to show you what works and what doesn’t. But in the end, collecting data costs money. High sales funnels give you more opportunities to earn more significant amounts when you make a sale than a low-value offering. Paid Advertising Platforms As valuable as organic marketing, users who click on pay-per-click ads (PPC) are more likely to buy than users who organically visit your site. For this reason, you can’t afford to miss out on paid advertising. Social media is a fantastic spot to reach vast online audiences. Facebook Ads is one of the best places for accomplishing that due to the many people who use the social media beast. It is also one of the favorite advertising channels for affiliate marketers. Facebook is quick, easy, and allows you to target your ideal audience for your marketing objective. Facebook may be one of the largest platforms, but many paid advertising platforms are available. Some other channels include: Google Ads Bing Ads LinkedIn Ads Instagram Pinterest (Promoted Pins) Twitter Ads YouTube Reddit Depending on your spending budget and goals, you may use multiple ad platforms to reach a wider audience. Nevertheless, you probably don’t want to try using everyone on this list — that would be overwhelming. That being said, it’s still good to know all your possibilities before choosing which paid ads platforms you want to use. Organic Advertising For Affiliate Marketing The first organic result in Google Search has an average click-through rate between 28.5%-31.7%, according to tests completed by Sistrix and Backlinko. Organic affiliate marketing works by creating tons of content. Over time, as your content rises, so does your audience. Some organic platforms include: Blogging YouTube Quora Social Media An affiliate marketer can build a massive audience by using SEO (search engine optimization) and sharing content through social media profiles and additional strategies. Anticipate making habits from creating content, sharing it, and linking back to it from other websites and online resources. Your content’s organic traffic to your affiliate products can compound and grow exponentially with consistency. How to Build an Email List for Affiliate Marketing Most successful affiliate marketers say, “the money is on the list.” SmartInsights reports that the overall average email open rate is 16.97%, with a 10.29% click-through rate per industry. You want to grab as many email addresses from your target audience as possible. Therefore, having a responsive email list that agrees to receive emails from you is a valuable asset. Here are 4 steps to help you get started: Sign up with an email marketing provider Add opt-in forms everywhere Optimize your opt-in forms with advanced subscription techniques Create email marketing campaigns You’ll save a ton of time utilizing email marketing because messages go out automatically based on the plan and steps you set up. And a consistent series of emails can keep your audience updated and engaged. Now that your email is set up and optimized, it’s time to incorporate your affiliate links into your email marketing. Remember, email lists provide direct access to your audience through their inboxes. So whether you use paid advertising or rely on free organic traffic, the sooner you start building your email list, the better. But first, let’s look at a few more tips for email marketing. Abide by the CAN-SPAM Act Don’t send your audience messages or information they didn’t approve to receive when they joined. Give your subscribers a simple way to unsubscribe. Start a weekly newsletter Tell your audience beforehand you’ll email them once a week on a specific day. Then, if you provide a lot of value in your emails, they will look forward to receiving your email. Try sticking to one niche Try to only have one primary niche, for example, bodybuilding. It makes it much more painless to manage the list. Conclusion We’ve covered a ton of ground in this piece. We discussed: What affiliate marketing is How does affiliate marketing work How to promote products The best way to do affiliate marketing How much you earn as an affiliate marketer relies on many different factors that can definitely help skyrocket your revenues. So, now that you’ve learned about affiliate marketing and how it can affect your income are you ready to start?