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AFFILIATE MARKETING


Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission by referring customers to a particular business’s product or service. You get paid every time someone buys their offering, with the money credited to your account as an affiliate payout from the company directly or one of its affiliate partners. To get customers to take interest, affiliate entrepreneurs use a variety of online marketing techniques, including blogging, Facebook advertising, email marketing, and more.


The affiliate programs you join are created by companies who want their services and products to be marketed and sold. Sometimes, they’ll review your business and require you to provide information about your digital reach to see if you’re the right partner for their firm. They may review your business type or monthly website traffic to make sure you’re capable of bringing them good results.

Affiliate Marketing Resources

Affiliate Marketing Tools

Discover helpful tools that will help you build, manage, and grow your blog.

Affiliate Marketing Coupons

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Affiliate Marketing Business

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Best Affiliate Marketing Courses

These are the affiliate marketing courses we recommend for those looking to dive deeper into affiliate marketing and turn it into a full time income.

The Blogging Blueprint

Join over 1,000 students in learning strategies for growing a successful blog and earning a full-time income blogging.

The Business of Blogging

Stand out from the crowd and earn a living doing what you love. Learn how to create a successful long term travel blogging and media business online with these detailed courses and programs from travel media experts

Blog Life

A Beautiful Mess break down subjects into easy, manageable lessons taught through text, photos, and videos, so that you can grow, be challenge, and get to that next level!

The Affiliate Marketing Process

Niche Selection

Conduct keyword research to help identify your target market and determine your niche for the business.

Research & Design

Research/spy on competitors to identify designs that your target market would be interested in purchasing.

Development

Create your POD e-commerce store, integrate with POD fulfillment centers and add products to your site

Marketing

Use Google Adwords, FB Ads, SEO and other marketing methods to help promote your new POD business.

Affiliate Marketing - Summary

Difficulty Level

Affiliate marketing is generally recommended for people with intermediate skills in online marketing. You need to have a following on social media or decent traffic on your website. Also, you need to know how to write copy or make a verbal pitch through a YouTube video. Your persuasion and value-conveying abilities will determine how many customers buy the product or service on your recommendation.

Average Timeframe for Results

Most entrepreneurs start making money with affiliate marketing within the first month of getting started. However, they’re usually great with online marketing. For newbies, the average timeframe to see results is 3 to 6 month, as it can take a while to find the right affiliate partner and audiences to sell to. Also, you can put a few things (email campaigns, for instance) on autopilot once you start seeing results by to generate a passive income.

Startup Costs

You can start up an affiliate marketing business with as little as $200. The startup expenses will typically include a domain name, a content management system, and a few tools that allow you to create landing pages and manage your email list.

Profit Potential

Put simply, there’s no limit when it comes to making a profit with affiliate marketing. Google “affiliate marketing success stories” and you’d find several articles on affiliate marketers making a 7-8-figure income, and over $10,000,000+ in lifetime earnings. With the right approach and hard work, anyone can earn enough with affiliate marketing.

Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Pros

  • Sell anywhere: You can sell to a global audience. Merchants in almost every country offer online affiliate programs, without any restrictions on who can join as an affiliate
  • Passive income: Depending on your social influence and marketing skills, you can earn good money even when you’re not in front of your laptop. For example, if you create a viral blog post and put an affiliate link inside it’ll be shared by others without requiring you to make an effort.
  • Cheap to start: You just need a computer and an internet connection. You don’t have to invest in inventory or a physical office. If you need help with marketing, you can hire assistants from Upwork.

Cons

  • Risk of fraud: Some affiliates are conned into a program that was set up by a hacker to make quick money. The hacker will close down the program later and leave without paying a commission. The solution for this is to do some research on the affiliate program you wish to join.
  • No control over product quality: A major pitfall of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have control over the quality of the product you’re endorsing. This includes the item’s features, pricing, and more. The best way around this is to sign up with trustworthy merchants. For services, you can test out the offering first before making a recommendation.
  • Future profits belong to the seller: Affiliate marketing basically means you’re helping a seller build a group of customers. You get a commission just once, while the seller enjoys greater profits when the customer purchases that product again. Also, anyone referred by the customer will go directly to the seller to make a purchase.

Conclusion:

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Affiliate Marketing Explained

Affiliate Marketing Examples:

The majority of entrepreneurs look at the bigger picture when it comes to affiliate marketing. Only a few go beyond, testing the waters with the sub-online-models of this business. A few popular sub-models include:


  • Niche affiliate websites (aka. review sites) for products: Most of these rely on the Amazon associates program, but you can also use affiliate programs from other sites (bestbuy.com, walmart.com, etc. depending on the products you’re selling).

  • Niche affiliate websites for services: Also, review sites can be based around services where commissions are high. Credit cards and dating sites are a few good options. You can promote these via SEO as well as through other digital marketing tactics. Examples of a few of these websites can be seen in the digitalbrands.com portfolio.

  • Landing page/funnels: Another popular sub-online-business model within affiliate marketing is creating funnels/landing pages for lead magnets and using email marketing + Google ads to promote products and services. For example, you can create landing pages for whitepapers, surveys, ebooks, and more. Hello Bar has a great list of lead magnet ideas you can take inspiration from.
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How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

To get started with affiliate marketing, you need to understand its process. In most instances, you’ll need to

  1. Make an account with an affiliate 
  2. Promote their product or service via a unique link that’s tied to your account
  3. Track sales through the cookies that are placed on customers’ browsers when they click on your affiliate link 

When a person decides to purchase a service or order a product after clicking on your affiliate link, you’ll get a commission for the sale.


Of course, a lot more happens in the backend of affiliate marketing. In general, four stakeholders determine its entire flow: Sellers, affiliates, customers, and affiliate networks. Let’s take a closer look at how each of them determine the affiliate marketing process.

 

  • Sellers: They’re the owner of the products and services. They process customer’s payments as well as order fulfillment and support. There are various types of sellers ranging from large online retailers like Amazon or eBay to smaller online stores like ThinkGeek.
  • Affiliates: Affiliates are at the heart of this business. Your role as an affiliate is to promote the seller’s products via different marketing techniques including YouTube marketing, podcasting, blogging, Google ads, and more.
  • Customers: Customers are individuals who buy products from sellers after clicking on the unique links you provide them with. Your job is to build trust with them on behalf of the seller. You’d receive all the branding materials from the seller to include in your sales pitches and marketing campaigns
  • Affiliate networks: A lot of sellers offer direct affiliate programs through their sites, but some (especially the smaller merchants) list their products on affiliate networks. These are a network of various affiliate programs. For example, one of the world’s most popular affiliate networks is Clickbank.com. 

As an affiliate, you can test your skills and luck with direct merchant programs as well as affiliate networks.

What Are Some Popular Affiliate Marketing Niches?

Just like any other online business, affiliate marketing requires you to pick a niche. While there are thousands of options available at your disposal, it’s good to go for the big three: Health, wealth and relationships. Products and services in these “evergreen niches” never face a declining demand because individuals will always search for solutions to the pain points in their everyday lives.


However, you should do further keyword research and find small niche opportunities within these broad categories. This is the easiest way to stand out as an affiliate. Below are a few ideas you can use to get started:


  • For health: Healthy eating, weight loss, Ketogenic diet, vegetarian meals, etc. 

  • For wealth: Real estate investing, credit repair services, cryptocurrency trading, etc.

  • For relationships:  Marriage, same-sex dating, divorce counseling, etc. 

Other popular affiliate marketing niches include the pet market, web hosting, and extracurricular activities such as golf. A few of these pay out a high dollar value in the shape of commissions. Web hosting affiliates, for instance, can earn up to $250 per referral.


Sub-online-business Models of Affiliate Marketing


The majority of entrepreneurs look at the bigger picture when it comes to affiliate marketing. Only a few go beyond, testing the waters with the sub-online-models of this business. A few popular sub-models include:


  • Niche affiliate websites (aka. review sites) for products: Most of these rely on the Amazon associates program, but you can also use affiliate programs from other sites (bestbuy.com, walmart.com, etc. depending on the products you’re selling).

  • Niche affiliate websites for services: Also, review sites can be based around services where commissions are high. Credit cards and dating sites are a few good options. You can promote these via SEO as well as through other digital marketing tactics. Examples of a few of these websites can be seen in the digitalbrands.com portfolio. 
Landing page/funnels: Another popular sub-online-business model within affiliate marketing is creating funnels/landing pages for lead magnets and using email marketing + Google ads to promote products and services. For example, you can create landing pages for whitepapers, surveys, ebooks, and more. Hello Bar has a great list of lead magnet ideas you can take inspiration from.

How Do You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

There are several ways to earn money with affiliate marketing. Below are a few popular approaches:


Content marketing

If you create content on a regular basis, you can sign up for an affiliate program and insert the merchant’s link in your blog post/YouTube video/social media post. Because the original links are often long and unappealing, you can use plugins like Auto Affiliate Links to create simpler and easy-to-insert URLs. Most content management systems (Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, etc.) today offer these tools to make affiliate marketing easy.


“Tools I personally use” landing page

If you have an existing audience who regularly visits your website, you can sign up as an affiliate for high-value services, test them out, and then create a “resources” or “tools” page that mentions any of the services you like. Here’s an example from Digital.com, where the founder Matt shares a list of domain name and hosting providers that aspiring entrepreneurs can use to get their business off the ground.


Social media and influencer marketing

Another way to make money as an affiliate is to promote affiliate links through Facebook, Instagram and other channels. Success on each platform will depend on how much influence you have in your circles. For example, someone with 100,000+ followers on Instagram can earn a high commission by inserting affiliate links in his or her Instagram Stories, videos and posts. Also, if you have some money to spend, you can try and ask an influencer to share the affiliate link on your behalf. 


Email marketing 

If you have a decent list of subscribers, you can suggest a mix of general and affiliate products to them. This can be done with the help of a weekly newsletter. You can design a custom newsletter and give it a unique name to get recipients to take interest. Make sure to include your affiliate link in one of the sections/blocks, ideally in the mid-part of the newsletter’s body. 


You don’t have to stick with a single method for making money. With affiliate marketing, you can try a combination of these methods to earn commissions from various sources.

Frequently Asked Questions About Affiliate Marketing

Do I always need to test a product before I recommend it to others?

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I have an audience. How can I know what products and services they’ll be most interested in?

How can I know if the affiliate network or seller is paying out the right commissions?

What character traits do I need to have to become a successful affiliate marketer?