A simple way to explain Affiliate Marketing is: it is a way of making money online where you as a publisher are compensated for helping a business by promoting their product, service or website.
A variety of business promotions exist that an affiliate marketer can be associated. In most cases they involve you, as a publisher, earning a commission when someone follows a link on your blog (or website) to another site where they then purchase something. An example of their purchase can be: software, a video course, an eBook, a membership to a site, or even a service (such as website hosting). Another variation of Affiliate Marketing is where you earn a commission for referring a visitor to an Advertisers sales page and the visitor takes some kind of action. For example: they sign up for something and give an email address or zip code, they complete a survey, they leave a name and address, they leave a mobile device number, etc. Commissions are often a percentage of the sale, but can also be a fixed amount per conversion (when the visitor purchases something).
Conversions are generally tracked when a link generated by the publisher, with a code that identifies the publisher embedded in it, is followed which enables the advertiser to track the origin of the conversions. Sometimes an advertiser might generate a unique coupon code that will be given to the publisher that their readers will use to help track conversions.
- The reason advertisers prefer affiliate marketing as a way to promote their products is because they know they will only need to pay for the advertising when there’s a conversion.
- The reason publishers prefer affiliate marketing is because if they find a product that is relevant to their niche, earnings can accumulate mush better than any cost per click or cost per impression advertising campaign.
While affiliate marketing can be incredibly lucrative it is important to note that affiliate marketing is not easy money. Most people, who try affiliate marketing, make very little as it relies upon numerous factors including:
- traffic (high traffic helps a lot)
- finding relevant products
- finding quality products
- building trust with your readers
- having a readership who is in a ‘buying mood’
- being able to write good sales copy
There’s also some risk associated with affiliate marketing that, if you push too hard or promote products of a low quality, you can actually burn readers and hurt your reputation and brand.
It’s also worth noting that affiliate marketing doesn’t work on all blogs. Some blogs are on topics where it is hard to find products to promote, other blogs attract audiences who are not in a “buying frame of mind” and for other blogs no affiliate marketing will fit with the blogger’s style or approach.