As far as making money online through your blog is concerned, Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways. Affiliate Marketing gives you the option of enhancing your blog’s monetization strategy by adding a passive income stream. In this post, we will discuss what affiliate marketing is, how it works and how you can start incorporating it into your digital marketing strategy.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Strictly by definition, affiliate marketing is a type of referral arrangement as a part of which a web retailer (advertiser) pays you a commission when your readers purchase the retailer’s product from your referral link.
Unlike other ad types which dish out their payments based on clicks or views, affiliate marketing works on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition), or CPL (cost-per-lead) basis. In other words, you simply earn a commission when someone takes an action (i.e buys the merchandise/signs up for a free trial).
Since affiliate marketing holds less risk for the advertiser, affiliate programs disburse much higher commissions to publishers compared to Google AdSense or other sorts of ad services.
Affiliate marketing requires a more hands-on approach than other ad services though. You have to find a product or service that you believe will be helpful to your readers. After that you’ve got to strategically add it to your blog posts and other areas of your site, so readers can buy the merchandise using your referral link. Don’t make it look too much like an advertisement or it might put your readers off.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
First, you have to find a company or product that you want to promote. You need to pick products or services that you believe are going to be relevant to your blog’s topic and useful for your readers. The product or company you select is going to be referred as a ‘Merchant’.
Next, you must partner up with the company you have chosen by joining their partner program. This makes you their ‘Affiliate’. Some companies also use terms like associates and partners interchangeably with affiliates.
Once you’ve joined their partner program (also called Affiliate Program), you’ll get a singular affiliate ID. You will then need to use this affiliate ID with all the affiliate links that you add in your website to help market the merchant’s merchandise.
You can promote the merchandise by adding in-depth product reviews, recommending it in your articles, displaying banner ads, sending an email newsletter etc. All traffic you send to the merchant website (alongside your unique ID) is going to be tracked.
Once a user makes a purchase, you will earn a commission. Your payment is issued once your earnings cross a specific threshold. It usually takes around 45 – 60 days for the payment to arrive.
How to start Affiliate Marketing
First, you need to make sure that you are using the right blogging platform, and whether you are allowed to run affiliate marketing campaigns on your website.
For example, if you are using WordPress.com, then there are some restrictions regarding the products and services you can link your website to.
On the other hand if you are on a self-hosted WordPress.org website, then you can add any affiliate link you want and efficiently manage all of your affiliate campaigns.
These are amongst the must have sections for each WordPress blog. They not only save you from legal issues in the future, but they also help you build trust with your audience.
How to find Affiliate Products and Services to Promote
There are some ways to seek out products and corporations that you can partner up with as an affiliate. Here are some of the easiest ways to find the products you can promote.
Start affiliate marketing for the products you already use
First, you need to look at the products and services that you already use and find useful. This makes it easy for you to convince your users about the product since you already know the pros and cons.
Next, you should check out the product’s website and look for terms like ‘Affiliate program’, ‘Partners’, or ‘Affiliates’. Many companies are actively trying to find affiliate marketers to market their products. That’s the reason why they add a link to their affiliate page on their website’s footer.
Look for products that other competitive blogs are recommending
Another way to seek out products is by going through other blogs like yours. You will be surprised to find many similar blogs that are using affiliate marketing to generate a good amount of money. But how does one know that they’re promoting affiliate products?
First, look for the obvious and easily noticeable banner ads on their website. Take your mouse’s cursor to the banner ad, and you will see a link in your browser’s status bar.
This link will usually have an affiliate ID. An affiliate ID helps merchants when it comes to tracking the affiliate partner generating sales or traffic for them.
Sometimes these links may appear as if they are internal links, but once you click on them they’re going to take you to a product website with the affiliate marketer’s ID within the link. Similar affiliate links can be found throughout the content.
Join Larger Affiliate Networks
Another way to seek out products to market, is joining affiliate networks. These websites act as middlemen between affiliate marketers and merchants.
You will notice that a lot of products and corporations that you simply want to partner with already use an affiliate network. This helps you quickly find a lot of products that you can start promoting on your website.
Reach out to Companies
If you actually want to market a product but can’t find any information about its affiliate program, then you can just find out about it via email.
Some companies might not be actively promoting their affiliate program. If they need an affiliate program, then they might send an invitation to you.
What are Affiliate Networks and Why should you join them?
Affiliate networks play the role of middlemen between the merchants (companies that want to sell their products) and you (the affiliate marketer).
For merchants, they supply their platform as a service to list their products, track affiliate traffic, manage affiliates, and send payments.
For affiliate marketers, they offer an easy-to-use platform to search for products, sign up as an affiliate, and track your campaign performance and earnings.
These are some of the best affiliate networks that you should consider joining if you are serious about affiliate marketing:
- CJ Affiliate
- Amazon Associates
Which affiliate networks should you join?
You should join affiliate networks that have the products you would like to market. You can join multiple affiliate networks for various products.
Ensure that you always check the network program policies. You must also remember to review program policies of individual products and merchants. This will give you a clear idea about your earnings, payments, additional incentives, and more.
Affiliate Marketing Tips to Increase Earnings
Choose good products and companies to promote
As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have control over the shelf life/long term utility of products that you are recommending. That’s why you need to make sure that you are recommending the best products from reputable companies.
The best way to do this is by recommending the products and services that you have actually used. If you would like to recommend a product that appears useful, then be happy to contact them to find out more info about the product.
If you ask politely, most companies will gladly provide you with a free sample to review / test their product or service.
Offer highly useful and valuable content
Affiliate links and banners can be added wherever you choose on your WordPress website. However, simply adding links won’t help you in convincing your readers to buy those products.
You need to convince your users by offering useful and valuable information about the merchandise . Many affiliate marketers do this by writing in-depth product reviews, video reviews, product comparisons with pros and cons, and more.
Keep your audience in mind
Keep your website’s readers and their interests in mind when choosing the product. For example, if you run a fashion blog, then you’d want to market fashion accessories, clothing, and similar products that your audience would want to shop for. There is no point in partnering with a laptop merchant when your blog talks about fashion trends and fashion weeks.