A Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing
Use your platform to be the ‘ambassador of brands’ and make money from the field of your interest
If you have been hearing all the wonderful things about affiliate marketing and how you can make money while you sleep, then this post can help you get started. Remember that those selling a product need brand awareness and marketing makes that possible. Just as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says that “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”, marketing is the only way to increase brand awareness, drive sales, generate leads, and so on.
Effective marketing always takes off with a well-planned strategy and Affiliate Marketing is one such blueprint. According to a survey conducted by Rakuten Advertising in 2016, more than 80 per cent of advertisers ran an affiliate program and over 10 per cent of their marketing budget was allocated to affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the online marketing strategies or an advertising model that helps the merchant (offering the product) to increase sales or get leads through third-party publishers (affiliates). Just like a commission-only sales representative, affiliates earn a commission for promoting the product based on an incentive structure.
So, if you are the publisher – an affiliate partner – the merchant which wants to promote its products or services, compensates you for the sales they make, for example, Amazon, which is the first company to introduce affiliate marketing. They initiated the idea of the affiliate program (associates program) that allowed publishers to sign up and offer links to Amazon products on their blog or website. To sum it up, an affiliate is an ambassador for the brands they endorse and hence, your public reputation should be outstanding.
How Can You Start Affiliate Marketing?
You can become an affiliate marketer for one or several products of one or different brands at a time. This is a great way to monetise your blog or website by promoting and marketing the products to the website visitors (potential buyers) and make money.
So, to get started, there should be a merchant, an affiliate network, a publisher (you or your company), and the consumer. You may sign up for the Amazon affiliate program that connects you with the companies (merchants) wanting to promote their products or services. A publisher can be a blog, website, smartphone app, e-commerce platform, social media channel, or browser extension that drives substantial traffic to be able to promote and sell products with the help of affiliate marketing.
While there are plenty of affiliate networks connecting publishers and advertisers globally, among the top five are ShareASale, Awin, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Marketing.
How to Go About It?
To get started, as a publisher, you must focus on increasing the blog or website traffic and hence:
You must have a platform, to begin with, that will help you to make money. It can be a video-sharing platform like YouTube, a blog, a website, or even Instagram is a great way to start these days. With 6.7 million people blogging and around 12 million posting on social media, it shouldn’t be a difficult choice to make!
Select a niche that suits your interests the best, for instance, if you have an eye for fashion, you may choose to focus only on apparel and accessories.
Next, begin with product videos or reviews based on your niche, through your preferred platform. For instance, you can create a shopping haul video for YouTube for fashion products, a smartphone unboxing with the review, or review a makeup product, and so on.
Create high-quality content and make sure that the affiliate links fit spontaneously and should not look forced. For instance, while searching for the top affiliate programs, look for the available brands, commission percentage, etc.
Drive consistent traffic to your website by:
Building better customer relationship with email marketing that helps you connect to them to promote your content and hence, increase chances of sales. Therefore, start collecting emails.
Signing up more readers through your blog or website subscriptions and hold webinars in partnership to grow your email list and drive sales faster.
Paying for traffic boost, for example, join Pay Per Click (PPC) affiliate programs, implement SEO to rank high in search engines, and enhance your earnings.
Sign up with an affiliate network.
Select the product you think your audience can relate to.
Get access to reporting tools and analytics to keep up with your progress on the promotional campaigns.
While it’s good to have a blog or a website to start with affiliate marketing, because that has been the tradition, it’s not mandatory. There are different techniques that can help you start earning from affiliate marketing, for example, solo ads, join and start posting on online communities and forums, through an eBook, YouTube PPC marketing, using content publishing platforms like Medium, social media, and so on.
If you have the will to make money with affiliate marketing, the right time to start is now. At the same time, like any other business, it needs your commitment with your time and money. Hence, before you bet your bottom dollar into affiliate marketing, make sure that you do your research.
The author is a technology columnist
DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author’s own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.