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A Brief Introduction To Affiliate Marketing For Ecommerce

Affiliate marketing is a promotional model that connects merchants with independent marketers who are willing to invest time and money to sell a merchant’s products. Put another way, affiliate marketing connects a business that has a product to sell with a marketer who can sell it.

Affiliate marketing is performance based. Thus advertisers only pay when affiliates deliver a specified customer action. In the ecommerce context, this action is typically an online purchase, which makes affiliate marketing very cost effective.

Payments To Affiliates

The approach to affiliate payments just described is often called pay-per-sale. It is by far the most popular form of affiliate compensation. Some estimates suggest that more than 80 percent of affiliate programs are pay-per-sale. For example, Amazon, which operates one of  he world’s largest ecommerce affiliate programs, pays affiliates a percentage of each “qualified sale.” The exact percentage varies, but according to the Amazon Associates website, affiliates can earn up to 10 percent.

The term “qualified sale” (or its synonym, “qualified purchase”) is important in the affiliate marketing context because the advertiser (the ecommerce merchant) defines in advance what constitutes a qualified sale. When an affiliate agrees to promote the merchant’s products, that affiliate is accepting the merchant’s definition of a “qualified sale.”

Given the mutual dependence on what “qualified sale” means (or “qualified purchase”), it is important for advertisers to carefully define how an affiliate will be paid. Returning to Amazon’s program, the company spells out which sales qualify for affiliate payments.

Here are examples of what might define a qualified purchase.

• The customer clicks a specific affiliate link.
• The product purchased must be added to the shopping cart during a single session following the aforementioned click.
• The customer must pay for and receive the product purchased.
• The customer does not return the product.

Affiliate Ads

Once an affiliate marketer understands how to get paid, she will begin promoting the advertiser’s products. Within the bounds of the program, the affiliate may choose any number of advertising and marketing channels, including but not limited to:

• Pay-per-click ads placed on the merchant’s behalf,
• Digital banner ads on content sites,
• Video ads on YouTube or similar,
• Social media posts,
• Or promotional, “advertorial” content.

It is for this reason that some experts refer to affiliate marketing as a model rather than an advertising channel, since a good affiliate may use many promotional channels to drive sales.

A merchant should also understand that affiliates seek a strong return on investment. They are spending their own money and investing their resources to generate sales. Thus they will place ads and promotions where they work best, even if that means competing with the merchant’s own advertising.

Managing Affiliates

Affiliate marketing management requires both software and time. Let’s look at software first.

Advertisers — i.e., online retailers — need a way to recruit affiliate marketers, track their sales, and process commissions for qualified sales. Effectively, these advertisers have a couple of choices. They can use an affiliate network that acts as a go-between, connecting the advertiser to affiliate marketers and managing the tracking and payments in exchange for a service fee. Or the advertiser can license affiliate-tracking software to deploy on its own servers or as a cloud-based service.

In this second scenario, the software will do the work of tracking affiliate payments, but the advertiser will need to recruit affiliate marketers and manage the payment process.

Both choices require work. This is the “time” required to manage an affiliate marketing program as opposed to the software used. Affiliates will need to understand the advertiser’s target customers, the advertiser’s products, and the advertiser’s brand.

To help, a merchant could provide “talking points” that describe the brand and the products. The merchant may also create approved banner ads and otherwise provide graphics and
advertising material. The merchant will likely need to answer affiliate questions, approve some affiliate marketing tactics, and even approve individual websites where banners may appear.

Hoe Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

To participate in an affiliate marketing program, you’ll need to take these five simple steps:

1. Find and join an affiliate program
2. Choose which offers to promote
3. Obtain a unique affiliate link for each offer
4. Share those links on your blog, social media platforms, or website.
5. Collect a commission anytime someone uses your links to make a purchase.

Commission rates vary dramatically, depending on the company and the offer. On the low end, you’ll earn about 5% of the sale but, with some arrangements, you can earn as much as 50%, usually when promoting a class or event. There are also affiliate marketing programs that provide a flat rate per sale instead of a percentage.

Benefits Of The Affiliate Marketing Model

Affiliate marketing offers several benefits to affiliates (i.e., you), one of which is its ease. Your side of the equation simply involves handling the “marketing” side of building and selling a product—educating customers. You don’t have to worry about the harder tasks, like developing, supporting, or fulfilling the offer.

Affiliate marketing is low risk. Since there’s no cost to join affiliate programs, you can start making money with an established affiliate product or service without any upfront investment. Affiliate marketing also can generate relatively passive income through commission—the ideal money-making scenario. Though initially you’ll have to invest time creating traffic sources, your affiliate links can continue to deliver a steady pay check.

Finally, successful affiliate marketing offers the potential to significantly scale your earnings without hiring extra help. You can introduce new products to your current audience and build campaigns for additional products while your existing work continues to generate revenue in the background.

Before you get too excited, know that great affiliate marketing is built on trust. While seemingly there are an endless number of products or services to promote, it’s best to only highlight those you personally use or would recommend. Even when a product
interests you or fits within an existing hobby, becoming a great marketer for that product takes a lot of work.

How To Find Affiliate Programs

If you’re wondering how to get your feet wet in affiliate marketing, you’ve got a few options. Not every company offers affiliate programs—some businesses manage their own affiliate programs while others use an affiliate network.

An easy way to find affiliate programs is to visit an affiliate marketplace or platform. Browse your niche to find top performing affiliate platforms. Here are some of the most popular:

• Affiliate Network
• Avant Link
• CJ by Conversant
• Click Bank
• Flex Offers
• Link Connector
• Revenue Wire
• Share A Sale

Another option is to visit the websites of the products and services you use and like to see if they have an affiliate program. Large companies often have programs they promote on their site, such as Amazon Associates or the Shopify Affiliate Program.

You also can take a more direct approach. Reach out to the owner of a great product you come across and see if they offer an affiliate marketing program. If they don’t, they might be happy to set up an arrangement with you, such as offering you a special coupon code to share with your followers. The best deals often are found when you’re the first to inquire and have a relevant distribution channel, such as approaching the seller of a new fitness product if you’re a health and wellness blogger.

Affiliate marketing programs will have terms of service you need to follow, so read the fine print. For example, your link usually will have a cookie with a specified timeframe, and some programs don’t allow you to purchase pay-per-click ads using the product or
company’s name.

Creating A Plan To Promote Your Affiliate Offer

Affiliate marketing revenue eventually can become a form of passive income, but you still have to do some heavy lifting up front. The success of your program will depend on the quality of your review.

To create a good review, it’s best to get personal. Share your experience in your blog, social media post, or video. If you’re writing a personal review, give a candid opinion based on your experience with and knowledge of the product. The more open you are, the more authentic you will be. People will be more comfortable following your advice if they feel they can trust you.

Trust is a key factor in your affiliate marketing efforts, because people need to trust you enough to act on your recommendations. The level of trust you’ll need to make affiliate sales depends on your industry and the products you’re recommending shirt.

Beyond just sharing your experiences, you can build trust by limiting the number of affiliates you promote, or by only becoming an affiliate for products you personally use, and sticking to your area of expertise.

Talk To A Product Expert

Another option is interviewing others who use the product or service, or even interviewing the person who makes or sells it. This can give your review more depth, creating a narrative for the reader.

Consider Your Angle

Depending on your offer, figure out how much energy you should invest in instructional or tutorial content, which is often a natural lead-in to someone trying a product for themselves. For example, you could record a video of yourself using and getting the most out of a physical product, or showing off the benefits of a digital product, like software. Unboxing posts are popular, so if you receive the product in the mail, document your experience opening it up.

Set Your Distribution Strategy

Once you’ve written your promotional content, share it on your website or social media platforms. If you have an email list, you can create an email marketing campaign. And be sure to have an affiliate marketing hub on your website with a Resources page where you share a quick list of all of the tools you use and love.

Every New Affiliate Marketer Needs

You’ll make a website, which isn’t as hard as you might think, and then you’ll place
affiliate links to the products you are promoting throughout that website. Then, when someone clicks on your link and buys the product within a certain time frame, you get a commission!

There’s a variety of affiliate networks that you can join to find products to promote, and if you pick a topic (or “niche”) that is interesting to you — first making sure with a little market research that it’s also profitable — it can be quite a lot of fun to build your affiliate website.

There’s a huge range of different methods for getting visitors to your website, including signaling to search engines like Google that your website is relevant to your topic, and spreading the word on social media. Because of the variety of strategies available to you, you’ll be able to find something that suits your strengths to get the ball rolling for your own affiliate website.

The goal is to be making your own money just with your own efforts and a computer, setting yourself up for some great potential income. These lessons will give you a thorough introduction, show you what affiliate sites look like, and walk you through the basics of these important affiliate marketing concepts.

Does Affiliate Marketing Still Work In 2020?

As the calendar rolls over into 2020, affiliate marketing is poised for continued growth and is set to continue generating revenue for those able to capitalize on it. … Today, affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to earn an income online, drive sales
and increase brand awareness.

Can You Make A Living Off Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a viable income option, but it does not work for every business. Making an income through affiliate marketing requires dedication and commitment over a long period of time. Like any form of self-employment or business model, affiliate
marketing has both advantages and disadvantages.

What Is The Future Of Affiliate Marketing?

When it comes to the future of AM, it’s all about who can dominate the mobile market. Forrester predicts that affiliate marketing spending in the US will grow to $6.8 billion by 2020. The earning potential is enormous for those marketers who can rise to the top of the industry.

How Many Affiliate Programs Should I Join?

Depending on several factors, you should be able to join at least three affiliate programs without any problems with your productivity or your time. Joining three affiliate programs is manageable: joining more than three could be a disaster.

What Is The Scope Of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing in India is a viable option as a second income source. If done successfully, it can also become the primary source of income giving the affiliate marketer freedom from his daily grind. One can earn more money from it than any other
online-based business or work.

Is Affiliate Marketing Good Money?

Affiliate marketing can be lucrative, but it takes a commitment of time and money to make it a real business. Do thorough research before you jump on the affiliate-marketing bandwagon … Traditional advertisements and selling your own products can help if your affiliate-marketing revenue dries up.

Does Affiliate Links Expire?

No! Affiliate links do not expire. Yes, your link will still work after ten years. … BUT no, affiliate links themselves never expire (unless the affiliate network changes the format and deprecate their current format or the vendor ceases trading).