What is Affiliate Marketing | How to Begin With Affiliate Marketing?

Every entrepreneur thinking about engaging in digital marketing might have come across this term. It is considered to be the easiest way to make money online. 

Affiliate marketing is significantly helpful to start-up businesses. They can advertise their products and services via a trusted source. 

In layman’s language, affiliate marketing is a way to make money while you sleep. 

If you are starting with affiliate marketing as a publisher/affiliate, it is crucial to receive a program overview. You might be interested in the kind of products and if it is relatable to you or not. 

Promoting products and services and making money online through it sounds like an easy plan. Right?

Although, it is not! There are more layers in affiliate marketing than the novice would know. 

If this introduction got your slight attention and made you curious, read further to learn all about affiliate marketing. 

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the new age method of making money online. It benefits both the publisher and the owner who creates the product. 

It is somewhat similar to PPC (pay per click) but also different at the same time. 

In affiliate marketing, the publisher only gets paid for the number of sales through their platform. Whereas in PPC, the publisher gets paid no matter if the user is buying the product or not. 

Affiliate marketing has recently become quite easy. With digital marketing analytics and cookies, one can easily track the number of sales through each affiliate link. 

This keeps the merchants at peace knowing that they are paying for their sales rather than the advertisements. 

The tracking system has made affiliate marketing a billion-dollar industry. 

However, one downside of referral links is that it remains for a valid time frame. 

The Building Blocks of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is not done by a solo person/organization. It is a chain between the merchant, the affiliates, and the consumer. 

  • The Merchant

The merchant/entrepreneur is the one who creates the product. The merchant can be any business owner.

From a start-up organization to a multi-dollar company, affiliate marketing benefits both. 

The merchant creates an affiliate network/in-house program to increase brand sales and generate traffic. 

  • The Affiliate Marketers

The affiliate marketers or the publishers are the ones that use those referral links on advertisement platforms. 

The publisher can either be a single individual or an entire group of organizations. No one is against that extra commission. 

A single individual can also be the owner of multiple websites. 

Affiliate marketers have the freedom to promote one or more products. 

  • The Consumer

The consumer is the most crucial part of the entire process. If the consumer would not make the purchase, neither the merchant nor the affiliates gain any profit. 

The consumer would only increase sales if the publisher is a trusted one. 

Types of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is broadly categorized into three categories. The types are based on the relation between the affiliates and the products/services they are promoting. 

  • Unattached

As the name suggests, in unattached affiliate marketing the affiliates do not know the product or services they are promoting.

The products are not related to their field of work. For instance, how would you feel if a beverage company is promoting a kids’ clothing brand? Weird, right?

The affiliates are only concerned about the sales and their commissions. They add referral links to their social media platforms and Google Adwords

Email marketing is another platform used for affiliate marketing. 

It is a great option for start-up companies. It helps them to build trust among the target audience. 

  • Related 

Crystal clear from the name, the affiliates have some kind of ground connection to the products/services. 

Maybe both the merchant and the affiliate have the same ground niche, let us say fashion. Although, the affiliate has never tried the merchant’s product/services yet knows the industry.

However, it has a downside. If the consumer purchases the product/services, they are trusting the publisher. If their experience is not satisfactory, the affiliate might lose some of the regular consumers. 

  • Involved

This is the best option for both the merchants and the affiliates. The affiliate has tried and tested the product. 

This gives them a precise insight into the product. Unlike related affiliate marketing, this has a far lesser chance of losing the trusted audience. 

The affiliates know the target audience and their needs. Hence, they generate more revenues and commissions. 

This is kind of similar to influencer marketing. The influencers are chosen by the merchants on the number of followers and devoted audience. 

They share their thoughts and views about the products with the audience. This affiliate marketing has more possibility to reach the target audience. 

How to Become an Affiliate Merchant?

  • Ideology/Niche

The basic idea to initiate a business should be to fulfill the needs of the target audience. The niche should not be too broad. 

It would limit the chances of being at the top of SERPs. It is pretty crucial to believe in what you are selling. 

To make it more successful, the merchant should find the most popular niche for affiliate marketing. 

  • Create the Affiliate Programs

There are two methods of creating an affiliate program; an affiliate network and an in-house program.

The affiliate network works as an intermediate between the publisher and the merchant. The network has multiple niche choices for the publisher. 

This makes it easier for the publisher since they get everything under one roof. However, it may not be a great idea for the merchants because they have to pay for the network services. 

The in-house program is managed by the merchants. Instead of an affiliate network, the merchants use affiliate software to generate the programs. 

  • Choose the Terms of Service and Cost of Commission

Once the merchants have found the affiliate marketer, they decide on the terms of service and the rate of commission. 

The commission price depends on the fame and trust of the affiliate source among the audience. The terms of service might include the length of the contract. 

Deciding the terms of service helps the merchants and the affiliates. This reduces the mess when ending the partnership. 

Summing Up

When creating an affiliate marketing program, the user’s intent is the priority. Affiliate marketing increases traffic and is the best passive source of income. 

The affiliates can promote the product via blogs, email marketing, and podcasts. 

For start-up businesses, it is the best way to promote their products and spread awareness among the audience. That too at a minimal price.