What is affiliate marketing?
The idea behind affiliate marketing is to earn passive income by promoting other people’s products. You promote a particular product in your affiliate network and persuade people to buy it or subscribe. If someone makes a purchase via your recommendation (secured by your personal and unique affiliate link given to you by the company), the company whose product you are marketing pays you a reward or a commission for the purchase.
Affiliate marketing is essentially a performance-based marketing technique that includes revenue sharing between the company and you. It not only helps you earn money online but also aids in increasing the company’s sales. Thus, the affiliate marketing technique is beneficial for both the business owner and the affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketers can be paid based on pay per sale, pay per lead, or pay per click. Most often, companies choose to pay per sale. It is important to note here that any product sold via the affiliate channel is not sold on a hiked price. The maximum retail price stays the same.
The three parties involved in affiliate marketing
Every affiliate marketing system has three key parties working in harmony.
The merchant or seller – This can be a seller, retailer, creator, or the business itself. This is the party whose product or service an affiliate marketer promotes. Usually, the merchant comes up with an affiliate marketing program from time to time. Most often, such programs are titled ‘Loyalty Programs.’ You can come across such programs via your network or social media.
The affiliate or publisher – This party is the one that promotes a product or service on behalf of the merchant. Often dubbed as an ‘affiliate marketer,’ ‘promotor,’ or ‘consultant,’ the affiliate chooses a product or a service that they personally love to use and then promotes the same in their network. If someone in the network is convinced of the value of the product or service, they make a purchase using the affiliate’s link. Then, the company shares a part of the profit with the affiliate. This is called a commission.
The consumer – The consumer or the customer is the party that brings the merchant and affiliate relationship to a full circle. If the merchant does not get revenue from this party, they have no reward or commission to share with the affiliate. If the customer is convinced that the product is valuable, they make a purchase.
Why should one become an affiliate marketer?
The benefits of becoming an affiliate marketer are manifold.
Passive online income – With affiliate marketing, you can make money while you sleep. All you need to do is invest a little time and effort initially in convincing your network about the value of the product. These potential customers then make purchases whenever they feel like in the following days or weeks. Your commission flows even on the days you don’t work.
Cost-effective and flexible – You do not have to worry about cash flows or even about creating and managing the product or service. The company has already done that for you. Further, affiliate programs do not have any registration fees either. Thus, the entire affiliate marketing system is very cost-effective. Moreover, since you do not have to go to an office and work in fixed hours, it is very flexible. You can work on it anytime and from anywhere.
No requirement to handle customer support – Grievances can arise at any time. However, since you made sales of a product that isn’t exactly owned by you, you do not need to worry about handling these grievances either. The structure of the affiliate marketing system is such that you do not have to provide any customer support or take care of customer satisfaction. Once the customer makes a purchase, all customer support is handled by the company that owns the product.
How to become an affiliate marketer and make money online?
Becoming an online affiliate marketer is not difficult. Here are a few very simple steps you can try to start and establish your second career (or first) as an affiliate marketer:
Review products online – Start out by reviewing products in the niche category that you are interested in. You could post these reviews anywhere, be it a forum, community, Reddit, your Instagram or Twitter handle, a YouTube channel, or even your personal website. Create a directory of multiple such products. Remember, be honest in your reviews. This will help you not only build trust with your network but also help you learn which product is good and which isn’t.
Create a database (email list) of your network – You should have a complete list of emails of as many people in your network handy. There are several simple ways to collect their email IDs. You could prepare collateral or e-books and infographics that one can download or access by putting in their email ID voluntarily. This way, you do not violate any data protection policies, and you have people in your list that are interested in what you have to sell. When you have an email list ready, these are usually the first people you contact when wanting to promote a new product.
Get personal with your network – You have a channel where you post your reviews. You also have a big database of email IDs. However, business works best when you reach out to your customers. You can do this by starting discussions on any social media channel or even hosting a live webinar. Talk to your network about the product that you are promoting. Discuss with them the pros and cons of purchasing it. You can also talk about its use cases. Hosting a webinar isn’t tough either. There are several platforms like Zoom, UberConference, and so on that lets you do so for free.
Remember, always recommend products that you are familiar with and have tried yourself. Choose your products with care and make sure you agree with what you are trying to promote, and, eventually, earn an income from it. If you promote something that doesn’t work well for your network, you lose credibility. Affiliate marketing is all about trust. Get personal with your network, build a rapport, and solve their problems while also making money yourself.
If you would like help with becoming an affiliate marketer or with your existing marketing check out our courses where you can learn how to do affiliate marketing and actually earn money while you learn.