Affiliate Marketing Basics

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 6 years ago

Affiliate Marketing Basics
Affiliate Marketing 101

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.

Basically a business  pays individuals that are not employees (called affiliates) for posting advertisements that send consumers to the businesses’ ecommerce site. 

You join an affiliate program. You use links or banners created specifically for you with a tracking code to promote that business. Web users click on your ads and visit the businesses ecommerce website. they make a purchase. You get paid a commission.

It's cheap. It's fast. (I'd like to say its easy, but you do have to work to generate traffic, just like you would in any business). But both affiliates and businesses CAN make money using affiliate marketing.

How can I become an Affiliate marketer?

Affiliate marketers often post links or ads on their websites for other businesses and send traffic, earning a small sum for each referral.

Can you become an affiliate marketer if you don’t have a website?

Yes. There are several ways to market products by means of affiliate marketing on the Internet without having your own website. You can become an affiliate marketer by incorporating affiliate links into the body of emails you send, posting affiliate links in discussion communities such as forums, discussion boards, or blogs, writing articles on websites that feature user-generated content, and also, writing e-books that feature embedded affiliate links. 

What are the benefits of affiliate marketing for businesses?

Businesses (or merchants) that use affiliate marketers get brand ambassadors at a fraction of the cost of other types of marketing. Businesses only pay when a marketer sends traffic or they make a sale. Affiliate marketing is a form of paid online advertising, similar to Google Adwords, but the merchant can directly contract and pay the affiliate without a third party.

What are the risks for businesses? An affiliate marketer practicing poor marketing techniques, like creating fake social media accounts or sending unsolicited emails, can anger consumers and turn away potential customers. Managing affiliates can also take time and energy, although the right software can help merchants do this.

Can you make money as an affiliate marketer?

Yes. Affiliate marketing is a growing industry as more people are shopping and buying online. Here are 4 steps to take to become an affiliate marketer that makes money:
  1. Research merchants that offer affiliate opportunities. Amazon is one example of a large ecommerce company with an affiliate program. Choose your merchant(s) carefully. A poor quality product will keep people from trusting your promotions in the future. 
  2. Use the links or ads provided by the merchant to post on the highest traffic pages of your website, send via email, or post on your social media sites.
  3. Track and test your results. Test different ad placements, email subject lines, or types of ads. Refine your advertising based on results.
  4. Continue generating more traffic. Write an interesting blog. Create useful or humorous videos. Join social media networks and post interesting content. Keep sharing your links, ads, and banners without spamming!
Whether you are a merchant or an affiliate, affiliate marketing can be a great way to increase online sales. Share your affiliate marketing experiences below!

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