What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is like recommending a shop (or product) to someone you know or meet. If that person then visits that shop and buys something, you earn a percentage of the sale for making the introduction. You see statistically we are far more likely to buy after receiving some form of endorsement.
Affiliate Marketing as we know it is mainly online, the offline variation has been around for years and is known as direct marketing. This could be everything from tupperware to the vitamins, no doubt at least one of your friends has tried to introduce you to something?
…If not, trust me they will at some point, you see direct marketing is growing fast (really fast)! Some of the biggest companies in the world that you’ve never heard of, only use direct marketing.
Affiliate and Direct Marketing techniques are now widely embraced by vendors as a great way to increase sales.
With no advertising costs or large wholesaler discounts, giving a small percentage away to the affiliates is massively appealing and often risk free.
With digital products vendors can afford to give 50% or more away, ensuring affiliates do all the marketing leg work.
We (the consumer) tend to be less sceptical and more willing to give things a try when it’s a friend or someone we trust and not a salesperson making the recommendation.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re recommending a product that isn’t very good, then you’ll quickly loose the trust of people. This goes for both direct and online sales, so choose wisely.
So how does this work online?
Well the principle is similar but normally the relationship is far less familiar. Consumers are still looking for recommendations and endorsements to products online, but the manner in which we can present that information has far more flexibility.
This is because you get a unique link for every product that is tracked. That link keeps a record of anyone who buys and what commissions you will be paid.
The people who click through and buy the more money you make. Simple enough right?
Then if that customer buys within a certain time (normally 1-30 days depending on the vendor), you will get a percentage of the sale. The awesome difference with affiliate marketing online is that to a degree you can set it and leave it, not having to deal with support or customer service. You just make the introduction and take your money.
Your only job is to help people with a decision they want to make or to entice them to click the link. The actual final selling and customer service will be handled by the vendor after they pass through the link. In most cases the sellers are very good at closing the sale, especially if you’ve help create the buying mood.
Note: There are two types of affiliates;
- White-hat: Those who offer help and value to people before they click on their link. And who try to stay within the rules of the platforms they market with (e.g. FB and Google).
- Black-hat: Those who try to trick and push people to click on links at all costs while trying to get round the Ts and Cs of any platform they use (e.g. spammers).
Sometimes the lines are a little blurred and you get the odd “slap”, but for the most part I recommend trying use white-hat methods. Black-hat methods only normally work for a short time and are used by people looking for fast cash. Although fast cash is great, I’ve found the constant issues and risk of getting accounts banned is no way to build a long term business. If you want a stress-free and stable business, find a way to work within the rules (especially with Google Adwords & YouTube).
The flexibility with affiliate marketing comes into the way that you present the link. It could be any of the following…
- A Blog – Where you are simply recommending something you use and your reader trusts your recommendation so clicks through and makes a purchase.
- Emails – In emails directly to your list.
- Training – In training & membership areas.
- A Review Site – Were you offer pros and cons to help them make a decision
- A Comparison Site – Where you offer comparisons of similar products
- Discount/Coupon Sites – You get discounted deals and people click the links to get the deal
- Banner Ads – Or simply banner ads on you site where you get a percentage of the profit if someone clicks through.
The list of ways to push affiliate links quite literally is endless, and often it’s not even about a recommendation but just having the link in the right place at the right time.
Relevant Affiliate Links + Targeted Traffic = Profit
Done right and with an evergreen product (products that people will buy for some time to come) and you can literally make money while you sleep. This in my opinion is why Affiliate marketing is the best business out there. Once you have sites set up that are generating profit, this business can give you the money and freedom to follow other pursuits. unless of course you get addicted and many affiliate marketers do, you’ll start to notice opportunities everywhere!
The main topics that affiliate marketers tend to focus on are health, wealth and happiness. Those are broad and in my opinion anything that has human drivers (human needs) will make money. Examples could be sex, security, attraction, food, money, homes etc the list is endless and ever growing but if you stick to basic human needs and work from there, then you’ll be fine. As you get more savvy and have systems in place you can respond to trends.
“Just be careful of the different rules and policies on marketing for certain niches. E.g. finance and health tend to have different rules”
Many people believe that the big affiliate money is in the internet marketing industry, teaching other people how to make money online. They wouldn’t be completely wrong. Unlike other gurus I believe there is more than enough money for everyone to be made and it’s still a growing area. HOWEVER the issue is not with the size of the “Money Making” sector but the damage that “WE” as affiliate marketers in the “Get Rich Quick” affiliate marketing industry have done to the traffic sources available.
The “Get Rich Quick” area may be booming but from my experiences it’s 5 times more difficult to gain traffic and engagement than it is in any other niche I’m involved in. This is because we’ve used the social media and advertising platforms in the wrong way, using them as tools to boost rankings rather than engagement (we’ve basically tried to play the systems). So many of us have big but useless (inactive) social media accounts and the paid advertisers like Google, YouTube and Facebook now have seriously stringent rules concerning money (get rich quick) topics on ads. This is why you should sharpen your teeth on virgin territory first, don’t pick a battle you can’t win in the beginning. Disappointment will make you give up too soon, I see it all the time.
Tip: Always be of value in what you do, either with your knowledge, providing a service or offering discounts and bonuses. People must be drawn to your links and want to click on them, so you need to think of the customers needs and build your links into them.
Have a go and let me know how you get on.