People who are somehow engaged in the field of marketing have surely heard this term before and already know that, basically, affiliate marketing implies earning commission by promoting some service or product. This term also comprises a reverse process - that is, when you offer goods or services of your own and want to advertise them by launching your own affiliate program. However, before we dive into the specifics, let’s first devise a more refined description of its meaning.
Affiliate Marketing Definition
Most dictionaries define affiliate marketing as “a subtype of Internet marketing, in which a business uses middlemen-partners to reach its target audience, with the affiliate earning money on commission for sales made through his or her website or blog”.
But that’s not it. If you plan to fully grasp the concept of affiliate marketing, you also have to be aware of the following terms:
- Client (also known as the “advertiser” is an online business that wants to promote its products through various niche blogs and websites)
- Affiliate or Publisher (is a website or blog owner who accepts offers generated by a client and posts links to various goods or services that might interest visitors)
- Affiliate Marketplace (is an online database that stores relevant affiliate programs, helping publishers find appropriate offers)
- Affiliate Link or ID (is a unique link created for each affiliate so that he or she could follow the progress of the promotion)
Even though there are numerous other terms related to the subject of affiliate marketing, these are the ones you have to understand before we can talk about how this process works.
3 Basic Steps in Affiliate Marketing
In its pure form, affiliate marketing can be described in three steps:
- Step 1: You introduce and suggest an item or service to your readers or social media followers.
- Step 2: A percentage of your visitors (with the amount depending on the appropriately chosen product and the total amount of readers you have) buys the product listening to your suggestion.
- Step 3: You get paid a commission for each sale made through your page.
It can’t get any simpler, right?
How to Start Affiliate Marketing
Now that you’re introduced to the general process of how you can generate revenue using affiliate marketing, let’s talk about what you have to do if you already have a highly-visited blog, website, or social media page. You simply need to find an affiliate program that suits your content and recommend products and services your reader-base can genuinely benefit from. That’s it!
But what if you have to start from nothing? In that case, these are the recommended steps to follow:
- Pick a niche that you’re excited about and in which you can write hundreds of posts. Make sure that the competition there isn’t too fierce.
- Go to an affiliate marketplace, study programs that apply to your selected topic and choose one of them.
- Create and build up a website or blog.
- Either create high-quality content yourself or hire someone to do it for you and make sure that your posts are written from personal experience or use information that you’ve obtained from a trusted source.
- Find your readers and turn them into loyal subscribers.
- Keep repeating steps 4 and 5.
Affiliate Marketing Examples
To show you how some websites are using affiliate marketing to make huge amounts of money, here are examples:
TripAdvisor is the place to go both for finding interesting places to visit and for choosing travel agencies that will help you fulfill those plans. And yet, the website’s services are completely free. How is that possible? Affiliate marketing. TripAdvisor is enrolled in dozens of affiliate programs with a fair share of the biggest travel agencies on the planet that pay the website for each new client that it sends their way.
TheWireCutter is a prime example of a website that both earns millions of dollars on affiliate marketing and recommends only the best products in their respective categories. As a result, whenever someone wants to buy a new gadget, he or she knows where to find the most trustworthy reviews and opinions. And the website gets a revenue from each purchase encouraged by those reviews and opinions.
In conclusion, affiliate marketing represents such a rare thing in our world as a “win-win-win” situation. The affiliate, the advertiser, and the buyer all benefit from its existence. The first two parties receive monetary gain, while the latter gets to purchase an item or service he or she was looking for by listening to a trusted source of information.