To answer to what is affiliate marketing, we can go to Wikipedia and see the simplest explanation –
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. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.
In the above mentioned statement, we are known as publishers or the affiliates. We as affiliates, try to promote the product of the brand using any kind of tool or method to sell to the customer and all the tools and management is done by the various networks, sometimes the brands themselves.
How does this is win-win for all?
What is affiliate marketing has to do with everyone is to smoothen the business of the brand and give opportunity to bloggers who own a good website but no product to offer of their own.
- Brand sells more business or services and spreads its business – makes money and business
- Affiliate earns money without owning or manufacturing any product or managing any service
- Customer gets the product or service anyway they needed
- Affiliate Companies stay in business by managing everything for customers, brands and affiliates.
You would find two kind of Affiliate programs though: 1. Offered by brand itself, 2. Offered by a company managing affiliate programs called Affiliate Marketing Companies.
One that offered by brand will have a link like below for Amazon:
The yellow encircled link will lead you to apply for becoming an affiliate.
The job of the affiliate by either way is to promote the website and their services to their own customers or visitors in exchange of some monetary rewards and yes, it is totally legal.
Otherwise, you may wanna check out Affiliate Marketing Companies list which are good enough to be considered to join the program.
If you compare Adsense vs Affiliate Marketing, Adsense for the same visitors would not make you enough money as much as affiliate marketing will but to do so, you have to build a trust first with your audience.
Also check out: 8 Rules to follow to sell better in Affiliate Marketing
Why the brands offer such programs?
The simplest answer would be to grow their business. Imagine they do marketing by spending tons of money in ads on TV/internet/newspaper and if they get results out of that? Who knows.
They have to pay upfront anyway no matter if they make any sale or not but with affiliate programs, they make payment once the sale is made.
What they have to do? Just maintain the affiliate program site which could be a headache as that needs additional department and there comes the Affiliate Marketing Companies which takes all such pain and charge some money which would required by the brand to maintain the affiliates anyway.
How does it work anyway?
The way it works is using tracking ID and affiliate links.
The company provides a tracking ID to you when you register as affiliate and to promote any product, you either use banner or link ads but any of such link or banner has your tracking ID hidden in it. That tells the brands who is trying the best to keep them busy with customers.
Never alter the tracking ID because even if you put in false ID, most probably the link would work but you won’t get any commission.
Also, some companies provide cookie period.
When you visit a site, you leave a cookie behind and if your customer has visited a brand using your tracking ID but did not make a purchase, that is ok. Because if they come back in a specific time frame to buy the product even without your tracking ID, the system will know it was you who referred and you will still be paid.
Every brand has their own policy about cookies and its period which you should read while you sign up.
Who can promote or become affiliate?
Single word answer – anyone!
Some big players have requisites like your site should fall in same niche or should have minimum X number of pageviws but this isn’t true for every brand or company.
So ideally, anyone should be able to become an affiliate but if in case not, you should promote your website more to make most out of it.
Charges for affiliation
Well, there are absolutely no charges to join any network or program. The only thing they ask for is dedication and sincerity.
Also, note that choose only program that you can promote.
Adding yourself to every possible network would not bring you money but working for one specific program or brand will.
Of course their are monetary opportunities involved. Each program pays you some percentage of the sale made by you and some programs pay you flat money as well. You choose what would be best for you and your visitor.
You must visit 8 Rules to follow to sell better in Affiliate Marketing to know how to do the affiliate marketing the right way!
Affiliate Programs are good and you should work with multiple but if you are starting out, just start with one or two only that you can promote and once things start rolling, you can eventually increase your program circle.
Also, make sure you are making money out of it, afterall, that is why we join any affiliate program on the first place 😉
Comment section is open, please comment and let me know if you have joined any such program or paid by any affiliate program so far? How was or been your experience so far? How long you have been associated with them?