Tired of having to go to the office and deal with monotony? What if you could make money anytime and from anywhere? Affiliate marketing is here to help! What’s more, it’s beneficial for both affiliate marketers and brands.
But, how can you make it happen? In this guide, I’ll tell you all about affiliate marketing. I’ll cover from the basics to the most advanced tactics and strategies so that you can succeed and increase your revenue!
Let’s get started!
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process by which you can earn a commission when promoting other people’s or company’s products. In other words, you benefit from advertising a product you like. Each time you make a sale, the company rewards you.
What’s more, the sales are tracked and monitored through affiliate links. If someone clicks on the link, a cookie gets stored on their device. Cookies usually have an expiration date that ensures you’ll get paid even if the buyer puts off the purchase.
Affiliate marketing consists of spreading the responsibilities of product marketing so that the marketing strategy is more effective. There are different parties involved: the seller, the affiliate, the consumer, and the network.
The seller, also known as a product creator, merchant, retailer, or vendor, is someone with a product to market. The product can either be a physical object or a service. Besides, the seller can be a big company or an individual.
The affiliate, also known as a publisher, refers to an individual or a company that promotes the seller’s product. What the affiliate does is market the product to potential consumers. On top of that, the affiliate is who tries to convince consumers to purchase the product.
The consumer or customer is the one who buys the product or hires the service. For affiliate marketing to take place, the consumer needs to buy a product. Then, it is when the seller and the affiliate share the profits.
The network functions as an intermediary between the affiliate and the seller. Affiliates often promote their products on social media, blogs, and websites. One of the most well-known networks is Amazon.
Origin of affiliate marketing
According to Skimlinks, William J. Tobin conceived, implemented, and patented affiliate marketing in 1989. Affiliate marketing is commonly associated with something that happens online. However, it existed before the internet.
William J. Tobin is considered to be a pioneer since he set up the first affiliate marketing program for his company, PC Flowers & Gifts, in 1989. He launched a program on the Prodigy Network, which was paid a commission on every sale.
By 1993, it was generating $6M yearly for Prodigy. William J. Tobin created the framework of what we know as affiliate marketing nowadays.
Amazon was not far behind; it was the first company to make affiliate marketing available for the general public. In 1996, it launched Amazon Associates. When users shared the links to Amazon’s products, they got paid in exchange for referring to new customers. Not surprisingly, Amazon still remains a key player in the world of affiliate marketing.
Commission Junction and Clickbank followed in 1998. These affiliate networks allowed smaller businesses to take advantage of affiliate marketing. It helped businesses to expand their reach.
Since the creation of cookies, things have changed slightly. Cookies allowed tracking. This made affiliate marketing even better. People could know where the information was coming from.
After that, eCommerce, online publishing, and influencers boosted affiliate marketing. Things have changed a lot since the first affiliate marketing program. They will keep on changing. To stay on top of the game, you must keep up with the latest trends!
Is it worth it?
Is affiliate marketing worth it?
To determine whether affiliate marketing is worth it for you, you must consider the efforts involved. To succeed, you need to sensibly choose your product category, learn about your audience, create and promote content, build a website or blog, and more.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require special technical skills. Anyone willing to take part can do it. However, you won’t see benefits straight away; it takes time until it pays off. If you’re eager to put in the effort, affiliate marketing can end up being profitable.
Among its benefits, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll be your own boss, decide on your working schedule, do something you like, work from anywhere with an internet connection, and it generally requires minimal startup cost.
Affiliate marketing offers you a lot of flexibility; you just need patience and willingness to succeed. Some people start part-time or even as a hobby. And, all of a sudden, they benefit from a passive income.
You’ll need to create high-quality content consistently. And it would be wise to diversify your marketing streams. What I mean is that you should make use of different channels like YouTube, podcast, blogging, etc.
Advantages of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model. It consists of rewarding affiliates for driving the desired action, such as boost your leads, sales, or site visits, among others.
What’s more, affiliate marketing allows brands to market their products with a low budget, low effort, and time. It is the affiliates who invest their time and get commissions as a reward for their efforts.
Many companies take advantage of affiliate marketing programs since affiliates are only paid a commission once the desired action has been fulfilled. Thus, it ensures you get what you pay for.
Besides, when you partner with affiliates, they already have an audience. Affiliate marketing allows you to expand your reach into new markets. If you partner with trusted bloggers, you’ll boost not only your brand awareness but also your reputation.
It is a well-known fact that consumers are more likely to trust what other people say about your products than what you say on your website. Word of mouth is vital. Not to mention that affiliate marketing is cost-effective for both companies and affiliates.
Brands only pay when the desired action takes place. And, affiliates don’t usually need to invest a lot of money to start up. Affiliates create marketing content that will pay off as time goes by.
Affiliate marketing allows you to select affiliates that resonate with your brand. This means you’ll get targeted traffic. Affiliates will drive individuals who are interested in your products. This entails high ROI since the audience will be receptive to what you have to offer.
Here is a list of the main be benefits of affiliate marketing:
- It’s performance-based.
- Low cost of start-up.
- It’s cost-effective.
- Low risk.
- High ROI.
- It helps grow your audience.
- Affiliates will improve your reputation.
- Affiliates allow you to get targeted traffic.
Disadvantages and current issues
There are some issues that can affect an affiliate program’s effectiveness and profitability. Besides, affiliate marketing can lead to unrealistic expectations. Not everyone succeeds at affiliate marketing. At least, it’s unlikely you start today and succeed overnight.
Affiliate marketing entails some disadvantages for both companies and affiliate marketers. You should become aware of them to make realistic decisions.
Most affiliates do create real value and can be highly effective at promoting your brand’s products. However, others may generate sales from customers who are already in the buying process or shopping cart.
These affiliates are stealing commissions from valuable affiliate marketers. So, you should be careful with them and avoid rewarding this behavior. Likewise, you might have unscrupulous affiliates as partners.
What I mean is that there might be affiliates who take advantage of unethical practices to boost your sales. Not surprisingly, this is negative for your reputation. Thus, you must be careful not to work with them.
As to the disadvantages for affiliate marketers, it’s worth mentioning that it takes some time to get established as an affiliate marketer. What’s more, it takes time until affiliate marketing becomes profitable.
You’ll need to put in a lot of work before you start seeing the benefits. So, it wouldn’t be wise to give up your job, if you happen to have another one, too soon. It’s advisable to wait until you earn a decent amount in commissions.
Before, I talked about affiliate marketing giving you the chance to be your own boss, work from anywhere and whenever you wanted. This requires a lot of self-discipline. Just because you can manage your schedule, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work on a regular basis.
Most of the time, affiliate marketing doesn’t require any special skills. This implies anyone willing to take the risk and put in the effort can do it. This results in a lot of competition. You must choose your niche and products carefully. The same is true for partnerships. You must research brands and partner with those who have something to offer.
In affiliate marketing, it is the companies who decide the terms of affiliate programs. They can change them as they wish. Besides, an affiliate program can be discontinued at any time. This is risky for affiliate marketers.
The last issue I’d like to point out here is that fraudsters can hijack your affiliate links. They have to insert their code into affiliates’ links and earn a commission for the sales you generate. A great way to avoid this is by shortening the link.
Here you’ll find the main drawbacks of affiliate marketing:
- There are affiliates who do not create real value.
- Some affiliates may follow unethical practices.
- It takes time to get established as an affiliate marketer.
- Affiliate marketing needs a lot of self-discipline.
- There is a lot of competition.
- Affiliate programs can change terms or be discontinued.
- Fraudsters/hackers can hijack your affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing statistics
It is an undeniable fact that affiliate marketing has a high impact on B2B and B2C sales. These days affiliate marketing is everywhere. Youtubers, bloggers, and influencers use affiliate links to increase their revenue. The growth and importance of affiliate marketing is unquestionable.
Here are the top affiliate marketing statistics:
- Affiliate marketing generates 16% of all eCommerce sales in the US and Canada (Business Insider).
- 71% of affiliates in the US work with three or more networks (Forrester report).
- 84% of publishers and 81% of advertisers in the US have turned to affiliate marketing (Forrester report).
- 85% of online shoppers check Google before making a purchase (Kenshoo research paper).
- 15% of digital media revenue is generated from affiliate marketing (Business Insider).
- 35% of affiliates make $20K in annual revenue thanks to affiliate marketing (AffStat).
- 81.4% of affiliates promote B2C products or services (Affstat report).
- Search interest in affiliate marketing has increased 300% over the last five years (Google Trends).
- Content and blogs are responsible for 40% of affiliate commissions in the US (Awin’s report).
- Content and blogger websites generate almost 40% of affiliate publisher commissions in the US (Awin report).
- Affiliate marketing generates as much revenue as email marketing. Both channels are responsible for 16% of US eCommerce orders (Business Insider).
- Since it launched its affiliate program, Amazon has collected more than 1.3 million affiliates (Builtwith).
- Over 80% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage affiliate marketing (Rakuten Advertising).
- There exist over 11,000 US-based affiliate marketing programs (AM Navigator).
- Affiliate marketing’s average commission rate is 1% (Supermetrics).
- Fashion is considered the most popular affiliate niche (AM Navigator).
That’s all for the introduction to affiliate marketing. Now you know what it is, its benefits, drawbacks, and some key statistics. If you want to know more about affiliate marketing, keep on reading. In the next chapter, I’ll explain how it works in detail. Ready?
There are frequently four parties involved in affiliate marketing: the merchant, the network, the publisher, and the customer. The process is as follows: an online merchant rewards a publisher with a commission for each customer that’s being sent.
Let’s talk about the parties involved in more detail!
Who is the affiliate merchant?
The merchant, also known as the product creator, advertiser, seller, or vendor, refers to the company that provides products for sale. The merchant is the company that owns the offer. Their role is to create and produce a product or service for sale.
The merchant can be an individual, a store, a manufacturer, or a large enterprise. It can be anyone from a solopreneur to a big company. Whatever the size of the merchant, they are the ones who offer revenue sharing and commissions.
There are companies that don’t have a marketing department and rely on affiliate marketers for sales. The merchant doesn’t even need to be the product creator, as it happens with Amazon Associates Program. However, generally, they are.
Some companies market their products through affiliate marketing to boost their sales. They use both their marketing channels and affiliate marketing ones. Others prefer to outsource their marketing.
What is the affiliate network?
The affiliate network works as an intermediary between merchants and publishers. They provide tracking technology. They are usually in charge of commission payments too. Affiliate networks consist of market places for products or services.
It’s easier to work with an affiliate network when you’re starting. There, affiliates can find lots of offers to promote. They are optional; affiliates can opt for working directly with merchants.
However, some programs are only available through networks that provide software, tracking, and reporting of the affiliate’s activities. Affiliate networks improve trust. Some merchants prefer to work with networks since they bring down fraud rates.
Besides, affiliate networks allow merchants to work with multiple affiliates. Not to mention that they make merchants’ jobs easier because they track, report, and manage payments.
Who is the affiliate publisher?
The publisher, also known as an affiliate marketer, is the one who is in charge of promoting the product or service and gets a commission when the desired action takes place. It can be an individual or a company.
Publishers can be bloggers, content creators, YouTubers, Instagram influencers, or website owners. They find products to promote and encourage their contacts, online readers, or viewers to purchase them.
Publishers use their own resources and advertising channels to promote the merchant’s product or services. They get a commission when a predetermined goal is accomplished. Affiliate marketers help to promote a product or service through videos, blog posts, or other media.
Who is the affiliate customer?
The customer or consumer is the one who makes the transaction. Only if the consumer purchases the product or submits the lead form will the publisher get a commission. They are not always aware they form part of affiliate marketing.
Only some publishers choose to let customers know they are being paid for their marketing. Without sales, there aren’t commissions to be shared. So, it is the customers who make affiliate marketing work.
The customers take notice of the recommendations affiliate marketers make. Afterward, customers follow affiliate links and take the desired action, such as make a purchase. And finally, affiliates get rewarded.
Affiliate marketing platforms
Affiliate platforms work as a marketplace for affiliate programs. Affiliate marketers just have to select the products or services they want to promote and use custom links to track their performance.
Affiliate platforms connect publishers with brands. The platforms are responsible for managing the payments. And publishers have access to analytics and reporting tools to boost their performance.
You can join as many as you like (or can manage). Make sure they are convenient and check minimal payouts. Look for platforms that have great offers to promote to your website visitors, readers, viewers, etc.
Here is a list of the most well-known affiliate marketing platforms:
- CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network (EPN)
- Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare)
- Awin (formerly Affiliate Window)
- Avangate Affiliate Network
- Walmart Affiliates
How do affiliate marketers get paid?
Businesses pay commissions to affiliate marketers that send viewers to their websites. But how do publishers get paid? There are different methods available. Some brands prefer to pay per click. Others pay per sale. And others pay per lead.
Depending on the affiliate program, the publisher’s contribution to the merchant’s sales is measured one way or another. Here are the main compensation methods:
- Pay per click.
It consists of encouraging the affiliate marketer to drive consumers from their website or platform to the merchant’s website. In other words, the publisher is rewarded for persuading their audience to go from the affiliate’s site to the merchant’s. In this program, affiliates get paid based on the increase in web traffic.
- Pay per sale.
In this compensation method, the affiliate marketer gets paid when they convince the consumer to purchase the product. The affiliate only receives a commission once the consumer buys the product or hires the service.
- Pay per lead.
This method is a bit more complicated. The publisher gets a commission based on the conversion of leads. The affiliate’s job is to convince the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and take the desired action – sign up for a trial, fill out a contact form, etc.
What is a multi-tier affiliate program?
Multi-tier programs are those in which affiliate marketers get commissions because of their conversions and the conversions of other affiliates they refer to the program. A multi-tier program has two or more levels.
The first tier of commissions is a regular affiliate program like the ones I’ve explained just above. However, the additional tiers differ. In the latter, the affiliate marketer gets a commission on sales generated by people they referred to the program.
In multi-tier programs, the affiliate marketer handles an underlying affiliate network. Thus, the publisher gets commissions from both their referrals and those from the underlying network.
And that’s all for the second chapter. Now, you know how affiliate marketing works. You’ve learned about the parties involved, affiliate marketing platforms, and how affiliates get paid. Keep on reading to find out more about affiliate marketing!
There are several aspects you need to consider before you make up your mind. First of all, you must determine your goals. Some models may be better than others, depending on how experienced you are.
What I mean is that a beginner may need to opt for a different marketing type than an experienced affiliate marketer. You should also consider whether you’re an industry expert or at least have some knowledge about a specific niche.
Here are the main types of affiliate marketing models:
This model is one of the most widely used by affiliate marketers since it’s relatively easy to get started. Publishers only have to create a website or blog that focuses on a specific niche market. There are a lot of highly profitable niches to start with, take a look at this awesome list by Diggity Marketing.
Techies, experts in niche markets, bloggers, and website owners can benefit from this type of affiliate marketing. Affiliates need to create curated content addressed to a specific audience segment.
Publishers must produce valuable content that solves their audience’s pain points. Thus, in this type of affiliate marketing, it’s easy to get started. However, there’s a lot of competition from already established experts.
You can use website builders or a CMS to build your website. You can have your site or blog running in the blink of an eye. Not to mention that you just need a computer and some research skills. Still, you must choose your niche or field of expertise wisely.
This type of marketing can end up being quite profitable. Yet, in the beginning, it might be hard to compete with professional affiliate marketers. But, if you’re able to establish a presence and earn your audience, you can succeed.
Location-focused affiliate marketing is quite similar to the niche-focused type. Affiliates target a specific segment of users from a particular niche. Still, you won’t only focus on a clear-cut audience group but also on a group from a particular location.
Besides, it often implies using the local language since not all audience groups are able to speak or read English properly. This type of affiliate marketing tends to be quite profitable because there is less competition.
If you know your audience’s native language, you can make things easier for them. All you need to do is build a website and provide high-quality content that’s relevant to your niche and location.
What’s more, your site won’t be in direct competition with other websites that focus on a global audience. Thus, chances of success are higher. You just have to promote your website content and products to a specific group of people.
Bloggers, experts in niche markets, techies, and website owners can take advantage of this type of affiliate marketing as long as they choose a niche and location they can manage.
The influencer type of affiliate marketing is the one in which influencers try a product, and if they like it, they promote it to their followers. Influencers get a commission when their audience buys the product through their affiliate links.
Source: Soundtrap on Unsplash
This model applies to social media influencers, YouTubers, podcasters, and even bloggers. These days, most merchants work with influencers since they want to have access to their targeted audiences.
Besides, influencer affiliate marketing is extremely profitable as influencers’ audiences trust their word. Still, influencers must be careful and promote products or services they really trust, or else they’ll lose the favor of their followers.
In this type of affiliate marketing, consistency is critical. Thus, influencers have to create relevant content regularly. Interacting with their audience is mandatory too. Affiliates who use this type of affiliate marketing must be prepared to provide useful tips.
This type of marketing is not easy to attain for most affiliate marketers. However, well-funded affiliates or media companies can make massive revenue from it. This model is increasing due to the rise of online shopping.
Well-known brands that already benefit from it are MoneySuperMarket or TripAdvisor, among many others. Some startups can also benefit from this type of affiliate marketing as long as they have investors.
It’s not feasible for most affiliate marketers in the short-term. However, it offers enormous exposure and improves conversion rates. It’s a win-win process for both the merchant and the affiliate marketer.
This model consists of the basic pay-per-click affiliate marketing campaigns where publishers have no presence or authority at all in the niche of the product they’re promoting.
What I mean is that in this affiliate marketing type, there is no connection between affiliates and the end consumer. All publishers do is to place a link in Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc., and wait for consumers to click on their link and buy the product so that they can get a commission.
Affiliate marketers don’t need to build up a reputation, nor do they need to consistently commit to working on a blog or website. This model is attractive for those who don’t have the time to establish an online presence and build their own audience.
Affiliates work behind-the-scenes and wait for their efforts to become profitable. Still, it’s more complicated than it seems to make money with this type of affiliate marketing. You have to know where to advertise your product and to whom if you pretend to succeed.
Email lists Model
It comes as no surprise that email marketing is still responsible for a significant part of affiliate’s marketing income. Publishers can build an email list over time and then send emails promoting their products.
Since affiliate marketers will run different campaigns, they must segment their email list in different audience groups and target only those who might be interested. They can also leverage email newsletters and include affiliate links to their products.
That’s all for the different types of affiliate marketing. Now, it’s time you choose the one that’s right for you. The type of affiliate marketing will be influenced by the channel you want to use and whether you want to participate in affiliate programs.
Carry on reading to learn more about affiliate marketing! In the next chapter, I’ll deal with the most well-known affiliate programs in detail.
What is an affiliate marketing program?
An affiliate marketing program consists of an agreement between an online merchant or business and an affiliate or recruited webmasters. In other words, affiliate programs are arrangements in which a vendor pays a commission to an affiliate to send them traffic.
Affiliate websites post links to the merchant or seller’s website. The former get paid based on an agreement. Agreements usually depend on the number of people sent to the seller’s website, those who make a purchase, or those who take the desired action.
Affiliates often have to apply to take part in affiliate programs. Most affiliate programs don’t require any payments to join in. Affiliate marketers can decide which ads or banners they want to place on their websites.
This decision should be based on which ads they think their website visitors will be more interested in. The most common forms of affiliate programs are pay-per-lead, pay-per-sale, pay-per-click, and pay-per-view.
When an affiliate link drives traffic or gets conversions to the merchant’s site, the seller pays the publisher according to their agreement. It’s an effective strategy. That’s why the popularity of affiliate marketing programs has significantly grown over the past few years.
Affiliates get a unique link from which clicks can be tracked, more often than not, using cookies. The latter are used because referrals don’t always make a purchase on the spot, but later on when they have time.
There exist many affiliate programs. However, not all affiliate programs are suitable for everyone. You should choose partner programs that help you to benefit from affiliate marketing.
How to find affiliate marketing programs?
Whether affiliate marketing is your primary income or just an additional source to make extra money, you should partner with the best programs out there if you pretend your partnership to be profitable.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your website, media platform, or social network. There exist many affiliate programs. But, how can you find the best? It’s easier than what it seems. I’ve got you covered!
Here is the step by step process:
- Familiarize yourself with your chosen niche.
Your chosen niche will determine the affiliate marketing options that are available for your website, blog, or social media platform. Thus, you must become familiar with your niche and how it performs across the internet.
Check popular websites and media platforms within your niche. Analyze what affiliate offers they promote in their posts and banner ads. This would give you an idea of what offers you can share.
- Do a Google search.
Given that Google is a massive search engine using it to search for affiliate programs in your niche is a must. It’s as simple as typing your website’s niche and then “affiliate programs” or “affiliate marketing.”
You can also look for a specific product you want to find and then type “affiliate marketing program.” Another option would be to check the name of a particular merchant together with “affiliate program” in case there is a company you’re interested in.
Google will provide you lots of pages with affiliate programs to choose from. Scroll through the pages and write down potential affiliate programs you might want to take part in.
- Check the main affiliate networks.
One of the best ways to find affiliate programs is to join an affiliate network. More often than not, your website will have to be approved by the network itself. Only afterward can you apply for the programs you want to promote. So, you’d better have a quality website with unique content.
Some of the main affiliate networks are ShareASale, Rakuten, or LinkConector, among others. I’ve talked about affiliate networks in chapter 2 of this guide. You can check any of these platforms and sign up as an affiliate. Each network is a bit different. Thus, you should analyze them in detail.
- Use affiliate program directories.
Affiliate directories are listings that affiliate program managers use to promote information about their programs. Thus, you can use them to look for affiliate programs in your niche.
It’s a great way to learn about your competitors. Besides, you can search for offers by niche, topic, category, type, and commissions. You can easily find affiliate program directories by searching on Google.
- Analyze referral links from other affiliates.
You can also find cost-effective affiliate programs through referral links from websites like yours, other bloggers, influencers, and affiliate sites. Learning who your competitors are and whom they’re promoting is crucial.
You can use competitor analysis tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to look for content that’s similar to yours. Afterward, build a list of websites. And then, search for affiliate promotions. Check links with affiliate IDs at the end or go to the product’s website – check the website’s footer where this information is generally hidden.
- Browse affiliate websites.
Another way to unearth affiliate programs is by checking companies that are being promoted on affiliate websites. To name a few, SlickDeals, Rakuten, or RetailMeNot. If you scan any of these websites, you’ll discover many companies promoted with affiliate programs.
This will give you an idea of what companies have affiliate programs that convert and pay well. Checking these sites is not at all a waste of time! Only those affiliate programs that perform well will be promoted on sites like the above mentioned.
- Utilize Facebook groups, social forums, and subreddits.
To finish this section, I’d like to stress the importance of using social media networks to look for affiliate programs. There are countless forums and places like Reddit or Facebook where discussions take place. It’s pretty easy to find companies that have affiliate programs if you know where to look.
Now that you’ve learned where to find affiliate programs, it’s hard time I comment on the most well-known ones.
Here is a list of affiliate programs you cannot miss!
Amazon affiliate, or Amazon Associates, is an affiliate marketing program. It allows bloggers and website owners to create links to advertise Amazon products on their sites. Publishers earn commissions when customers click through their links and purchase products on Amazon.
Thus, the Amazon affiliate program helps content creators, bloggers, and publishers to monetize their website or blog’s traffic. There are loads of products and programs available on Amazon. All affiliates have to do is make recommendations and persuade their audience to take the desired action.
You can sign up for free, and it’s pretty easy to get started. Affiliates can either display ads or insert trackable links into their website content. When a visitor clicks on their adverts or links, they’re sent to Amazon’s site.
Affiliates will only earn a commission if the purchase is made within 24 hours. Not to mention that commissions vary depending on what type of item your customers purchase. They range from one percent to ten percent of the product’s financial worth.
Your conversion rate also matters. What’s more, you get a percentage of everything your customer buys from Amazon within 24 hours as long as they get to Amazon through your affiliate link.
If customers add an item to their shopping cart and leave without buying it, you can still earn a percentage of that sale. You’ll get a referral fee provided that the customer ends up purchasing the item before the shopping cart expires.
Amazon is among the largest retailers in the world. Anyone can sign up for the Amazon affiliate program and benefit from it. Amazon is a trusted and well-known brand with many products to advertise. The only downside is that its commissions are a bit low in some categories.
Twitch Affiliate Program allows you to earn revenue while streaming. In other words, it offers streamers the possibility to make money provided that they stream regularly.
They can make a profit from the sale of games and other in-game items. They may also benefit from “Bits,” which consists of virtual goods that viewers can offer. Not to mention that they can benefit from subscribers.
Twitch is owned by Amazon, which allows brands to partner with streamers. To qualify as a Twitch Affiliate, streamers need to have at least fifty followers. And, you should be able to stream 8 hours a day for 30 days.
And, do it consistently, at least over the last seven days before you apply. Your streams must have an average of three or more viewers to qualify. Not to mention that your broadcast minutes need to be 500 or more.
The Twitch Affiliate Program allows streamers to make a living from their passion. Twitch Affiliates can build their audience while they earn some money, and with time even become Twitch Partners.
But, what’s the difference between Twitch Affiliate and Twitch Partner? Mainly that they get different benefits. For instance, affiliates don’t get custom emotes while partners do. Besides, partners can earn ad revenue from their streams; however, affiliates can’t.
On top of that, partners get paid directly by Twitch. Yet, affiliates get paid by other broadcasters. Anyway, to become a partner, you have to be an affiliate first. It’ll help you to enjoy a few extra perks.
Walmart Affiliate Program allows website owners to earn commissions from referring website visitors to Walmart’s site. You’ll benefit each time your website visitors make a purchase from Walmart’s website using your links.
Walmart’s affiliate service provider is Impact Radius. You can track commissions, clicks, and impressions within the interface. If you want to join Walmart Affiliate Program, you need to fill out an application form and wait for approval.
You just need a legitimate website to be approved. Walmart is not very strict. Yet, sites that promote sexually explicit material or illegal activities won’t be accepted. The approval process takes less than 24 hours.
Once you get accepted, you’ll be able to generate links to any product page you want. Walmart has lots of products from different categories. You just need to find a profitable niche that matches your website.
Walmart’s commissions differ depending on the product category. Most of them rate from 1% to 4%. Walmart’s commission rates are a bit low. However, since Walmart is a trusted and established company, you can have a high commission rate as long as you promote the right product to the right audience.
It’s worth mentioning that Walmart Affiliate Program offers a three-day cookie, which is great because most people need time to make up their mind before buying a product. Still, you will only get a commission if the customer clicks on your affiliate link to make a purchase.
Let’s say a customer initially uses your link but afterward purchases through another link. Sadly, you won’t get any commissions for that sale. Likewise, you won’t earn any commissions if a customer returns a product.
Still, the Walmart Affiliate Program is worth the effort. It allows you to earn a great income provided that you know what you’re doing. Walmart’s offline and online purchases keep on growing year after year.
eBay affiliate program is known as eBay Partner Network (EPN). It allows website owners, bloggers, YouTubers, Instagramers, etc., to promote their products online. eBay is known for its auction-style sales model.
eBay sells both new and used products. Though around 80% of the items they sell are brand new. It’s a great place to unearth niche items you can’t find anywhere else. There exist over 300 product categories.
This makes it an excellent place for publishers. You just have to find products your audience would be interested in and promote them on your channel. It’s very easy to get started. eBay’s approval process takes less than 24 hours.
eBay’s affiliate program provides cookies that last for 24 hours. Thus, you’ll only get a commission if consumers buy the item within that time. Auctions differ a bit. You’ll earn a commission when the customer bids on an auction item within 24 hours using your link and wins it within ten days.
Actions are far more complicated than average purchases. However, you can still benefit from them. Yet, it’s easier to leverage “Buy it now” items. eBay’s commission rates vary from 1% to 4%.
On top of that, eBay has an intuitive affiliate dashboard and leaves a collection of affiliate tools and creatives at your disposal. To name a few, Link Generator, Smart Placements, Smart Links, Bookmarklet, etc.
Not to mention that eBay is the best marketplace for ultra-niche items. Publishers can attain VIP status if they drive enough traffic. Still, anyone willing to participate can do it, even if you’re just starting and do not generate a lot of traffic yet.
Home depot affiliate
Home Depot Affiliate Program allows you to promote lots of Home Depot products available on their online store. To join the program, you have to use the Impact Radius platform.
This program only requires publishers to own a website. Yet, it’s preferable if your site is somehow related to home improvement. As it happens with other programs I mentioned above, Home Depot’s affiliate program uses the last-click attribution model.
Its cookies last for 24 hours. They allow you to create a link to any product you wish. There are various product categories and subcategories. Its average commission rate is 2%. But, some selected items can have a commission of 8%.
However, you won’t be able to get a commission on some items like gift cards, installation services, custom-created products, or in-store purchases. You must take your time to select the right products for promotion.
You’ll only get commissions from sales that take place on the online store. Home Depot is a huge hardware and appliance chain that works in the US, Canada, and Mexico. It’s worth mentioning that the Canadian Affiliate Program is a bit different. And, there isn’t an affiliate program for Mexico.
Websites outside the US can still join the program. But, you should bear in mind that Home Depot only ships products in the continental US, Hawaii, and Alaska. So, you must analyze where your audience comes from to decide whether it’s worth the effort.
Anyway, Home Depot’s affiliate program allows you to get commissions on repeat customers. You can track the performance of your links through the Home Depot Impact Platform.
It gives you a lot of data. Not to mention it offers daily reports. This will help you to determine the effectiveness of your marketing promotions. Besides, Home Depot’s affiliate program provides you with advertising banners.
It’s a recognizable brand with high-quality products. If you have a great strategy, it can be profitable enough. Make sure your audience fits into home improvement and interior decoration.
Other examples of affiliate marketing
There are lots of affiliate marketing programs out there. The ones I mentioned above are among the most well-known ones. However, there exist many others. Below there is a list of other affiliate marketing programs you might be interested in. Click on the links to find out more!
- Shopify affiliate program
- Target affiliate program
- Skyscanner affiliate program
- Yves Rocher affiliate program
- TripAdvisor affiliate program
- Airbnb affiliate program
- SEMRush affiliate program
And that’s all for now. In this chapter, you’ve learned what an affiliate program is and how to find them. We’ve also covered some of the top affiliate marketing programs available for you. Let’s move on to the next chapter, where I’ll provide some affiliate marketing tips.
Focus on content marketing.
In the beginning, you should start with what you do best. What I mean is that you don’t have to write about each and every product on the merchant’s website. Write about products you know about first, instead.
Besides, you should choose topics that are connected to the content you have on your website. Any kind of content won’t do the trick. You must create valuable content. That’s to say, make sure your content somehow adds value to your reader’s lives. And, they’ll come back for more.
Your content needs to be commerce content. You need to help them start the buying journey. Pay attention to the language you use. Some words are far more convincing than others.
When creating content, you must think about SEO and how your content will rank on search engine results. You must do research and use specific keywords. Search engines scan your content to determine how it’ll rank on search results. They look for keywords, so you must use them on your content.
Use digital advertising.
You can repurpose your content through different channels. Digital advertising can help publishers share their expertise through different platforms. Even if affiliate links only appear on your website, you can use other channels to spread the word about exciting offers.
What’s more, you can use digital advertising for retargeting. Make sure you focus on the right audience. Segmentation is vital. I mean, you shouldn’t bother them all with lots of content. What you can do is display only what’s relevant for each group.
You can promote content through web browsers, social media, websites, apps, etc. Not all audiences have the same preferences. Ensure you target them where they are, or else your affiliate marketing won’t have the desired effect.
Digital advertising will help you to increase awareness and trust. You can even use social proof to drive more engagement. What’s more, you could post videos using the products and explaining how to use them, among many other things.
Track your links.
Not surprisingly, you must track your affiliate links, or else you won’t know what’s working and what’s not. By tracking your links, you’ll know what keywords convert best and what channels deliver the best ROI.
There are marketing tools you can use to analyze your sales results. Before, publishers had to track their links manually; and this was really time-consuming. Yet, these days there are automated solutions.
So, do not hesitate to use them. You’ll be able to collect useful data and make better decisions. Analyzing your performance is mandatory to improve your affiliate marketing strategy.
You can repeat what works best and change what isn’t driving any results. However, unless you track your affiliate links, you won’t know where sales are coming from. You must be familiar with your conversion rates and detect whether any fraud is taking place in case someone is using your traffic and taking credit for your sales.
Earning your audience’s trust is vital to succeed in affiliate marketing. People won’t follow your links unless they trust what you say. Thus, you shouldn’t recommend products before testing them, for instance.
Make sure your recommendations are based on your own experience. If you’re enthusiastic about a product, your audience will notice it. So, you shouldn’t recommend a brand unless you like their products.
What’s more, it takes time to build trust and create a lasting relationship with your audience. Give as much as you can and let others recommend you. What I mean is that you need to provide valuable content and put in the hours to develop your audience’s trust.
It won’t happen overnight. Having a good relationship with others is vital for success. You never know who’s going to end up buying from your links. Besides, if people trust you, they’ll help you spread the word. So, their friends, family, and acquaintances may end up trusting your recommendations too.
Know the product.
This tip is related to the previous one. You cannot build trust unless you know about the product. So, before making up your mind and deciding to promote a product due to its commissions, you should know the product.
Well, it’s true that promoting a product with high commissions can help you earn a lot of money. However, it shouldn’t be the reason why you decide to recommend a product or service.
What you should do, because it works, is recommend products you’ve tried, products you trust, products that come from brands you believe in, etc. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your reputation.
As an affiliate marketer, you, your website, and your brand are attached to it when you promote a product. Thus, if the product is great, you trust the brand, and they offer good service is a win-win.
However, if you recommend a product of dubious reputation, you can end up damaging your brand reputation. So, make sure you only promote products/services you trust. What’s more, you should only advertise products which you think will be useful for your audience.
Create YouTube videos about the product.
Did you know that YouTube is the #2 largest search engine in the world? Failing to create videos to promote your affiliate products is a big mistake. Besides, you can get a lot of traffic from your affiliate links on YouTube. Not to mention that videos can rank in Google too.
Thus, make sure you include your affiliate link in the video description. What’s more, I recommend you place it in the first part of the description so that viewers don’t have to tap on “read more.”
Creating YouTube videos will help you boost your SEO opportunities. But, make sure the keywords you use are related to the product. Generally, it’s better to use long-tail keywords.
Anyway, you don’t need to be a professional to record a testimonial video promoting your affiliate products. You just need to create short and simple videos where you test the product or talk about its benefits for your audience.
Believe it or not, YouTube videos will help you strengthen your brand awareness, increase your influence and boost your authority. So, what are you waiting for to include them in your affiliate marketing strategy?
In all likelihood, there would be other affiliate marketers who promote the same products that you do. How can you convince your audience to purchase through your affiliate link and not theirs?
Easy. You can give away a bonus. The bonus shouldn’t be included in the product’s package. You should give it for free instead. This way, you’ll increase the value of the deal. Any bonus won’t do the trick, you must choose the right bonuses to maximize your success.
What can you give as a bonus? You can give them access to a webinar about the product with a Q&A session at the end. You can offer a discount if you reach an agreement with the owner of the product.
Another idea is to provide a PDF with instructions on how to make the most out of the product; or a video with guidelines. Whatever you choose as a bonus, make sure it is valuable enough for your audience.
Use social media to promote your products indirectly.
There is no doubt that your website is crucial for affiliate marketing. Still, you can also indirectly promote your products through social media networks. It’s a great idea to engage people beforehand and earn their trust.
You can use social media to offer something of value that includes an affiliate link, such as a link to a video, a webinar, or a blog post, among others. This will help you educate your audience.
Not to mention that you can leverage social media to prepare your audience for the buying journey. Ideally, the fewer clicks your audience has to go through, the better. Yet, a few clicks are ok as long as you offer something valuable.
There is no doubt social media can play an important role in your affiliate marketing strategy. Instead of convincing them to purchase the product, what you should do is solve their pain points.
Promote products indirectly through your email list.
Even though certain affiliate programs don’t allow publishers to include affiliate links in their emails, email marketing is priceless. You can indirectly share valuable information.
As it happens with social media, you can include links to your blog posts, videos, webinars, and the like in your emails. What matters is that you share valuable content. And then, it’ll be your audience who will click on the links if they’re interested.
Email marketing can help you strengthen your relationship with your audience. It’s critical you build their trust. This can only be done by sharing highly relevant content. I strongly advise you not to be too aggressive but use indirect promotion instead.
Give your audience special deals.
If possible, it would be wise you try to reach an agreement with the product owner. And get a special deal for your audience. Getting special treatment when buying your affiliate product will help you strengthen your audience’s loyalty.
What’s more, if your offer is better than other affiliate marketers’ recommendations, you’ll have more chances to increase your sales. Make sure the deal you get is just for your audience. It can be a limited-time deal or an evergreen deal, for instance.
Learn how to beat your competitors.
It comes as no surprise that you must have some SEO skills if you pretend to beat your competitors on Google’s search results. SEO skills are essential to improve your website’s visibility. Thus, SEO is mandatory to boost your conversions.
Affiliate marketers need to have some notions as regards how SEO works. Among the basic SEO skills publishers need, it’s worth mentioning link building, keyword research, Google analytics, content creation, understanding your competitors, and optimizing your website.
You can always get help in case you need it. There are tools and experts that can make your job way easier. However, learning the basics about SEO is crucial. It’ll help you improve the chances of making a sale.
Design a professional website.
If you want to have control over your affiliate marketing, you must create a professional website or a blog. If truth be told, some publishers just use social media, and many of them succeed.
But, if you exclusively rely on social media, things can change overnight. Most social networks make changes unexpectedly. You don’t own the channel; they do. So, you’re subject to their preferences.
If you create a professional website, it would be you the one in charge. Not to mention that it’s key to build your brand awareness and make a reputation for yourself. Ensure your website is professional and loads quickly. But, above all, create high-quality content.
Make sure your content is natural and engaging enough.
Once you’ve been writing for a while, it won’t be so enjoyable to create content regularly. Still, your content must be natural and engaging, or else you won’t convince your audience to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase.
First, you must share your personal experiences with the product so that it sounds like an honest opinion. Do not try to embellish your content. Besides, you should be as transparent as possible.
Let your audience know there are affiliate links within your content. And, if possible, use your own product images. And, above all, review products that make sense for your audience’s needs.
Do not try to convince them to buy a product just because of commissions. Talk about the benefits the product has for them. Show them how the product would change their lives. Help them to learn how to use it. Use your own words, and they’ll trust you!
Test the product yourself.
This is something that not all affiliate marketers do. However, you should do it. The best way to promote a product is to try it yourself and share your experience with it. You can use videos and photos of yourself using the product, as this will increase your credibility.
Besides, trying the product by yourself is vital to learn if it’s great enough for your audience. You should only advertise products which you think will be useful for them. Otherwise, they won’t come back to your website.
Testing the product will help you to discover which product benefits your audience would want to hear about. Create content explaining how they can use it. Don’t be afraid to share your honest opinion!
Learn from others.
Affiliate marketing for beginners can be a bit tricky at first. It is for this reason that you should try to learn from senior affiliates. You can pay attention to how they write, where they write, and what they write about.
There exist forums and Facebook groups related to affiliate marketing where beginners can learn lots of things from experienced partners. If you can afford it, you can even hire someone to teach you.
And that’s all for affiliate marketing tips. I hope you’ve found them valuable. It’s time we move on to the next chapter, where I’ll show you how to start affiliate marketing step by step. Ready?
Here are seven simple steps:
Step 1: Choose your niche.
Choosing your niche is not as easy as it seems. However, it’s a decision every affiliate marketer has to make from the very beginning. You must pick a topic that focuses on a specific category.
You must go for something you’re interested in since you’ll have to create content non-stop. Besides, writing about the same once and again can become a tedious task unless you like your niche.
Consistency is key to success. It is fundamental to boost traffic and keep visitors engaged. So, make sure the niche you select is interesting enough and not too broad. Narrowing down your niche is vital to beat those competitors that create broader content.
Sometimes, less is more. You might be thinking that focusing on a particular niche will reduce your website or blog visitors. However, it’s the other way round. The more specific the content you create is, the better. You can expand it if you wish as time goes by.
Think that online users make use of specific keywords to search for information on the web. Not to mention that discovering who you’re going to target is fundamental to choose your products.
You must research your niche, its products, your competitors, your potential audience, and so on and so forth before making a decision. The wrong niche will make it harder to get clicks on your affiliate links. But, the right one will make it way easier. It’s an important decision.
Still, passion is not the only aspect you must bear in mind when deciding which niche you want to take part in. There needs to be enough product demand, or else you won’t be able to make money from affiliate marketing.
You can use Google Trends to check whether there is too much competition in your niche. Google Trends also provides information as regards product demand. Interest in a specific niche matters, but it’s not the only factor you should consider to make an informed decision.
Step 2: Pick a platform.
Whether affiliate marketers need to create a blog or website to succeed is open to debate. Theoretically, you can post affiliate links on social media alone and succeed. However, you don’t own social media networks, and they can disappear or change their terms and conditions as they wish.
If you create a website or blog, you’ll be in full control of your affiliate marketing. What’s more, you can use social media channels to drive traffic to your website or blog. Another option many publishers leverage is YouTube videos.
No matter the channel, you must be transparent and inform your audience that you’re using affiliate links. In the case of a website or blog, you can build a standalone page or include it in the footer. As for YouTube videos, you have to include this information in your video description.
As important as building a website, blog, or creating YouTube videos, it is to create high-value content. Not all the content you generate needs to be affiliate-driven. You can also share educational content.
What I mean is that you can include tips, tutorials, personal storytelling within your content. This way, you’ll boost the value of your website or blog. Videos are a must. Not to mention that you can share them on social media.
Don’t take me wrong! I don’t pretend to tell you social media is not essential to promote your affiliate products/services. You can and should use it too. What I’m trying to convey is the fact that you shouldn’t limit yourself to a channel you don’t have full control of.
Anyway, bear in mind your blog or website must be optimized for SEO, or else they won’t rank high on search engine result pages. As it happens with your niche, you’ll have to research your audience to determine what keywords they use. This way, you’ll be able to include them in your content, or even better, produce content based on them.
Step 3: Select your product.
Once you’ve decided about your niche and the platform or platforms you are going to use to promote your products, it’s time you decide on the latter. It takes a lot of time to gain your audience’s trust. But, you can lose it in the blink of an eye.
What I’m trying to say is that you must promote brands and products you trust. Under any circumstances, should you market products you aren’t sure about. What’s more, if possible, you should try the products yourself.
When writing your product review, you shouldn’t only talk about the product’s benefits but share your own experience. All products have advantages and drawbacks. Be honest with your audience and say what you like and dislike about the product in question.
Tip: Don’t choose products that are not related to your niche.
Not surprisingly, if your product review doesn’t have anything to do with the previous content which has been published in your blog, your audience will notice there isn’t a connection.
What’s more, they may not like what they see and won’t probably come back for more. If your blog is about household items, you should not promote a piece of clothing. These two topics are not at all related.
No matter whether you generate content for a blog or a website, your content needs to be somehow connected. There needs to be consistency to develop a loyal audience and strengthen your relationship with them.
Above all, do not recommend products you wouldn’t use nor those you wouldn’t recommend to your family or friends. You can research products before marketing them. In fact, it’s a wonderful idea. You’ll have more things to share with your audience.
Step 4: Research affiliate programs.
It comes as no surprise that affiliate marketing for beginners can be a daunting task. You have to decide on your niche, the products, and the platforms you intend to use. On top of that, you’ll also need to research affiliate programs to find those worth enough to partner with.
Affiliate networks are sites that work as the middleman between merchants and publishers. There are several kinds of affiliate programs. Some have low commissions and a high search volume, while others work the other way round.
To determine which programs might be great for you, you must take your audience into account. It’s not the same if you intend to target consumers or businesses. One of the best ways to find out affiliate programs is through a Google Search.
You’ll have to go through the results you get and note down the programs you think can be interesting. Then, you’ll have to consider aspects such as commissions or whether you trust the brand and the product.
Here is a checklist you can follow to decide whether you should partner or not with an affiliate program:
- Do you trust the program and the brands associated with it?
- Who is using the affiliate program in question?
- Would you mind being related to it?
- What percentage do you get as a commission?
- Are the product commissions worth the effort?
- Is there any support or additional resources?
Choosing your affiliate program is an important decision. It can make you either fail or succeed. Take your time to decide who you want to partner with. Commissions are important, but they are not the only factor you should consider to make a decision.
Step 5: Create high-quality content.
Given that you want to convince your audience to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase, you must create valuable content. No matter the type of content you generate, your affiliate links have to fit naturally.
Make sure the links you post and the information you provide solve your visitor’s pain points. What’s more, you can produce content that places you as an authoritative source in your niche.
You can either publish ads or write blog posts, but what matters is that you’re consistent. It would be wise you made recommendations and provide tips to your readers. Don’t review products just for the sake of earning a commission. Do it to help your audience, and they’ll return for more.
You can use lots of content types: product reviews, blog posts, guides, etc. Each of them has its advantages and drawbacks. Some affiliate marketers prefer to start with product reviews as you just need to know the product well enough.
Other publishers feel more comfortable writing blog posts or guides to educate their readers while making a profit with their embedded affiliate links. Others just want to publish ads.
Content creators can significantly benefit from affiliate marketing. Generating content is one of the final steps you’ll have to go through to become an affiliate marketer. Once you start, you cannot stop.
So make sure you’ve chosen the right niche, product, and platform. Then, produce content that your audience will consume. The higher the value of your content, the better. To begin with, because search engines take it into account. Besides, if you don’t offer worthy content, people won’t consume it.
Step 6: Drive traffic to your blog or website.
Once you’ve created great content, you’ll have to do your best to convince your website users to click on your affiliate links. There are several ways to increase your website or blog’s traffic.
The first one is through paid traffic. You can use PPC ads to get traffic. However, this is not a strategy that’s always profitable for publishers. Yet, it can be useful provided that you’re part of a high-paying affiliate program.
Another option would be to optimize your site for SEO. In other words, optimize your blog or website so that it ranks high on search engines like Google. If done well, it can get you consistent traffic.
SEO optimization implies you have to understand your target audience’s pain points and know what keywords they use to search for information on search engines like Google. You must create relevant content to solve their problems. Not to mention that link building is key to boost your exposure and rank high on SERPs.
You can also build an email list. It’ll allow you to share valuable content anytime. Instead of selling affiliate promotions to your email list directly, what you can do is drive them to your website through valuable content.
To build your email list, you’ll have to convince them to sign up first. For instance, at the end of your articles or in the navigation bar. To persuade them, you can offer a free eBook, email course, access to a webinar, etc.
Step 7: Get clicks and convert them to sales.
Creating high-quality content helps, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll succeed in affiliate marketing. There are other factors you need to take into account. For instance, link placement is detrimental to your affiliate links’ success.
If you place all your links at the bottom of your articles, many people won’t see them. Most people don’t read articles till the end; they scan and read what’s interesting for them.
However, if you place all your links in the introduction, it’ll look spammy. What you must do is balance your link placement. Besides, your affiliate links need to have sense within the context.
Anyway, you can make use of callouts such as buttons, tables, and boxes to attract your readers’ attention. Besides, make sure your content is skimmable, readable, and easy to consume.
Affiliate marketing for beginners is not a piece of cake. You’re only responsible for the first conversion click, the one that drives your website visitors to the product page. Then, it is the merchant who is responsible for making the visitors purchase the product.
That’s all for how to start affiliate marketing. Now you know the process step by step.
Affiliate marketing can end up being quite a lot profitable if you know what you’re doing. This type of marketing is beneficial for both publishers and merchants. If you want to succeed, you need to carry out extensive research and employ actionable tactics.
The only downside about affiliate marketing is that there exists a lot of competition. Thus, if you want to beat your competitors, you must make informed decisions and promote products and brands you trust.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. Is there anything important I forgot to mention? Have you got any questions about this post? Which of the above-mentioned strategies are you going to apply first?
Leave a comment below to let us know!