2018 Basic Affiliate Marketing Guide

With the rise of online industries, many entrepreneurs and businessmen grabbed the opportunity to take part in online marketing schemes. And why wouldn’t they? The internet offers everyone a more efficient, reliable, and convenient way to get recognized.

Various products and services have had their breakthroughs the moment they went online. Some of them even trashed, ridiculed, and ignored in the real world. This kind of experience should teach us that sometimes, products get rejected not because they are inferior to others, but because they haven’t reached the right audience.

That’s right. No business endeavor has ever been successful without the right audience to back it up. And getting one is hardly a result of luck or chance. It requires skill, strategy, and a little hocus pocus called Marketing.

We all know what marketing is. Otherwise, you would not be here reading this article. But today, we are going to talk about one specific type of marketing – Affiliate Marketing.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing, when chunked down to two separate words would mean Partner (Affiliate) and Product Selling (Marketing). Although we are well aware that marketing is a much more complex subject that cannot be expressed in only two words, the end goal of all marketing efforts is to sell the product – so let’s leave it at that.

As previously stated, the internet is changing business as we speak. Affiliate marketing has long been practiced online but it has never performed better than it does now. The encompassing and interconnecting cyber world has grown affiliate businesses to the extent that it largely contributes to the ROI of most product manufacturers who advertise online.

Why Should I Try Affiliate Marketing

Now, that’s not even a question. The real question should be “Why shouldn’t you try Affiliate Marketing?” There is definitely more to be gained than there is to be lost. And if you don’t take advantage of Affiliate Marketing soon, you bet some of your top-notch competitors will. And when they do, there goes another opportunity out of the window.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing can either make or break your business – with the breaking part having very slim chances of happening. If you trust your product or service enough to believe that people will come to love them too, chances are, they will.

If we talk about the benefits one can get from Affiliate Marketing, we can look at it from two different perspectives:

From The Eyes Of A Merchant

Being the producer of the product, Affiliate Marketing would mean contracting third-party endorsers to pitch for your product on their respective online niches. Bloggers, YouTubers, Travel Gurus, and other influential online personalities are the usual prospects for Affiliate Marketing. The most basic qualification to become an Affiliate Marketer is having a consistently large number of followers or audience. This marketing relationship benefits manufacturers because:

  1. Your Products Reach The Target Niche Population More Effectively

You are making the Affiliate Marketing agreement with a specific online personality for a reason: He/she is already a name in your industry. And, it’s something you want to take advantage of. So it goes without saying that the person already has a good amount of authority and influence over your target market.

With traditional endorsements, like TV commercials and billboards, you make use of whoever is popular in show business and have them advertise your product to a random audience with an unknown demographic. Now that we have more efficient ways to reach people (e.g. social media, YouTube), traditional marketing tactics feel more like roundabout methods that get you spending more money for unpredictable returns.

  1. You Do Not Pay A Fixed Advertising Or Endorsement Fee.

Yes, that’s right. The fact that you do not need to pay a talent fee for the endorsement probably sounds like music to your ears. But that doesn’t mean Affiliate Marketers extend their services for free. They just have a different method of payment – COMMISSIONS.

The payment scheme being commission-based is a strong point of Affiliate Marketing. This means that when no one is buying, then no one’s paying. The business owner gives a certain percentage of what he earns to the Affiliate. Let’s say a product costs $100 dollars each. Every time the Affiliate makes a sale, which can usually be identified by the use of Affiliate Referral links, he gets 5% of the total sale. Supposing one user buys 5 pieces of the $100 product using after seeing the link the Affiliate put up in one of his YouTube videos. That makes:

$100 x 0.05 [commission rate] (5 pieces) = $25

Therefore, our marketer earns $25 worth of commission from his affiliate sales. If he earns more, less, or none at all depends on the effectiveness of his Affiliate Marketing strategy – and he knows that. So he won’t make you pay for endorsing your product if he doesn’t sell any.

  1. It Has All The Perks Of Regular Advertisements Minus The Liabilities And Attributions

When you legally hire a product endorser, you officially have them under your business name. This means your business is connected with the endorser as long as the contract is in effect. Well, it’s not really so bad. You share their fame; they share your success. It’s a win-win situation really – until something bad happens.

I’ve seen it many times before. An endorser getting involved in some controversy or unlawful act and the contracting business ends up taking a share of the blow. With Affiliate Marketing, you can avoid these kinds of problems. The Affiliate encourages his audience to try using your product simply because “he’s a fan of it too” or “he finds it with good purpose.” Nothing more, nothing less. You get the marketing you need, less the hassle.

From The Eyes Of An Affiliate

If you are the “influential online personality” business owners so desperately seek, then your role in an Affiliate Marketing relationship is to put in a good word for the product and its developers. Given your status online, you are trusted by many people so only contract with businesses that also deserve your audience’s trust. If you do, you will reap more than just a couple of benefits. But generally, you will benefit from an Affiliate Marketing relationship because:

  1. You Get A Good Flow Of Extra Cash

A few extra bucks never hurt anyone. And with Affiliate Marketing, earning them requires no more than 10 seconds of your time. It’s that easy. You make your pitch, flash or insert a link on your content and voila – you are done.

If you can recall our previous example (Merchant Benefit #2) merely getting $25 may seem like a small amount if you take it as it is. But remember that this example is computed for 1 user only – the internet houses millions, or even billions of them. It is astronomically impossible to land just one deal if you know for a fact that you have thousands of avid followers. Think big.

  1. You Gain More Authority When You Recommend Great Products

When people find the products you recommend truly effective and satisfactory, they will come to trust your opinion even better. This is exactly why becoming an Affiliate for the right products is very important. You first need to know the product, or even use it yourself, before you can attest to its quality. When you keep recommending mediocre or harmful products to your audience just because of a pretty reason, such as having a high commission rate, conversion bonuses, or whatever, they’ll soon start fading away. Always remember that a 1 or 100% difference in commission can never compensate for lost trust.

  1. You Open Up More Affiliate Marketing Opportunities

When you’re into Affiliate Marketing and it seems like Affiliate Marketing is also into you, there’s a good possibility you’ll land more of these similar opportunities. Business owners observe how well new campaign strategies pan out. If your Affiliate Marketing strategy is doing well, more and more businesses will start to notice. Depending on how convincing the result of your performance is, they may start to consider incorporating a similar strategy (and strategist) to their business endeavors as well.

What Websites Are Considered “Affiliate Marketing” Friendly?

Although almost every website can be used for Affiliate Marketing, a few special websites will give you much more significant results. On that note, we took the liberty to list some of them down below:

Social Media Websites

I bet you knew this one would be at the very top of our list. And they deserve all the right to be here. Everyone who’s anyone have at least 1 or 2 social media accounts. SMAs have been spearheaded and developed by some of the youngest names in online history, in order to connect people globally.

With the world becoming smaller and people becoming closer, social media has also become a haven for small and large scale businesses. One post from the right person can skyrocket sales like crazy. This is why Affiliate Marketing is considered valuable in the social media setting. There are bound to be several strong personalities in every industry, you just need to find them.

Going forward, here are some social media websites you shouldn’t miss your opportunities on:

Facebook – As of 2018, there are 2.13 billion monthly active users in Facebook. This grows an average of 14% every passing year. We may not exactly know how much falls into your product niche, but the odds are greater when numbers are high. Many products introduced on Facebook had gone on to become successful. Many famous celebrities, as well as famous online and offline personalities manage accounts and pages actively on this platform. If you know people in your industry with good influence, why not try reaching out to them.

Twitter – This social media website can make things go viral in a matter of minutes. It may not be as populous as Facebook, but millions of users are also hitched to tweeting. To see how it ranks against other social networking sites, check this stat!

Instagram – A picture is worth a thousand words – Instagram is a testament to that. If you want to take your marketing efforts up a notch, why not take advantage of images? There are many non-famous or non-showbiz people garnering millions of followers on Instagram – great potential to become Affiliates!

LinkedIn – If you need professional Affiliates, LinkedIn is a great social network to find some. This is a great platform for products or services that are mainly used in professional settings.

YouTube – You can post content, publish photos, and even make videos to start your Affiliate marketing business. YouTube is the second most used search engine in the world; many entrepreneurs are aware of this and would like to take advantage of it. To better understand what I’m talking about, here’s an Affiliate talking about Affiliate Marketing!

Amazon Associates

Amazon is like the biggest online store in the planet – and they’re running an Affiliate program. It may not be the most high-paying and rewarding Affiliate relationship out there but Amazon sells almost anything. As an Affiliate, you have a lot of products you can endorse in your growing website.

However, a word of caution: There have been recorded cases of Google penalizing websites for having too many affiliate links! So be careful with how much you link out and always check who you link to!

What Does Affiliate Marketing Have To Do With SEO?

You can’t become an Affiliate if you don’t have the traffic as much as you can’t take advantage of improving your website visits if you don’t get Affiliate Links.

SEO and Affiliate Marketing share a “give and take” relationship, really.

To become an Affiliate, improving your website’s SEO, gets you the traffic you need to attract merchants into making an Affiliate agreement with your website.

Likewise, for merchants, they further improve their website’s rank by getting more visits (and sales) from affiliate links.

How To Effectively Use Affiliate Marketing to Grow Your Business

If you’re an Affiliate, the best way to grow your business is to increase your commissions by getting more sales through your affiliate links. This is a passive way of earning real money online. Most of the work will be done at the beginning, but it’s not going to be easy – let alone fast. But one thing to look forward to is making good money even if you just sit in your laurels.

But first, your website needs to kick off as an Affiliate. And here’s how you can get started:

  1. You will need a website with a lot of good content. If you’re going for the social media or YouTube route, then you only need to create a profile with a good feed.
  1. Next, you build the traffic. This one is pretty tricky and it would require a lot of your patience. Good and clean traffic can usually be achieved through implementing SEO and other marketing strategies. You can consider manually sending out e-mails to significant people and introduce them to your website. Same thing with social media. You need to get more people to follow your pages, view your videos, or share your posts.
  1. When you start getting sales, don’t just stop there. Continue to grow your reach. Look for new merchants and merge new affiliate relationships. It’s a long road but it’s not impossible to tread. Your already reaping the success, so keep going.

For Merchants, here’s how you begin Affiliate Marketing:

  1. Do your research. Find out which names are big (but maybe not too big) in your industry and check if they are currently affiliated with another business similar to yours. If not, then get them into your prospects’ list.
  1. Construct a proposal. It would be wise to hire a copywriter for this task if you’re not up to it. Make your approach convincing and layout all the cards on the table. Have the proposal written in a way that your objectives are clear and the benefits the Affiliate is entitled to is communicated effectively.
  1. Send out the proposals. Yep, this part should be easy enough. Send out the proposals to their respective recipients and wait. There’s really nothing else you can do at this time so just wait.
  1. Follow through. When your prospects reply back and agree to your proposal, follow through with whatever’s stipulated on the agreement. Give out commissions in a timely manner. Good merchant-affiliate relationships mean good business.

What Are The Dangers of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is probably the most symbiotic form a marketing relationship can ever achieve. Both parties equally benefit from the agreement, so no one gets the short end of the stick. However, problems may arise when the merchant-affiliate relationship breaks down.

Here are a few good reasons why Affiliate Marketing relationship fails:

  1. The Merchant Unknowingly Contracts With A Shady Website – This is a huge red flag for Google because it can be interpreted or misconstrued as a black hat tactic.
  1. The Affiliate Isn’t Getting Commissions As Promised – You cannot blame someone for losing confidence in your credibility as a Merchant if you always pay late or pay less of what is expected. This can lead many Affiliates to drop out of your agreement.

Other than these two, Affiliate Marketing is typically a safe marketing strategy and business opportunity to consider. And if this article helped you come into a conclusion of whether to try it out or not, then that’s awesome!

Hope you had a happy read!