The ever-rising spread of the internet and online business has introduced the world to affiliate marketing.
But how does affiliate marketing work, and how fast can it become a source of reliable income for you? We’ve got it all covered for you in the following guide, so dive in!
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
You may have heard of affiliate marketing being an effective form of passive income. But what does it mean, and how do you earn money ‘passively’? In simple terms, affiliate marketing is a way of making money (commission) by promoting, facilitating lead generation, or selling the products or services of someone else.
The process starts with the seller of the said product or service creating an affiliate program and unique affiliate links for the affiliates (or affiliate marketers). Affiliate marketers then use these links in their blogs or websites for their audience to click on for purchase, lead generation, or any other intended activity.
Once you click the link, a cookie stored in the browser ‘tells’ the seller who sold or promoted their product or service. And since each link is unique, it becomes easy for the sellers to track the promotion or sales for each link.
Moreover, the affiliate marketer can earn the pre-fixed commission, even if the purchase isn’t made instantly. As such, the affiliate links come with an expiration date (typically 30 days), meaning the marketer will still earn the commission if the purchase happens during the period.
How Fast Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Ideally, it can take anywhere between 3 and 6 months for a first-time (successful) affiliate marketer to earn affiliate income. However, there are many factors that determine how much time it will take for an affiliate marketer to make a consistent income, such as:
- The quality of your blog or website and your overall online reputation
- The speed at which you can get traffic
- The relevance of the products or services for your audience and content
- Demand for the product or service
- Efficacy of the marketing programs or tactics
Besides, the commission charged for affiliate marketing varies greatly from one marketer to the other. So, there’s no ‘one answer fits all situations’ here- what you consider ‘money from affiliate marketing’ will determine the speed.
Further, first-time affiliate marketers often take longer (between 12 and 18 months) to drive traffic effectively and make a significant online reputation. Both these factors can play a crucial role in how much commission they charge, ultimately determining how much money they earn.
Making Money With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketers get paid according to the following plans or programs:
- Per sale
- Per lead
- Per click
1. Per Sale
This is among the most common forms of affiliate marketing commission, where the marketer is paid every time someone uses the link to make a successful purchase.
2. Per Lead
Lead generation typically takes the form of form submissions, signups, or query posting. The affiliate marketer gets paid each time the predetermined action is successful.
3. Per Click
Per-click affiliate commissions are pretty rare, as the affiliate marketer gets paid for every click, irrespective of whether or not a sale or lead generation was successfully completed.
Types Of Affiliate Channels
As you may have guessed, affiliate channels or mediums are the means of driving traffic, with some channels being more popular than others. And here are some of them:
Perhaps, blogs are the most popular affiliate marketing channels, which help affiliate marketers rank higher on search engine results organically (naturally, without any paid plan). Affiliate marketers who use blogs for affiliate marketing typically rely on product or service tutorials and reviews, linking to the seller’s website for purchasing the said product or service.
2. Paid Search Microsites
Paid search microsites are essentially secondary websites or web pages used by affiliate marketers to provide more information about the said product or service. The primary benefit of these microsites is that they give affiliate marketers a better way to send precise and targeted messages to the audience, free from any distractions.
3. Email Marketing
No matter how traditional or ‘back-dated’ it sounds, email marketing can fetch you a very high return on investment (ROI) on your marketing spend, including affiliate marketing. Your affiliate marketing email can give you a unique opportunity to not only hard sell a particular product or service but also reminders and information (through newsletters) that your audience can relate to.
Keep in mind that the search algorithms, especially on social media platforms, often pull down organic posts to push viewers into clicking (and eventually buying) from paid advertisements. Further, some platforms (like Youtube or Instagram) can block or suspend your page or channel, meaning you may lose all your subscribers or followers. But email marketing eliminates these risks, and you can directly connect with your audience.
Just attach the affiliate marketing links to your email marketing newsletters to skyrocket your sales! However, ensure that your content doesn’t end up in their spam or junk folder.
4. Mass Media Sites
Mass media websites are specifically built to drive considerable traffic within a short time. These typically comprise product reviews and comparisons with affiliate marketing links, mostly contextually or through banners. And being heavy on information, these websites help the audience make more informed decisions, increasing the chances of sales.
5. Influencer Marketing
With the rise of social media, influencer marketing has emerged as one of the forerunners for making money online through affiliate marketing. Influencers are public figures with a significant following and say on social media platforms due to their content and relevance. As a result, the audience is almost always open to trying out their suggestions (read products).
Influencing marketing can take many forms, such as blogs, videos, live interactions, etc.
How To Improve Your Affiliate Marketing Game?
Affiliate marketing can be an effective and easy way to make money online, provided you follow the right course of action. And on that note, here are some tips and tricks that can help you improve your affiliate marketing efficacy and make more money online:
1. Start With Existing Content
While it may be tempting to start making money through affiliate marketing by launching a paid search microsite right away, it won’t be of much use, especially if you’re a first-timer. This is because you should have a strong audience base who trust in your content, and most importantly, the products or services you promote.
Hence, it’d be a better idea to start your affiliate marketing journey with your existing blog or website (content) by finding relevant products with your current audience. Likewise, if you’ve just started with affiliate marketing, focus on building a strong audience base with relevant and genuine content.
2. Stay Relevant
The first step to a successful affiliate marketing strategy is picking and sticking to a niche- make sure you promote only those products that fit your niche and are relevant to your audience. For instance, if you’re a food blogger, then promoting supplements won’t be the right thing to do. This can come across as being pushy and ‘sale-sy.’
3. Diversify Your Affiliate Partners And Channels
Once you’ve firmly set your foot in the affiliate marketing industry, it’s important to diversify your affiliate partners and channels. It’s not very unusual for companies to stop payouts, reduce affiliate commissions or worse, suddenly pull down their affiliate marketing programs.
And it goes without saying that relying on one affiliate partner will put you at a greater risk of losing all your affiliate income. So, as a rule of thumb, it’s recommended not to depend on any one affiliate partner for more than 50% of your affiliate marketing revenue. After all, it’s always easier to recover half your income than all of it in case the worst happens!
Similarly, having many affiliate channels and programs helps you diversify your income and minimize the risk of losing everything at once. At the same time, ensure that you choose affiliate programs that are best suited for the particular platform.
For instance, doing live videos on social media for the launch of a new product can be a great way to generate the desired traffic and increase sales.
4. Disclose The Affiliate Links
Honesty and transparency are the foundations of a healthy marketer-client relationship- people will only buy recommended products from trustworthy marketers. So, always mention that you earn a commission when they purchase through the affiliate links. Otherwise, it may come across as a gimmicky strategy on your part to earn money.
Although affiliate marketing isn’t the most difficult way to earn money online, you still need to take the right steps to generate a substantial income from it consistently. Remember, it’s anything but a fast money-making scheme!
It’s important to stay relevant and choose products that exactly match the needs of your audience. And don’t try too hard to sell or promote the product- it should come in contextually or ‘organically.’
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