If you're looking for a way to start earning money online, but without selling any products or services, have you considered affiliate marketing? Today we're going to discuss what affiliate marketing is, whether it is a viable business idea and how you can get started in becoming an affiliate marketer.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
"Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make." - Smart Passive Income.
Basically, this boils down to affiliate marketing being the sharing of a product online with your followers, and when they purchase it (or click on a link to find out more about it), you receive a financial reward.
There can be as little as two parties involved (the merchant and the affiliate), or up to four. They include:
- the merchant - this is the creator, the brand, the retailer or the vendor of a product. It could be a huge company like Nike, or a small one person one who is selling an eBook. Anyone can be the merchant: you just need a physical or digital product to sell.
- the affiliate - also known as the publisher, an affiliate can be a single person or a company. They are the 'person' responsible for the marketing of the product, and it's their job to convince the potential customers to buy this product. The marketing could be done by reviewing the product, creating a website specifically promoting the product, via social media or writing articles about the product. They recieve a financial reward when customers purchase the product using their affiliate link.
- the consumer - this is the customer who purchases the product and makes the affiliate system work. The consumer is marketed to by the affiliate, who may or may not disclose that they are financially incentivised to promote the product. As they click upon the affiliate link, they are tracked by the merchant's software so the correct affiliate is compensated for any sale.
- the network - a large network which acts as a go-between for the affiliate and the merchant. They can focus on attracting merchants, then finding affiliates to do the promotion. The network also takes a cut from the merchant to do so, and will pay the affiliate directly for any sales. The network also tends to have hundreds or thousands of products on its database too, such as ClickBank or Commission Junction.
Next we're looking into whether it could be a viable business idea to earn you a regular income.
Is Affiliate Marketing a Viable Business Idea?
The next question people ask is, can I make any money from being an affiliate marketer? In theory, yes. The internet is full of stories about affiliate marketers making hundreds and even thousands of dollars a day. But like everything, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The people who have been successful have not become so overnight, nor have they set their marketing on autopilot to await the money to arrive.
You could say there are three kinds of affiliates:
- the odd one who has made millions
- some who have been making enough to meet their goals
- most who are making a big fat zero
We don't know how you'd go as an affiliate, and we're not in the affiliate industry ourselves. But if you've got the time and means to start up as an affiliate, it's worth considering giving it a go.
The pros include:
- low cost or free to start
- no product or service needed to be created
- no stocking or shipping of products
- can be managed from anywhere, including as a work at home business
- potential for passive income
- can be added to an existing business
The cons include:
- it's hard to get enough traffic to your site to make enough income
- people can highjack your affiliate link
- no control over the service or product quality provided to the customer
- lots of competition
- customer belongs to the merchant, not you
Interested? Let's find out how you can become an affiliate marketer next!
How to Get Started as an Affiliate Marketer
The best place to start is at the beginning and that's by following these five steps:
- Choose an affiliate network or merchant(s) to associate yourself with - Check that they sell the types of products you want to promote, and what commission they will offer you.
- Find the right affiliate products - stick to a specific niche and become the expert in that industry. It may be worth you purchasing the products to check that you are happy with their quality before you start promoting it. By doing this, you can also do a review.
- Use social media to get traffic to your site, to promote traffic to the merchant's site. On your site you can include content such as reviews, unboxing videos and the pros and cons.
- Identify the type of marketing you want to do. This could be paid such as ads, or sending newsletters to your subscription list.
- Always disclose that you are an affiliate. It won't cost the customer any more money to purchase using your link, and it shows you are honest in your dealings.
Popular affiliate networks you can look into signing up to include:
- Wide Markets
- Click Bank
- Commission Factory
- Avant Link
We wish you the very best of luck!