A Beginner Guide to Affiliate Marketing

With the presence of the digital world increasing in our lives, people have now started to rely on it for making money. ‘Make money when you sleep’, that’s affiliate marketing for you all. Affiliate marketing is a desired digital skill because of its flexibility and high results. It is an easy way of earning income by producing creative and valuable content. Hence, it is an ideal way for automated revenues i.e. passive income. 

Affiliate marketing is promoting other companies’ products using affiliate links to monetize your content. When one of your readers makes a purchase using that affiliate link, you earn a commission on that transaction. It helps drive sales and earn a significant amount of online revenue. It is beneficial to both the brands and affiliate marketers. A non-traditional marketing tactic, affiliate marketing responsible for generating more leads compared to that traditional marketing. 

The online world is dynamic and an expansive platform which can get overwhelming at times. Continue reading the article further, as we help you understand the basics of affiliate marketing and how to get started with it. 


What is affiliate marketing?

A form of digital marketing, Affiliate marketing is a way to monetize your website by promoting products or services from external vendors on it. In the process, you earn a commission on each sale that you make. The sales is any intended action such as a purchase, sign up, etc. The sales are tracked via the affiliate links from one website to another. 

It is as simple as finding a product or service that you like and promoting it to others. A simple yet powerful way to generate revenue. Big companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and different Indian companies like Snapdeal also offer affiliate programs that can be joined by any individual for free.

Affiliate marketing is a flexible technique that can be done on a scale. Remember you are not the salesperson of one company. With affiliate marketing, you can promote products or services of multiple different companies simultaneously and earn a commission from all of them.


How does affiliate marketing work?

A marketing strategy in which a particular brand pays a commission to an affiliate based on the sales generated through his/her referrals. The whole process manages to leverage the abilities of each party and results in providing each contributor with a share of profit. While the equation may seem like there are only two parties involved, however, the consumers are also an essential part of making this method a success. Let’s look into the details of these key parties and their relationships.

Sellers – also referred to as vendors, merchants, brands, product creators or retailers can be any individual or an enterprise who is responsible for creating the product or the service that is being promoted and sold by the affiliates. The seller does not need to be actively involved in marketing of the product or service.

Affiliates – also known as the publishers or the advertisers could be an individual or a company who promote products or services of the sellers to their audience using affiliate links and ads. Their job is to persuade the audience to make a purchase by offering them value and convincing them how beneficial the product or service is for them. The seller pays them a commission on each successful sale to the consumers. 

The affiliate operates in a niche as they have a very specific audience to whom they deliver their interests. Hence, they create a personal brand to attract customers who are more likely to act on promotion.

Consumers – they make a purchase of the product or service based on the affiliate’s recommendations from the seller. They are the main driving force of affiliate marketing who are influenced by the affiliate through their content on social media, blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. For the consumers, it is a normal sales purchase cycle. While some affiliates may reveal to them that they are receiving a commission for the sale, the others may not share the infrastructure behind.

Therefore, affiliate marketing is a beneficial method to each party involved, as it focuses on profit-sharing between the sellers and the affiliates, and for consumers, they do not have to pay an extra penny as the commission earned is out of the product price. Hence, no additional cost created. Compared to the other methods, both the sellers and the affiliates have more control and flexibility in this process.

Not necessarily a part of each affiliate marketing cycle, ‘the Network’ is the fourth party involved. A network fills in the gap between the merchant and the affiliate. Networks are used by the affiliates to leverage a capacity to promote the product more efficiently. Networks have a database of many products from which the affiliates can choose what they want to promote. For example, Amazon Associates’ affiliate program is one of the biggest networks that can be accessed by advertisers.


Benefits of Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing enables you with the potential to earn huge amounts of money. There is no maximum ceiling for earning here. If your sales pick up, you can end up earning a high amount of passive income. Apart from this obvious one, being an affiliate marketer can prove to be really beneficial for your website and you. 

To begin with, it is a low-risk business. You can try and experiment with various products to promote at a really low cost to check out what’s working with your audience. It is an inexpensive way of doing business. You will need a website, blog, or social media profile for getting started. Hence, minimum investment and does not require a lot of cash up-front. It is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods that let you earn money directly.

Another advantage of affiliate marketing is that it allows you to provide value to your audience by offering them something which is genuinely useful to them. Since you do not have to worry about the product creation and distribution task, you can focus on being creative with your content. It could be a review, an article or a video, that helps you promote the product to your audience.

An attractive trait of affiliate marketing is that it allows you the freedom to choose what you want to promote. You can be picky and no one will judge you. Hence, you have full control of what you want to promote on your website and who you want to be associated with. 

Knowing the basics and the benefits of affiliate marketing, you surely now know whether you want to get started with it or not. However, before you begin, there are some things that you must keep in mind.


What to consider for affiliate marketing?

Similar to any other strategy, Affiliate marketing surely requires preparation and planning before you start to implement it. These are the following points that one should consider before diving into the sea of affiliate marketing. 

  • Selecting the right niche. Based on the niche you select to operate in for your site, you will decide the kind of products or services you will promote. Therefore, careful research and find a niche that has potential and the right kind of opportunities for you. 
  • Develop an understanding to present your affiliate links to your audience. While some of you want to reveal to your visitors that there are affiliate links, the others may disguise it within their content. Decide how you want to let your audience know of this. Maintaining transparency will help improve trust in your website and build authenticity.
  • Refrain fromAffiliate theft’. Avoid all the illegitimate methods to increase your commissions. You do not want to get involved with anything that will hamper your brand image. With patience and hard work, you will get good results in the long term. Hence, only use proper, safe and disclosed links. 
  • Know that you are not the salesperson of that company. Although you are promoting other people’s products, you are not required to stick to their marketing schemes. A successful affiliate marketing campaign is where you are being honest with your audience by providing them insightful content. Take the freedom of choice seriously. Do not get associated with poor quality products.
  • Have patience. With putting in serious effort, you also need to give the campaign time to show results. Affiliate marketing is not about achieving results overnight. It takes time to slowly drive traffic and build an audience. Only if you have the willingness to put in the work needed and the patience to earn commissions, affiliate marketing is for you. 

Consider the points mentioned above to build a strong foundation and to start off with realistic expectations.

How to do affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is something that you can quickly start with. It has low barriers to entry. You just need to understand the process and take the necessary steps. Below are the three steps which a beginner needs to follow to start with affiliate marketing.

  • Select the right affiliate niche 

When starting with a new affiliate site, finding and choosing a suitable niche is crucial. Remember that consumers are the driving force to affiliate marketing. Therefore, choose your audience i.e. your niche you want to work with wisely. Your niche will determine the kind of content you create and the type of products you will promote. 

A financially viable niche with a broad scope to operate in is recommended. There should be enough people with a suitable interest in that subject matter. Do keyword research to gain more insights on this. Figure out the keywords that are driving the most traffic via search engines. Out of which decide on the areas in which you have the knowledge and you personally have an interest in. Eventually, you will have to build authority and create engaging content around your niche.

Once you select a topic. Do deep research about it. Figure out your audience’s needs and interests. This will help you in planning the content and building trust. Only if they are able to relate to your recommendations will they make purchases.

  • Sign up with the suitable affiliate programs

After selecting your niche and having a site ready, you have to seek out vendors or affiliate programs. Before deciding on the program, look at the kind of products you want to promote. Know whether the products will complement your content, or if your audience will be able to find it relevant or not. Make sure the ones you select are popular in your niche. 

A lot of sellers run their own program to promote their products. One way to approach this is by looking for brands that target your niche and see if they have affiliate programs. Apart from the seller-driven programs, you can connect with affiliate networks. Affiliate Networks comprise different vendors selling a variety of products. Joining one of these will enable you to access multiple types of products. Search for the ones that will pay you well after you put in so much effort of promoting other products. Read the reviews and experiences of other affiliates with those networks. 

  • Include Affiliate links on your site

Carefully chosen a niche and associated with an affiliate program or network. Now it is time to share the affiliate links. On the basis of the content you create, implement these affiliate links on your site. For example, if you are sharing about the best tools, it makes sense to include them as text links in that content itself. 

To get better results, highlight your links by slightly separating it from the main content. You can do it by adding it at the end or placing a box around it, etc. Some programs provide you with banners to promote the products. This ensures that you keep your marketing and content separate. There is no right or wrong in this. Experiment and figure out what works the best with your audience and your site. Keep an eye on the conversion rates. The ultimate focus is to provide value to your audience and build their trust. Ensure to have quality content and the sales will start to convert. 


Final Word: Affiliate marketing stands the test of time. It has stayed around for a while, and will stay for a long-time. Affiliate marketing like everything else has also evolved and therefore learning new tactics and experimenting with them is essential. Remember the key is to offer value and build trust with your audience to reap the benefits. 

Select the products that you and your audience will love and start earning the real passive income. We hope to have helped you kickstart with your affiliate marketing journey.

About the Author Shamsher

Live Instructor-Led online digital marketing trainer, a consultant, and an affiliate marketer with over 8+ years of experience View Course Details if you want to grow your business online or want to learn digital marketing online from anywhere.

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