Affiliate marketing: Complete guide to making money online
In recent times, many ways are available for earning online. Among these, affiliate marketing is a fabulous way and one of the trendiest methods. To make money online through affiliate marketing is competitive, but if correct methods and techniques are applied, it is a lucrative way of making huge money online.
So, can you really earn money from affiliate programs? Well, the answer is yes and no. Of course, there is money in affiliate marketing, but whether you would be able to make money from it or not, depends mostly on other factors such as your techniques, knowledge and working experience, skills, commitment etc.
What is Affiliate Marketing ?
Now the question comes, what is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is a means to earn money online by promoting the products of other people or companies in exchange for a commission on the generated sales. It is perhaps one of the cheapest (but not the easiest) and also a fast method to start making money online. An affiliate marketer links up a buyer and a seller and gets a commission on the sale that has been referred by him/her.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the world’s best internet marketing techniques. The reasons why affiliate marketing is important and people should choose it are:
- Based on performance: Affiliate marketing is mainly based on performance and for this reason, it has earned so much popularity so far. Frequently it happens that the site, on which the advertising is being displayed, doesn’t get a single penny from the advertising company without any proof that Internet traffic has been driven to the site. Nowadays, the affiliate networks use very advanced tracking software. So there is no chance of tracking error.
- Cost effective: As affiliate marketing requires low startup cost or almost no cost at all, it is easy to start. Signing up is free for almost all affiliate programs.
- Full support from the affiliate networks: A full range of advanced marketing tools, tracking and reporting technologies is provided by most of the affiliate marketing networks. Some networks, even provide web contents along with personal support to meet the needs of their affiliates and clients.
- Variety of products: A wide range of products are available for the affiliate marketers to choose. It can be beauty, health, food, magazines, video, self-improvement, membership, green products, electronics, automobiles, fashion, clothing etc. Affiliate marketers can choose any product depending on their passion.
- Global market: Affiliate marketing provides the chance to reach people globally.
- Passive income: A regular job can provide a fixed income if anyone continues to work. But depending on the promotion skill, an affiliate marketer can build up a stable flow of income even when he/she is not in front of the computer.
- Work from home: By doing affiliate marketing, people can work anytime in the environment and comfort of own home.
How Do Affiliate Programs Work?
So, how does affiliate marketing work? After signing up with an affiliate program and selecting the products for selling, sellers provide the affiliate marketers with a unique code that they can use to refer traffic to the target site. Ready-made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies are offered by most of the affiliate programs. The affiliate marketers only have to copy the code and place it on their websites to start referring traffic. When the visitors get interested, they click on these links of those websites and they get redirected to the product site. If any visitor purchase a product or subscribe to a service, the affiliate marketers get a commission as the referrer.
The sellers track the performance of the affiliate marketers through their affiliate ID and the affiliate marketing software they use. The affiliate marketers also have a complete real time access to the statistics of all sales and commissions.
Affiliate Marketing Programs
To make a commission, the affiliate marketers don’t need to sell products all the time. Different payment terms can be used by different affiliate marketing programs as shown below:
- Pay Per Sale (PPS): In Pay-Per-Sale system, the publisher or website owner gets paid on the basis of the number of sales that are directly generated by an advertisement. It is also known as Cost-Per-Sale (CPS).
- Pay Per Click (PPC): In this payment method, the affiliate marketer gets paid based on the number of visitors redirected to the advertiser’s website from the affiliate site, whether or not a sale is made. It is referred to Cost-Per-Click (CPC) also.
- Pay Per Lead (PPL): In this type of program, the advertiser pays the affiliate marketer depending on the conversion of leads, such as completion of a sign-up form for a newsletter, email submission, e-book download, software or file download or other desired action. PPL is also referred to as pay per action or Cost Per Lead (CPL).
10 Effective Tips for Being Successful in Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is absolutely an outstanding way to make money online, but there is a huge competition. If anyone thinks it is possible to become rich overnight by selling affiliate products online, then it is wrong. To be successful in Affiliate marketing, it is vital to conduct a research and know the market needs, learn how to promote products, what will work and what won’t. The following are several affiliate marketing tips and tricks to succeed in affiliate marketing:
1. Find Your Niche
To promote affiliate products, creating a niche website or blog is one of the most effective ways. The affiliate marketers should choose a topic that interests them most and that they are passionate about. Then they should find product offers that match that topic.
2. Select the Right Merchant
In affiliate marketing, the right merchant should be chosen. It’s because when a product is promoted, the person or the company who is behind the product also gets promoted. If some visitors buy products through an affiliate site and gets dissatisfied with the quality of the product or service, obviously there is no chance that those visitors will come back again. This can hurt the credibility of the affiliate marketer and the site in the long run. Generally, websites or companies that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction. So, it is better to stick to promoting their products.
3. Choose a Number of Good Products
Registering with too many different affiliate programs and trying to promote everything is the first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make. Following this path can become very overwhelming and it is not possible to promote any product properly in this way. All that is needed is a number of good affiliate marketing products to promote. It is important to understand the market needs and look for products that go with the topic or niche of the affiliate website.
Here are some of the top affiliate networks that offer products or services:
- Commission Junction
- Amazon Associates
- Google AdSense network
4. Research the Demand of the Product
It is always best to spend a bit of time in researching and finding out the demand of the product. If a product that is in low demand, then chances are that no matter how much effort is given, it is not going to get many sales. It is wise to conduct an online survey or market research and easily get input from the visitors about the product.
5. Use Different Traffic Sources to Promote Products
Only putting up ads on the affiliate websites is not enough for getting traffic. Most affiliate marketers follow this approach. But it should be kept in mind that there are also other affiliate marketing traffic sources for getting visitors and promote the products simultaneously. The more targeted traffic goes to the sales page, the more chances of making money.
Well, to generate more traffic, there are several ways, including free and paid advertising methods.
(a) Free Traffic Generation
Starting the business as a newbie, you may not have a huge budget for the paid options. So, it is a good idea to follow the free traffic generation methods. The big question that arises then is how to generate free traffic to affiliate sites.
- Search for the Right Merchant: It is good to experiment with various merchants to bring needed success in affiliate marketing. But before deciding on, it has to be confirmed that these merchants are related to the website niche. For example, if your website is for promoting real estate, definitely it should promote offers from construction, architects, banks, security agents, etc., who would want to use your website as a platform to drive traffic to their sites.
- Prepare Quality Content: A meaningful content is a great appealing factor to the audience or visitors of a website. Only quality content can attract people and of course, the clicks come from the people. Moreover, a merchant would select a website over another competitor’s website, if it has good content.
- Stay Even with the Algorithm: This year, affiliate marketers should keep pace with Google’s updated algorithm to generate traffic to their sites. Though it’s really tough to stay even with the ever changing algorithm, to keep up with Google, it’s necessary to take on a few modifications in the keyword selection. It’s best to stick to long tail keywords that best define the products or services and also present unique features.
- Use Audio and Video elements: Nowadays, using audio and video elements in the contents is considered as smart representation. It is really an effective way to generate curiosity among the visitors and get instant feedback from them.
- Stay Updated and find the niche-audience: A successful affiliate website is one which can attract tons of traffic and can find the niche- audience from them by approaching them with targeted messages. Staying updated on real- time news and events related to the website niche is helpful for increasing niche related traffic to the site.
- Email Marketing: Identifying target audience and building up an effective communication through email is a good way to get more traffic for affiliate marketing. Emails should be written in such a manner that it compels the user to read the material and visit the merchant’s website. An efficacious affiliate marketing email campaign can be initiated by making a subscriber list using a landing page.
- Offer Bonuses: It is always better to offer something extra to the buyers. It can be a free subscription or a gift for the customers or a bonus. But it should be remembered that a freebie works only when it really becomes useful to the buyers. While selecting the bonus offer, take into account that it should satisfy the customer expectations and also match the products or services that are being sold.
(b) Paid traffic generation
Here are some of the best paid traffic sources based on category:
- Facebook PPC Ads
- Google plus
- LinkedIn Ads
Well, hope that this short list will give you some ideas regarding paid traffic sources and help get started.
6. Test, Measure and Track Your Affiliate Campaign
To use various product promotion strategies is an excellent idea to figure out what is working and what is not. Testing should be done separately with each affiliate marketing campaign. Then the performance of each campaign should be measured and action should be taken accordingly. It is possible to increase the profit level by just changing a few things here and there.
The basic tools and software are provided by most of the affiliate programs, but there are other affiliate conversion tracking software out there. It is also good to use those to track affiliate campaigns.
7. Stay Up-to-date with New Approaches and Techniques
In the field of Affiliate marketing, people are always coming up with new methods and ideas. It is really a competitive arena. So, it is essential to stay current with new techniques and market trends. Otherwise, there is a possibility to fall behind.
8. Use Helpful Tools and Resources
Use of different types of tools, really helps a lot to become more efficient in affiliate marketing. There are many useful affiliate marketing tools and resources out there. So, it’s good to find the correct tools and resources. For example, if an affiliate site is a WordPress powered site, then it will be better getting a plugin like the ‘Affiliate Link Manager’.
9. Join Forums to Learn More
There are various forums or online communities for affiliate marketing such as Digital Point, aBestWeb, Warrior Forum etc. where people exchange their views and ideas. Join at least one affiliate marketing forum to get benefited from experience, knowledge and advice shared by other newbies and experienced affiliates.
In a nutshell, reading and learning is a must work to make money online through affiliate marketing. Study about the techniques and strategies and collect essential tools and resources. Proceed with a structured plan and set up everything in a proper manner. But before that, of course, choose a niche about which you are passionate. The more you truly enjoy what you are engaged in, the more likely you are to transform your money-making endeavor into a huge success.