1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing program, where an external partner is rewarded a commission for delivering a specific result to a merchant or advertiser.
The result is often a valid sale, however it can also be a completed lead form, a new free trial user, or even a new newsletter subscriber.
Although the first affiliate program was developed in 1994, Amazon’s Associates Program (launched in 1996) is most often recognized as the longest running program and as the model for others to follow.
The process of affiliate marketing generally involves four parties: the affiliate website, the affiliate network, the advertiser and the buyer.
The affiliate owns a website. That affiliate could be anyone. The website an affiliate owns contains details about a product sold on the advertiser’s website. It also links to the advertiser’s product page via a special link, known as an affiliate link.
The advertiser could be any business which sells a product or service online.
The affiliate network
The affiliate network drops a tracking cookie into the buyer’s browser when they visit an advertisers website as a result of clicking an affiliate link on the affiliate’s website. They are effectively the glue which makes affiliate marketing possible, and they’re the guys who send your payment to you
2. Types of Affiliate Marketing:
General content, media sites, and networks:
Think larger media organizations that own a number of websites, some with millions of visitors per month.
Comparison/review and niche topic sites:
These sites typically review products for a specific audience type or compare a line of products against their competitors.
Apps and solution type partners:
These are strategic partnerships where products and/or services are placed in front of a relevant audience through an app partner.
Bloggers and social media mavens:
Bloggers can be general and organically introduce products they like to their audience. Or, they can be very niche and talk about products they’re passionate about and that resonate strongly with their audience.
Influencers, high profile leaders, and authors:
Influencer’ is a popular buzzword right now, and that space overlaps with affiliates more than you would initially think. Simply put, to earn big commissions in affiliate marketing you want to get the right product/service in front of the right audience with the right message. Influencers already have a strong audience, and are determined to continue to grow it into the millions, making them perfect for affiliate programs. For some time, the space has been very fixated on monetizing through general sponsorship for a one-time payment; however, an affiliate payout allows the influencer to earn ongoing revenue for as long as the content lives on. This can easily earn the right influencer 10x more in the long-term.
Paid advertising affiliates:
These types of affiliates use paid advertising traffic in PPC ads, contextual ads, or even social channels for the affiliate programs that allow it.
Just like entrepreneurship, becoming a successful affiliate takes dedication and discipline. Ideas alone won’t cut it — having a strategy and executing it is critical for top earning affiliates. Here are some tips to win at affiliate marketing:
Develop a strategy — What problems are you solving? What niche or audience do you want to serve? Outline the above, and determine how you want to get there while offering something unique or a little different. After that, design your brand look and identify your messaging. While you are at it, set an action plan you can live with based on how much time you have to allocate to your affiliate efforts.
Be authentic — Whether you want to be a big voice for a particular niche or a solo blogger, you need to get comfortable with yourself. People like to connect with voices that have an authentic message.
∙ Build a brand — Know your brand and audience well, broadcast yourself while keeping both of those in mind.
Transparent relationships — If you would like to be privy to special offers, higher payouts, or start a relationship with one of your favorite advertisers, be transparent with them and about your methods.
Ongoing learning — Never stop learning about affiliate marketing, online marketing strategies, and trends.
Communicate with affiliate managers — Your affiliate managers should have a strong grasp on your activities and placements of offers. This helps them identify any low hanging fruit for affiliates.
Learn how to analyze data — Know how to use marketing tools and analyze performance data. Do the math to determine your marketing costs in order to bring traffic to your site, and calculate conversions and commissions to determine what’s performing best for you. Tweak copy or the location of a CTA to optimize success of the page. Study success for all of your highest performing pages, and try to lift conversions. A performance increase of just a couple of points could mean a big lift in sales
Be creative —Do your homework. Research the competitive space and figure out where additional opportunities lie. If you learn everyone is promoting on Facebook, consider also testing your offer elsewhere and in a different ad format, or even bundling the offer with other items or services.
4. Affiliate Marketing Networks:
Here is the list of popular affiliate marketing networks.
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