Affiliate marketing is a program used by companies that allows people like you and me to promote their products, and make money doing it. Anyone can get started as long as they are passionate and dedicated, but many articles you find on the subject contain lots of confusing acronyms and other things that are difficult to comprehend if you’re just starting to learn about the business.

Not only is there almost too much information out there about affiliate marketing, it can be difficult to know which information you can trust, and which are just trying to sucker someone into trying something that will inevitably fail (an example would be ‘programs’ like pyramid schemes). With so much information available on the internet, how are you supposed to know where to start? I’m hoping I can help with that. I’m here to lay out the basics of affiliate marketing and how it works, and help you understand how you can make it work for you.



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Get To Know Affiliate Marketing

The first step to learning something new is to get to know as much as you can about it without overloading yourself with information. Sure, there’s a lot of technical stuff that can go into affiliate marketing, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Different affiliate companies run their affiliate programs in different ways, but they all revolve around the same basic concept: making money by promoting products for online merchants.

What Is An Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is an arrangement between you, the affiliate marketer, and the online merchant that allows you to promote their products with links to their site, and get paid for the sales that you bring to them. When you sign up for an affiliate program, they provide you with your very own affiliate link to use within blog posts, e-mails, or social media sites. This link is essentially your name stamp for that company. When someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, the company will see your name on that purchase and give you the amount of credit – usually a percentage – earned on that sale based on your affiliate agreement with them.

There are several payment arrangements that are possible, but they all essentially boil down to this: you get paid for an action that benefits the merchant. This can be per sale, per visit to the site, or per lead, which is a customer who requests more information on a product.



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Types Of Affiliate Marketing

There are three main types of affiliate marketing which you can use: Personal, Familiar, and Promoting Your Link.

With the personal method, you’ll be promoting products that you’ve used before within your own life. This is simple, and doesn’t require a lot of research because you’re already familiar with the product. Maybe you’ve been using it for years, or this is your first time. If you like the product by the company you’re affiliate with, you can write a blog post or social media post about it, using your affiliate link. You’ll tell your audience what you like and dislike about the product and whether you would continue using it in your life. Be honest in your promotion, and tell people how you really feel about the product; if you are dishonest and promote for the sake of getting paid, you won’t be very successful, not matter how many products you promote.

With the familiar method, you’ll be promoting using an established form of communication such as a blog or website. You’ll write an article or blog post about a product and include your affiliate link within that article. In many cases you won’t have tried the product you’re promoting yourself, so this method requires some research to be able to inform your audience about the product and its up- and down-sides. Again, having a reputation with your readers as an honest blog will help them to trust your judgement when you’re recommending products to them, so get to know the product as much as possible even if you have never used it personally.

Finally, the promoting your link method. This method makes it a little tougher to build a community of readers than the others because you’re never truly interacting with them. You will simply display your affiliate link online and let customers use the link to make purchases. You don’t have to have a website; you can use banners and links to advertise on other sites, search engines, and social media to promote your link, which will bring in sales from people who were interested enough to click the link. Personally, I would recommend either of the other two options if you want to build loyalty with your audience, but if you’re looking for something short-term, this method is easy and perfect for you.



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Stick To What You Know

Promoting and marketing to people is easiest when you’re promoting products or services that you can get excited about. Find an affiliate program within a market you’re most interested in or passionate about, sign up, pick products you’re familiar with (whether by personal experience or lots of knowledge gained by reading reviews by others within the community), and go to town! It’s easy to get others excited about the product because you’re excited about it too, and when you have that much passion about something, it draws people in. Don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel about the product; they are there to get as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision. Tell them what you like about it. If you’ve been using it for a while, tell them why you’ll continue to purchase it. The key here, and with any successful marketing strategy, is to tell them about the product, not telling them to buy it. Be honest, give them as much information as possible, and let them make the decision on their own. After that, you can watch the commission you’ve earned fly in.