If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing before, don’t worry, you won’t be alone. Though it’s been a program that many companies have employed for several years now, it’s something that you really have to look for to do yourself. Have you ever seen someone you follow on social media or someone you’re close to promote a product from a company they love, or seen someone write an article reviewing products? If so, then it’s likely that these people are affiliates for websites that sell these products. This isn’t always the case – sometimes people just review things for the fun of it, or simply to let others know what the product is like – but chances are if you’ve seen this, they are being paid a commission by the company to promote the brand.
The Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing: So How Does It Work?
There are many ways and many companies which provide affiliate partnerships, and becoming one can be as easy as applying for the partnership with that company. There are companies who do general affiliate partnerships like Amazon, and there are companies which do niche affiliate partnerships like makeup brands or clothing brands.
Step One – Sign Up
Whether you’re wanting to promote for a specific niche, or just want to get started simply with a general audience, the first thing you’re going to want to do is sign up. Once you’ve decided the area of marketing you want, my advice is to pick a company you’ve purchased from before, who’s products you’re familiar with. The links to the affiliate application (if they have one) should be found at the bottom of the webpage, and once you’re there you’ll fill out the application and wait to hear back from them. Different sites have different requirements when it comes to experience level, so it’s best to look into their affiliate program before applying if you’re unsure.
Step Two – Promotion
Once you’re accepted as an affiliate partner with the company, they should provide you with an affiliate link. When promoting their products – whether it be on a personal blog, webpage, or social media account – this link is what will identify you from the rest of the affiliate partners. You’ll find products you want to promote and find out as much as you can about them – even try them out for yourself first, if you want – and start promoting, using the affiliate link any time you mention the merchant on your page.
Step Three – Wait (Promotion Part Two)
The link they provide you with does two things: It links potential customers who click it to the merchant’s website so they can begin shopping, and it drops cookies (small bits of information text that’s downloaded to your computer when visiting a site or clicking a link – ever wonder why an ad for a website you just left or visit frequently is also on the sidebar of social media sites or other sites you visit? This is the work of cookies.) to your computer with the affiliate’s link information. If a purchase is made on their site, the merchant checks for the affiliate’s cookie and logs the credit from the sale in accordance with the affiliate agreement. The credit will be different from company to company, and that information can be found in the Terms of Service you agree to when becoming an affiliate partner.
Step Four – Payment
There are three types of arrangements for payment of affiliate partners: Pay-Per-Sale, Pay-Per-Click, and Pay-Per-Lead.
With Pay-per-sale, you get paid any time you send the merchant a customer who makes a purchase. Some companies pay a percentage of the sale, while others pay a set amount per sale. Pay-per-click arrangements pay you, the affiliate, based on the number of visitors you generate. They don’t have to purchase anything, and it doesn’t matter what they do once they get to the merchant’s site; they can basically click the link, wait for the page to load, and leave. And finally, pay-per-lead arrangements are paid based on visitors who sign up as leads, which means they fill out a form for more information on a specific product or service the merchant offers.
The merchant will use the information gathered from each visit (cookies) and sale the affiliate generates to create a traffic report showing where (and what sites, if you have multiple) the traffic is coming from that you can use to build the sites generating the most revenue for you. Once the payment period is over (this is typically monthly, but some companies pay more frequently), you receive payment for the referred sales. Viola – you’re an affiliate marketer!
Information To Help
While becoming an affiliate partner can be easy without a website, having a website that’s already fairly established can help quite a bit. Some merchants and companies with affiliate programs will accept potential affiliates with little to no experience, like Amazon Associates, but some others will want to see your sight before approving your application. They’ll want to see how you’ve promoted items in the past, how frequently you post, and once they approve you they’ll walk you through how their affiliate program works. After that, the opportunity is completely yours. The time and effort you put into it directly effects what you will make. Remember, though you’re partnered with a merchant or company, you’re essentially making your own hours and working for yourself, so don’t expect to get something for nothing. The more you promote, the more visibility you’ll get, and the more visibility you get, the more successful you’ll be. It’s all up to you.