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What Is Affiliate Marketing – Steps To Success In 2020

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what is affiliate marketing

Do you wake up every morning, dress up for the office, and run the clock down only to repeat this process each day? Sound terrible, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I prefer to work on my own schedule and not having to deal with office politics. One of the best ways to get out of the rat race is by joining affiliate marketing lifestyle. What is affiliate marketing you might ask. Read on, and I will explain it in detail for you.

What if, instead of running the clock down for a little amount of money, you can build a source of passive income. You do not have to quit your 9 to 5 in order to start an affiliate marketing business. If you want to you can continue working at your current job and keep growing your affiliate business for however long you desire. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t take a lot of time to run it once it’s set up correctly. The initial stages do require quite a bit of work and learning. However, your hard work can then transition into reaping results on autopilot.

That’s what affiliate marketing is all about. No, it is not some sort of ponzi scheme where you have to get your mom, dad, sister, and your cat to sign up for some BS with no meaning at the end. None of that… Although quite a few people put a dark stamp on affiliate marketing name, because that’s exactly what they did in the earlier days. Affiliate marketing nowadays will place you in the middle of the equation between a “buyer” and a “seller.” You can look at it in a way where you are the broker connecting the two.

If you want to learn what is affiliate marketing & how to find success in affiliate marketing in 2020, then it’s the right place for you. If you would like to read up on other ways that you can make money online, please refer to our Make Money Online From Home Guide 2020.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

what is affiliate marketing and how does it work

Affiliate marketing is a marketing tactic to generate sales for your online business. A person doing affiliate marketing is called an affiliate marketer.

In layman terms, an affiliate marketer promotes a brand’s products and get a commission on each sale when someone buys through his/her affiliate link. An affiliate marketer work as a salesperson; however, the brand does not set any sales target. You just help to make sales, and the company rewards you on each sale as per the commitments.

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you can scale your work. A salesperson or typical marketer works for only one company. An affiliate marketer can work with as many brands as he/she wants. You can sell/promote multiple products from different companies at a single platform, and each brand pays you.

There’s no shortcut to rise to the high levels of affiliate marketing. Once you build strong credibility of your platform, everything streamlines perfectly. Precise execution of all the fundamentals of affiliate marketing guarantees success to affiliate marketers.

It’s a marketing tactic, which is beneficial for both brands & affiliate marketers. Currently, brands are leaned towards less conventional marketing strategies; that’s why affiliate marketing is on the rise. In fact:

  • Currently, 81% of brands leverage affiliate marketing to drive sales. According to previous record & projection experts, more brands will lean towards affiliate marketing.
  • 84% of publishers rely on affiliate marketing to sell their products.
  • According to eMarketer,S. retailers spent $4.7b on affiliate marketing in 2016. By the end of 2020, this budget will exceed $6.8b.
  • Around 20% of publishers’ revenue is the result of affiliate marketing. 9 out of 10 publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing to generate sales.
  • The most popular affiliate marketing industries include fashion, health & fitness, and sports.
  • Amazon Associates is the biggest affiliate program.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

is affiliate marketing legit

Affiliate marketing is based on revenue sharing. The working model of affiliate marketing stands on three pillars, which includes:

  • Seller/product creator/brand
  • The affiliate marketer or advertiser
  • The customer

Let’s understand the complex relationship between these 3 pillars to understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works.

  1. The seller or brand

  2. internet marketer selling stuff online

Brand or product creator is the primary pillar of an affiliate marketing network. The seller or brand is a small or large enterprise, merchant, or vendor with a product. The product is either a physical object or a service.

When brands want to increase sales without actively involved in marketing, they introduce an affiliate marketing program. This enables them to invite affiliate marketers who will promote their products.

  1. The affiliate marketer

  2. how to become an affiliate marketer

The affiliate marketer is either an individual or a company. In both cases, their objective is the same that’s promoting products of sellers.

The affiliate marketer has a website(s) where he/she promote the brand’s products and persuade the consumers to make a purchase. In case the visitor ends up buying the product through the affiliate link, then the affiliate marketer receives a portion of the revenue made per sale.

Generally, affiliate marketers target a particular audience and sell the same category of products from multiple companies. When an affiliate marketer has a specific audience base, he/she adhered to that audience’s interests. This enables the affiliate marketer to build his/her credibility or an expert on a certain niche.

  1. The consumer

  2. making your first sale online

Consumers are the drivers of any affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketers target a specific audience or potential consumers by sharing products with them on websites and social media posts.

Sometimes, the affiliates add a disclaimer to the post that they receive a commission for the sales. Other times, the consumer is completely unaware of the affiliate marketing infrastructure lying beneath a blog or social media post.

How affiliates get paid?

work from home affiliate marketing

This might be the most important part of some people. An affiliate links a seller to the consumer, which makes him/her a kind of an intermediary party.

Affiliate marketers get paid in 3 ways, which includes:

  1. Pay per sale

This is the most common practice across all affiliate marketing programs. The seller pays the affiliate a defined percentage of the product’s price when the consumer purchases through the affiliate link.

  1. Pay per lead

This is a less common practice in affiliate marketing. Companies compensate affiliates based on the conversion rate. Let’s say an affiliate persuades the consumer to visit the company’s site. However, it fails to compel the consumer to complete the desired action.

In this case, the lead doesn’t translate into a conversion. If the affiliate persuades the visitor to visit the site, and the consumer performs the desired action as well, it counts as lead conversion. The desired action may be signing up for a service, subscribing to the newsletter, or downloading an app/software.

  1. Pay per click

It is a rather difficult affiliate marketing model, which requires affiliates to engage the audience to the highest level. The objective is to redirect consumers from the affiliate’s website to the company’s website.

The company pays the affiliate according to the increase in website traffic.

For those that really get to the core of what is affiliate marketing

affiliate marketer journey how to start in affiliate marketing

How to learn affiliate marketing in 2020 and be successful at it

When it comes to explaining what is affiliate marketing in your guide, steps to succeed in affiliate marketing is an integral part.

  1. Choose a platform

Several platforms are open to affiliate marketing; you can practically market products on any platform. Even Instagram works.

A website, blog, or YouTube channel are the most common mediums for affiliate marketing. When you use any of these platforms, your chances of success elevates. You can set up a blog or website in a few dollars. There’s plenty of material available on how to set up a blog or create a website for affiliate marketing. Today, many drag & drop website builders and content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and many others have made it easy to create a professional blog or website.

YouTube is another great platform for affiliate marketing. If you confident enough to make videos and can optimize videos for better ranking and visibility, then YouTube can do wonders for you.

  1. Choose a niche

The competition is huge, and you need to be very specific about choosing your niche. Pick an industry and narrow down to a sub-niche. If you consider a topic, then make sure to focus on a specific category. Let’s say your topic is “sports,” then your focus should be on a particular category because sports is an enormous category. You can narrow down to basketball equipment, or fishing equipment, any other specific category.

The biggest benefit of focusing on a particular topic is that you can target a very specific audience. It enables you to establish a more focused audience, and you can engage them better.

If you’re the main content creator, then choose a category you’re interested in. It lets you avoid one of the biggest failure factors in affiliate marketing, which is inconsistency.

Bonus tip:

If you’ll outsource the content, then ensure to work with niche expert writers who hold the key knowledge of your niche and affiliate marketing as well. 

  1. Build a rapport

Because of the sheer number of affiliates out there, the first advice to novice affiliates is that they should focus on developing their rapport first. When becoming an affiliate marketer, you need to have an audience base with very specific interests. Once you have developed a rapport of being an expert in a certain niche, your audience perceives you as a credible marketer.

Instead of directly starting with presenting an array of products to the audience, foster an environment of trust with your valuable content. Understand your audience’s interests and tailor your affiliate marketing campaigns accordingly.

By developing a rapport of being an expert in a niche, your chances of successfully persuading the ideal consumers go up.

  1. Make it personal

  2. personal affiliate marketing

The market has no shortage of products, and you’ll have thousands of choices. However, choose and market only those that you believe in. This enables you to run a campaign around products you believe in and knows that your audience will find them valuable. Consequently, your conversion rate spikes up.

  1. Find affiliate programs

Now, this is the trickiest part where you need to do some research and gather expert opinions. However, we’ll try to make things easy for you. There’re 3 kinds of affiliate programs. Let’s look into each one.

  • High-paying, low-volume

The first one is for affiliates with a business audience. Companies with CRMs, enterprise software, and high-end products offer high commissions. However, the consumer base is limited.

For novice affiliates, it’s difficult to compete with existing affiliates since the competition is very tough.

  • Low-paying, high-volume

The second one is novice-friendly and provides better chances. In this type of affiliate program, the payouts are low, but sales are huge. You need a massive flow of traffic to keep your feet grounded in this type of affiliate program.

  • High-paying, high-volume

  • high paying affiliate program

In such programs, the payouts and sales are both huge. However, you need high-level expertise and a huge budget. If you don’t hold any of the mentioned capacities, then it’s not the right affiliate marketing program to start your journey in affiliate marketing.

If you’re looking to see success right away, then a low-paying & high-volume affiliate program is the way to go.

  1. Create high-quality content

  2. content marketing affiliate marketing

When it comes down to answering what is affiliate marketing, one thing for sure is that content is king!

High-quality content is one of the deciding factors of your success in affiliate marketing. Review the products and services honestly. Rather than explaining the details of products, focus on the problem it solves. Avoid push marketing and rely on natural tone and conversational content. Make sure affiliate links fit perfectly.

Try to spend more time on research and understanding your audience’s needs & interests. Your content should be centered around their interests, and products should be valuable to them.

While creating content, don’t just rely on product descriptions by the sellers but go the extra mile. Find, read, and analyze user reviews regarding the product an incorporate them into your content.

If you write product reviews, then buy the products, test it for all its features, and see how it solves your audience’s problem. Make sure to write persuasive yet succinct content.

  1. Use SEO strategies to drive traffic to your blog/channel

  2. seo for affiliate marketing

Content creation is a hard job and if you’ve put significant energy and time into it, then make sure it reaches to maximum people. To make money out of your affiliate marketing efforts, you need to leverage the power of search engine optimization.

You should be aware of key SEO practices or hire an SEO expert. However, the following steps can help you achieve the desired results.

  • You need to conduct keyword research and find the most popular and specific keywords. Incorporate them into your content according to the best SEO practices.
  • Find out what you’re audience searches for and create content around these subjects.
  • Focus on external and internal link building.
  • Optimize your webpages for improving their position in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

Bonus tip:

You can leverage paid advertising to generate traffic as well. The benefits of paid advertising are that you start getting traffic right away, which also contributes to improving your ranking in organic search results.

  1. Work on affiliate link placement

  2. link building affiliate marketing

The last step is working on link placement. If you’re a novice, then you can easily go wrong with this.

Some points worth considering are:

  • Don’t place links at the bottom of the screen because most people will not go past the end line of your content.
  • Neither should your affiliate links be all over the introduction part.
  • Place links only where it matters. Like when introducing the product, you can hyperlink the product whenever the name of it comes up in your content.
  • Using Call To Action buttons and tables can attract the audience to perform the desired action.

Tips to improve your affiliate marketing

  • Stay up-to-date with trends

Staying current with trends plays a crucial role. Affiliate marketing is becoming tougher and competitive than ever. Therefore, you need to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings and trends in the industry. This enables you to change your concepts about “what is affiliate marketing” whenever a change occurs.

You can follow expert affiliates and blogs that write regularly about affiliate marketing trends. After becoming an experienced and skilled affiliate, you can analyze the industry on your own.

  • Research, research, and research

  • affiliate marketing research

Those who spend sufficient time in research they create the best quality content. If you want to write never-read-before features, pros, and cons of the product, then deep research can help. Make sure to read and analyze product details mentioned by the seller, user reviews, and at the end, test it yourself. Only then can you come up with strong & persuasive content.

  • Constantly analyze your conversions & optimize for improving it

If you get only a 2-3% conversion rate even, then it can certainly be better than this. One way is to increase your traffic, and another way is to get the most out of your existing traffic.

Rather than spending the same amount of energy on increasing traffic, you only need to analyze your webpage, landing page, and CTA buttons. Find out where visitors are leaving the most and then optimize that particular point.

  • Use analytics

  • best analytics software for affiliate marketing

You can take great help from Google Analytics to find the sources of your traffic. When you get insights about the geolocation of your audience, high-traffic queries, gender, bounce rate, and device responsible for most traffic, you can target your audience better way. It can also open new options for you, like more suitable keywords, geolocation, and devices.

We hope that you’ve learned “what is affiliate marketing” and find this guide insightful & it helps you in your affiliate marketing journey.

If you want to learn more about making money online from home, click here to view our article on that topic.

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