Affiliate marketing is a legitimate way to earn an income from home. There are just no some scams around that trying to fool you with too good to be true promises. So if you really want something like this then try. But not before gathering as much information as you can so you will know how to start affiliate marketing 2022.
Generate money online with your blog or website! This post is for anyone who want to make money online and generate income from their website or blog. All the content inside this post is going to be beneficial for you if you really want to earn money from your site. We are going to start step by step guide on how to start affiliate marketing from scratch.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a business model where brands share revenue with publishers and content creators in exchange for leads and sales. It works similarly to a salesperson being paid a commission for a successful sale.
The more sales you make, the more money you earn. Affiliate commissions can range from cents on the dollar to hundreds of dollars per referral. Done right, affiliate marketing could help you earn more than your current job or diversify the revenue of an existing content business.
Here’s an overview of how affiliate marketing works:
- You share an affiliate link on your website, blog, or in a social media post
- A customer clicks your affiliate link
- Customer is redirected to the advertiser website
- Customer is tracked as being referred by you through a cookie
- Customer makes a purchase
- An affiliate network attributes the purchase to you and issues a commission
- Commissions appear in your affiliate dashboard
- You get paid (!) by the affiliate network
There is no single profile for a successful affiliate marketer. They range from independent entrepreneurs to teams at well-known news outlets and online publications.
And since you aren’t responsible for the delivery of a product or service, affiliate marketing is low risk. You don’t need a degree in marketing or any specific qualifications to be a successful affiliate marketer. With the right resources, almost anyone can generate affiliate revenue.
In today’s world, the success of an affiliate depends heavily on their ability to capture an audience and attract the right kind of traffic. To do that yourself, you need to craft quality content and optimize it for conversion.
And it all starts with understanding and creating affiliate links.
What is an affiliate link?
The main way affiliate marketing works is through affiliate links. Affiliate links are trackable links with a unique URL assigned specifically to you. They help advertisers know that you sent them a specific customer, so they can pay you a commission if that customer makes a purchase.
Here’s an example of the structure of a typical affiliate link:
The most important thing to know as a beginner is that in order to earn a commission, the customer who converts needs to come through your unique affiliate link.
Then there’s the way you earn your commissions. For the most part, there are two main models for earning affiliate revenue:
- CPA (Cost Per Action): You earn every time someone from your audience completes an action. Depending on the program, the action could be making a purchase, starting a free trial, or filling out a form with contact information.
- CPC (Cost Per Click): You get paid for clicks the advertiser considers to be quality visitors, even if they don’t complete a specific action.
Different affiliate programs will offer different payment models, and some may even pay you for both leads and conversions. We’ll cover how to pick good affiliate programs later in this guide.
While you’re here, here are a couple more key affiliate marketing terms you should get familiar with. These will also help you pick affiliate programs with a high earning potential:
- Cookies: Cookies are small files that are stored on a customer’s device when they click an affiliate link. They help businesses and affiliate networks remember that you referred the customer to them, so they can give you a commission later on.
- Cookie duration: Cookies typically have expiration dates. Affiliate links tend to have expiration dates between 15 to 30 days, but they can run for as little as 24 hours up to a year or more. Cookie duration matters to affiliate marketers because customers may come back to a purchase days or weeks after a customer first clicks on an affiliate link.
- Affiliate networks: Brands typically set up their affiliate programs on third party platforms called Affiliate Networks. These platforms bring brands and affiliate marketers together. There are dozens of affiliate networks, with the most popular including Impact, Flexoffers, Clickbank, PartnerStack and Rakuten.
Types of affiliate marketing
Affiliates always carry a bit of mystery—you never know if the person has ever really used the product, or if they are just promoting it for the money. Both cases still exist today.
It wasn’t until 2009 when renowned affiliate marketer Pat Flynn broke down the different types of affiliate marketers into three groups. Understanding these types of affiliate marketing can show you the different ways people make money online in this space, regardless of your moral compass.
The first type of affiliate marketing is referred to as “unattached,” or when you have no authority in the niche of the product you’re advertising. There is no connection between you and the customer. Often you are running pay-per-click advertising campaigns with your affiliate link and hoping people will click it, buy the product, and earn a commission.
Unattached affiliate marketing is attractive because you don’t need to do any legwork. Affiliate marketing businesses rely on reputation and trust with a target audience online. Some don’t have the time or desire to build those relationships, so this type of marketing is their best option.
“Unattached affiliate marketing isn’t a genuine business model, it’s for people who just want to generate income,” explains Elise Dopson, founder of Sprocker Lovers. “Our focus for Sprocker Lovers is building community and providing free education around a particular niche first, which in our case is the sprocker spaniel dog breed, and selling second.”
Related affiliate marketing is where you promote products and services you don’t use, but that are related to your niche. Affiliates in this case have an audience, whether it’s through blogging, YouTube, TikTok, or another channel. They have influence, which makes them a trusted source for recommending products, even if they’ve never used it before.
The problem with related affiliate marketing is, do you want to promote something you’ve never tried before? It could be the worst product or service ever and you wouldn’t even know. It only takes one bad recommendation to lose the trust of your audience. If you don’t have trust and transparency, it’ll be hard to build a sustainable affiliate marketing business.
Involved affiliate marketing refers to only recommending products and services you’ve used and truly believe in. “Involved affiliate marketing is the way forward,” says Elise. “It’s rooted in trust and authenticity, which is best for your audience and business.”
In this type of marketing, you use your influence to promote products and services that followers may actually need, instead of paying to get clicks on a banner ad. It takes more time to build this type of credibility with an audience, but it’s necessary to build a sustainable business.
Elise explains that advertising also becomes much easier. “You don’t have to hide behind expensive PPC ads and hope for clicks and sales. An organic Instagram Story or blog post about your experience with a product will go a long way.” Elise prefers this method because it’s honest and is “the only genuine way to become a trusted source on any topic.”
Involved affiliate marketing is the only genuine way to become a trusted source on any topic.Elise Dopson, founder of Sprocker Lovers
Pros and cons of affiliate marketing
There’s no doubt affiliate marketing is worth it, given its growth in popularity. Statista estimates the affiliate marketing industry will be worth $8.2 billion by 2022, up from $5.4 billion in 2017. It’s also a low- to no-cost business venture you can profit from immensely.
While industry growth is a good indication of success, entrepreneurs also take this referral marketing route for a few other reasons.
Easy to execute
Your side of the equation simply involves handling the digital marketing side of building and selling a product. You don’t have to worry about the harder tasks, like developing, supporting, or fulfilling the offer.
Since there’s no cost to join affiliate programs, you can start making money with an established affiliate product or service without any upfront investment. Affiliate marketing also can generate relatively passive income through commission—the ideal money-making scenario. Though initially you’ll have to invest time creating traffic sources, your affiliate links can continue to deliver a steady paycheck.
Easy to scale
Successful affiliate marketing offers the potential to significantly scale your earnings without hiring extra help. You can introduce new products to your current audience and build campaigns for additional products while your existing work continues to generate revenue in the background.
Before you get too excited, know that great affiliate marketing is built on trust. While seemingly there is an endless number of products or services to promote, it’s best to only highlight those you personally use or would recommend. Even when a product interests you or fits within an existing hobby, becoming a great marketer for that product takes a lot of work.
Affiliate marketing also has a few disadvantages compared to other platforms. Before jumping in, let’s look at a few challenges you’ll face on your journey to success.
Affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires time and patience to grow an audience and gain influence.
You’ll want to test different channels to see which connect best with your audience. Research the most relevant and credible products to promote. And spend time blogging, publishing free content on social media, hosting virtual events, and doing other lead-generating activities.
There’s no boss handing you a weekly paycheck as an affiliate marketer. Affiliate programs work on a commission basis, whether you’re paid by lead, click, or sale.
Companies use a temporary browser cookie to track peoples’ actions from your content. When a desired action is taken by someone, you receive the payout.
No control over program
Affiliates must obey the rules set by a company for their program. You need to follow their guidelines for what you say and how you present their product or service. Competitors must follow the same recommendations, so you have to get creative to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
Whatever your niche, if you’re thinking about getting into affiliate marketing, I would advise you to try it. By starting small, it’s possible to gain useful experience in a particular field before committing yourself to major products and subsequent promotion. Affiliate marketing is a great way for beginners to start with smaller investments, and see if it’s an area that they would like to pursue further. If affiliate marketing works out for you, fantastic! If not, I would hope that you still enjoy the experience and provide useful feedback that can be incorporated by other affiliates in the future.