Category Archives for Affiliate Marketing

The Nuts and Bolts of Affiliate Marketing – How it Really Works

Almost every digital entrepreneur is familiar with the concept of affiliate marketing, even if it is not their main business model. It’s one of the most popular ways to make money online, even as a side income and it’s a very simple concept. This is effectively a business model where you act as a sales person in order to earn commission and by selling digital products, you can often stand to make up to 70% of the profit!

But how does it really work? Is it water-tight? Do you always get the money you’re owed? And how are the creators benefiting from giving away such a big slice of the pie? Let’s take a closer look at affiliate marketing and precisely how it works…

How it Works

Affiliate marketing essentially works via cookies. Marketers (that’s you) are given a unique referrer URL that they can use to send potential customers to a seller’s website. When they click that URL, they are briefly redirected to another site, where a cookie will be stored on their computer via their browser. This cookie will then inform the seller that you were the one who sent them and that in turn will ensure that you make a profit and money will be credited to an account you have with that site.

Why are creators willing to give away such a large share of their profit? The answer is simply that they want to attract more marketers. Consider that they don’t lose anything by giving away profit share. They are still making just as much money from their own direct sales and so anything sold by you or another affiliate is all going to be money on top. The more marketers they get promoting their work, the more money they can make!

Can Affiliate Links Go Wrong?

Right away, this means there are some ways that you might refer a seller and not get paid. For example, if you have a visitor whose cookies are turned off, perhaps because they’re browsing in private mode, then there will be no way to track their movements on the web.

Likewise, depending on the nature of the affiliate program, you may lose your commission after a certain amount of time. If a visitor lands on your page, clicks the link, goes away and then comes back then you will only earn money from that referral depending on how long the cookie is set to last (this varies from cookie to cookie).

Likewise, you might lose the commission if the user clicks on the URL of another referrer after you, or if they had clicked on that link before they clicked on yours. Again, this depends on the nature of said cookie, which will be set by the brand owner. They can decide to use a ‘first in’ policy, or have the cookie overwritten by each successive referrer.

These are things to look into before accepting the product as something you want to promote. And finally, you might want to consider ‘link cloaking’ to avoid people from bypassing your link entirely!

How To Run Successful Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

​A blog is fairly easy to set up. The most important thing is usually the functionality. Will visitors find it easy to access the content that they need? Will they find the content useful? How easy is it to use the different icons available on the site? These are some basic questions that one must ask before setting up a blog. It therefore calls for a user-friendly interface that can appeal to the different types of people that access your blog on a regular basis. Over the last five years, blogs have become very popular. Not only have they given several aspiring content creators a platform to grow their talent, they are also a part of social media that makes communication and reaching of a target audience easier. What are some of the principles to observe when using your blog to run affiliate marketing campaigns?

1. Create a good first impression

What sort of vibe will visitors receive when they first visit your blog? This is important because it sets the entire tone for subsequent engagements. Good first impressions will encourage visitors to read the blog content and even click on the affiliate links. You therefore also have to focus on the design so that it's attractive and user-friendly. Too many cluttered advertisements send the wrong signals to visitors. The first thing that will come to mind is that you are only after making money. Let the headlines and lists portray the blog as a place where visitors can actually find useful information.

2. Content before affiliate link

It's like building a relationship. It takes time and a little convincing. Create content that is useful to the customer before guiding them to an affiliate link. The information provided will be enough to build trust and convince them to take a look at what the blog is promoting. You should also make sure that the content created is tied to the product being promoted.

3. Promote genuine products

There is nothing more difficult to rebuild than trust once it's lost. When customers click on the affiliate links and then end up buying the products, they are in actual sense buying your advice. You convinced them that the product was great and that's why they made the decision to purchase. If their expectations are not met, you will be viewed as a liar who is only out to enrich himself or herself. Promote only genuine products on your blog, more so those that you have already used. You can try and describe them well and at the same time share your experience.

4. Focus on what brings you the most income

Do not fill your blog with adverts that will not bring you any meaningful income. Focus on brands and products that will give you reasonable commission. After all, the reason why you are carrying out affiliate marketing on your blog is so that you can make some cash.

5. Make use of a ​resource sheet

Such a ​sheet of useful links to products or websites that are related to your area of specialization. Visitors can find these links helpful and discover products that they were originally not looking for. It's a win-win situation.

Ways of Earning Money Through Affiliate Marketing

There are basically three different ways in which one can earn income through affiliate marketing. They revolve around the association of a publisher with the product and the merchant.

Involved affiliate marketing

This where you promote a product with a lot of authority because you've used it and have enjoyed its benefits. When you post content on your blog, you speak to visitors on the account of personal experience. This type of affiliate marketing is very effective because most of the times, consumers find it more convincing. People will be willing to try out something just because you as an influencer has used it and found it good. It is even more effective when your blog or social media site has many followers. However this kind of marketing comes with a lot of responsibility.

 You should only promote a product that you are sure will provide some benefits to the consumers. It is very wrong to hype a brand only for customers to be disappointed. They will hold you responsible and that is how your blog and whatever else you decide to promote will go down the drain. Honesty is a very important factor in affiliate marketing if you want to get repeat business and more customers.

Related affiliate marketing

Any serious publisher must identify a niche and focus on it. Within that niche, there will be products related to the ones that you are promoting. You can have links to such products on your blog, social media sites, videos or podcasts. Visitors may come to your site because of the products that you are promoting but they can also find additional products through these links.

You don't have to have used the product in order to provide a link for it. That is smart marketing because if a customer decides to click on the link and buy the product, you'll still earn your commission without much responsibility. You don't hype the product so if it turns out to be substandard, you will not bear much responsibility. This type of affiliate marketing is good but it will not give you much income since the related products are not your primary focus. Some visitors to your blog will not even notice the additional links. It will still not cost you anything to earn a little extra money by having those links displayed on your site.

Pay per click affiliate marketing

This is ideal for people who do not want to interact with end consumers at any level. In pay per click affiliate marketing, you have no authority in the product niche that you are promoting. All you do is ambush internet users with affiliate links via Facebook ads, Twitter ads and Google Adwords among others in the hope that they'll click on them and eventually buy the products.

This method of affiliate marketing is more of a gamble because customers find it a lot more easy to buy products introduced to them by familiar affiliates. Pay per click may sound easy but it really is not. Some people find success with it and that is okay because at the end of the day you'll have earned your income.

Best Practices In Managing Affiliate Programs

​You really need to understand the workings of affiliate marketing in order to successfully manage such a system. If you don't get it, you'll hardly realize meaningful results. Managing an affiliate program properly is the key to realizing its full potential. This marketing segment constantly evolves and you'll regularly need to make adjustments but here are some best practices that can help you run a successful campaign.

1. Ensure that you update affiliates on a regular basis. This can be done through the timely sending of newsletter with relevant information that will help them in the course of their marketing efforts. Providing tips on how to sell products through different communication channels like emails is also another way of having a successful program.

2. The best affiliate program managers find a way to create a balance between the needs of the merchant and the affiliate needs. This balance ensures that both ends of the program are working efficiently to push for sales and generate more revenue.

3. Always track results. This is very important because sometimes strategies don't work and the best way to find a working formula is by going back to the drawing board. Good managers analyze performances and find corrective measures in order to realize better results. Do not be afraid to change course if you are headed in the wrong direction.

4. Encourage honesty. Affiliate marketing really does thrive on honesty. Consumers need to trust you and they can only do that when you are being truthful. The affiliate programs that you are managing should only sell genuine products that customers will find useful. Building relationships is everything in this type of marketing.

5. Managing affiliates requires quick solving of problems. An affiliate program manager should be willing to tackle problems with honesty and desire to find solutions. Without the affiliates, the program cannot really work and you therefore need to make them feel wanted and respected so that they can deliver.

6. Be accessible. Affiliates should be able to communicate with you when they have issues. Do not be a manager who cannot be accessed. That is one of the reasons why most affiliates opt out of programs.

7. Initial agreements must be upheld. The merchant should pay commissions to affiliates on timely manner as agreed. As an affiliate program manager, you kind of act as the enforcer of the law. You paly a neutral role and therefore should not feel obliged to side with either party. Everyone should get a fair treatment.

8. Update text links, datafeeds, coupons, banners and promotions on a regular basis. Keep them fresh and relevant to the concerned parties.

9. You should push for growth accordingly. The affiliate has the responsibility of generating many clicks while the merchant should play a role of creating more conversions. If one party does not perform the whole system slacks.

10. Push for the rewarding of affiliates who perform exceptionally. Your success as an affiliate program manager depends on the number of conversions made and that starts with the affiliates. Rewarding those who exceed expectations ultimately translates to better results because they'll motivated to do even better.

7 Tips To Succeed In Affiliate Marketing

​​Anyone can find success in affiliate marketing but not every person who joins such a program succeeds. It's all about using the available resources to achieve the best possible results. These are some of the tips that can help beginners become successful affiliates and make some good income from such ventures.

1. Curve out a niche

This is a very critical factor in affiliate marketing. It is important that you identify a specific market or segment that you want to work in and then focus on that. Curving out a niche for yourself means choosing what works best for you and an area that can actually give you good income. The internet has so many users and the competition for attention is always stiff.

2. Carefully select your merchants

It is important to carry out thorough research before agreeing to work with a specific merchant. This is because those who sell consumers inferior products risk losing future business opportunities. Even if you played no part in manufacturing the product, as a publisher, customers will still hold you responsible as the person who introduced the product to them. You should also work with merchants who are reputable and actually pay commissions on time. Can you imagine constantly following up with a company to remit your dues even after you've brought it business? It's utterly frustrating and demoralizes the affiliates. Work with a brand that holds up its end of the deal without additional pressure.

3. Use captivating content

When promoting products on your website, customers first get to interact with other content before being directed to a link and ultimately the merchant's website. That means that the content that you create for visitors to your site should be relevant and captivating so that they feel convinced enough to click on the link and eventually buy the product. First impressions are everything and if you don't get them right then your marketing attempts will always flop.

4. Keep track of results

Do not just push for sales without analyzing your performance. Tracking your results includes monitoring feedback from consumers and checking the amount of sales made on a monthly basis. This will help you make a decision on whether you need a new marketing strategy or if it's time to find another merchant. You can't keep on selling a product that people just don't want to buy.

5. Dedication

Affiliate programs are great avenues for making money but success does not come easy for a publisher. You must be dedicated and stay focused on building lasting networks and increasing your customer base. Once that is done, the money will start rolling in and realizing success will actually be possible. The problem with most beginners is that they want to make quick money but are not willing to put in work.

6. Sell products that you believe in

It is very easy to sell a product that you've actually used yourself or believe in. You will be making a sales pitch from an informed point of view and that always resonates well with customers.

7. Update your site

To increase the visibility of your site by getting high rankings on search engines, you must constantly update the contents using target key words and relevant information. That will then help drive traffic to it.

Where To Find The Right Affiliate Programs?

​I think one of the most fundamental questions that most people interested in becoming affiliates ask is about where to find products to promote. There are several affiliate programs available but it's always advisable to choose what would best work for you. That increases the possibility of becoming successful in the venture because it reduces the strain caused by pushing brands that you are not comfortable with. These are some of the best ways to find a suitable affiliate program for beginners and even for those who are already considered veterans in the sector.

Well established affiliate networks

This would be the most ideal place to start because such networks are usually well organized and trusted. Well established networks are typically large and have existing relationships with some of the biggest brands. Chances are that if you are searching for an affiliate program to drive the sales of a common brand, you'll most likely find it being run through established affiliate networks. Some of these networks include but not limited to:

1. Linkshare

2. Commission Junction

3. Shareasale

4. ​MaxBounty

5. ​Clickbank

6. JVzoo

7. Warriorplus

Such networks are great because they have a well established working relationship with the big companies that pay good money. It's a safe place for a beginner to start his or her affiliate marketing career. They charge the merchants commissions for linking them up with affiliates which means that your pay as a publisher will be relatively reduced to carter for their commission payment.

Familiar product

You can always start by promoting a brand that you use yourself or are well aware of. It's always easy to sell what you already believe in as opposed to just trying to convince customers to buy a product that you've never even used before. You can check the sites of your favorite brands and see if they have affiliate programs. It's a safe bet and somehow a familiar ground even for beginners.

Independent affiliate programs

These are programs that are run by the merchants themselves using affiliate software to take care of the technical aspects of the system. In some cases, they may outsource program managers to manage the affiliate program as they concentrate on core business functions. The advantage of independent affiliate networks is that the pay is much better since they don't use middle men. However if the program is not properly managed it can be a disaster due to lack of creativity and delayed payments. They are still the best though especially if you find one that is well managed and pays attention to the needs of the publishers. They are not easy to find but you can use keywords on search engines to find them.

E-product networks

These promote products that are downloaded rather than shipped like e-books and other programs. Some of these networks include Clickbank, e-junkie and Avangate. Just make sure that the product you are promoting will give customers value for money and it's not just some way to mint cash out of them through false advertising. Most e-products have this issue.

These are some of the ways in which you can find and join an affiliate program. They are not exhaustive but they are among some of the best options.

Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing

​​We are living in the age of technology and information. The world is basically a global village thanks to different communication platforms such as social media sites and mobile telephony. Affiliate marketing is a concept that has been built primarily on the platform of information communication and technology. What are some of its benefits?

Cost effective

To the entrepreneur, marketing costs are considered a necessary evil because they consume a lot of resources but still have to be incurred all the same. You can't create brand awareness and increase the number of sales without properly investing in product marketing. Internet marketing has provided businesses with a great way of running marketing campaigns while cutting down on costs. Affiliate marketing is even better at this because you only pay the affiliates or publishers depending on the number of sales made. Without creating conversions, the affiliates earn no pay and the business does not incur unnecessary expenses.

Efficient

Using minimal resources, you can reach a high number of customers. The program is efficient because it makes use of the internet and social media sites that are frequented by several potential customers. The traditional methods are expensive and may not even reach the target market. A consumer is more likely to notice an advertisement on the internet as opposed to other media such as billboards and radio.

Home based business

It's always nice to be your own boss. The challenge that most people and especially young people face is the lack of capital to start a new venture. Affiliate marketing does not need a premise or capital to start. As long as you have a computer and access to the internet, you can be well on your way to self-employment and financial freedom. It is an ideal way to generate capital and also find your footing as you begin your journey to self-employment. It is also a perfect home-based business that can give you some good income.

Little or no experience

Once you learn the basic concepts of affiliate marketing, you can succeed in it as long as you are willing to put in work and learn along the way. You don't have to posses experience to successfully participate in an affiliate program. There are a lot of resources available even on the internet to help you find your way through.

Ability to track the effects of a marketing campaign

It is very difficult to determine the exact impact of most marketing campaigns but with the affiliate program, that is very much possible. A marketing team can keep track of the sales generated as a result of the marketing efforts and change strategies if the situation warrants it. It is always important to asses the direct impacts of a marketing campaign because if that is not done, a company may spend a lot of resources for nothing. It is also possible to get instant feedback from customers and that helps so much in improving customer service by designing products and services that match their preferences.

These are some of the benefits of the affiliate marketing program that merchants, publishers and even customers can get to enjoy.

How To Avoid Affiliate Marketing Scams

​The internet is filed with people trying to get rich within a very short time. That said, there are also several users on the internet who wake up on a daily basis to take advantage of those looking to make easy money by promising them things that are nearly impossible to deliver on.

Don't be that person who thinks that the internet has all the solutions to your money problems. As they say, hard work forever pays so be prepared to earn your pay. Affiliate marketing has presented a new frontier for internet scammers to prey on the unsuspecting public. How then can you spot these scams and avoid the stress of losing your money to people who only want to take advantage of you?

Genuine programs do not require joining fees

Maybe you have come across those affiliate programs on the internet that ask you to pay some joining fee. They conveniently ask you to do so using your credit card. Those are scams that you should completely avoid. If a business wants to partner with you then why should you pay a joining fee? Isn't the business interested in increasing sales and therefore should be the one to make efforts in finding publishers?

Do not pay any fee to join an affiliate program because a genuine merchant will never ask you for cash to be part of the system. Your credit card information may be stolen and none of the promises made to you by the scammers will be delivered.

Promises of big income with little work

Some merchants will try to show you how you can be a millionaire within a few days. If that were the case then they'd be relaxing somewhere on a beach enjoying their wealth instead of convincing people to join their programs on the internet. Nothing comes easy and you must be prepared to work hard. Anyone who promises you otherwise is simply trying to play games on you and should be avoided.

These scammers will purport to show you successful affiliates who have made it big by participating in their programs. They will display figures and statistics to try and convince you that their claims are true. One thing is for sure, if those assertions were true, the merchant wouldn't even need to talk about his program because information travels fast and people would be flocking to it.

Educate yourself

Knowledge is power and if you are armed with information, nobody can take advantage of you. Most people get scammed on the internet because the fraudsters prey on their ignorance. Learn about the basics of affiliate marketing so that whenever you are confronted with such a scenario, you can't be a victim because you already have all the relevant information. Many people also just hop onto search engines without any idea of what they are looking for. Arm yourself with knowledge and use it as a weapon against internet scammers.

Anyone can make a career out of affiliate marketing but not everyone who attempts to succeeds. You should be ready to work hard and choose those programs that are genuine and that will provide you with an opportunity to grow.

Misconceptions About Affiliate Marketing

​​It's common to find several existing misconceptions about something that people do not properly understand either because of knowledge gap or ignorance. As a business owner, it is important that you debunk these misconceptions so that you make an informed business decision. Those interested in signing up for an affiliate marketing program should also be well prepared so that they get into it with the right attitude.

Whether you are running a company with huge turnovers or trying to get a startup off the ground, affiliate marketing can be a very effective method of enhancing your brand awareness and increasing the amount of sales. You can achieve so much while avoiding the usual hustles associated with marketing campaigns. These are some of the misconceptions about affiliate marketing that you need to correct as an entrepreneur or as someone that is interested in earning money off of it.

1. Affiliate marketing systems are easy to manage and produce quick results

This is actually not true at all. Some people imagine that immediately you set up the system, customers will start rolling in as the revenue grows. Affiliate systems require a lot of work and dedication to succeed. You need to find the right team to work with, and that includes affiliates and other partners that will be part of the system. You also need to have relevant content that will appeal to customers and regularly keep the content updated. It will eventually pick up but through time and effort.

2. You must work in a popular niche

Some companies cannot even dare attempt to use affiliate programs because they assume that only businesses that operate in popular sectors can thrive with it. As much as it's true that popular niches find affiliate marketing more effective, being comfortable in your sector and using your insights and skills can turn the program into a success for your business. You just need to find the right team that actually understands the business and industry, and can help you realize your goals and objectives.

3. It's past its due date

Google made changes to its algorithms for SEO and somehow made link building outdated. That may discourage affiliate systems that heavily relied on the old methods to increase awareness. However, there are still several ways to make use of search engine optimization to enhance brand awareness. Affiliate marketing is also very much relevant to Google because it has provided alternative resources to users.

4. Several sites for higher sales numbers

Never compromise quality over quantity. Getting your links on several sites does not automatically mean that you'll get more conversions. Find a small but dedicated number of affiliates that will do a proper job and generate higher sales numbers. The program only makes sense when you have more conversions because that is what will actually translate to more revenue and ultimately higher profits.

Even though research has shown that affiliate marketing is not easy, you can really use it to your advantage once you understand the basics. You just need to come up with a proper strategy and ensure that it is implemented well.

What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?

​Every business desires to make profits by getting as many customers as possible and in the process increasing sales. There are many ways to drive sales, and one of them that is very convenient and preferable to many entrepreneurs is affiliate marketing. Some people are familiar with the term because they've probably heard it thrown around from different quarters. So what really is this type of marketing and what does it entail?

In simple terms, it is a form of internet marketing where the affiliate (person referring customers), signs up for a merchant's affiliate marketing program. The affiliate then recommends the merchant's products to customers and earns a commission on every sale made. It's similar to what used to exist before internet marketing became mainstream; where sales representatives would go out and get customers and then be paid a commission for every sale made. To some extent, this type of marketing also intertwines with some internet marketing methods because affiliates use conventional advertising methods to create product awareness. Some of these methods include making use of search engine optimization tools, email marketing and pay per click.

Affiliate marketing should never be confused with referral marketing as is often the case because the two are very different. The main motivation behind affiliate programs is financial gain as a way of driving sales while referral marketing uses personal relationships and trust to increase the amount of sales. By relying on loyal existing customers and business connections, a business can use referrals to increase revenue generation. In affiliate marketing, you only get paid commissions when you bring in customers and they actually make purchases.

This marketing program requires the affiliate or publisher to use an affiliate link anytime that they mention the advertiser or merchant on their website. When a potential customer visits the affiliate's website and clicks on the link, he or she is taken to the merchant's website. At the same time, a cookie gets dropped on the customer's computer. The customer then makes a purchase from the merchant's website. As he logs out, the merchant finds a cookie that belongs to a specific affiliate and thereafter makes a credit for the sale in accordance with the initial agreement. For transparency purposes, the merchant avails reports showing breakdowns of the amount of traffic from the affiliate's link and the sales made. This ensures that the publisher is paid his rightful dues without being taken advantage of by the merchant. The commission payments are usually made after certain durations, on most occasions on a monthly basis. At least that allows the merchant to receive a reasonable amount as opposed to the payments coming in small bits.

The most common compensation method is the one described above where the affiliate is only paid commissions for actual sales made. The cost per click method of compensation is not favored by many merchants because there is always the danger of the marketing program not resulting into reasonable sales numbers. An affiliate can also just sit around and earn money for actually doing nothing. Affiliate marketing is sometimes referred to as performance marketing because of the compensation method.