Affiliate marketing allows you to sell other people’s products and make money, or a commission for each sale. Most major retailers are now offering some form of affiliate marketing. Even Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, offers affiliate marketing to increase their sales.
There are various methods of generating traffic to your landing page or website.
You want to have a link tracker, like 1stURL, that allows you to track all of your marketing efforts to see which are working best for you and your campaigns. Once you have link tracking in place, it’s time to start generating traffic to increase your sales.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote products or services owned by another person or company in exchange for a fee.
You find a product or service, advertise it to other people, and get a share of the profit when you sell it. The partner simply promotes goods or services on their affiliate website. For each purchase or click on such an affiliate site, the owner of the web sources gets a fee.
This kind of digital marketing is mostly based on pay per click or CPM models.
Affiliate marketer gets paid per click on paid campaign links, paid ads, or other clickable elements placed on affiliate site.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based model where a merchant rewards its affiliates for attracting visitors or customers. Affiliate management refers to the process of establishing and scaling relationships with a myriad of marketers that drive traffic and sales.
If you happen to be a blogger or social media influencer, you can leverage the value of your loyal community through affiliate marketing. When you have gained the trust of your audience, people are more likely to convert into customers which will bring you more commissions.
Instead of getting paid up front for their marketing efforts, affiliates only get paid when a desired action takes place. Typically, the desired action means sales. This is good for the merchant because it removes the uncertainty about whether a marketing investment is in fact profitable.
Affiliate programs and networks
Affiliates are managed within an affiliate program. This affiliate program is run on a platform where a business places its offers and affiliates sign up to promote these offers and bring new customers to the business. In return, affiliates receive compensation, usually a percentage of each sale or a fixed sum for bringing in new customers.
Another important term in affiliate marketing is affiliate network. Put simply, it’s a collection of both affiliate programs and affiliates. A major difference between the two is that within affiliate programs businesses only have affiliates that promote their products. In the network, affiliates are free to join and promote multiple products and services in different categories. The network manages all transactions internally and gets a share of the transactions. Therefore, by joining a network, a company needs to pay for both the network and the affiliates.
Who are the affiliates?
An affiliate can be any individual or company who helps promote a product or service for a business. The promotion can be done, for example, through paid advertising, direct referral or by creating content such as blog posts, videos, and newsletters. You may also compile an email list or try to capture search traffic to your website by using SEO techniques.
There are 3 parties involved in a typical affiliate campaign – a publisher, advertiser, and the affiliate ad network. Let’s inspect affiliate marketing traffic sources.
A publisher drives organic traffic to products/services by linking them to the consumer.
The publisher’s main goal is to get people to act here and now: place an order, register on the site, fill out an application, that is, perform the necessary target action (Conversion Flow).
The tasks of the publisher are the following
- find goods or services (offers) for promotion;
- define the audience, identify its pains, problems;
- study the product, formulate its benefits, advantages;
- conduct a marketing analysis of competitors, their strengths and weaknesses;
- create marketing materials (ads, landing pages);
- attract potential buyers (organic search);
- optimize the campaign (test the components of the campaign, make it profitable);
- or scale up an already profitable campaign.
- As you can see, such a person can be called a master of online ad trafficking.
Affiliate networks are platforms for offers, goods/services that companies promote. Networks are intermediaries between partners and offer owners, i.e. advertisers.
A publisher can work both with an affiliate program and directly with an advertiser. But working with an affiliate ad network has a number of advantages worth paying attention to:
It gives access to hundreds and thousands of offers in various directions and up-to-date information on what needs to be promoted.
A manager is appointed to the user (who can help with diverse technical questions, suggest what’s hot right now, activate private offers, increase payouts, and much more).
It provides a fast turnover of funds. Payments are made once a week, and there is a large number of sales every day. Advertisers usually only pay once a month.
Affiliate networks take on the risk of non-payment from the advertiser. If the advertiser decides to end cooperation without paying the due amount to the affiliate ad network, it will still pay the earned amount to the publisher.
Who are the merchants?
The merchant is, in most cases, a business who is also the creator of the product or service. These merchants employ a revenue sharing model where they offer commissions to individuals and businesses who can promote their products. They can range from large enterprises to individual entrepreneurs, or even individuals, who are willing to pay for the affiliate transactions.
Affiliate marketing pros and cons
Affiliate marketing is not a shortcut to earning a high level of passive income. It requires a lot of effort and many unexpected obstacles may come your way. To better understand what you’re getting yourself into, here is a list of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing:
- Source of passive income – You’re able to generate passive income. Once you create your optimized content and embed your links, you tap into a profitable source of passive income. This allows you to dedicate your time on your main source of income, whether it’s a full-time office job or your own business.
- No major investments – You don’t need to make any significant investments with regards to money or time. Once you set up your website and join the affiliate programs, all you need is unique content and your referral links. Getting started doesn’t require you to be a marketing professional with many years of experience under your belt.
- High level of competition – Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy but it also means that competition can be intense between affiliates. You’re competing for leads and clicks and trying to find the most promising affiliate programs, while avoiding those that are fraudulent.
- No control over offers – As an affiliate marketer, your control over the products or services you’re promoting only extends to choosing the affiliate programs. After that, you have no control over what you promote. That’s why you should choose the affiliate programs carefully.
How to get started with affiliate marketing
In theory, being an affiliate marketer simply means joining the most promising affiliate programs you can find, inserting your referral links to your content and waiting for your commissions.
But if you want to earn proper income from affiliate programs, you need to follow certain guidelines. Here is a list of steps that will help you get started as a successful affiliate marketer:
- Find your niche
Decide which topics you feel passionate about and narrow it down to a specific niche. To make sure that your business is sustainable in the long term, choose a niche that you’re already familiar with so that you have some expertise to offer for your audience. Focus on unique, valuable content that provides a solution to a problem.
- Create your website
In case you already have a website, you can skip this step. Otherwise, start by choosing a domain and buying hosting services. These two often come in the same package as a bundle. Make sure that your domain is memorable and easy for people to spell.After this, all you have to do is choose the right platform. The easiest option is to install WordPress and pick a suitable theme for your website.
- Build a loyal audience
You cannot expect your visitors to convert if you haven’t offered them any value. It’s important that you build a loyal audience before starting to monetize your content. Monetizing too early is actually one of the top 10 mistakes affiliates make when starting out.You should think about affiliate marketing as an exchange. You provide valuable content to your audience, and in return your audience might consider any offers that you present. Of course, provided that these offers bring value to them by solving a problem they have.
- Think about monetization
Once you have picked your niche and built an audience, think about how to monetize it. Whatever you choose to write about needs to bring you money in the long term. There can be a conflict between your passion and profitability. But since your primary goal as an affiliate marketer is to make money, the monetization aspect is important. Make your research to confirm that your niche has enough monetary potential.
- Choose between affiliate programs and networks
Affiliate networks are more suitable for you if you have no particular strategy or clear idea about your niche. Maybe you just want to try your hand at affiliate marketing and see how it works out. If, however, you’re determined that you prefer to work in affiliate marketing on a larger scale, it’s better to consider, for example, SaaS affiliate programs.
- Keep offering unique value
For content affiliate marketers especially, it’s crucial that you add uniqueness and originality to your content. You can do this by providing details such as examples and use cases or sharing the results of your own experiments. The majority of blogs recycle the same ideas, so there’s less competition for entirely unique content. Uniqueness is your key to standing out, generating traffic, and converting your visitors.Gather unique data, connect with experts, or present unique insights about your niche. You just need to carry out the research and have something unique to offer. For example, you could use free trials to test the products before producing a review or comparison post.When you conduct any kind of research related to your topic, your content becomes harder to reproduce. Details add originality to your affiliate content and give your readers a reason to stay. After building content authority, you can focus on the intent of your audience and choose topics that are likely to convert but not too competitive to rank for. This way, you will maximize your potential to earn affiliate commissions.Keep in mind that your main goal is to convert visitors instead of just attracting a large number of visitors to your site.
How to attract traffic: paid or organic?
As you probably know, traffic is the volume of visitors you get to your landing page. It’s a determining factor in evaluating how many potential customers you can bring for the merchant.
A difference can be drawn between organic and paid methods of attracting traffic. Paid methods require actual money but they tend to take less effort and are easier to implement. And organic methods are not exactly free, either. They demand a considerable amount of time and effort even if you’re not directly paying for anything.
If we look at organic traffic, the most common methods include content creation and SEO.
You can create valuable content on different platforms such as social media channels, blogs, and YouTube. The key point here is that your content offers value to your audience. Converting them is highly unlikely unless you’ve established yourself as an expert in your chosen niche.
You can also post excerpts or snippets from your website content on social media and link to the original content. This content repurposing is a good strategy for affiliate marketers who want to direct traffic from social media to their website.
SEO refers to optimizing your website so that it ranks higher in search engines. There are many different SEO techniques, and if you want to read more about them, you may check our earlier post about SEO techniques on our main website 1-stSEO.com.
Paid traffic means buying ad space to promote your affiliate offers. There are different ways to do this, too. For example, you may pay for conversions only, or you may pay for views or clicks. It all depends on your goals. But in most cases, merchants pay commissions only for conversions which is why it’s the most common way of using paid ads as an affiliate marketer.
Deciding between paid and organic traffic is up to you. If you can afford using the paid methods, it can pay off since you get more instant results and you have a higher potential to earn a lot. And if you have the time, you might want to use both paid and organic methods to attract traffic.
How to find the best affiliate programs?
Finding the right affiliate programs is key to your success as an affiliate marketer.
1. Google search
The most obvious way to get started is to make a Google search. Simply search for ‘’affiliate program’’ + ‘’your niche.’’ Or if you have a specific product already in mind, search for ‘’affiliate program’’ + ‘’product name.’’ Ideally, you should use those products yourself so that you know what you’re promoting. You can at least check if they offer free trials and test the product.
2. Affiliate directories
Affiliate directories comprise another way to find good affiliate programs. They’re listings of affiliate programs used by both affiliate program managers and affiliates. Affiliate managers use them to get visibility for their program and affiliates use them as a database for finding new affiliate programs to join in their niche.
These directories are usually sorted by topic or type of commissions, which makes it easy to find multiple programs in the same category. You can find them by searching for affiliate directories on Google or find articles that mention and list different directories.
3. Competing products
You can also look for products that are competitors for the ones you’re already promoting. Find out if they have an affiliate program. And if they do, consider creating a comparison article about the competing products, for example. Similar to reviews, comparison articles can provide your audience with value by helping them decide between multiple products. They’re also good for targeting prospects who have a high purchase intent.
4. Affiliate links
Finally, an alternative way is to look for affiliate links on websites similar to yours. Start by making a list of such websites.
You can check the analytics for your domain and find both organic and paid competitors on tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs. Or you can find top websites for topics in your niche using their keyword analytics. If you don’t have access to these tools, you may use the free version of SimilarWeb, for example, to find similar websites.
The easiest way to find affiliate links on those similar websites is to use backlink analytics on any SEO tool and check their backlink profiles. Another option is to visit the websites and look for affiliate promotions on their pages. Click on the links and see if they have an affiliate ID at the end. The end of the link can similar to this: ‘’htm?id=1234.’’ This affiliate ID is used for tracking sales from that link, and it indicates that the product is part of an affiliate program. Then, go to the product’s website, sign up for the affiliate program and start promoting it.
What affiliate networks pay for and how to get started
Affiliate networks pay only for the completed target action. Conversion flow is a series of sequential actions that a user must perform in order to accomplish this expected action. When it is completed, the conversion is counted. The advertiser pays the network, and the affiliate pays the partner.
Conversion rate (CR) is the percentage of visitors who made a targeted action on the site in relation to all people who just were curious. For example, 500 people came to the site, and 30 of them bought something. CR = 30/500 * 100%, that is, 6%. For every 100 people there are 6 purchases, that is, 100 clicked, and 6 bought.
There are several types of conversions:
SOI (Single Opt-In) – one action. A conversion is counted when a user has sent an email address, filled out a credit card questionnaire, registered a profile on a dating site, or submitted a request for a free sample. For such actions, the advertiser is ready to pay from $0.50 to$ 2.
The payoff is small, but the conversion is high and there are a lot of split tests that can be done. For example, imagine we have a budget of $100. If you launch an offer with a payment of $100, you can get 1 conversion. And if you pay $1 for an offer, you can expect 100 conversions.
DOI (Double-Opt-In) – two actions. The user must not only send the application but also confirm it by clicking on the link in the email. Complex conversions require even more actions. For example, you need to not only register in the game but also reach level 5.
There are different ways to pay for the completed target action:
- CPS (Cost-per-Sale) – payment is made upon sale. It can be fixed or as a percentage of the cost.
- CPA (Cost or Pay per action) – payment for the desired action. For example: sending an email, applying for a credit card, registering a profile on a dating site, and applying for a free sample.
- CPI (Cost per Install) – the installation of a mobile application is paid for.
- CPL (Cost per lead) – payment for a lead.
- Pay per action (CPA) offers are the easiest to convert. It is much easier to convince a person to leave some personal details than to force them to pull out the wallet.
This is the company that has the offer. The advertiser creates an offer on the market, forms a budget for its promotion, and bears the risks associated with the activities of partners. So, the advertiser pays only for the completed target action: sale, registration, completed application.
Website traffic source
High quality traffic refers to visitors who come to a web page. Organic traffic may be free and paid. Indeed, choosing the best traffic sources may not be an easy task.
There are many ways to increase website traffic. So, how to drive traffic to your website? Let’s find out. The first thing to know – if there’s free organic traffic and paid traffic.
They come from content marketing and search engine optimization.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of useful, interesting content for a specific target audience. (blog articles, YouTube videos, posts on socials).
For example, there is a video blog about fishing. The author attracts an interested audience with content, gains lots of followers, and at the same time earns money by recommending various products for fishing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of actions aimed at increasing the ranking of a website in search results. Google algorithm is constantly being updated.
However, if you can figure out the SEO puzzle and get to the top, you can get tons of free targeted website traffic. Otherwise, you will have to use paid traffic sources as well. Paid traffic is easier to get.
It may not be an easy task to choose the best paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing. Nevertheless, it is possible.
So, there are advertisements on the Internet. To promote the offer, the partner creates landing pages for ads. When a web page or ad is shown to a visitor or they click on a banner, the partner gets the money. This is the best thing about paid traffic.
Selecting the best traffic sources for affiliate marketing
The best traffic sources for affiliate marketing are effective. The list of solutions includes many different marketing traffic sources, and here are the best of them.
Search engines are great for getting search traffic especially Goggle, Yahoo, and Bing. Affiliate marketing traffic sources of this type generate traffic for digital marketing campaigns with keywords.
Focus on long keywords to drive traffic to the landing page. Short keywords are highly ambiguous and may not lead to targeted website traffic. Google AdWords and other tools can help with it.
Email marketing lets you foster relationships with your audience, promote content, and boost sales by sending them information straight to their inbox.
When someone visits your website, have them sign up for your newsletter via some type of opt-in form (offer them something for free like a checklist or lead magnet).
Once you have their email address, you can use it to build a deeper relationship with your readers.
And similar to using social media management tools, you can automate your email marketing campaigns.
There are a variety of ways you can use automation, including:
- Welcome emails: Thank your customer for signing up, welcome them, and give them a preview of what to expect over the coming days. You can also tease them with upcoming offers.
- Lead Nurturing: Send targeted info to select groups of your email list based on previous actions they’ve taken.
- Newsletters: Keep your audience updated with events happening on your blog, promotions, or upcoming sales.
These are ways to maintain engagement without worrying about when to send emails because you’ve prepared.
When social media sites crash, you’ll always have your email list. Building an email list is one of the most crucial aspects of your job as an affiliate marketer.
Leveraging social media is excellent for engaging your target audience, raising your brand’s awareness, and increasing sales.
There are currently eight primary social media platforms where you can deploy marketing efforts:
- YouTube videos
This section outlines how you could use social media sites for marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Like building an audience organically with search engines, creating a substantial following on social media takes time. It requires active engagement with your readers, but when done correctly, it can yield massive results.
Sharing content can be as simple as promoting a blog post or a video.
You’ll want to pay attention to what your audience talks about, post comments to maintain active engagement, and measure what’s working.
Think about the content you want to publish. Pictures? Use Instagram. Blog posts? Try Facebook or Linkedin.
Social networks also serve as:
- Customer support to address concerns and answer questions
If needed, you can run hyper-targeted social media ads to specific demographics (more on that below).
Using social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can help automate this process. You can plan and choose the date and time you want to publish content.
Social Media Advertising
Social media ad campaigns let you connect with your target audience at scale. The process is also quicker.
Before putting money on the table to get targeted traffic, determine which networks your audience hangs out on before running your campaign.
Running Facebook ads is one of the most commonly used, so many start there because of its diversity.
You can leverage video ads, photo ads, story ads, carousel ads, and collection ads. And Facebook is only one example.
Leverage online forums by answering questions relevant to your industry. You’ll build authority as people start seeing you as the expert.
The more consistently you answer questions, the more your authority grows. Quora and Reddit are two of the largest platforms for executing this strategy.
Reddit has over 52 million daily active users. So, if you want to leverage that, head there and look for terms related to your affiliate website and view the comments.
Look for ones with lots of engagement for the most amount of traffic. You can post your comments with links to your website as long as you do it ethically.
Or, if you’re using Quora (the site gets 300 million monthly visitors), enter the domain into a tool like Ahrefs Site Exporer, and use its ‘Top Pages’ report with your keyword as a filter.
Guest blogging and answering comments in niche-specific forums are two more examples of ways you can generate traffic to your website.
When looking for industry-specific groups or forums to answer questions in, try using a search term like, “marketing questions for [keyword]” or “business questions for [keyword]”
PPC ads appear on search results pages. You’ll post one on a platform (e.g., Google) and pay that platform whenever someone clicks your ad.
These ads typically target specific keywords meant to attract website visitors to your offer.
For example, Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) uses real-time bidding and auctions off keywords to the highest bidder.
You can divide your campaigns into different categories, including:
- Product type
PPC and cost-per-click (CPC) are the same as both refer to the same thing.
For example, you might say you’re running a PPC campaign, and you’d like your CPC not to exceed $1.00.
PPC ads appear at the tops and bottoms of organic search results.
Other search engines also feature ad placement, including:
- Bing ads
- Yahoo Gemini
Paying for search traffic is costly because you’re paying for visibility.
While holding the top place in a Google search is amazing, once your money disappears, so does your spot.
A similar paid advertising model is Pay-Per-View (PPV), which employs a landing page designed to drive clicks to your website.
Digital Media Buying & Display Advertising
You can buy ad space through places like the Google Display Network (GDN), which reaches 90% of the internet.
Your ads typically appear as banners on websites that have partnered with Google Adsense or another ad network.
Your ad will display on various domains within its network. So, naturally, the higher quality of the domain (e.g., Forbes), the more you’ll pay.
You can send your potential customer to a product offer or affiliate link. Display advertising is ideal for reaching people at scale and raising awareness.
If you want to go beyond Google’s network, you can employ digital media buying by contacting publishers directly and inquire about ad placements.
Contextual advertising works similar to PPC campaigns, except you’re paying for your ad to appear only on relevant websites.
For example, if you were an SEO running an ad campaign for your keyword tool, you could create an ad to appear on sites like Search Engine Journal.
Then, when someone reads a blog about search engine optimization, your ad displays.
The benefit of contextual ads is they’re less intrusive. In addition, the campaign manager is betting that you’ll be more likely to click on their ad because it’s within the context of what you’re already reading.
Native ads match the media format they appear in and are also less invasive; you may not even notice them.
You can see examples of Native ads versus display ads on the below screenshot of Fortune’s website.
Taboola, Dianomi, and Outbrain are three advertising platforms that help marketers craft native ad campaigns.
The benefit of using native ads is they can appear everywhere:
- In your social media feeds
- Recommended content (like when I scrolled through Fortune)
- In your search results
Ways to buy website traffic
You can buy paid traffic directly, working with Facebook ads, google ads (Google display), and google search, or by using the services of advertising network (Ad Network). Ad networks are the “marketplace” for the various sites that advertisements will be displayed on. Typically these paid sources work based on the pay per click or pay per view model.
Organic traffic sources differ by the following:
Audience coverage and, accordingly, the amount of available organic traffic. The audience of such paid traffic sites can be the whole world or maybe a particularly narrow niche.
Targeting options. For example age, gender, country, time, device type, sites visited. The more targeting options, the more accurately you can reach the right audience and the more sales your paid traffic source will make.
Why is contextual advertising or advertising on social networks so effective? Because these sources allow you to target narrowly enough, segment your audience, and hit the target.
When registering on any paid traffic source, you must familiarize yourself with the rules of operation, payment methods, and rate models. Make a little research to discover the reputation of this particular paid traffic source.
The benefits of paid traffic
- Paid-traffic campaigns are completely under control: you can set the required daily budget, set prices per click or per 1000 impressions, and you can also start/stop a campaign at any time.
- Fast results. You can monitor the performance of paid traffic campaign a few hours after launch (this is very fast when compared to organic traffic).
- No dependency on one paid traffic campaign. If the campaign is unsuccessful, you can stop it and start another one.
- With paid traffic, you can earn more and faster.
- As you can see, paid traffic sources are highly beneficial. Pay per click and CPM models are offered by such platforms as Google ads and Google display network.
However, pay per click and pay per view models are also offered by the range of alternative programmatic solutions. In an attempt to compete with Google ads, these platforms can offer a lot of additional features and benefits.
Social media sites
Facebook ads, Instagram, etc. Targeting is possible by age, interests, geography, etc. If the user matches the selected targeting options, then the advertisement will be shown to him. Social media offers a wide variety of targeting options and a lot of paid traffic.
Paid search sources are Google Adwords, Google ads, Bing (Microsoft), and others. These are powerful sources, as they allow you to target by keywords. For example, one can do it by Google search queries of users to get to the top of search results. Advertisers pay to get to the top for keywords.
CPC depends on the keyword you are bidding on and the ad and site match for that keyword. Google and Yandex advertising platforms are user-friendly and have many tools to help you create an effective campaign. High search results positions – that’s what one can get as a result of such cooperation.
In this case, we are talking about advertising on mobile phones: PopAds, PopCash, etc. There are a lot of paid traffic mobile sources. There are also mobile sources that specialize in specific formats: Display, Pop, Push ads.
Targeting is possible by operators, by operating systems, by site identifiers, by phone brands. Targeting by operating systems is especially convenient.
The growing popularity, low barriers to entry, and the sheer number of countries available for targeting make mobile devices an extremely attractive source. The most popular mobile ad formats are Display/Banner, Pop-unders, Push ads.
Native advertising blends naturally with the site’s content, that’s why it is often used on social media. In conditions of “banner blindness,” this is an effective way to reach out to the audience.
Essential affiliate marketing tools
The landing page is the page that the user comes to – it accumulates the targeted traffic.
Web pages play a key role in sales – after all, these are sellers, and therefore the requirements for them are serious. This includes a selling headline, a profitable offer, a call to action, and pictures. This is a topic for a separate article.
Then you need a hosting that will host the web pages. Shared hosting won’t work because pages need to load quickly. 40% of users will leave if the site doesn’t open after 3 seconds. In the beginning, VDS is suitable, but then it is better to replace it with a dedicated server.
The main partner’s tool is the tracker. Thanks to the tracker, you can find out where the potential buyer came from, from which country, city, at what time, from which device (including you can find out the device brand and operating system), what keyword he used, on which banner he clicked and much more.
The tracker allows you to understand how much money has already been spent on the ad campaign, how much is earned, which users are unprofitable, and which are generating income.
For example, the tracker reports that $100 was brought by iPhone owners, and $50 was brought by Samsung users by clicking, but they did not buy anything. So we need to stop attracting Samsung owners and focus on people with iPhones.
You are the chief, this means that no one tells you what to do, funds can come to your account every hour, and all day, without stopping (if there is a configured plan and work in this system) and it does not depend on what you are currently doing and where you are.
And the most important plus in favor of entering this business is that you are allowed to do it even with a minimal budget.
The sites should be thematic, so the advertiser looking for such resources gets a high-quality audience. The next plus that should be noted is that the advertiser gets potential customers without wasting time on their engagement.
What about benefits for a partner? Here, perhaps, it is worth highlighting that it is a great additional way of earning with the help of your resource (site).
Besides, there is no need to worry about customer support and the organization of e-commerce in general. The advertiser deals with everything. A partner only needs to sell and promote a product.
Before choosing the best traffic sources: where such marketing efforts should be applied?
The simplest example of using affiliate marketing is mentioning a brand in publications of a social media personality on a page on a social network. Celebrities go to restaurants, buy clothes, groceries, and use cosmetics. This is a great chance to promote goods and services. This is called media advertising.
If we talk about specific areas where affiliate campaigns will be successful, then this is online commerce, info-business, B2B segment is good because there are almost no boundaries for it. The right strategy, the correct choice of sites, and the performer will bring benefits to every advertiser.
How a marketing partner earns
Commissions or referral income goes into the partner’s pocket for every purchase made through an ad campaign (or on pay per click or pay per impression basis). Typically, partners receive a link or banner and publish it on their website. If the user does the target action, the partner earns.
How an advertiser earns
The advertiser must first invest money to pay for the services of the members of an affiliate program. He/she calculates the commission that he is going to spend on attracting people. The seller saves the budget for promotion, generates interest in the product, attracts new customers, and increases sales.
4 working strategies to follow
Let’s imagine that there is a blogger, and he needs to acquire strong partnerships with brands for SEO promotion of their products through the site. What needs to be done for this? There are some tips on this.
High-quality content creation
Content of high quality allows you to build audience loyalty, drive more website traffic, and therefore increase your income. It is important to make posts interesting, motivating and persuasive.
It’s next to impossible to become successful without an optimized website. This part of the work is difficult, but it is worth it. With SEO optimization of high quality, your site will rank better in search results. Consequently, more people will see it and follow the affiliate link.
SMM promotion is now one of the best ways to increase brand awareness and attract buyers’ attention to it. You’ll need to share materials from the blog on social networks, publish useful posts. The more interested users they reach, the faster the reach will grow. It’s certainly a great way of promotion.
The term means the sale of more expensive products, from which the total profit increases. But do not consider cheap goods a meaningless object of promotion. You’ll need a competent message to potential customers why a premium product will help them achieve success. The higher the price of the ordered product, the more profit.
How much money can you expect to make?
Given that affiliate marketing covers a variety of niches, it’s difficult to give any accurate estimate of the average affiliate marketer revenue. In our affiliate statistics post, we mentioned a benchmark report by AffStat where 35% of the affiliates who participated in their poll disclosed an annual revenue of at least $20,000 resulting from their affiliate marketing efforts.
However, many affiliates use affiliate marketing only as an extra income stream and dedicate minimal effort on the channel. Some of them might simply recommend products to their friends and acquaintances, while others promote multiple affiliate products actively through different programs and networks and make it their primary source of income.
The wide range of affiliate commissions makes calculating the average commission amount redundant. Another influential factor is whether those are recurring or one-time commissions. In SaaS companies, the subscription-based pricing model allows recurring affiliate commissions, which adds to the cumulative earnings of affiliates working in that niche.
It’s not uncommon for the smallest commissions to fall below $10, while some affiliates who manage to bring big clients can make thousands of dollars per commission. Aside from the total annual earnings per affiliate, estimating how much money you can make as an affiliate would require looking at the frequency of commissions and their modal value (most commonly occurring amount).
Top affiliate marketing mistakes
Considering that the most important factor for success in affiliate marketing is product-audience fit, it makes sense that a lack thereof is the top affiliate marketing mistake. To avoid promoting the wrong products, make sure your affiliate offers are relevant to your audience.
This brings us to another common mistake: monetizing too early, or promoting products to an audience that isn’t there yet. The correct order of things is to first choose a niche and build an audience, then join affiliate programs and monetize that audience. For content creators, this means covering topics with informational intent before creating more transaction-focused content.
Don’t bombard your articles with affiliate links from the get-go. Take your landing page experience seriously. It measures how well your page meets visitors’ expectations and is one of the ranking factors used by Google’s PageRank. Monitor the top search queries to your website and individual pages on Google Search Console, for example, to understand your audience better.
While product price matters, it’s not the only factor you should take into account when choosing affiliate products. Choosing only high-priced affiliate products in the hopes of earning higher compensation and selling fewer items can be a mistake, too. Especially, if you choose an item that your audience doesn’t need or if it has a too small pool of potential referrals.
On top of product price and audience fit, consider also market demand, level of competition, your own expertise, commission rate and type, sales cycle length, and additional incentives provided by the affiliate program.
Whatever affiliate strategy you choose, make sure not to violate the program’s terms and conditions by trying to find loopholes. The most common examples would be self-referrals, coupon abuse, or bidding on the merchants’ brand terms in paid ads and linking directly to their website. But none of these are good long-term strategies. They will ultimately only lead to the termination of your affiliate account.
So, don’t try to be the middleman between the buyer and the seller without adding any actual value. And don’t expect to achieve immediate results. Affiliate marketing is all about long-term payoffs.
A strategy to start off in 5 steps
The first thing you need to do as a partner is to develop your strategy. It sounds complicated, but it’s easier than it sounds. Here’s how to get started with a few steps:
- Choose a niche. Once you identify a potential niche, make sure to narrow it down. Micro-niche identification is an effective way to gain niche authority and quality leads.
- Select a platform. Are you a pro on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube? Each platform has different requirements and algorithms, so it is important to combine them. For example, creating a YouTube channel along with a blog on Hashtag is a great strategy to reach a wider audience.
- Study the market. Knowing the market will help you understand how to create quality content to reach your target audience. This will also help you narrow down your paid advertising strategy on a display advertising platform.
- Select the type of content. Now that you know your target audience, decide what kind of quality content you want to create. Product or service reviews, tutorials, and how-tos? Think about what type of content will most impact your target audience.
- Promote your affiliate links. Focus on content that works to promote affiliate products. Obviously, product reviews are a great type of content. You can also create comparisons and guides to make your affiliate product stand out.
Just don’t go overboard with the promotion. Only add affiliate links where it makes sense. For example, if you provide an overview on a topic, you can add depth to it by explaining how you handle that process yourself using those tools that you promote as an affiliate.
Your actual money pages are more likely to be reviews and comparisons that dig deeper into the products and their features. With these reviews and comparisons, you attract more bottom-of-the-funnel traffic that is more likely to convert than the traffic you get when you target more generic keywords.
Try to keep a balance between informational and transactional articles. Guides and tutorials bring value to your readers, even if they’re not as conversion-focused as reviews and comparisons.
When adding promotions to your content, take advantage of the free marketing materials provided by the affiliate programs you’ve joined. Decide whether to use text ads, CTA buttons, banners, or a mixture of them. Align these ads with the design of your blog. And to maximize clicks and conversions, it’s better to add them higher than only at the bottom of the page.
Once you’ve done all that, don’t forget to promote your blog outside of your website. Use social media, guest posting, link building, content collaborations with other bloggers, and email lists to drive more traffic to your blog. To incentivize visitors to sign up for your newsletter, you can offer discounts or ultimate guides, for example.
Types of affiliate marketing
Each of these options has its own unique benefits, so we’d suggest picking the ones that interest you the most. It’s also a good idea to combine several of these platforms to reach a wider audience.
Create a blog
Blogging has become one of the most powerful ways to reach target audiences with organic traffic. The best thing about blogging is that about 81% of Internet consumers trust information found on blogs.
The reason blogging is a great tool is because it allows you to use SEO (we have already discussed its importance). There are many factors that influence search rankings, some of them are keywords, actual blog authority, number of backlinks, and more.
The good news is that there are many simple and free blogging sites where you can publish articles that will be indexed by Google, for example.
Create a YouTube channel
YouTube is another great platform that can help.
Video content really gives you the opportunity to showcase a product. In many cases, it is easier to make affiliate link sales using video content because users can see first-hand the benefits of certain products or services.
Use social media advertising
If you use Instagram, TikTok, or other social media platforms, you’ve probably come across affiliate posts already. These are messages marked with the hashtag #advertisement or something similar on social media channels.
Social media users are promoting affiliate products through posts if they honestly tell the audience that it is an affiliate link. The only catch is that you can only place your affiliate link in the biofield, on social media.
Use email marketing
Email is a more underrated channel when compared to social media. You need to integrate it with another platform, ideally, a blog, to achieve better results.
Launch a podcast
If you listen to podcasts, you already know what this is all about. A small ad break that is used in a podcast to tell the user about a product or service is often an affiliate product too! The best thing about podcast ads is that they don’t compete for user attention like banners.
How Much Traffic Do You Need for Affiliate Marketing?
The short answer: it depends on what type of business you want to build.
Corbett Barr, the co-founder of Fizzle, wrote a great article explaining two approaches to attracting enough visitors to your website to earn a living:
- Approach #1: Build a massive site to attract advertisers
- Approach #2: Forget advertisers and maximize your value per visitor
An infinite number of affiliate marketing traffic sources will work with either of the strategies mentioned above.
Will you use them all? It’s unlikely.
The most successful online businesses (on average) seek to maximize their value per visitor from what I’ve seen. That strategy has the highest, long-term ROI.
And also, mathematically, focusing on value versus volume is simpler. Hitting scale is a byproduct of the meaningful content you’ve already created for your audience.
What Is the Average Conversion Rate for Affiliate Marketing?
The current industry standard seems to hover between 0.5% and 1%. Although, determining this number is difficult because every content creator differs in terms of:
- What they promote
- Targeted traffic
- Their niche
Successful affiliate marketing does not have to cost a fortune. In fact, attracting an audience can be done for free, as long as you’re willing to be patient. Most people are aware of blogging and the many site builders that are available for free. What you may not know, is the vast array of free traffic sources that you can use as an affiliate marketer to gain more more visitors.
Once you increase your traffic, you can begin promoting an array of products and services that are in line with your niche. You will need to market these products differently depending on the sources you are using to generate traffic.
It’s important that you understand the fundamentals of affiliate marketing before you start promoting products and services to your audience. This will help you increase conversions through your marketing campaigns.
Make sure to choose the right approach to the target audience with paid and organic traffic. Search traffic, Facebook lead ads, video ads, mobile video advertising, direct marketing and ad networks – there are plenty of best traffic sources for affiliate marketing that can streamline your marketing efforts.
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