What is Affiliate Marketing?
Put simply, affiliate marketing is much like retailing — you’re selling someone else’s products. Except, you don’t pay for products upfront, like you do if you’re running a retail store. You can use affiliate marketing to make money from your authority blog or pay affiliates to others who host your ads on their sites. Today, we’ll focus on how you can use affiliate marketing to make money with your website.
Most affiliate programs work the same way, although there are major differences in how much money you can make and the level of support provided. Let’s take a look:
How does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Find affiliate programs – many of the online products and services you use have affiliate programs. So do some manufacturers, resorts, and other types of businesses. If you want to join the affiliate program for a company, you can normally find information at the bottom of their website. Otherwise search the site for “affiliates” and you’ll easily find information on their affiliate marketing program — they want to make it easy for you to find their programs because YOU reflect a major revenue source for them and it costs them nothing.
Google Adsense places ads on your website based on visitors’ cookies — so they get ads for things they’re interested in. With Adsense, you make money each time someone clicks on an ad. Other services, such as ClickBank, host affiliate programs for smaller retailers who don’t want the time and expense of creating their own affiliate programs. You choose which advertisers to host ads for based on their relationship to your target audience, their payout, and how attractive their ads are.
Sign up – commonly, affiliate programs require you sign up by giving them contact information, a payment method, and tax information — the government needs to make sure they get their share. I normally get paid through PayPal. PayPal takes a small fee, which you can avoid if you then use your affiliate money to pay things like hosting fees. Using PayPal, I don’t have to give companies my financial information, so I feel a little more comfortable. Of course, some people make huge amounts of money from affiliate marketing, so the fees don’t hurt that bad.
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Some affiliate marketing programs require approval before allowing you to participate in the program. I’ve had this take several weeks, so you want to get started early if you’re planning linking your affiliate marketing to content, holidays, or other marketing that involves a timing element.
Get the code – companies give several options for advertising to sell their products. It’s up to you to decide what kind of affiliate ad you want on your site. For instance, you can use a banner ad, a small ad or button, or even just a link. The code will contain information controlling the look of the ad and identifying you so the company knows who to pay.
If you want to see examples, take a look at the affiliate links on this site or other sites. You’ll find other examples on the Wacky site.
You need to decide whether the website is designed to make money from affiliate marketing or whether you have other goals and use a few affiliate ads to subsidize your other efforts.
Insert code – you insert the code into a widget on your site or, for the more technically adept, ad codes anywhere on the site. Ads are inserted directly into posts by switching to the HTML option and inserting the code. Affiliate codes are copied into text boxes and inserted as widgets or are inserted into your ad management system, if your theme allows.
That’s it. Your affiliate marketing program is LIVE and ready to make money for your blog.
Things to watch for in affiliate marketing
Here are some warning and things watch as you embark on affiliate marketing.
- Choose affiliate marketing programs carefully – be picky. You can only put a few affiliate ads on your site or risk your SEO, so put up the ones most beneficial.
- only advertise product you believe reflect a great option for your readers. I only advertise products I feel work well and offer great value for you. I also normally work with smaller companies to get more favorable deals for you.
- Every company offers different terms so look for the best opportunities. Look at how much you’ll make — the percentage payoff, conversion rate, and the average sale. Also look at how long the cookie last — a cookie identifies a visitor to the website including that you sent them there. Some firms, like Amazon, only pay if the visitor buys immediately after visiting your site, while other firms pay you if the visitor buys within 30 days of their initial visit from your site. Finally, look at support the firm provides. For instance, Market Samurai provides landing pages, video tutorials, and great support for visitors, thus increasing the conversion rate.
- fit with your target market is important. Products and services needed by your target audience will convert while ones that don’t fit probably won’t sell.
- Track performance – don’t trust the company — check. I hear stories of people who aren’t paid their affiliate fees all the time.
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