Affiliate Marketing 101

Affiliate marketing can be described as outsourced marketing. It’s a process that involves you hiring a third party who is compensated for bringing business to you.

Affiliates will typically use a blogs, email newsletters, and videos to drive customers to your website; however, they only get paid when visitors convert into customers. Driving traffic to your site may be a plus, but conversions are what drive your business. This is what affiliate marketing is all about.

The purpose of generating traffic is to get more customers. If your website gets a million visitors a month but your visitors never make a purchase, then all your efforts would be pointless. With that said, the monetary risk when using affiliate marketing is quite low when compared to the potential rewards, since affiliates are only paid once a customer makes a purchase or converts.

Because all your affiliates have incentive for sending valuable visitors your way, they will put in place measures to send you only the most qualified prospects.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

When starting out, you will need a tracking URL to determine which affiliates are driving your traffic. Affiliates can market your company using a number of means. The most effective methods are:

  • Paid traffic, e.g., Google AdWords
  • Blog posts
  • Email blast
  • Product reviews
  • A YouTube video of your product and link with the affiliate ID

There are many ways for affiliates to promote your products. As a general rule, you should limit the number of avenues your affiliates use to market your company and products. Keep in mind that affiliate programs are not the same as referral programs.

If your website has a referral program and a customer invites his or her friends to visit your website, the customer can receive some sort of reward through the program. This is different from affiliate programs because affiliates don’t need to be customers and they can be recruited in any fashion.

The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

  • You only pay for results.
  • It’s one of the most cost-effective marketing programs today.
  • Affiliates are very good at reaching segments and creating copy: after all, why would anyone sign up as an affiliate if they don’t think they can drive you customers?
  • You have plenty of tools to calculate return on investment. It’s useful for finding out whether you are earning or losing cash.
  • There’s very little chance of suffering losses. Affiliates have every reason to send you customers, so this minimizes risk.

Become an Affiliate Member

Select your niche

One common mistake people new to affiliate marketing programs do is they promote too many products and services. This is a mistake. It actually makes it more difficult to generate relevant, sustainable traffic that translates to consistent growth.

Formulate your plan around the type of content you prefer and are able to produce, and then work on creating a comprehensive plan for promoting the most relatable in-demand products in your niche.

Create valuable content

The only way to forge lasting relationships online is by committing to deliver quality, useful content that your readers can find engaging, enlightening, and applicable. This is what will keep your visitors coming back for more.

Set up a multi-channel promotion platform

As you go about promoting content on social media and developing a communication list for direct email marketing, your goal should be to get all of your individual campaigns working in tandem to give you a wider audience to promote your brand to.

Find out your legal obligations

In order to be avoid federal violations, there are specific guidelines affiliate marketers must be compliant with.

Successful marketers embrace the role of regulation as a safety element for the consumer. Disclosing regulations to your affiliates builds more trust and support from their audiences. One way to make sure your affiliates are complying is if they endorse your business because they believe in it.

As a participant in one of these programs, you should learn what the latest FTC regulations allow; it’s also important to understand that all entities involved in a compensated relationship are required to make full disclosure.

Selecting Affiliate Marketers

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

This style of affiliate marketing is attractive to many because there’s little effort involved. On the flip-side, it takes time and dedication to build a connected following online. If you blog, you’re often putting a lot of thought into which articles you publish and what information you give out. For the large majority, this just isn’t the case. A lot of people don’t have time to manage a blog; therefore, they opt to enable pay-per-click campaigns and include the affiliate links in hopes to get paid for minimal work.

With this model, affiliates tend to be more focused on income than providing value to audiences.

Related Affiliate Marketing

There’s a good chance when you opt-in for this type of sponsorship, you’ll have some success. Success could come from website banner ads or small endorsements posts for your product, paired with links. Although, the success may not last very long. Someone who doesn’t know your product inside and out can only ever give an adequate endorsement. People need to be convinced if they are to buy something. Most people trust their friends and families because they are sources of credibility. If you only half know a product, you won’t have enough credibility to sell. You need to be an authority for you to have selling power.

In addition, if you promote a product you don’t use or know well, you could lose your trust with your audience. People may distrust you for convincing them to buy a product out of line with their expectations of your brand. It only takes one bad experience to ruin your reputation.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

When your product is naturalized in the life of an affiliate, it becomes a part of the content they are creating. It fits seamlessly into their topics and gives your business more opportunity to find persuadable audiences, who may become brand loyalists.

This form of affiliate marketing works the best because it’s the most honest. Audiences know it’s hard to find brands they can trust; but, they know people are easy to trust. When you find someone who already uses your product and has an audience, sponsorships will work because you are giving them a job they will enjoy. To these affiliates, they get paid to provide their audience with value from a brand they love. It’s win-win.

Conducting sponsorships with involved affiliates will not only increase their authority and authenticity, but your business’ as well.

What’s New in Affiliate Marketing

Artificial intelligence powered affiliate marketing

Voice Search

Affiliate Marketing Key Performance Indicators


Sales actions

Conversion rate

Return on ad spend

Cost per click

Chargeback Rate

You can calculate your chargeback rate by using your current month’s chargebacks, and divide it by the previous month’s transactions.

Common Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Sponsored Content

Common topics or ideas you could fit into your sponsored posts include:

  • Features
  • Uses
  • Benefits
  • Comparisons

For example, we are an affiliate working on a sponsored post for a blender company. We have to create a sponsored blog post to drive people to the sponsor website and buy a blender. Let’s take a look at our options:

We could talk about the features of the blender including all its different speeds, blend settings, alternate ice crushing modes, and blade design. The features you mention should help to give the product personality to entice your audience with. If you know your audience is expecting more than just perceived valued, talk about the products conventional and alternate uses. Stressing the benefits of a product is where you’ll entice most of your audience. As long as they perceive the benefits as outweighing the costs, they will buy. Lastly, comparisons are effective strategies to use when convincing visitors the value of your product over another.

Match Products with Blog Niche

If announcing your sponsorship is not your forte, you could incorporate content that fits into your blog’s niche. For example, you operate a video game inspired blog. You could include a post about a certain new video game you are excited about, where you encourage your audience to seek out and buy it upon its release. This could work with any product related to gaming including peripherals, laptops, televisions, memorabilia and more.

Paid traffic


Only promote products you would actually buy


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