What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a concept which operates in a number of different ways designed to generate income. It works along the lines of, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. It is an indirect way to generate revenue.
What is affiliate marketing?
Put simply, the best way to understand the concept of affiliate marketing is that it is a way to earn money from recommendations. You are paid for referrals. To see it at work, take a look at these examples of affiliate marketing to help you understand exactly what is an affiliate marketer.
- Jane buys a hay steamer, a relatively new idea on the market, ideal for horses with dust issues or Recurrent Airway Obstruction. She features in the manufacturer’s publicity and when they receive enquiries from potential customers who live close enough to her yard, they go along to take a look and see it in action. Even people who are geographically distant can talk to Jane or email her for information. Every customer that Jane recommends who goes on to buy a hay steamer earns Jane some commission. Jane has plenty of horsey friends and contacts and could be quite proactive and monetise this network. There are huge advantages for the manufacturer with Jane’s endorsement.
- Adam has a lifestyle blog, he is really keen on interior design and showcases his own home and other projects he has worked on. He also has a blog and people pick up on accessories and furniture they see in the pictures from his past projects. He has clickable links in the blogs and if his readers follow through to the appropriate stockist and go onto their website, it then generates a referral payment for him. He can earn income from networking, creating revenue from those who read his blog whilst he talks about what he loves most, design interiors. His blogs are pulling in huge audiences in the last year to eighteen months and savvy companies have approached him now to push their products as they want to be able to access his network of followers who already trust Adam’s voice.
- Becca already has an established career in sales, she loves makeup so thought she would combine her passions and start some YouTube vlogs where she could share her makeup secrets and showcase some new products from different companies. She approached a couple of her favourite brands and asked to become an affiliate marketer for them. Every week she hits on a new look or beauty tip and shamelessly pushes a couple of products which she uses on her models to create a look that is to die for. She is quite unabashed and upfront about her selling but equally, some people in her situation would be more discreet and subtle so the sales pitch is less obvious.
- Sue had invented a really clever new product for keen chefs but was uncertain how to market it most successfully. She launched her own website and sales were growing slowly. Sue approached some affiliates in the catering sector also sometimes called, ‘publishers’ who are already established players in this marketplace and asked them to promote the product for her. She had the advantage of their established network and big brand advertising and marketing budgets. For every sale they made of her product, they then received a percentage. This is how to market your product via affiliate networks.
How do you get paid in an affiliate business?
Payments can be generated either by an actual purchase taking place or they could be triggered by the creation of a warm lead so a prospect or even by someone clicking on the link and being redirected to the website – this is called ‘pay per click’. Each merchandiser will differ in their affiliate marketing strategies and where the line in the sand is drawn to trigger that commission payment.
Does affiliate marketing work?
Described as passive income, it is the perfect adjunct to an established scenario where use can be made of a network of contacts, a far-reaching blog, the endorsement of a product, a self-styled brand ambassador – the permutations are endless and usually do not involve the marketing affiliate in any additional work or cost.
Affiliate marketing can be totally standalone for the marketer so there is no involvement in shipping, queries, customer service or satisfaction problems. If you are just interested in the concept, you can treat it as a straight sales business and have a portfolio of products that you like or are interested in and which you market yourself via your social media profiles or through a blog. There are lots of different types of affiliate programs so you are sure to be able to find one to suit your individual circumstances.
Get started with affiliate marketing
Whether you are an entrepreneur with a new product, a social media whizz with a large lifestyle following or whether you are immersed in industry and decide to exploit your knowledge and contacts, there are numerous affiliate marketing guides online which can help you start affiliate marketing with useful ideas and affiliate marketing tips. There are no start-up costs and you can work from home either carrying on with your usual career or exploiting your existing business lifestyle. It is a pretty genius idea which benefits both sides and really harks back to the early days of television and press advertising when companies would use a famous person or well-known celebrity to endorse their products. As a variation on a theme, affiliate marketing has grown exponentially from these early roots and is the ultimate now in referral marketing.