How To Start With Affiliate Marketing Today?

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You’re likely to use websites that are monetized with affiliate marketing all the time, even without realizing it, and there’s a reason why: it’s one of the most common ways for bloggers and webmasters to gain money from their digital properties.

The industry is currently estimated to be worth $12 billion and is set to expand by at least another 10% over the next few years. It’s a perfect way to make money online without having to create your own products. Many SEOs are known to run affiliate websites as a side-wheel, using their expertise to push traffic to receive a commission.

But to be effective with affiliate marketing, you need to understand what it’s all about, how to get started, and how to make money from the channel. The good news is that someone with an online presence and the ability to drive traffic can profit from affiliate marketing by advertising other people’s products.

This article will introduce you to affiliate marketing, specifically with a view to:

  • What is Marketing Affiliate?
  • Why is Affiliate Marketing so popular with you?
  • How is Affiliate Marketing working?
  • What are Affiliates paid for?
  • Affiliate Websites You are probably already using.
  • How to Get Started Marketing Affiliate
  • Introducing Scaleo’s Affiliate Program

What do we mean by the term ‘affiliate marketing?’

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertisement strategy in which companies pay a conversion fee to an affiliate. Essentially, an affiliate makes money by marketing and selling other people’s products without keeping any stock, needing to comply with orders, or dealing with customer services. Sales are monitored via affiliate links to allow commissions to be measured.

Deciding whether affiliate marketing is the right channel of monetization for you should be an easy decision.

Are you a business-savvy entrepreneur searching for another source of revenue? Maybe you’re a freelancer looking to get your game up and start making more? Maybe you have one or more websites that receive large traffic volumes, and you’re looking for a way to monetize them? Affiliate marketing is a common choice for many marketers, and it is clear why:

  • You can receive your affiliate marketing money from anywhere. You could fly and work on the beach or even at home. As long as you have internet and a computer, you will be able to operate an affiliate company from anywhere. You can work your own hours if you manage to get a full-time salary from affiliate marketing.
  • It’s a smart way to make a passive income. There are real ways to drive sales and make commission payments even when you’re not working.
  • There’s a lot of money to make with affiliate marketing if you have access to a steady source of potential buyers or are ready to develop a successful marketing strategy.
  • Since you’re just working as a referrer to other companies, introducing your audience, and facilitating sales, you’re not going to have to handle customer service.
  • There are very few obstacles to entering and getting started. Besides, the start-up costs for the affiliate company are tiny. The investment required is much more time-weighted than money.
  • Suppose you are a competent SEO and are in a position to rate the website on competitive terms. In that case, the returns from affiliate marketing could be either added or entirely higher than, in certain instances, the client’s job.

Affiliate marketing functions as a partnership between a trader and its affiliates.

But in this case, to clear up any confusion:

  • Merchant = the company that sells the product or service and that the buyer gives the money to the customer.
  • Affiliate = Affiliate sells the content of the company to its audience to drive customers and is charged a fee on a profitable sale (or sometimes for a lead)

Businesses use affiliate marketing as a single channel in their marketing mix. It enables them to benefit (in terms of sales and leads) from someone else’s (affiliate) marketing strategy and audience.

Businesses that take advantage of this channel range from those selling physical products via the eCommerce store to financial services (insurance, credit card, etc.) and SaaS tech tools to virtual products (think eBooks and virtual training courses). Very few organizations have been unable to drive sales by affiliate marketing as long as there are the right affiliates out there to sell products and services.

When a retailer partners with an affiliate, he will supply tracking links (to allow the commission to be calculated) and sometimes promotional assets and often unique deals (to hook an audience in) such as discount codes.

In certain cases, traders will partner with an affiliate network to handle their affiliate scheme on their behalf to eliminate a lot of the related admin. However, this is often handled internally by larger brands.

We’ll look at this in more depth below.

Still, for any merchant considering using this channel for the first time, it’s important to know that a large part of the process can typically be done by a professional who will set up and administer the service on your behalf, including onboarding affiliates and paying the commission due.

In most cases, they pay affiliates on a commission basis based on a pre-arranged percentage of each sale. In certain instances and industries, this may also (or may not) be offered on a per-lead basis, where payment is made every time a lead is produced, regardless of whether it is converted. This model is more costly to the merchant because the payoff is likely to be smaller.

If you’re a business owner looking to set up an affiliate network, check out this guide on how to find Scaleo affiliates.

In certain instances, it is up to the affiliate to use its own network for marketing products and services to work for them.

The more sales an affiliate makes, the more money it makes for both parties.

Many marketers and entrepreneurs would build a niche and a complete marketing strategy to earn traffic to help a certain industry. In this case, it’s like starting a company from scratch, even though it’s done based on high earning potential. Bloggers and influencers can use affiliate marketing to monetize the platform or audience they have already built up.

In each of these instances, the mechanism remains very similar.

Suppose you have signed up to an affiliate scheme (or, preferably, a variety of these). In that case, affiliates will use a number of different marketing strategies to push traffic to an affiliate (directly or via their own site or platform) and, hopefully, to conduct a sale or inquiry.

Marketing of Content

In fact, however, if an affiliate has a source of quality traffic, the earnings potential remains the same.

Smart affiliates will combine several platforms to maximize their popularity and earnings.

As mentioned already, there are a variety of different forms in which affiliates are paid. This also depends on, and the importance of, the good or service being offered.

Pay Per Sale (Fixed Price): This is where a fixed fee commission is charged to the affiliate every time a sale is recorded, regardless of the order’s value.

Pay Per Sale (Percentage): The amount of the fee charged is a percentage of the sale price or the order’s value.

Pay per lead or inquiry: a fixed fee is charged each time a qualified lead is made.

Pay per click: A fixed fee is charged each time a click is submitted to the merchant’s site by the affiliate.

What payment structure is commonly used depends on the individual traders and the niche in which they work. In certain cases, affiliates will be given the option of different payment systems to choose from and will be encouraged accordingly.

Before we dive into how to start with affiliate marketing, let’s look at some famous websites that you might already use, but maybe you didn’t know they were affiliate sites. And we’re going to take a look at how they monetize themselves, too.

There’s a fair chance that you used RetailMeNot in the past to check for coupon codes to save money when shopping online, but maybe you weren’t aware that this is an affiliate site?

When you use a coupon or use an offer listed on the web, an affiliate fee is charged. 

NerdWallet can be one of the best examples of an affiliate platform. The website’s team provides a good user interface and a great content strategy that helps users find the right products and make the right decisions.

The platform is monetized by comparing brokers, credit cards, and other financial products and by sending traffic to each of them via affiliate links.

And we can see that there are more than 14 million organic hits every month.

If you’re a regular traveler, there’s a fair chance you’ve come across The Points Man. An amazing content-heavy platform that lets you earn and use points and miles, as well as finding the ideal vacation experience.

And this platform is another clear example of an affiliate setup. It advises that cards, such as Amex, promote a sign-up.

Looking at the site’s organic popularity, we can see that an average of 3.3 million hits is earned per month from search engines. Although this is less traffic than other affiliate marketing websites, there is still an impressive amount of traffic aimed at a key category of users.

Yet, there’s plenty to learn about what affiliate marketing is and how other people use it. Now, you’re ready to get started with your own affiliate marketing business and start monetizing your current assets or launch your own affiliate site from zero.

How you can get started on your way to being a good affiliate.

  • Phase 1-Select a Niche
  • Stage 2-Find Affiliate Networks or Systems to be used
  • Stage 3-The option of Products to be promoted
  • Phase 4-Plan a Strategy for the promotion of these Products

The first thing you need to do is pick a niche.

/why-do-you-need-a-micro-niche-affiliate-marketing-website

If you already have an audience base that you want to monetize, then you’ve got a good start on your affiliate marketing program. But, if you start new, you’ll need to find a niche that can be profitable as an affiliate partner.

We are also attracted to high competition niches, simply because of the possibilities. However, when you consider all the competition out there, you’re always better off looking for something a little more unique.

The value of finding a lucrative niche is that the niche audience is loyal. They’re sticking with you for the long term, rather than dashing off to see what’s shiny and fresh on the next site.

But how do you really find a niche with an audience you might tap into?

Keyword analysis, that’s how you do it.

You can use the Scaleo Keyword Overview tool to identify possible keywords that might push traffic, operating on the premise that 2,000 searches per month are about the minimum amount you need to consider.

See this article from the Authority Hackers for more suggested reading on how to find a lucrative niche.

If you have found your niche, you need to locate one or more affiliate networks or schemes.

Networks are typically a middle ground between affiliates and traders, and there is a variety of them, but the way to find them is usually to begin to reach out to traders that you want to support and look at how to sign up to their schemes.

Let’s say you’re running a popular travel blog and want to actively endorse car rental services as an affiliate, and recall that Avis is one of the top car rental companies.

Let’s find out about their scheme.

A fast search returns the affiliate program page to their homepage.

This clicks through to get here when you sign up.

We can see that they are using the partner network. You’ll find links to a merchant’s referral program in their footer, but if you don’t, a fast Google search for “[merchant] + affiliate program” typically returns what you’re searching for.

Scoping out traders can be a great starting point, but once you have signed up to a network, you will also be able to sign up to their other merchants, where applicable, to support their services and make a profit from them.

Common affiliate networks:

  • Share-Sales
  • ClickBank
  • Amazon Associates
  • CJ Affiliate
  • eBay Partners
  • ShareASale

But you don’t necessarily have to deal with a merchant with an affiliate network.

You can negotiate with the brand to work directly with you when you have many sales, fully bypassing the affiliate network. You get a higher share of sales and may also ask for extra advantages, such as a branded landing page or a branded coupon.

You can make substantially more money because you can go directly to a company rather than via Amazon or another affiliate network.

When you’re onboard one or more affiliate schemes, you get to pick the products you want to support. The products you want to support should be aligned with your content strategy.

You’ve already used keyword research to open a possible niche to launch an affiliate site. But this is also a smart way to plan a strong content strategy that aligns with products that your preferred merchants can market. Pay attention to how difficult it is to rank and the ability to push traffic from other outlets alongside search volumes and affiliate payouts.

Often you’ll see larger wins narrowing down on niche issues and winning a large percentage of a small pool, rather than fighting to rank and gain exposure in higher-volume markets. It’s also worth talking to merchants or the network to help you find out what you should be promoting and when.

If you’ve found out what you’re going to encourage, you need to start pushing traffic to the merchants.

As mentioned above, there are several different channels that affiliates use to drive traffic to their merchant partners. The strategy you’re taking depends on your goals.

Do you wish to launch one (or more) niche-specific affiliate sites that effectively serve as a funnel for traders from which you demand a commission? Or would you like to create a brand?

PPC will work for certain niches but not for others; you’ll need to make sure that you’re carefully considering the cost of clicking and your conversion rate to a dealer’s sale. Otherwise, you might find that there is not enough margin to make a return. Social and content marketing typically sits alongside a good SEO strategy can be a great way to drive repeated sales from previous users if you’re willing to create a sign-up process.

If you’re trying to gain further insight into how you can make money from affiliate marketing, look at this recent Scaleo recap for more ideas and motivation.

You’ll find that a good number of organizations have affiliate programs.

After all, it’s a perfect way to boost sales from new audiences that may not have been acquainted with your product or service before.

And here at Scaleo, we have our own affiliate program: Scaleo referral program.

Even if you don’t have many marketers and business owners on the market, Scaleo will help you launch your affiliate marketing journey. Take a look at how we set it up, the amount of commission on offer, and how it operates for affiliates.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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