So what is affiliate marketing and how do you learn how to do affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing has been around online since 1994 on the internet, just four years after the origination of the World Wide Web. The concept is now widespread practice and almost anyone can sign up to a number of affiliate programs, promote items on the internet, and receive commissions for the sale of those items.
The simplest way to describe affiliate marketing is the concept of selling someone else’s goods or services for which you receive a commission.
Amazon is one of the largest online stores and has an affiliate program which was launched in July 1996. If you head over to the Amazon website and scroll down to the bottom you can see a link for the associates program. This is just one of many online companies offering the opportunity for anyone to open an account and start promoting either the Amazon site itself or specific items from Amazon. To join a affiliate program you will usually need to open an account and fill in some information. Depending on the program you may need your own website.
Affiliates earn money by placing content on a website or blog and then linking through to a site such as Amazon to promote products. Many affiliates have their own blogs and write content to generate visitors through the Google organic searches. They can also pay for advertising to send traffic to a site and make sales.
What is the purpose of affiliate marketing?
The idea of affiliate marketing is to promote goods and services online. Merchants like Ebay or Amazon need visits to their site in order to build their business and they use affiliate marketers in order to do so. Because online stores don’t have a physical shop, most of their costs are on advertising. By using affiliates to bring people to their virtual ‘shop front’ they are saving on advertising costs and therefore can afford to pay the affiliates sometimes up to 40% of an items’ value. The affiliate is acting as the advertiser but doesn’t really do any ‘selling’. You don’t need to be a ‘sales person’ as an affiliate, which is why it appeals to so many people.
What is the job of the affiliate?
The job of an affiliate marketer is to send hungry buyers to someone else’s online shop. Just sending random visitors to an online store won’t necessarily result in a sale. You need to send targeted traffic to the products or services which they want to purchase. One way to do this is by writing reviews for products which are available online. People who are reading a review are in the final stages of the ‘buying cycle’. By writing reviews and linking through to the product or products, you are inviting your visitors to buy the item through your affiliate link.
What do affiliates do to find customers?
Affiliates do several things in order to find customers for online products and services. One method of building a constant stream of traffic to their website or blog is by writing regular useful content and getting found through Google’s organic search results. Some affiliates pay to advertise on Facebook or with Google Adwords or some other paid for advertising method. Another method of gathering traffic is by list building.
The good thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t actually need to talk to customers, send any items or even store anything. You simply create content and send customers to the merchant who does everything else. You link is tracked back to your affiliate account and your sales get credited to your account. The bad thing about it is that you are sending your visitors to someone else’s shop and so are not building any long term relationship with your visitors. This is the reason many affiliates have an email capture on their websites and collect emails. They communicate with their list and offer their visitors discounts, free downloads and useful information in order to build a long term relationship with their valuable visitors.
Why do so many people want to become affiliate marketers?
Affiliate marketing is an attractive proposition because it means you can quit your full time job eventually and work on your own terms. Working from the laptop means you have a flexible career which can be done anywhere in the world with a laptop and internet connection. The income potential of affiliate marketers is huge and the top people in the business can generate huge passive income streams. Affiliate marketing is something which is available to almost anyone with a computer and an internet connection. The growing trend of online spending also means than many ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses have had to turn to the internet as an extra branch of their physical business. More and more companies are now competing for internet ‘space’ and this has led to a growing number of affiliate companies and therefore the need for more affiliate marketers.
How easy is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a skill set like any other and it does take time to learn. You should be realistic about learning the new skill and not expect results straight away. As with a normal business, an internet business takes time to learn, then to build and implement what you have learned. It is a good idea to stick to one method of marketing and learn it well, rather than to keep looking for a ‘magic bullet’ or ‘get rich quick scheme’. There are tens of thousands of distractions on the internet – companies all telling you that their way is the best way so it’s easy to become overloaded with information.