One of the objectives with which most people create a blog is to get an extra income. The passion for information or the sector we work in and the love of writing are common reasons why we start a space of this type. In the case of companies, moreover, positioning their catalog on websites that allow them to amplify their visibility is an option that they value more and more. And you, do you know how to implement an effective strategy to increase your profits or those of your company? If you want to know what affiliate marketing is, this is your post.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the most used ways to make money on the Internet. We are talking about a type of marketing in which a company (advertiser) rewards its affiliates (sponsors) for each visitor or customer (consumer) they generate.
Those who usually resort to this technique (which we call affiliates) are usually people or companies that, through a network of affiliates, help to promote a product or service that, without being theirs, allows them to obtain a commission through the generation of clicks or sales that they provoke with their links.
Four actors are involved in affiliate marketing, which we will differentiate below:
Advertisers are the owners of the advertised products or services and aim to optimize sales and reach their potential audience, for which they launch affiliate campaigns.
Affiliates: also known as sponsors, they are in charge of generating traffic through different strategies (SEO, PPC, campaigns in networks...) to the link chosen by the advertiser to monetize their web traffic through the promotion of the products or services of the advertising company.
Consumer: this is the customer who surfs the web and is encouraged to click on the advertisement on the affiliate's website. This ad usually has an address that is tracked. The merchant pays the affiliate when the customer performs an action (such as opening a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase).
Affiliate networks: content networks are the platforms serving merchants and affiliates where both actors can work on an affiliate strategy. They are responsible for clarifying the bases between the two parties and guaranteeing the protection of both parties.
Origin of affiliate marketing
Although there are different versions of how affiliate marketing originated, the best-known and most widely accepted dates back to 1996, when the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, met at an event with the creator of a website who wanted to sell books online without having to market them.
Bezos, the creator of affiliate marketing, proposed a method to link this website to Amazon to achieve this seller's goal. At the same time, the famous company received a commission for each copy sold on its website and referred through the site of origin.
The affiliate model requires that all leads are recorded to identify that it is a result generated through affiliation. To better understand how to control the whole process, it is good to be clear about the principles of affiliate marketing:
Keep relevance in mind.
If we want to promote a product or service of an affiliate, we must know if they are relevant to our audience and if it fits (if there is coherence) with our brand. This way, you will see if it is possible to generate the interest of your users.
A good tip is to segment the affiliate offers you want to work with within the channels or content you work with to reach audiences more closely linked to specific products and services.
Sell what you know.
Your credibility is at stake, so you should only present to your audience products or services that you trust, that you know and that are of high quality. Is it easy to regain the trust of an audience to whom you sell a product that has little to do with what they were promised?
You can play with comparisons, working with different prices and products, always keeping in mind that costs must align with the current market. Remember that promoting products or services we don't know about will only bring harmful short-term or long-term consequences.
Make use of your experience.
Above all, when it comes to selling. As we said in the previous point, give space to what you have tried and tested yourself, increasing your credibility and allowing you to be identified as someone honest if the promises offered by the products or services are fulfilled.
Use simple pieces
Don't think that by working with animated banners or ads with sounds that invade the user, you will cause a more significant impact. First, if you work with unsubtle pieces, the Adblock extension that more and more people install in their browsers will eliminate the presence of your ads.
Go for deep links that look as organic as possible and quantify the number of links you work with. In other words, please don't overdo it! As they say, too little is good, and too much is tiring. If you don't consider this, it could drastically reduce the time users spend on your website...
Make your conflicts of interest clear.
Being transparent and honest will always work in your favor, especially if you are testing your users. It is essential that your audience can identify that you are talking about sponsored products, something that in recent months has given much to talk about due to the regulation of influencer advertising that came into force in Spain in early 2021.
Don't force the insertion of campaigns if, at the moment, you don't find one that could seduce your audience. It probably makes more sense to encourage them to follow them on your social media profiles and to subscribe to your email communications (this will allow you to run campaigns later on) than to invade them with a campaign that doesn't make sense to get a few clicks.
Create mailing lists
Work tirelessly on creating a good database of users with whom you can work on an email marketing strategy to engage regularly. With this, you will be able to communicate your subsequent campaigns.
Pros and cons of affiliate marketing
It is essential to consider the pros and cons of this marketing strategy. Let's start with its advantages:
From the affiliate side, you must drive traffic to advertisers' promotions to make a profit. Beyond the initial process and link insertion, the effort is minimal.
The advertiser only pays if actions and results are produced.
We save time in product creation.
As affiliates, it is not necessary to provide customer support, as this corresponds to the advertisers.
It is a more efficient system than online advertising.
But what about its disadvantages? Here are the main ones:
The affiliate spends his time and money giving the advertiser space without being sure of the economic benefit.
The clients we get as affiliates are not ours but those of the companies we work with as affiliates, so our relationship with them is brief.
The number of promotions is usually limited since if we abuse the implementation of affiliate actions; the user would be easily saturated.
We need to think strategically about where to place the affiliate link. If we want to make the action visible optimally, it will be necessary to create promotional campaigns, just as we would with our products and services.
Types of affiliate marketing
Do you know the different types of affiliations and how they help achieve the sales objectives that characterize affiliate marketing? Here are the six most common types:
Advertisers use pages dedicated to specific content to reach their potential audience, as users come to them of their own free will. This category is found in online stores, travel agencies, or sites offering promotional gifts.
These platforms have a registered user base where points are assigned and redeemable for products or services and discounts or promotions if specific actions are performed. Their database accepts to receive promotions or benefits for being part of them.
Users make purchases and receive a reward in return. Think, for example, of store clubs like FNAC or your favorite movie theater chain, which in exchange for making several purchases offer you more discounted prices or free popcorn in exchange for the points you generate with your visits.
Affiliates pay for positioning in search engines, looking for the acquisition of qualified traffic. This is usually worked with Google through a bidding system in Google Ads, about which we have written an extensive post!
Email marketing databases
Did you know that company databases include the data of millions of registered users who once agreed to receive commercial promotions by email? These databases are also used for marketing, allowing the acquisition of a large volume of users with whom it is advisable to carry out deep segmentation campaigns. Our advice is to create your database.
These are databases in which the user has registered directly from specific offers, allowing their data to be transferred to advertisers in a particular sector in which they express interest. In addition, they can write to different listings by simply ticking a box on a form.
Affiliate networks are platforms that set up their affiliate networks, in which advertisers and affiliates interact, accept partnership contracts, publish and extract advertising pieces, and manage their accounts...
How affiliate marketing works
Affiliate marketing is specialized in obtaining results, encompassing a regular cycle that begins when a user visits an affiliate's website and is impacted by a promotion agreed upon with the advertiser.
To understand how to work affiliate marketing optimally, let's take a look at the steps we recommend to work on your affiliate marketing strategy:
Choose a niche market.
Selecting a niche market rather than a product itself is wiser, as you can position more products. It would help if you learned as much as possible about this market to be clear about its possibilities. As you will deduce by common sense, the niche you choose should be directly related to your website.
Select your affiliate offers
Once you have selected the niche you are interested in, you must choose which products you want to promote. This is the key moment to research which offers interest you the most in terms of commissions, conversion rates, and creatives provided by the advertiser.
Although, as in any marketing strategy, you will learn by testing and comparing benefits depending on the chosen strategy, we recommend that you take the necessary time to analyze the contract you reach with each company.
Build your landing page
Suppose you want to make sense of your affiliate marketing strategy. In that case, we recommend that you dedicate a specific space to your affiliate offers, either through a page exclusively devoted to the offers you want to present to your audience or by sending an occasional email in which you tell your subscribers about the benefits of buying your affiliates' products. The possibilities for making these products visible are endless!
Create automated responses
We don't mean to say that you're neglecting personalized attention to your audience. Still, it will help to have a series of pre-set messages related to your affiliate marketing strategies in which you provide basic information. Do this by looking to add value to your subscribers, and remember to include your personalized affiliate links.
You can do this through SEO techniques, by working to spread the word about your affiliate marketing strategy through your social networks, or by adding value to these products through the creation of videos. You'll know what works best for you by trying different techniques - experience will tell you what works best for you!
You will receive your income when you reach the minimum amount for which the affiliate network platform will make an income. Mission accomplished! Remember to focus on only one product, constantly review the previous steps and add new products based on the products and services that bring you the best results.
And, above all, be patient: little by little, you will see how you scale your campaigns and results.