What is Affiliate Marketing? That much is quite easy. It’s when you sell someone else’s product on their behalf and they pay you for doing so. It’s not restricted to the online marketing sphere but the internet age has certainly made it more popular and a very easy way to make money online. If you have an interest in a topic and you’re sure others have too, then chances are there are products that can be sold via an affiliate system.
For example, a vital part of online marketing (for the most part) is having a website and to start a website you need a domain name – the bit that people type in to find your website, and some hosting – where your website is built. Companies that sell website hosting often use affiliates to bring more customers to them. It’s a win for these companies because they can concentrate on doing what they do and they let other people bring customers to them because this is often done through a layer of trust.
For instance: Namecheap sell domain names. You want a domain name and because you know me and you know that I do some online marketing and you trust my judgement and value my opinions. You say to me, “Hey Steven. Where is a good place to get a domain name?” I tell you “Namecheap. Here’s their link – http://sl-m.co/nmcp“. I also tell you (because the laws in several countries tell me that I have to tell you and because I’m honest). “This is an affiliate link. If you buy something from Namecheap using this link, I will get some commission. Don’t worry though, you won’t be charged more for using it.”
Being a good friend (and good at affiliate marketing), the next thing I will ask you is if you have any hosting to go with your domain name.
If you tell me no, then I will follow up by offering you a hosting company I know of that I think would be suited to your needs. If I know you are starting out but determined to make a lot of effort I would suggest someone like Bluehost – http://sl-m.co/bluehost (again via an affiliate link – the disclosures above still apply).
If I suspected that this was just a passing fancy for you, I might suggest a cheaper hosting solution like Dorset Hosting http://sl-m.co/dorsethosting as I have used and trust them myself. (Not as fast as Bluehost, not 24hr but still good customer support and just easy to work with to set up websites).
Now in each of the above cases I would get a commission if my links were used to get to the sites.
In the first instance I would get a percentage of the sale from Namecheap, the more the customer bought, the more I’d get. In the case of Bluehost, I would get a one-off payment no matter how much was purchased at the time. In the final case, Dorset Hosting, I would get an amount every renewal date depending on the package purchased.
So all three companies pay me for sending someone to their site who buys, but the conditions are different in each case.
All 3 are valid methods of getting affiliates to promote their products, but which pays more in the long-run?
In the case of Namecheap, the commission varies between 20% to 35% depending on the product. For a single .com domain name (currently $7.95) that would be $1.58 – not a great deal of money, but it’s not a high-ticket item either.
If I send a buyer to Bluehost, I would get a one-off payment of $65. Quite a decent payout considering that a monthly cost of a hosting package is around $3.95, but Bluehost think for the long-term. They know a customer could stay for years and those few dollars each month soon add up and easily cover the cost of an affiliate payment for them.
Devon Hosting’s base hosting package is $10 a year, from which I’d get $1 so I wouldn’t get rich that way either.
You can see why affiliate marketers push Bluehost’s package the hardest. There’s a good up-front payment and somebody else deals with all the support problems (and hosting can have many of those).
Of course there are. Commission rates of between 50% up to 100% are quite common online where there are few overheads and no real limits on digital products. Even on multi-thousand dollar products, 30% up to 50% can be quite easy to find – but why isn’t everybody offering them?
Mostly it’s down to self-confidence. Some people just don’t feel comfortable asking potential customers to part with hundreds of dollars, but in order to make a living wage online, you have to get over that issue and be prepared to push these big-ticket items. A car salesman has no qualms about getting you to part with $20k for a modest vehicle that loses a third of its value the moment it’s driven out of the showroom. Good digital training has the potential to earn the buyer back his money in short-order if he puts in the necessary work, so it’s not something you need to be shy about.
You may have to gain an amount of trust though from the vendors who sell the big-ticket products which means offering low and mid-ticket items first to build up your reputation and confidence.
One of the most famous affiliate netorks (places where products are offered for affiliates to sell) is Clickbank. A big advantage of Clickbank is that most of the products do not need permission from the vendor if you wish to offer it. You sign up, create your affiliate name and that becomes part of your affiliate link. The vendor sets the commission rate (normally 50-75%) and all you have to do is offer the product to interested people and collect the commissions.
Clickbank’s biggest ‘disadvantage’ is the wait period between the sale and the commission payment. It can be up to 6 weeks as it’s 30 days after the end of the next 2-week period in which the sale was made. There are a few other conditions that have to be met by the new affiliate too.
Clickbank has products in a huge range of niches and something can be found in almost every topic.
If you are more into the ‘make money online’ niches then two good places to look at are are JVZoo and WarriorPlus. The commissions run up to 100% although you must request approval from the vendor before offering a product. Payouts can be either 30 days, 15 days or instant – if you have built up the right amount of sales and trust – and not too many returns!
The obvious thing to do is to find products in a niche you are interested in and write reviews about them on your blog (can be a free blog like WordPress, Blogger or Weebly) and include your affiliate links at key points in the review. Tell everyone who might be interested about your review, then let the readers decide if they want to buy.
The more honest you are, the more readers you’ll get, so don’t be afraid to say what you really feel about a product.
Don’t have a blog or don’t want to set one up? Learn how to make video reviews and put them up on YouTube.
Don’t want to do either of these -Don’t bother with affiliate marketing. You need to be willing to put some effort in. It’s not push-button and nothing will happen for you if you don’t do anything.
Find some way to shorten those lengthy affiliate links you can get. You probably noticed that all mine are shortened with my own custom domain (sl-m.co). You don’t have to use a custom domain, bit.ly or tinyurl.com will do nicely. Anything to hide your personal link and stop people replacing your affiliate ID with their own.
Don’t bother people who aren’t interested. They won’t buy and you just look bad.
Look out for related sales. If you find something closely related and extra helpful to people who have bought one type of product, you stand a high chance of getting them interested in the related product.
Be real and be honest. People prefer honesty over total enthusiasm.
If it isn’t fun, go and do something else.