What do you understand by Affiliate marketing?
As defined by Pat Flynn, in his article on Smart Passive Income, “Affiliate marketing is a process of passive earning, that happens in the form of earning commissions, as you promote products of other business organization.”
The process goes simple. You like a product of some company, you promote it. Only every sale that happens with your assistance, the company pays you a share of their profit as a commission. This method is also called “Revenue Sharing”.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
The affiliated form of business is something that 99% startup companies do to enter into the market. To make this form of business work, 4 variant parties get involved together-
- The network
- The merchant
- The publisher or affiliate
- The customer
All these parties work together in a relationship to form the core of this form of marketing. However, when seen from a broader spectrum, one can observe 2 different sides of the equation-
- The seller and creator of the product
- The affiliate marketer
Everyone of them have their personal contribution in generation of revenue for the business. This is more than just promotion. This is more of business under strong bonding.
To understand the bonding between each party, let’s now understand each of the parties and their contribution to the business.
1. The Merchant
Talk about the brand or retailer or creator or vendor of a product, the merchant is the all-in-all for the product since they create these. The size of the company doesn’t matter. Even a big company can work as the creator or the merchant and affiliates look up to them to join the marketing plan.
To be a merchant, all you need is the presence or product that you wish to sell.
2. The Affiliate or Publisher
An affiliate can be a solo entrepreneur or a complete organization. It’s the term used in te industry to denote the company who promote the merchant’s products, indulges in sales and finally earn commission out of it.
This is how the affiliate marketing plan works out. It’s the affiliate’s responsibility to convince and stimulate potential consumers to check the merchant’s product, believe in the product valuation and purchase the same.
Often the affiliates with good number of client base does this job by reviewing the products of the merchant online. The promotion doesn’t end here. With these rigorous reviewing you also promote the entire company of the merchant and other products affiliated there.
3. The Customers
Clearly, the customers are consumers who buy the affiliated products from the affiliate on good faith and keeps the business running. There are different modes of marketing that an affiliate takes up like social media marketing, e-billboards, content marketing, blogging etc. The ultimate goal is to convince the consumers and initiate sales to earn revenue and proceed with profit sharing.
Sometimes, the consumer might not ne aware of the affiliate business system involved behind a product. Whether they will know about it or not is however, dependent on the affiliate. Mostly affiliates prefer to indulge in a transparent marketing technique.
4. The Network
To some, network might seem as an unimportant part of affiliate business chain. But one must understand that it is the network that works as the intermediary connect between the merchant, affiliate and the customers.
If you want a serious a networking in the affiliated form of marketing, an affiliate can try engaging professionals like Commission Junction or ClickBank handle the situation. They ensure that the product and commission payments are disbursed on time and reach the customers and affiliate respectively in a proper manner.
Affiliate networking is another type of network which offer the affiliate with a database to choose from and promote.
If you want to promote an item from the platform andsell you should try the associates affiliate network program.
As discussed before, if we don’t consider professional gateway, affiliate marketing comes with 2 basic sides of equation.
One can choose to be established as the merchant. Let others indulge in product promotion for you in exchange of the profit share or commission.
If you are interested in becoming an affiliate marketer, you need to start promoting different products from the merchant. Sell these products to a suitable consumer and make your earning. Major entrepreneurs start in the footsteps of an affiliate marketer. True its is an easier route to follow. But this a meaningful way of income in the form of affiliate sales.
Be A Merchant – The Steps to Become One
Do you want to be a merchant in an affiliate business?
Be prepared to earn profit with affiliate sales process. 4 basic steps will make it easier for you to become an affiliate merchant-
1. Generate Some Idea About the Product
Some people might consider generating a unique and original idea as a difficult job. Well having something unique might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. To come up with an idea, the first thing you keep in mind is that, in an affiliate business, you can’t afford to be emotionally attached to this idea.
Below point-wise guide will help you come up with an idea-
- Do a market study and find out the services and products already ruling the market.
- Consider the areas where improvement is possible.
- Provide solutions wherever necessary.
A merchant can always choose topics that interests him. Find out what interests you and do some market study on that. Check out the negative side of the product and deduce how to improve the weak zone. A pros and cons list might help you do the work.
To get the research done, try online tools like Buzzsumo. This tool will show you what is trending in the market based on the shares the product gets over social media.
For example, if you want to sell products related to building sandcastles, the tool will update you with contents and reviews that are currently popular. You will come across different videos and contents that describes how sandcastles are built; what tools are involved. Here is your clue to join in.
Think of some unique tool, not mentioned in the reviews that makes sandcastle building easier. Why don’t you write an article on it and let people review that? See what people think about the tool.
2. Validating the Idea You Have
Now you have an idea in mind – selling sandcastle making tools. But you don’t want your idea to be a waste or be ignored by viewers. You need to validate this idea first.
A simple plan here is to directly approach people for payment. But, the first hindrance you get here is finding people to approach.
Try using online marketing tools like Keyhole. This tool will show the list related to people who showed interest in your link through Tweeter. With a tool like this you can shared your ideas with the people and start negotiating. Some might show interest in spending on your idea, but that doesn’t mean they are actually doing it.
If you have interested people, provide them a chance to actually buy it. Sharing some payment link might help here. Only when that threshold is achieved with the sales, you will understand that your idea is ready for production.
3. Product Creation
If you want to create a product, you will come across many guidelines. If you want some easy, try to create a product digitally first. It’s only a matter of sometime and small amount of investment. You merely spend an amount that is equivalent to your service fee. Getting a software is just a one-time investment.
Whenever the product is ready you need to contact your affiliate marketer or the first buyer. This is where your affiliate networking begins.
4. Locating an Affiliate Marketer for Your Business
Thanks to the technology, tools like Digital Product Delivery or Gumroad helps you set up a program for affiliate marketer search. These programs are created such that it motives the marketers to promote your product and earn commission from it.
Finding partners will be easy for you. But finding the right partner having good client base to sell your product is tricky at times.
How can you locate an affiliate marketer? Try to find a marketer who is selling products remotely connect with yours.
Going back to our old example of sandcastle tools, when you search for similar tools, you might come across sellers involved in selling sandcastle related educational material. They can be your potential marketer. It is always easier to pitch your product here and get ample cooperation.
If you want to pitch your product to an affiliate marketer, you need to have a niche product first.
The best way to connect with the marketers is via e-mail. Start with an introduction about yourself and your company and slowly pitch in the product.
Remember, commission of about 50% or more is common when it comes to digital goods. Don’t keep too much mark up when it comes to online products.
Step by Step Guidance to Become An Affiliate Marketer
Now that we know about being a merchant, it’s time you understand your option of becoming an affiliate marketer in the business. Like becoming a merchant, affiliate marketer also needs to follow 4 basic steps to become one.
1. Start Reviewing Products that Fall Under Your niche
When you are an affiliate marketer, you are relieved off your duty to innovate an idea and create a product. It’s an easy job.
You must be already using several products? It’s time you start talking about them in public. Go through different merchant products and start discussing about their products and reviewing them.
Comparison with competitor product is a special review type that helps you stand out as a preferred marketer.
Try searching a product first. There will be many other like you, searching a product and reviewing it. Check how specific the blogs and reviews are. You need to provide something that is detailed and solves people’s problem. Whenever provide people with honest reviews, they take a hint that you are willing to make some money.
Again, referring to Pat Flynn, we come to know that the most profitable way of marketing is involved affiliate marketing. Here you relate highly with the product than just simple promotion. This helps you to earn more.
Another way to make money would be to use affiliate links in your product reviews. They increase website traffic. In fact, you get to connect with your clients directly like this.
2. Create a List of Prospective Client E-mails
It’s a well known fact that e-mail is one of the most preferred tricks for digital marketing. People appreciate this as it provides sense of personalization.
But, how can you collect this data when people are just visiting your website? The steps are simple –
- A “Hello Bar” to attract visitors and redirect them to e-mail exchanging platform.
- Using the “Hello Bar” for creation of an “Exit Gate” for visitors willing to leave the website. This leads then to “Lead Magnet” for collection of e-mail address.
- Providing visitors with “Sidebar Widget” that calls for action. The visitors get some benefit in exchange of their mail ids from these sidebars.
One must collect mail ids related to a particular niche. One can make significant profit even with a list containing less than 500 e-mail ids. But to do so you need to ensure that audiences are engaged, preferable once in a week. This is not a sales push. It’s merely letting people know about your presence with reviews and recommendations.
4. Webinars to Educate Customers
What is more attractive? A review or a product video? Of course, visual affects appeal more. So does webinars over standard web review.
LeadPages is a tool that aids in landing page creation for your customers to sign up for the webinar. You can try social media promotion here. Try free streaming webinar platforms like Google Hangouts to ensure you have more people joining.
Once the webinar is on, promote the product with-
- Showcasing the features.
- Siting cases of product use.
- Informing visitors about the product drawbacks and benefits.
- Remember to talk about yourself with regards to the product, i.e. why they should consider buying it from you.
- Make the session interactive
This is a soft sell technique. To aid here, you can arrange for some special deal from the merchant for visitors attending your webinar.
4. PPC Business Advertisements
Affiliate promotion is starts best when done with paid ads. A marketer can think of PPC expenditure when you are certain that you will be able to make profit. How does PPC help here?
- Arranges for people to join the webinar
- Aids in the growth of list of e-mails
- Increases sale.
To give it a good start with PPC, you can try the below hacks –
- Product education with keyword introduction
- Targeting the competition
- Improve your SEO to promote better
- You can try sending automated e-mails to your listed consumers
- Calculate the buying capacity of your consumer.
All these indirect sales techniques ensure smoother business and enhanced revenue.
We have discussed about the two ends of the affiliate marketing equation – the merchant and the affiliate marketer.
Choose your path and either prepare a product or sell the same to consumers. If you are new into business, this marketing will best to start with.
Earn from revenue sharing at the beginning until your area ready to create your own idea and product.