What is affiliate marketing?

Beginners guide to affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is essentially referral marketing. It is the idea that someone promoting another person’s product, earns a commission if someone clicks on your link and buys the product. The person purchasing the product pays the normal price for that item, but the seller gives the promoter a fee or percentage of the sale for the referral.

There are generally 4 people involved in affiliate marketing.

  1. The vendor or seller. This is the person or company who own/sells the product. The vendor is giving away a fee or percentage of their product sale to the person who promotes it in exchange for them driving sales.
  2. The affiliate or publisher. This is the person who is promoting the product to their audience and is hoping that their audience will buy the product, earning them a commission.
  3. The affiliate networks. Often vendors will use an affiliate network to track affiliate sales and sign up new publishers. The affiliate network changes the vendor a fee for this service.
  4. The consumer or purchaser. The end consumer makes the purchase at the normal product cost, affiliate marketing does not cost the consumer anything.

Most affiliate programmes have a set cookie window after someone has clicked on your link and during that time, you will still get the credit for the sale even if they don’t buy the first time they visit the site.

What can I earn from affiliate marketing?

This is really a how long is a piece of string question. It varies from a few cents to people making six figures each month. It will depend on how big your following or traffic is, how engaged they are in products you recommend and how lucrative the products are to sell. You are going to need to sell more smaller fee items than you are expensive products or products with recurring revenue. If you are considering affiliate marketing, make sure you check out my top tips for generating website traffic here.

Why should I care about affiliate marketing?

  1. Passive income. Affiliate marketing can be a fantastic source of passive income. If you are already creating content and people are visiting that content, including affiliate links within it means you can continue to earn money long after you published that content.
  2. You don’t need a product. Creating and launching a product can be hugely time-consuming, but with affiliate marketing, you are recommending other people’s content so you don’t yourself need to have a product.
  3. Your earnings are uncapped. You can promote multiple products, be an affiliate for many different affiliate networks and there is no limit to your earnings. Some people make their full-time income out of affiliate marketing.

Is affiliate marketing right for me?

If you are already creating content that is getting engagement, and there are products that you love and would be happy recommending to others, then yes!

When does affiliate marketing work best?

I think affiliate marketing works best when you are promoting products that you genuinely love and use yourself. I would strongly advise against promoting products just to get the commission. Think about how long it takes you to build up a relationship with your readers or followers, and how quickly you could destroy that by asking them to spend their hard earned money on a product they might not love.

So, for affiliate marketing success, promote products that you truly love and are passionate about, and your followers won’t mind you earning a commission for sharing that product with them. Think of it like recommending a product to a friend, and if you wouldn’t, maybe think twice about sharing it as an affiliate product.

What do you need to disclose?

All affiliate links should be disclosed. This can be a simple comment at the top of the page that says:

“This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy one of the products, I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Don’t worry, I only ever share products that I truly love and think you might like too”.

Disclosing affiliate links is a legal requirement.

How do I get started with affiliate marketing?

To get started with affiliate marketing you will need to have a blog that is getting good traffic or a strong social media following. Many affiliate programs may not accept you if your figures are too low. If you’ve just started a blog and are looking for traffic driving tips, check out these articles; 10 ways to drive traffic and how to use Pinterest to drive traffic.

Some companies such as Amazon run their own affiliate programmes, but many will run them through what is called an affiliate network. An affiliate network has lots of different vendors and affiliates signed up to it, and essentially are a middle man who tracks the purchases made and handle playouts. You can use a combination of both.

If there are particular companies you are interested in promoting, simply google “company name + affiliate program” and if they run one this should point you in the right direction as to how to join.


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  1. How to make money blogging - Eliza Josephine

    May 30th, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    […] Affiliate marketing is when you recommend products or services and earn a commission or fee if someone then buys that product. As a blogger, you might already be recommending products that you love and sharing things you use, so why not include an affiliate link and start to monetize something that you are already doing? Read more about affiliate marketing here. […]

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