The name of affiliate marketing would sound familiar to you if you have been in the blogosphere for a while. Have you heard about it yet? If you are a new blogger and a regular follower of my how to start a blog series then you would know that I had plans to talk about affiliate marketing lately.
To bring interest to you, let me first tell you what it does. It is just another method of monetizing your blog (actually you may become an affiliate marketer without a blog too! Read ahead).
What makes it different is that it may be a little more complex for a new blogger to understand, maybe a little difficult to implement too but at the same time gives heavier outcome compared to contextual advertisement networks like Adsense about which we discussed last time.
Image credit: newblood.com
Interesting enough? Isn’t it?
So lets get started with understanding the concepts of affiliate marketing!
What exactly is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the act in which a person promotes a certain product; mostly a product which he/she has previously used and would recommend to anyone; at his/her blog or by any medium, and thus indirectly helps the product owner in selling their products. The product owner in return awards a certain commission to the person promoting their product for every sale that he/she refers.
Easy to understand now I guess?
General mechanism of affiliate marketing from blogs
Suppose you are a blogger (which you really are I know) and you run this blog XYZ.
You are interesting in promoting a product ABC because you think its related to your blog and it is a very useful product for your readers. So what will you do? You will head straight to their site and check for their affiliate program. You will sign-up and get a special link which you must use while promoting the product. It will be something like ‘www.ABC’ssite.com/sell.php?ref=you’
Next you will write a blog post about the product, like a review, share its plus and minus points with your readers and include that special link to direct your readers in case they want to buy the product.
That’s it. Now all you need to do is wait and watch.
For every reader who wishes to have a look at the product’s site, he/she will follow your link (which contains the special tracking parameters) and he/she may buy the product too. Now using the special link, the owner gets to know that it was you who sent the buyer to that site, so he pays you the commission in your affiliate account.
How much can you earn from affiliate marketing?
That depends. Depends on the product’s price, the commission rates and most importantly how you promote the product at your site/blog etc. It all depends on your marketing skills to sell the products and earn more.
How to get started with affiliate marketing?
Maybe I should have told you this before, shouldn’t I? Well, I thought it would be better if you understood the concepts of affiliate marketing well before getting started. I didn’t want you to complain about not making money later!
Anyways I am sure with the right skills, you will be able to hang on to affiliate marketing and get a grip over it and maybe in no time you could start making lots of money with it too!
Now that you have read the affiliate marketing mechanism topic, you would have guessed that the first step is to visit the product’s site. If the seller has an affiliate program, they would most probably do mention it on their site somewhere. That’s where you can create an affiliate account for the particular product or that site.
But if you are interested in finding out the highest paying products or want to know about other products and sellers, manage everything from a single account, you can have a look at sites like CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction), ClickBank, Linkshare and the likes. CJ is one of the biggest names in affiliate marketing networks. Though I would also say that I personally do not use CJ much. I preferred the programs signed up from the product sites. But that’s my personal choice and worldwide many people are happy with affiliate networks like CJ.com and Clickbank.
After signing up for your affiliate program, head to your blog and start writing a promo post about the product you wish to promote. Be sure to let your users know that you will be using an affiliate link. This is a necessary requirement in most of the affiliate program terms and it also helps in gaining trust from your readers. It shows that you are willing to tell them the truth that you will be earning through the referrals.
A small affiliate disclosure at the end of the post should do. Just don’t decrease the font size to make it illegible!
Your next step would be to publish the post and make it a success by promoting your post for maximum exposure and increasing the search engine traffic by some white-hat SEO. Search engine traffic is one of the largest source of affiliate conversions (i.e. those people who really buy the product after opening the site) because when people reach your site to read the product review from a search engine, they already have it in mind to buy it (that’s why they were searching about it, got it?) and so they have a higher chance of buying the product if they are satisfied by what they read at your site and what the product’s site says about it.
Price also pays an important role you know.
Any affiliate marketing tips for the beginners?
It is always better to promote a product you have already used, ethically as well as from the experience point of view. Anyways you won’t be able to write a good review for something you haven’t used before!
Don’t just focus on the percentage commission, also look at the price of the product and if you can, then research about the product’s conversion rate. For a product with lower commission percentage and high conversion rate, you may earn more than a product that never sells and provides you a higher commission rate. Some product sites just can’t convince its users to buy the product or sometimes the product really isn’t worth it. So research well before choosing the product.
Most importantly, think from your own perspective. Would you be buying the product if you got the same information you are providing in your promo post? That would let you write better content that sells more.
Search engine traffic plays an important role. So keep that in mind.
As mentioned earlier, you don’t compulsorily need a website for affiliate marketing. You can use your Facebook page or other social media for promotions too. Or you can even promote products to your friends and earn money. A blog can stabilize the task more effectively, that’s the thing.
And one of the most important advice or I can say a golden rule – Keep experimenting! Keep experimenting with different products and different methods of promotion. That will definitely help you make more money out of affiliate marketing.
In a nutshell
You promote a product on your blog. Some of your readers decide to buy the product after reading your post, so they follow your special link and buy the product. You earn a commission for every sale thus completed!
That ends the ‘How To Start A Blog’ series!
The series of articles that I began writing some time ago is officially over with this article. Now I assume I have given enough practical knowledge about starting a successful blog and earning money with it. But that’s not the end. I have a small gift for my beginner friends here. What will it be? Stay connected and watch for yourself!
Before I end up, here is a slideshow by Darren Rowse that will inspire you to get ahead in your blogging journey: 10 Inspiration Tips For Bloggers
Waiting for your thoughts and questions
What do you think about this guide? Was it well explanatory? Or did I miss something? How about sharing something useful about affiliate marketing with us?
Don’t be shy. Let your hands do the talking the comment box. And do let me know about the How To Start A Blog series if you have been following it.