If you’re a blogger then you’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing and should know that it’s one of the easiest ways to monitize your blog. If you’re not a blogger or not familiar with affiliate marketing then read on, as I explain what it is and how it works.
What is affiliate marketing?
Before I answer the question, nitro-strength let me first start by making sure you understand how to make money online. This is important because one of the money making strategies requires that you become an affiliate.
If you don’t already know, there’re essentially two ways to make money online:
Create your own products to sell
Promote and sell somebody else’s products
Affiliate marketing applies in both of these situations.
However, in this article I’ll explain affiliate marketing in the context of promoting products created by somebody else.
So, what is affiliate marketing then?
Affiliate marketing is an online strategy where the advertiser, also called the merchant, of a product or service only pays for results. This is usually a sale, but sometimes this can also be a referral.
With the affiliate marketing model the publisher, also called the affiliate, doesn’t earn anything for clicks. So, unlike Google AdSense where you make money every time somebody clicks on an advert, you make nothing until a sale is made.
These merchants can be companies who offer many products, like Amazon, or individuals who’ve created digital products, such as those offered through ClickBank.
What is an affiliate network?
I mentioned ClickBank there a second ago. Where does this site fit into affiliate marketing?
ClickBank is a large, hugely popular affiliate network that provides digital information products from across many niches. Commission Junction is another similar site.
These affiliate networks manage the sale, commission and payment transactions between the merchants, customers and affiliates. However, if a company is large, like Amazon, they may provide their own in-house affiliate programme.
How does affiliate marketing work?
You have a blog or website and in order to create it and provide all the features and capabilities for your visitors to use it you paid for products. For example, if you’re using WordPress you may have purchased premium plugins to provide some feature on the site.
You’ve been happy with the product, so much so you want to recommend it to your site visitors.
You determine that the product is listed on an affiliate network like Commission Junction, but it could have been on any number of affiliate networks.
You, as the affiliate, sign-up for the advertiser’s affiliate program through Commission Junction in order to obtain a unique affiliate link. This affiliate link contains your unique user ID, which is necessary so you can be paid the right commission.
You then promote the product (plugin or software) on your website through review articles or banner advertising.
Your visitors click on the links in your articles or banner adverts, which takes then to the advertiser’s website. These links are actually the special affiliate link that contains your unique affiliate user ID, as appose to just the domain name of the advertiser’s site. This is how the affiliate network knows which affiliate is responsible for referring the visitor, because when the visitor lands on the advertiser’s website a cookie is dropped on the visitors computer.
The visitor purchases the product from the advertiser’s website.
As the visitor completes the purchasing process the advertiser checks the cookie that was dropped onto the visitors computer. If it’s found to reference your unique affiliate ID then you get credited for the sale and receive commission.
The whole process of managing commissions and paying affiliates is handled by the affiliate network.
Hopefully that process flow all made sense?
Now you understand what affiliate marketing is and how it all works, the next stop is starting your journey and becoming a marketer yourself!