For most webmasters who are managing an online presence, affiliate marketing is always one of the best ways to monetize your blog, because it can bring you a stable income source for your site, as part of your monetization strategy from it. In this guide, we will talk about affiliate marketing and introduce the basics of it for beginners, including how it works and how to do affiliate marketing.
About Affiliate Marketing
Before your practice affiliate marketing, you’d better know what it is at first. Affiliate marketing is actually the referral arrangement and through that an online advertiser or retailer will pay you commissions once there are users purchasing their own products or services from that those referral links you set up on your site.
Different from other advertising types that get paid based on views or clicks, the affiliate marketing generally works based on (short for “cost-per-lead”) or CPA (short for “core-per-acquisition”). In another word, only when users take an action like signing up for a free trial or buying product, you can get paid from the advertiser or retailer.
This type of advertising can mostly lower down advertiser’s risk, so affiliate programs always pay much higher commissions to the publishers than Google AdSense and other types of advertisings.
Besides, Affiliate marketing needs a more hands-on approach. It means you need find a service or product which you are confident that the service or product can be useful and helpful to your own users. Then, you need to strategically add the service or product into somewhere of your site or posts, so your users can but the service or product via your referral links.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
According to the knowledge your learn from the definition of affiliate marketing, you should know that to make it work, you need firstly find a proper product or company you are willing to promote. And select the product you think it is relevant to your site’s topic as well as useful for your users. The product or company you select to promote is so called “Merchant”.
After that, you need to associate with that company by participating in its affiliate or partner program. It will make you an affiliate of the company. Participating in its affiliate program will make you receive a unique affiliate ID that you need to put it in your referral links added on your site so as to promote one of the company’s products.
About the ways of promoting products of your merchant, you can publish in-depth reviews on the target product or company, display banner ads of it, send email newsletters, recommend it in your posts, and so on. Meanwhile, all the traffic you send to your merchant site with that unique affiliate ID will be tracked.
Now, you can just wait for purchases made by your users through your referral links, and receive commissions from your merchant according to your contract. Note it is usually to say that your commissions are issued when you earnings are high up to a particular threshold.
How to Start with Affiliate Marketing?
If you want to do affiliate marketing on your site, you need to firstly make sure your blogging platform allows you to do that. For instance, WordPress.com has some restrictions related to the services and products you are allowed to link to.
However, the WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform which does not have any restrictions about affiliate links you are able to add to your site. Or, if you still haven’t start your website, you can start right now and you can follow our guide in How to Start a Blog from Scratch, and get started quickly.
Find Affiliate Products or Services to Promote
For almost all beginners, they are possible struck by finding a proper affiliate product or company to promote instead of starting a blog. To help you start more easily, we conclude several ways of finding proper affiliate products or companies that you can cooperate with as your merchants.
1. Look for Products You Already Use and Find Useful
This is the easiest ways to find the right affiliate products. Because you have already used that kind of products and get benefits from them, it will be the most convincing evidence for your users and help them to trust that products.
Once you decide your target affiliate products, you also need to visit these products’ website and look for its “Affiliate Program” “Affiliates”, or “Partners”. At present, most companies with online presence are actively searching for good affiliate marketers to promote their services and products, so they usually add an affiliate page with a link in the footer of their sites.
2. Search for Products Recommended by Other Popular Blogs
If you haven’t used any products useful for now, you can search for the products that other popular blogs are recommending. Of course, you need make sure these other blogs have the similar topics as yours, while they are running affiliate marketing campaigns.
For beginners, you may ask how you can be sure those blogs are promoting their affiliate products instead of their owns?
To distinguish them, you need firstly search for the evident as well as easy-to-notice banner ads on their blogs. Then, use your mouse to click on that banner ad and you can find a new link appearing in your browser’s address bar.
Usually, the link will include a unique ID, which can help merchant track their affiliate who is sending sales or traffic to them.
3. Directly contact companies
If you have found the target affiliate products, but you cannot find any details about the website’s affiliate programs, you can just contact them to ask the information you need via email. If the company is interested in it, they will invite you to be part of their affiliate programs.
4. Join Affiliate Networks
This is a popular way to start affiliate marketing campaigns and find the right affiliate products. Affiliate networks are just like middlemen between affiliate marketers and the merchants.
In an affiliate network, merchants will offer their platforms as a service to put a list of their products, track their affiliate traffic, manage their affiliates and issue payments; affiliate markets will provide a good platform to look for their affiliate products, signup to be an affiliates, as well as track their affiliate campaigns’ performance as well as revenues. Currently, ShareASale, ShareaSale, CJ Affiliate, ClickBank and Amazon Associates are the most popular and big affiliate networks, and you can choose one to join.
Tips for Affiliate Marketing to Increase Your Earnings
So far, you have learned the basics of affiliate marketing, and then we can move to offer you several tips to do better affiliate marketing to gain more earnings.
1. Always Select Good Products/Companies to Promote
In essence, you are an affiliate marketer, rather than a provider, which means you cannot control the further of the products recommended on your site/blog. So, from the very beginning, you need to ensure that you are promoting the best service/products offered by really reputable companies.
If you have used these products/services, that will be the best. If not and you really want to promote a product which you believe it is very useful, you can simply contact the provider to get more information. Note: you need to be careful about your manner.
2. Provide Valuable and Highly Useful Content
When you are making affiliate marketing campaigns, you can add referral links or banners on your WordPress website, but you need know that if you just add links on site, it does not result in convincing your audience to purchase your affiliate products.
Beside referral links and banners, you need provide your audience with valuable and really useful content related to that affiliate products, such as in-depth product review, product comparisons, video tutorials, and so on.
3. Always Remember Your Audience
When you are making money, you cannot forget your audience’s demands and interests, because if you do, you will lose them and lose money. So, when you are choosing promoting products, you have to keep them in mind. When you do so, your audience can feel that your products and content can bring them real benefits and you are promoting the products not only for high commissions but also for them. The trust between you and your audience will increase.
Now we have done the whole guide of affiliate marketing and we hope readers can really learn something from this guide and practice on their own blogs/ websites to increase earnings.