Affiliate marketing is a popular and lucrative way to make money online. It involves promoting and selling other people’s products or services and earning a commission for each sale or lead you generate. Affiliate marketing can be a great source of passive income, as you can earn money even when you are not actively working on your website or social media channels.
But how do you get started with affiliate marketing? And what are the best tips and strategies to succeed in this competitive field? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more, and show you how to make money online with affiliate marketing in 2023.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement in which affiliates receive a commission for each visit, signup or sale they generate for a merchant. This arrangement allows businesses to outsource part of the sales process and reach a wider audience through the affiliates’ platforms. The affiliates, on the other hand, can leverage their existing traffic and influence to earn money by recommending products or services that are relevant and useful to their audience.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing involves four main actors, who each play a unique part in the marketing process:
- The affiliate (or “publisher”): The individual or entity that promotes the merchant’s product or service on their website, blog, social media, email list, podcast, video channel, or any other online platform.
- The merchant: The individual or entity selling the product or service that the affiliate promotes. The merchant can be a large company, a small business, an online retailer, a service provider, or even an individual creator.
- The affiliate network: An intermediary between an affiliate and a merchant’s affiliate program. The affiliate network provides the affiliates with unique links that track their performance and commissions, as well as tools and resources to help them optimize their campaigns. The affiliate network also handles the payment and reporting of the affiliates’ earnings.
- The customer: The individual who purchases a product or service through an affiliate’s link. The customer may or may not be aware that they are buying through an affiliate link, depending on the disclosure practices of the affiliate.
The basic process of affiliate marketing is as follows:
- The affiliate signs up for an affiliate program or network that offers products or services that are relevant to their niche and audience.
- The affiliate receives a unique link (also called an affiliate link) that contains a tracking code that identifies them as the source of the referral.
- The affiliate places the link on their platform and promotes it to their audience using various methods, such as content creation, email marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising, etc.
- When a customer clicks on the link, they are redirected to the merchant’s website or landing page. A cookie is stored on their browser that records the affiliate’s ID and tracks their actions on the merchant’s site.
- If the customer completes a desired action on the merchant’s site, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form, etc., the affiliate earns a commission for that action. The commission rate and structure vary depending on the merchant and the product or service being promoted.
- The affiliate network tracks and reports the performance and commissions of the affiliates. The affiliates can access their dashboard and see how many clicks, conversions, and earnings they have generated from their links.
- The affiliate network pays out the affiliates according to their payment terms and methods. Some networks pay monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, or even daily. Some networks offer different payment options, such as PayPal, bank transfer, check, etc.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
Affiliate marketers get paid based on the results they produce for the merchants. There are different ways that affiliates can get paid, depending on the type of action that they generate from their links. Here are some of the most common payment models in affiliate marketing:
- Pay per sale: This is the most common payment model in affiliate marketing. In this model, the affiliate earns a percentage of the sale price of the product or service that they promote. For example, if an affiliate promotes a product that costs $100 and has a 10% commission rate, they will earn $10 for each sale they make through their link.
- Pay per lead: In this model, the affiliate earns a fixed amount for each qualified lead they generate for the merchant. A qualified lead is someone who completes a specific action on the merchant’s site, such as filling out a form, signing up for a free trial, downloading an ebook, etc. For example, if an affiliate promotes a service that offers a free consultation and has a $5 commission per lead, they will earn $5 for each person who signs up for the consultation through their link.
- Pay per click: In this model, the affiliate earns a fixed amount for each click they generate from their link. This model is less common than pay per sale or pay per lead because it does not require any action from the customer other than clicking on the link. For example, if an affiliate promotes a website that pays $0.10 per click, they will earn $0.10 for each person who clicks on their link.
How Much Do Affiliates Make?
The amount of money that affiliates make depends on various factors, such as the niche, the product or service, the commission rate, the traffic, the conversion rate, the marketing strategy, and the competition. There is no fixed or average income for affiliates, as some affiliates make thousands of dollars per month, while others make little or no money at all.
However, according to a survey by Affstat, a website that provides statistics and trends on affiliate marketing, the majority of affiliates (35.7%) reported earning less than $20,000 per year in 2022. Only 3.2% of affiliates reported earning more than $150,000 per year .
Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
Affiliate marketing can be done through various online platforms and channels, depending on the preferences and goals of the affiliates. Here are some of the most common types of affiliate marketing channels:
- Websites and blogs: Websites and blogs are one of the most popular and effective ways to do affiliate marketing. Affiliates can create content that is relevant and valuable to their audience and include affiliate links within their content or in banners, widgets, pop-ups, etc. Affiliates can also optimize their websites and blogs for search engines (SEO) to drive organic traffic to their pages and increase their chances of making sales.
- Social media: Social media is another popular and powerful way to do affiliate marketing. Affiliates can use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. to promote their affiliate links to their followers and fans. Affiliates can also use paid ads or influencer marketing to reach a larger and more targeted audience on social media.
- Email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to build trust and loyalty with your audience and increase your conversions. Affiliates can use email marketing to send newsletters, offers, tips, reviews, etc. to their subscribers and include their affiliate links in their emails. Affiliates can also use email marketing to segment their audience based on their interests, behavior, location, etc. and send them personalized and relevant messages that increase their engagement and sales.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are a growing and engaging way to do affiliate marketing. Affiliates can create podcasts that cover topics that are related to their niche and audience and mention or recommend their affiliate products or services in their episodes. Affiliates can also invite guests or experts who are affiliated with the products or services they promote and interview them about their benefits and features.
- Video channels: Video channels are another effective and popular way to do affiliate marketing. Affiliates can use platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, etc. to create videos that showcase or review their affiliate products or services. Affiliates can also use video channels to create tutorials, demonstrations, comparisons, testimonials, etc. that educate and persuade their viewers to buy their affiliate products or services.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has many benefits for both affiliates and merchants. Here are some of the main benefits of affiliate marketing:
- For affiliates:
- Low cost: Affiliate marketing does not require a lot of investment or overhead costs to start or run. Affiliates do not need to create or buy the products or services they promote, nor do they need to handle the inventory, shipping, customer service, etc. Affiliates only need a platform (such as a website or a social media account) and an internet connection to start earning money online.
- Passive income: Affiliate marketing can generate passive income for affiliates, as they can earn money even when they are not actively working on their campaigns. As long as their links are live and visible on their platforms, affiliates can earn commissions from the sales or leads they generate from their previous efforts.
- Flexibility: Affiliate marketing offers a lot of flexibility for affiliates in terms of choosing their niche, products or services , platforms , schedule , etc . Affiliates can work from anywhere and anytime they want , as long as they have access to the internet . Affiliates can also experiment with different strategies and methods to find what works best for them and their audience .
- Scalability: Affiliate marketing has a lot of potential for growth and expansion for affiliates who are willing to work hard and smart . Affiliates can increase their income by increasing their traffic , conversion rate , number of products or services , commission rate , etc . Affiliates can also diversify their income by joining multiple affiliate programs or networks that offer different products or services in different niches .
- For merchants:
- Increased sales: Affiliate marketing can help merchants increase their sales by reaching a wider and more targeted audience through the affiliates’ platforms . Affiliates can act as an extension of the merchants’ sales team and generate more leads , conversions , and revenue for them .