Affiliate marketing has pretty much become the big buzzword in the make-money-online world. The term gets thrown around almost as often as “Hi, how are you?” But what is affiliate marketing about?
I’m going to answer that question today, because I am sick and tires of so many people getting discouraged with their affiliate marketing efforts after someone tells them it’s as simple as “Click. Link. Earn.” Yes, that is the backbone of how to make affiliate marketing work, but there’s more to it.
Like, what do I click?
What am I linking?
How does that earn me money?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, affiliate marketing doesn’t sound simple. It sounds impossible.
I want to show you that getting started with affiliate marketing really is simple. But I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it’s easy.
There’s a big difference between simple and easy.
Let me explain.
Affiliate marketing is simple because it really is a step-by-step process.
The steps to affiliate marketing are:
- Create a website
- Add quality content
- Sign up to related affiliate programs
- Insert affiliate links
- Promote your site
- Repeat steps 2-5
That is the basis of what it takes to build a business around affiliate marketing, and the steps really are quite simple.
However, being successful as an affiliate marketer isn’t easy. It takes work, and it takes time.
Step 1 is building a website. Although the process of building a website is very simple with WordPress, you still have to do the work.
Step 2 is adding quality content. That means writing articles, creating infographics, recording video, etc. Whatever type of content you intend to use, you still need to put the work into creating it.
Step 3 and 4 go hand-in-hand. When you sign up for an affiliate program, they will provide you with a unique affiliate link. This link allows them to track which visitors to their site came from your site so they can pay you accordingly. You then need to go into your article and insert the link so your visitors can get to the product you are promoting. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it needs to be done for everything you promote. That could be hundreds or even thousands of products, depending on what market you go into and what type of site you build. That means work and time.
Step 5 is the part where most would-be affiliate marketers get discouraged and give up. After hearing so many times that affiliate marketing is easy, people tend to expect the money to start rolling in immediately. That isn’t going to happen. You need to promote your site to get it noticed, and get people to visit and click your links. This could mean paid promotions such as with Google Adwords where you pay Google to put your site at the top of search results for a particular keyword. You could also promote your site by sharing it across various social networks. There is also the option to guest-blog on related sites, where you would have a short bio attached to your article linking back to your site. And the whole time you are working on these promotions you need to continue adding content to your site so that your organic (free) ranking in Google will continue to rise.
So, even though affiliate marketing is simple, it is not easy.
But don’t let that discourage you.
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
We’ve all heard that before. Maybe a parent or grandparent tells us to be patient, “Because, you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” As a kid, that particular piece of advice is just annoying.
But as an adult and aspiring entrepreneur it wouldn’t hurt to have it printed poster-size and hung above your computer, because I can’t think of a better reminder that we are building a business.
It takes time to build a business. Not jut an online business or affiliate marketing business. Any business.
A building contractor doesn’t start out with years of work lined up. They start out with a single job. Then find another. Then another. Eventually their name gets out and they schedule a few jobs in advance.
A new store in town doesn’t find overnight success. It will take time for people to get around to visiting and seeing what the store is all about. Then they’ll tell friends and family about it. Then more people visit and the store sells more product. That’s why new stores advertise their big “Grand Opening!” They need to let you know they exist before they can do business.
When we set out to start a new business enterprise, we need to go into it knowing that it will take time to be profitable. But if we are consistent in our efforts, and persistent in our drive to succeed, we can find that success we desire.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money online.
It’s simple to set up.
It costs very little to get started.
Best of all, you never need to stock any inventory.
As an affiliate marketer we are basically advertisers. Our job is to sell product. But not our own product.
I’m sure you’ve searched the internet for a review on a product before. Almost everyone has. Well, chances are very good that the review you read was written by an affiliate marketer!
Maybe that review told you the product was awesome. They loved everything about it. It’s easy to use, and it lasts a long time. It’s a great price for the quality. And then there was a link where you could buy the product.
That link was their affiliate link, and they earned a commission if you purchased the item. And they did it all by telling you about their opinion of it. In essence, they sold you that product.
Does that mean that you can only promote good products, or you’ll have to lie and say a bad product is good?
I would never say a bad product was good just to get a sale, and you shouldn’t either.
We’ll look at two examples. The first will be an okay product. The second will be a terrible product.
Example 1: Okay Product
This product is just okay. It isn’t the best one available, but it isn’t the worst one either. It does what it’s supposed to do, but it could certainly use some improvement in several key areas. On the up side, it is relatively inexpensive. So, if you only plan on using it every once in a while, it could work for you. Click her to buy it (<—Not a real link)
If you are looking for something a little better, click here to read about “Better Product” (<—Still not a real link). I like them both, but I like this one better.
Example 2: Terrible Product
I absolutely hated this! As soon as I took it out of the package I could tell it was poor quality. When I tried using it, it felt like it was going to fall apart. It finally got the job done, but I had to fight it every step of the way. I would suggest you read about “Better Product” here (<—Not a real link) instead.
If you really think this is the product for you, click here to look it over and buy one (<—Also not a real link)
Do you see what I did? I was completely honest about the product in both examples, and added links for readers to buy the product. I also included links to “Better Product”, which would send the reader to another article on my site about a better option, and provide links to buy that product.
So why did I include the “buy here” links if there’s a better option? Because people can be weird sometimes. Even though they go through the motions of reading reviews, they’ve already decided what they are going to buy. It may not matter if you say the item is horrible. They’ll want to buy it anyway. So if they are going to buy it anyway, you might as well give yourself the chance to earn a commission.
Don’t feel bad about it. You tried to warn them and tell them about something better. And when they realize you were right and the product really is junk, they might come back to your site to see what you recommend instead.
Anything that you talk about on your site, whether it’s a good product or absolute garbage, probably has an affiliate program you can join to earn a commission from. That is really all affiliate marketing is about. It’s advertising.
Still a little confused about how this works?
Definition Of Affiliate
Maybe looking at the definition of affiliate will help clear things up a little. An “affiliate” is a “relation”. To be “affiliated” to something means to be “related” to it.
An affiliate marketer forms relationships with companies that are selling something. The company wants to sell their product to as many people as they can. The problem is, they can only reach a certain number of people.
So that company will form a relationship with you, because you might be able to reach people they can’t and help them sell more of their product. And they will pay you a commission for bringing that business to them.
Why are they willing to form this relationship if it means they have to pay you when it’s their product being sold?
Let’s do some simple math.
If they sell a product and make $50 profit, they get to keep $50.
If they sell their product and make $50, then pay you a commission of $20, they still make $30.
They are willing to give you some of their profit because they wouldn’t have sold that product without your help. They don’t look at it as losing the $20 they paid you. They look at it as $30 profit they wouldn’t have made otherwise.
So you are an affiliate because of your relation to companies whose products you promote.
But there is another relationship involved. That is the relationship between the topic of your site content and the products you promote. They need to be related, or you won’t make any sales.
For example, you wouldn’t buy farm equipment from a website about women’s shoes, would you?
To show you what I mean, I’ll use my site as an example. My overall topic here is Personal Finance. I write about a range of subjects related to personal finance, such as budgeting, saving money, investing, making extra money on the side, and starting a business. Each of these subject directly affects our personal finances. I can then promote products about each subject.
For example, in an article about budgeting I could promote budgeting software, or an online course about creating a workable family budget.
And when I talk about affiliate marketing, I can suggest a training platform like Wealthy Affiliate.
To learn more about Wealthy Affiliate and their training, read this article:
I have relationships with these companies that earn me commissions for purchases or sign ups, and the products are related to what I am writing about at the time.
That’s what affiliate marketing is all about. Forming business relationships (affiliations) and advertising products (marketing).
I hope this clears things up. You asked “What is affiliate marketing about?” This is my answer. If you still have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. And make sure you check back, because you will get a response.
Thanks for reading,