Online marketing is an important part of any business. Whether you’re promoting your own products or those of a third party, you’ll need to get the most out of your website in order to achieve the maximum impact.
One of the most effective ways of getting more out of your website is through affiliate marketing. Essentially, affiliate marketing is a type of ‘performance-based’ marketing in which you’ll receive a commission when a product is bought through your affiliate link. Before you begin using affiliate marketing, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
The Difference In Purpose
In general, affiliate marketing is used to drive sales online. This is done through various methods including SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, and PPC (pay-per-click).
While all of these methods can work together to increase website traffic and ultimately sell more products, the main purpose of affiliate marketing is to drive sales online. In other words, the aim is to make money, not to increase exposure.
How Does It Work?
The basic idea behind affiliate marketing is to encourage website visitors to do something specific. When someone lands on your website and performs an action or makes a purchase after reading one of your articles or viewing one of your videos, you’ll earn a commission. Typically, this action or purchase was not originally part of the plan when they arrived at your site – it just so happens that they found what they were looking for and completed the desired action or made the purchase because of your efforts.
For example, if you write an article describing how to grow your own vegetables and someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase after reading your article, you’ll earn a commission.
The more you engage with your audience, the more you’ll be rewarded – you never know what they might be interested in.
What Kind Of Affiliate Marketer Are You?
Before you begin using affiliate marketing, it’s important to consider how you’ll engage with your audience. The better your strategy, the better your results – so it’s important to think about what’s going to make you stand out from the competition.
Commission On Product Purchases
One of the biggest draws of affiliate marketing is the generous commissions you can earn. Naturally, you’ll want to encourage as many clicks and purchases as possible so you can reap the benefits – in fact, the better your strategy, the more you’ll earn. However, keep in mind that the main purpose of your site is to make money, not to drive web traffic.
No Fee Required
Unlike many other types of marketing, you don’t need to have an initial investment to get started with affiliate marketing. This is one of the major benefits of the internet and online marketing. You can get started with a free blog (usually hosted on WordPress.com) and then use dedicated affiliate managers to track sales and commissions from various products and services. You’ll also need to decide how you’ll handle payments – do you want to use a payment processor or will you collect the money yourself? The more you set up upfront, the less stressed you’ll be in the future – it’s important to get this done the right way from the start.
In many cases, you’ll have to wait for the vendor or merchant to send you the products you’re promoting before you can start earning – but don’t despair, this is usually a relatively quick process (especially now that you’re equipped with an internet connection). Once you’ve received the products, you can begin promoting them and generating sales – something to keep in mind if you decide to go this route.
The first step to getting started with affiliate marketing is to choose a niche. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a market that you’re already familiar with. For example, if you’re an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy books, you might want to start a blog reviewing them. If so, you have quite the following already – probably closer to over 100,000 individuals who have liked your page on Facebook alone!
Once you’ve found your niche, the next step is to pick a product or service that you believe is relevant to your audience. Naturally, you’ll want to choose a product or service that’s already fairly popular so you can leverage this popularity to receive compensation. When picking a product, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many pitfalls – you don’t want to choose a product that’s difficult to promote or that no one is interested in. It’s also important that you’re passionate about the product you choose – if you believe in its value, you’ll be able to inspire your audience to make the desired purchases.
The Major Differences
While there are many similarities between traditional and online marketing, there are some important differences as well – mostly relating to the delivery and engagement of the marketing materials.
The first and most obvious difference is that you’re marketing online instead of through traditional means – a fact that makes all the difference when it comes to engaging with your audience and ultimately getting results. Because you can target the right audience with relative ease, you’ll have a much better chance of making a sale – in fact, you can target individuals based on their interests, hobbies, and even behavioral data. This isn’t possible through traditional marketing means.
Learn From Experienced Bloggers
Because there are no set rules for affiliate marketing, you’re free to take advantage of online marketing in any way you see fit – the key is to find a way to connect with your audience and drive conversions.
To this end, it’s important to remember that there are numerous experienced bloggers (both famous and unknown) who are willing to share their knowledge and strategies with you. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to learn from those who are much more experienced than you – simply take what you need and leave the rest.
While affiliate marketing is a popular and viable marketing strategy, it’s not a perfect one. To ensure you’re making the right decision, here are a few things you should consider before diving in.
Firstly, make sure you’re aware of any applicable laws – in most countries, affiliate marketing is considered advertising and is, therefore, subjected to various regulations and restrictions. Make sure you’re aware of and abide by these rules.
Secondly, be sure to pick products that are in high demand – this will increase your chances of getting compensation when promoting them. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a product that’s already fairly established in the industry so that when others hear about your promotion, they’ll be more likely to believe you – and therefore, your claims that the product will increase sales or improve their standing in the industry.
Thirdly, consider the competition – to succeed, you’ll need to ensure that no one is already doing this in your niche. In many cases, you can find similar products promoted by other bloggers (often competing against each other for top spot in search results). Make sure you’re not getting involved in something that’s already well established – otherwise, you’ll simply be stepping on established feet.
The Bottom Line
In general, affiliate marketing is a viable and efficient way of generating sales – the more you engage with your audience and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. Naturally, you’ll want to choose a product that’s already fairly popular so you can leverage this popularity to generate sales – make sure you keep in mind that the main aim is to make money.