Have you ever dreamt of working for a few hours a day and spending the rest of the day how you please? How about making money while you sleep? The industry of internet marketing, known as affiliate marketing, made over 12 billion dollars in 2017.
Affiliate marketing is used by both big companies, small brands, and individuals looking to receive passive income. Let’s dive into this comprehensive guide on successful affiliate marketing.
The Guide to Successful Internet Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been a buzzword in the online world for the past few years. So, what is it and why is it so popular? This type of marketing is a marketing model where advertisers or merchants send their products to affiliates to promote.
These affiliates host the advertiser’s products or services in a number of ways on their site. They have agreements with the merchant to receive a percentage of each sale that is made from their unique hosted product link.
The History of Affiliate Marketing
William J. Tobin, an American entrepreneur, visualized and developed the idea of affiliate marketing in 1989. He owned his own business, PC Flowers and Gifts. He rolled out his concept of internet marketing to his business, and within two years, they made over six million dollars.
In June of 1994, Lou Montulli created computer cookies. These cookies allowed computer programmers to implement a reliable and trackable virtual shopping cart that remembered the user’s data. That was not their only function. Cookies also allowed them to see who had visited their site previously, store login data for the user, personalize the user experience, and track web analytics.
There was much controversy around the release of the cookie because it was not known to the public. The introduction did not notify users of its existence and perceived to be a huge privacy concern. It was determined that only third-party cookies posed a threat.
The Big Players
In 1996, big companies like Amazon Associates, Rakuten, and BeFree joined the affiliate marketing game. These players formed the golden standard for the affiliate marketing world by setting their products up in an affiliate marketing structure.
A few years later, ClickBank, the first affiliate network began. Since then, over 81% of brands use affiliate marketing in their marketing strategy mix. That’s over 15% of all digital marketing revenue and it’s still on the rise.
What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?
The best way to describe affiliate or internet marketing is by comparing it to a referral service. Affiliates have a website set up where they promote advertisers' products or services, and whoever they refer, they get rewarded for.
The link the advertisers provide the marketer is a unique link because it is tracked. The business can then see who referred leads and how many leads they sent.
When a lead comes in and makes a sale or converts, the marketer receives a commission. These commissions vary in value depending on the company and the product, but some marketers make over $50,000 a year.
The best part about this is if you have a steady flow of traffic to your website or social platforms, you set it up once and let it run without your maintenance. The traffic to your site increases the chance of users clicking and purchasing from those links.
Businesses do have a right to change their affiliate terms at any time. If this happens, it can directly affect revenue, but being aware and having multiple affiliate partnerships can alleviate this blow.
Creating an Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Having affiliate marketing and an auto-pilot income sounds great, but how do you create a successful marketing strategy? It’s pretty easy to sign up and get approved to become an affiliate marketer, but driving people to your site and building a following is tricky.
Affiliate Marketing Audience
First things first: determine who your target audience is. Are you a mommy blogger with a huge following of other moms? Maybe you have a platform where you write a bunch of software reviews or perhaps you love search engine optimization. Whatever your niche is, think about which products or services your audience would show interest in.
The best way to use affiliate marketing links is to promote products or services that make sense for your style. For example, if you write a lot about household cleaning products, be an affiliate marketer for cleaning products.
Choose items that make sense for your mission and items that you truly believe in. Your lack of authenticity will show if it isn’t a product you trust.
And, if you have no idea what it is your audience likes or is interested in, ask them! Be creative and create a poll or analyze your website data to see your most visited links.
If you start affiliate marketing, it’s important that you’re upfront with your readers. Let them know that you’ve started affiliate marketing and you’ll receive a commission for items on your website. By telling your readers, they will trust you more than if they happen upon it and you haven’t disclosed it.
It’s best practice, but it’s also required by the Federal Trade Commission, so it’s something you must do.
Creating Your Affiliate Marketing Website
Now that you know who you’ll be marketing to, it’s important to have a site that you drive people to. Whether it’s on a current blog or website, you’ll have to implement specific internet marketing pages.
The main focus of your entire website is your blog, and your goal is to make sure it's updated regularly. There are other pages you need to have on your site, however, that are necessary for affiliate marketing.
You need to have an about page to tell people who you are, what you're about, and why you have a blog in the first place. Share a captivating story about your life and what drove you to blog. Make it relatable and personal so your readers are able to engage with you.
Your site also needs a contact page. Know that whatever information you put on this page will be available to all the internet. Have a work specific email address, P.O. Box, and work telephone number to protect your real inbox from spam. People use your contact information to contact you about advertising, marketing, or partnering.
You must have a disclaimer page if you're monetizing off your website. On this page, you'll explain your terms and conditions. You'll go into detail about how you're monetizing. Your disclaimer needs to tell your audience what products and services you make money off of, and who you're partnering with.
Terms of Service Page
This page states legal information regarding the misuse of services or information on your site. It limits your legal liability. If someone wants to use the information on your site, it outlines the copyright and trademarks guidelines they must follow.
Anything regarding legal documents or guidelines must be on this page.
Advertising or Marketing Page
One of the most important pages to have on your site is an advertising page. This page shows users how to advertise with you. The cost of advertising and available advertising spots are available for a user to see.
Including your website's current analytics such as demographics of your viewers and how many people come to your site is also useful information a user wants to know.
Lastly, this page needs to have a contact form for people to get a hold of you if they want to use your site for advertising. Make it simple and straightforward, and have it sent directly to your business email.
Once you've set up your site, you'll want to create a content strategy. This strategy outlines all of the upcoming content you're going to feature on your site. For your site to be high quality, you'll want to mix organic content with affiliate marketing content.
Having just affiliate marketing will send your audience running. Provide them with valuable information that's relevant and helpful to them. This requires strategy and quite a bit of thought, but as long as it's tailored towards your audience, there is success.
Leave them with content that keeps them coming back to your website again and again by adding value or providing a unique perspective.
Affiliate Marketing for the Win
Follow this comprehensive guide to get set up with your internet marketing network and see the money start rolling in! Choose a niche that fits your target audience and features products that make sense.
Remember to keep your content high-quality and fresh, and mix in your organic content with your affiliate content.