Beginners Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Wonder what an affiliate marketing is?

Affiliate Marketing is very profitable business model for bloggers and online businesses. About 18,100 people from United States search online daily about affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing refers to marketing (help selling) other companies products or other people’s products as an affiliate to earn some percentage of product cost as affiliate commission without levying any extra cost to customers

Learn Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing process involves the following terms:

Publisher or Affiliate Marketer:  A blogger or traffic generating website who wants to promote other’s products for affiliate commissions.He is the party who reaches the potential buyers to recommend his trusted product. He receives the affiliate commission from seller after a successful sale

Advertiser or Merchant : A product creator or seller who wants to increase his sales revenue by reaching more customers. Advertiser wills to share a percentage of sales revenue with affiliate marketer for bringing customers to sell his products. Advertiser decides the percentage of sales revenue he wants to share with affiliate marketer

Buyer or Customer: Any person who buys the product affiliate  marketer promotes.Buyer purchases the product recommended by affiliate marketer with no extra cost to him (buyer is not charged affiliate commission as an extra cost)

Affiliate Marketing network: This is the medium between Merchant and affiliate marketer.This network provides sales tracking technology,progress reporting tools,affiliate commission payment etc to publishers. It offers payment processing systems,access to large base of affiliate marketers etc to merchants.

Affiliate Link: This is a unique web link received by the publisher from seller or affiliate marketing network upon joing the program.Sales are tracked through this affiliate link which contains tracking Id of publisher.If buyer makes a purchase through this link publisher is credited with an affiliate commission for each sale

Tracking Id: It is a unique string and is a part of affiliate link.Tracking Id helps track which publisher made a sale. Some sellers offer publishers to set different tracking Ids for different products.

Cookie time:  A browser cookie is set on the sales page when a buyer clicks an affiliate link.Seller decides after how many days this cookie should expire. Hence,Cookie time is the period between affiliate link click and cookie expiration time.Buyers are smart and they do not decide to purchase a product before doing necessary research.Imagine the buyer purchases the product 3 days after clicking the affiliate link,will the publisher be credited with a commission for this sale? yes if the cookie time offered by the seller is more than 3 days. Amazon.com offers 24 hour cookie time.Some digital product sellers offer cookie time up to 90 days .

Affiliate Marketing process overview:

Affiliate marketers pick a product they trust. Promote it through various channels to reach the potential buyers.When buyers purchase the product on recommendation of affiliate marketers, merchants share some percentage of product cost as affiliate commission with publishers

How Affiliate Marketing practically works:

How affiliate marketing works

  1. Publisher joins the merchants affiliate program directly or through an affiliate marketing network like clickbank,ShareAsale,CommissionJunction etc
  2.  Publisher gets access to affiliate links and banners for the products he wants to promote
  3.  Publisher reaches customers through various mediums like blogging,advertising etc.Clears the doubts of the customers and helps solve some problems of the customers by recommending these products
  4. Customer clicks the affiliate link to check the product and makes a decision to purchase
  5.  After a qualified purchase, Seller pays an affiliate commission to publisher without charging any extra cost to customer

Why affiliate Marketing is awesome:

You may think just like I did in the beginning of my blogging journey,these commissions may be at most a maximum of 10%.

who wants to share a high percentage of sales revenue just for referring customers to seller’s website?

If you thought just like me,you thought wrong.

You will wonder some digital product sellers offer as high as up to 75% of product cost or even more as affiliate commissions if you help make them a product sale.

Some digital product services like email marketing offer recurring commissions.This is an example of passive income.You work once and get paid multiple times every month.

Awesome..right…That’s why bloggers love affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing is a legitimate and great way to earn money online.

Bonus Tip: Always try to prefer digital products for your affiliate marketing.Digital products have the added advantages like High commissions,no shipping problems etc

affilorama banner

It is a proven business model because all the parties involved in affiliate marketing are happy.

Publisher is happy  because he

  •  helps seller make more sales revenue and improves his business relationship with seller
  •  receives some percentage of sales revenue as affiliate commission
  • helps customers solve their problem by offering a product they wanted
  • Has no hassle of shipping,installation,customer service etc because sellers handle these things

Seller is happy because he

  • makes more sales revenue and reaches more customers
  • Increased customer base helps in improved up selling for the seller

Customer is happy because he

  • Came across a product he is looking for
  • Solved his problem by purchasing the needed product

How to get started with Affiliate Marketing:

Three common monetizing ways to earn money online for bloggers in the order of profitability are

  • Creating and Selling own products (e-books,online courses etc)(most profitable way)
  • Affiliate Marketing (selling other’s products)
  • Selling display advertising (Google Adsense,Buysellads etc)

For new bloggers and small online business starts ups, creating own products is not that easy.

You need expertise and online authority to create and sell your own products.

Though it is most profitable, it is not an immediate feasible way for beginners.

So, next profitable option is affiliate marketing.

How to choose right affiliate marketing program for bloggers?

You have two options to begin with.One is direct affiliate program maintained by Merchants and the other is joining affiliate marketing networks.

Direct affiliate program is best for you if

  • You get significant quality traffic from tier-1 countries like USA,Canada,UK etc
  • The variety of products you promote are very few in number
  • You promote only the products you already use and trust (ex:your web hosting)
  • You promote the products of big companies who maintain their own affiliate programs
  • if you don’t prefer to pay that small fee to affiliate marketing networks
  • If you want to improve business relationship with those big sellers and thereby get custom discount coupons

How to join direct affiliate programs:

Choose a product you use and trust and type in google product name+affiliate program.

Let’s proceed with an example. If you want to promote hostgator’s shared web hosting,type in google “hostgator+affiliate program”

Click on the relevant link as shown in the arrow mark and land on affiliate program page

First check for the affiliate commission amount,payment mode and policy,cookie time,return policy etc and other relevant terms and conditions.Check FAQ page to clear all your doubts and then sign up for free.

After sign up,merchant reviews your application and approves it if you get sufficient traffic for the website you submit.

You will receive approval confirmation through e-mail in a day or more depending on the program you join.

After approval, you can login and get access to affiliate tools likes links and banners and start promoting their products on your web site directly and get paid directly without any intermediary like affiliate network.

 

Affiliate Marketing through Affiliate Networks:

For beginners and small online businesses,I recommend starting with one of the below affiliate marketing networks because

  • There is no minimum traffic restriction for these networks
  • Best choice for beginners
  • Access to large number of merchant products
  • Free,easy and quick to join and promote products

But unlike direct programs,you may be charged a small fee at payout time by these affiliate networks.

5 Best truly paying affiliate Marketing Companies for Bloggers:

#1. AMAZON ASSOCIATES PROGRAM:

Amazon associate program web snap

What is amazon associates program?

Amazon associates program is an official affiliate program of internet retailer amazon which enables publishers to promote its products and pays affiliate commissions for advertising their produtcs

Amazon pays sales promoting publishers small percentage of product cost as advertising fee (affiliate commission)

Key points for publishers about amazon associates program:

  • Most popular,bloggers preferred, giant associate program for promoting physical products
  • Amazon affiliate Commission rates ranges from 4% to 10%

category wise amazon advertising fees

  • Provides links, banners, search bar and easy to integrate html code to advertise on your blog
  • Provides access to millions of popular products to promote with free sign ups
  • Payment methods and minimum payout are

Direct deposit to bank: Applicable only for USA publishers.Minimum payout is $10. No processing fee deducted.

Gift Certificate: Applicable for any country. A gift card claim code is sent to your e-mail address after you reach $10 minimum payout.You can redeem the code on any account. No processing fee deducted.

Check: Applicable for any country. You get a check to your mailing address after a $100 minimum payout. A $15 processing fee is deducted for USA publishers.International publishers will be waived off $15 fee as they have additional custom courier charges.

  • Provides product advertising API (Application Interface software) for advanced publishers and developers for programmatic access to millions of products, Customer Reviews, Similar Products, Wish Lists and New and Used listings etc
  • Buyers all over the world trust amazon.So,possible high conversion rates
  • 24 hour cookie time
  • Word press plugins like link builder,auto links,post purchase,amazon search etc are available
  • Amazon associates payment schedule is 60 days after the end of the month for which they are being paid provided you meet the minimum payout threshold.For example,payment for January is paid in march
  • You cannot earn commission for your own purchases on amazon associate program
  • You will get a commission for any product the customer purchases within 24 hour cookie time regardless of what product your affiliate link recommends.
  • Quick links:Sign Up|Amazon Associates FAQ|

#2.CLICKBANK AFFILIATE PROGRAM

What is Clickbank?

ClickBank is a big internet retailer allowing digital product creators to join and sell their products without much hassle of paper work or agreements.Sellers get access to large number of hungry affiliate marketers to promote their products to consumers.

ClickBank is an affiliate marketing network for internet marketers who wants to earn money by promoting other vendor’s products.

Clickbank serves as a connection between sellers and internet marketers.

Simply put,Click bank is an amazon for digital products.

Key points for publishers about ClickBank affiliate network:

  • Mostly known for promoting digital products like e-books,online courses,membership courses,software etc
  • Affiliate commissions are more than 50% with most products and are as high as up to 75%
  • Best network for beginners to start with as there are no traffic restrictions,no approval required,easy and quick to sign up
  • Free to join and you can promote products in most countries
  • Provides a measure of competitiveness of a product called gravity. ClickBank gravity of a product is the number of unique affiliates who made a sale for the past 12 weeks
  • Clikbank minimum payout is $10.Default minimum payout setting is $100.You can change it to $10 if you want to do so
  • A wonderful 60 day cookie time
  • Generating affiliate link or banner HTML code for your blog for any product is super easy as clicking a promote button.
  • Clickbank payment methods are Check,Direct transfer for both USA and international publishers,Wire transfer and Payoneer transfer
  • If you want to keep your account dormant for more than 90 days without making any sale,don’t maintain a positive balance in your account.If you do so,ClickBank will burn out your balance at a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of no earnings, $5 per pay period after 180 days of no earnings, and $50 per pay period after 365 days of no earnings.So,you had better,don’t maintain balance of more than $10 threshold
  • ClickBank payment schedule is two weeks after period-end and is on the Wednesday. You can opt for once in a week or once in two weeks payment schedule
  • Quick Links: Sign Up|ClickBank FAQ

#3.CJ AFFILIATE(Formerly known as Commission Junction)

  • CJ affiliate network owned by conversant is one of the oldest and biggest online advertising and internet marketing company.
  • Offers both pay per sale and pay per lead programs
  • CJ affiliate is exclusively known for offering green products.
  • Unlike ClickBank, publishers need approval of merchants before promoting their products
  •  Real time tracking and report systems of CJ affiliate are pretty impressive.It is a good thing for marketers who want to spend time in optimizing their sales performance
  • Payment options are direct deposit to select countries,Payoneer and by Check
  • Minimum payout is $50

#4.SHAREASALE

share a sale snap

  • Shareasale is big network with 4800 plus merchant programs operating for the past 17 years
  • Offers both pay per lead and pay per sale programs
  • Real time reporting to track clicks,sales and commission across various devices
  • Payment methods are via check .Payoneer and direct deposit to most countries
  • Payment schedule is 20th of every month.For example commissions earned in January are paid on 20th February
  • Shareasale minimum payout is $50

#5.RAKUTEN LINKSHARE

 

  • A special feature of link share is rotating banners.That means you can test all of the merchant creatives with one ad space
  • Payment methods are check and direct deposit
  • The downside of Linkshare is it makes payments to publishers only after receiving payment from merchant which leads to irregular payments
  • Provides deep link availability (You can send leads to directly to check out page or to the company’s latest offers page)
  • Minimum payout threshold is $1
  • No minimum traffic restrictions

Conclusion:

Affiliate marketing is a proven business model to monetize your blog.

If you use only advertising as monetizing strategy on your blog, I strongly recommend considering affiliate marketing also.

There are bloggers out there who earn millions of dollars using affiliate marketing as a business model.

Hope this article helped you understand affiliate marketing.

Always ready to help you grow your online business.

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