Affiliate Marketing Basics

Affiliate Marketing Basics

Affiliate Marketing Basics

Affiliate Marketing Basics is a required skillset in the times in the Digital Marketing world. What is this Affiliate Marketing, We shall take a look at this topic in this article.

What is an affiliate marketing?

It is an incentive based marketing strategy where the merchant shells out certain amount (in percentage or absolute amount) to the affiliate marketer for each visitor brought by its website link.

Payment is subject to certain necessary actions by the visitor like

  1. Purchasing the product or service provided by the merchant.
  2. Signing up for the certain product or service from the merchant.
  3. spreading the word by way of sharing on twitter or click on Facebook Like button.

The action could be anything legitimate that would bring business to the merchant. The traffic brought by the affiliate to the merchant should be by affiliate’s own effort.

Key entities in Affiliate Marketing

There are 3 entities which play a vital role in defining affiliate marketing business as a whole.

  1. Advertise
    The merchant or an advertiser may provide banner advertisements or product links which would take the visitor to the merchant site. This redirection involves affiliate code for tracking purpose resulting in affiliate commision if the visitor purchases something from the merchant website.  This is the one who sells the products like electronic gadgets or selling services like web hosting. This is basically the merchant website.
  2. Publisher
    This is the one who publishes advertisements. publisher includes blogs, product or service review websites. These website publishes the advertisements. Nowadays advertisements are limited to header banner or side banner, they come in variety of formats like inline or contextual advertisements, search bar as provided by amazon, video advertisements etc.
  3. Affiliate Network
    This entity comes into picture, since the publishers majority being an individual most of the times, it is almost impossible to cover maximum advertisers on the internet. This is true for advertiser as well to reach the maximum number of publishers own their own. Affiliate Network companies provide the much needed platform to enable advertiser and publisher come together on one platform so that they can select each other carefully to match their respective domain and expertise, before entering a contract.

What is an affiliate code?

So what is an affiliate code? This is typically 3-5 alphanumeric unique code given to each affiliate marketer for tracking movements and actions performed by visitors who are coming from the affiliate website. This is performed using a cookie which resides on the visitor’s computer for the period specified by the merchant. It can vary from 1 day till 1 month as well.

 What is Affiliate Sales?

Any sale occurred on Merchant website and tracked to the visitor sent by any of the affiliate website, is called Affiliate sales.

Affiliate websites makes money using this model. The Affiliate commission is varying for different product categories and different merchant websites.

It can range from 1% till even up to 40% affiliate commission. It all depends on the product category which was marketed by affiliate website and the merchant website.

All such sales are credited to the affiliate marketer and commissions accrued are created to the affiliate account. Many affiliate marketing websites put a restriction of certain amount before you can claim your affiliate commission. You need to read their terms and conditions before signing up.

What is an affiliate Web site?

Any website marketing or showcasing any other’s products and sending visitors to the respective merchant website for completing the sales action, can be termed as affiliate website. There are various types of affiliate websites exists such as

Product Review Websites

This type of affiliates writes reviews about different products or services. This could be by experiencing the product or service themselves or could be based on the feedback received from the friends and the closed ones. If you are a well-known evaluator or reviewer in the said field, the manufacturer can also come to you, give you the trial run for the product and asks you write a review for its product or service. It is nearly impossible to write reviews for all the products from amazon or eBay. Broad categories of the product review websites are,

  1. Write review based on news articles
  2. A close source who has already experienced the product,
  3. Request for review by the manufacturer or service provider or service
  4. Plain copy – twist and paste the content from other websites.

Example of this type of website can be www.wirecutter.com

If you can write gluey and convincing product reviews then Product reviews affiliate marketing can be for you. This type of websites requires lot of convincing power as people normally come here in search of information since they have not prepared themselves for any purchase decision.

Comparison Websites 

This type of websites provide products with prices from different merchant websites. An example is Google Shopping, Bizrate.com. These websites aggregates prices for the same product from various websites. A best example can be Compareraja or Pricegrabber. This is quite helpful for visitors who have at least have made up their mind about what to purchase and comparing the prices on different websites. They are checking if it is in their spending capacity or not.
In my personal opinion you have to have bit of PHP or ASP.NET coding knowledge for you to go for comparison websites or ready to shell out money to buy these tools, which can fill your website with same products from different websites and their details. This can prove to be the most tedious work of the lot.

Voucher / Coupon Codes

These websites offer discount voucher or coupon codes for various websites. Visitor can use this for the purchase and save some money. A good example is couponmom.com.
Coupon networks like admitad, provides the deals and coupon codes for your selected niches. Register yourself there. This type of website as per my opinion requires very less convincing power as visitors are already in buying mode, and that is the reason they are looking for discount vouchers or coupons.

Best or Unique of the Categories

Some websites like www.thisiswhyimbroke.com lists some of the best or weird or very unique items on their website. You can select your own niche and start accumulating products from the different websites, signup for their affiliate program and start collecting the products in your niche. If you have a good knack of selecting the best product out of the lot then you can think of Best or Unique of the Categories affiliate marketing.

What type of affiliate website should I start.

This is totally depends on what you love. How much time you can dedicate? All types do consume lot of your time and energy. Few tools are available for downloading products from amazon and eBay alike. However you need to segregate the best of the lot and put it on your website.

 Select a Niche

Why I was repeating on the word niche? Finding your niche becomes prudent for your success because everyone cannot be the Walmart or Amazon, be it online or offline. Walmart and Amazon alike stores / marketplaces have literally everything with them you need in your daily life so it becomes prudent to filter down your niche since it increases your chances of profitability.

Find out the affiliate programs running in your niche. To Start with Amazon and eBay are the good choices, as they have almost all categories under the sun and chances are yours may be one of them.

Understanding affiliate marketing basics is absolutely required in addition to identifying your niche. Let me know what is your niche so that I will come up with what are the best affiliate programs for those respective categories.

Find your niche in 4 easy Steps

Find your niche

Find your niche

Are you worried and cannot find your niche. Everyone cannot be the Walmart, amazon or eBay, be it online or offline, which stores literally everything you need from getting up at morning till you drop dead on your bed.

As go down filter your niche, chances of your profitability grows. Read on how to select your niche in 4 easy steps. This selection process of your niche has nothing to do with online or offline career. It is a general guideline to achieve your goal, however you can apply it to your blogging career without second thought.

The Solution

There are various articles available on the internet showing the profitable niche areas where you can try yourself as a blogger or in online career. I am asking you the other way round. First find the niche area which you like or you are master at, then  everything shall fall in line.

Step 1.

Write down all the things which you love to do in present or would love to do if given a chance, also write possible ways of generating revenue out of it by solving others problem. Everyone else’s problem could be your opportunity. solving others problem is the key. People pay for anything that would solve their problem. Keep this in mind.

For example

A.  Swimming 
Possible business opportunities are
           - I can be swimming participants in various tournaments
           - Write blogs about swimming
           - Train others on swimming
B.  Software programming

                          – Participate in freelancing.com style online bidding.
– Create custom software for the people I know and increase your network with the people you know.                              – Write blogs about coding and its issues and solutions.

C.  Equity market trading
           - Actual trading on stock market
           - Giving tips and writing blogs and charging money for help in selection of correct scrip.
D.  Product reviews

                          –  I know lot of outlets with big discounts on daily needs.
– I can write a good product reviews on Daily needs.

E.  Farming

– Producing grains, vegetables and cereals and sell them in the market

Now filter out unneeded things by asking these questions to your inner self.

Step 2.

Find Challenges – What are those things which can be achieved but need considerable training or support? It could be logistics or monetary or both

We shall list down only the big challenges we may face.

A. Swimming.

Though I love to swim, I need a lot more practice and training to be able to participate in tournaments and make career out of it. I am quite a newbie for swimming so writing blogs are also out of question. Training to others also rules because I myself is not yet ready.


B.  Software Programming
I know software programming and I can program for custom orders received. Participating in freelancer.com style bidding can be frustrating at times, as people are bidding for too low prices. Establishing your name in thousands of developers from around the globe can be a daunting task. I need training or may be trial and error method to get into it.

C.  Equity Market Trading
Actual trading on stock market is never an easy and it can literally drains your emotions if not executed properly. To give credible tips / punter calls on scrips can take years together for you to gain the investor confidence.
D.  Farming
Though I love farming, It needs rigorous hands on training  and a huge investment in land and machinery, which could out of reach for many who have already settled in cities and no connection to farming or no properties at the countryside.

Consider removing these items from your list. resulting removal of lot of noise from the to-be niche list. Considering the above points we can safely remove Swimming, Equity Market trading and Farming from our list. That leaves us with Software Programming and Product reviews.

Step 3.

Find possibilities in what are those things which you can do with little bit of training or support.

Look for the training courses in your area. If it is the certification or online of training then you can check out Alison.com. You can further remove the noise by removing those items for which training or support cannot be easily available. Even remove those items which requires considerable amount of monetary investment, which may not be possible at times.

We have already removed such choices due to various factors.

Step 4.

Now think deeply on what are those things which you would love to continue even when you get nothing or negligible income.

Out of Software Programming and Product review. Product review could be the only one which I would continue even without much expectation of monetary rewards. Now this is your niche. Just spice it up with the area of your interest like daily needs as mentioned above.

You can chose to create a product review website or discount coupons or a combination of both, therefore we can safely come to the conclusion that writing blogs on deals available for daily needs is your niche!

You have successfully found your niche area. Now start building your website and start populating the website with your content. You can get help of this how to create content for your website.

Since we are talking about digital marketing as a whole, any area you find just spice up the blog with your niche content. This can be very well applicable to any field of entrepreneurship.

Did you try with this formulae. Just try it and let me know.