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
- Purchasing the product or service provided by the merchant.
- Signing up for the certain product or service from the merchant.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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,
- Write review based on news articles
- A close source who has already experienced the product,
- Request for review by the manufacturer or service provider or service
- 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.
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.