The lockdown has been in place for several months now. Unfortunately, many lives have been turned upside down, and uncertainty about where the next pay check will come from is rife. It is therefore unsurprising that many people are turning to the internet as an additional source of income.
There are thousands of ways of making money online – all the way from being a small eBay trader making a few second-hand sales, to launching the next Amazon. One of the most common forms of generating an online income is through affiliate marketing. But what is affiliate marketing, and how do you get started with it? In this article, we are going to answer all the common questions you may have about affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
The term “affiliate marketing” sounds complicated but is, in fact, very simple. Traditional businesses rely on the owner buying stock, or performing a service, then charging a fee to the customer. This model requires the owner to invest upfront capital (whether time or money) to have the resources and stock available to service the order. Many people do not have this capital available and do not want to involve external investors.
Affiliate marketing schemes, however, often have a very low barrier to entry. Companies that have a product or service for sale understand the costs of marketing their product. Web ads, billboards, TV ads, and print ads do not come cheap. Many companies, therefore, offer an affiliate scheme. Potential entrepreneurs effectively sign up as freelance salesmen. In the event of achieving a sale of the service or product, the company pays the salesman a commission. The commission will typically be in the range of 5%-30%, although it is not unheard of for some sectors to offer a whopping 50% commissions!
How does it work?
Very simple, you can start by looking for offers and registering on the company’s website. Create an account and log into the portal.
Inside the portal will be a dashboard showing you the sales recently attributed to your account.
There will often be additional pages for configuring settings, withdrawing your earnings, and running more advanced reports.
The most important page is your affiliate links page. This page will contain links to the site that are specific to you. This personal link is how the site tracks that a sale is down to you. So always make sure you publish your personal links and do not share the generic website link.
Whenever someone clicks your personal links and buys something, you will earn your commission.
The retailer will then pay you. It is always worth checking the payment terms, and payment methods when signing up for an affiliate scheme. It is not uncommon for some payments to take several weeks if not months, to be paid. Some sites also restrict the countries that cash can be withdrawn to.
What are the advantages of affiliate marketing?
The key advantage of becoming an affiliate marketer is that you do not have to find large sums of capital investment. You often simply register, then it is up to you to find customers and collect your commission. You can avoid all the problems associated with setting up and running a traditional business such as:
- Cashflow – keeping enough cash available to buy stock and pay staff.
- Accounting and legal costs – balancing the books is not your problem.
- Product returns and customer complaints – these are typically handled by the main company.
- HR & Staff management – keeping staff happy is often a fulltime job in itself.
Of course, affiliate marketing is not a magic money tree. You have to work hard, but if you put the effort in, you will reap the rewards.
Who are the most prominent players in the market?
Online web affiliate schemes have been around for over twenty years. Since the dawn of the internet, marketers were thinking up smart ways to increase sales. Over that time, several big names have come to epitomise the term “affiliate marketing”:
- Amazon Associates – This is probably the best-known affiliate scheme in the world. Everyone knows Amazon, so even if they do not understand what an affiliate is, they will have heard of it. While well known, remember you are restricted to the Amazon site products. Typical rates are around 5-15% depending on the product category.
- ShareASale Affiliates – ShareASale is a little different from Amazon. The ShareASale marketplace indexes thousands of merchants. This marketplace gives you a vast range of products and services to choose from by many different retailers.
- Clickbank – This is another marketplace that allows you to market products from a wide range of merchants.
- eBay, Shopify, etc. – Most big-name sites have an affiliate scheme tucked away somewhere. Just make sure you check the rates before you get too excited.
It is straightforward to sign-up with many affiliate schemes in the hope you will make some money. Do not fall into this trap. You are much likely to make money from one or two programmes that you put a lot of effort into than a dozen schemes that you give little attention.
How do I become an affiliate marketer? – the quick way
Many people rush in to become affiliate marketers. They will sign up to the site, all excited, and have lofty dreams of making millions. But what next? Where do you find all these wonderful customers that will spend big on your partner’s site?
This is the point most people become unstuck. The whole reason companies offer an affiliate marketing scheme is to find people who have an extensive network of relevant connections they can promote the product to. This may be from a popular blog, a significant social media presence, or a professional network in the case of enterprise products. If you do not have this great following, your sales are unlikely to be very impressive.
But do not worry, there are many techniques for building a following for serious marketers.
What if I am serious about affiliate marketing?
For any business to succeed, it requires a plan. This does not mean hundreds of pages and presentations that you would need to convince a bank manager you had a viable business. It can be as simple as a one- or two-page document setting out your goals, intended strategy, and plan for execution.
But what is your plan? Without any experience or knowledge, you will struggle.
So, more about 3 top courses here is to sign up for a top training course. A training course will help you better understand the market, how to choose the right products and platform, and most importantly, the SEO techniques required to help make people visit your website containing the affiliate links.
With the proper training and knowledge, you are sure to succeed.
How much will I make as an affiliate marketer?
The amount you make as an affiliate marketer varies massively between product, industry, effort, and marketer’s skill. Some people just make a few pounds of extra income a month, while others who are adequately trained, and devote their lives and work full time can make thousands of pounds a month.
Becoming an affiliate marketer is a common choice for those starting in the world of e-commerce. The start-up costs are low, and the returns are attractive. To succeed as an affiliate marketer, you should get some proper training on the subject. The skills you will develop along with insider tips and knowledge will kickstart your affiliate marketing business. Remember, do not rush, perform some in-depth research before jumping in, and read reviews from other marketers on your chosen platform.