What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a very popular way to make a passive income, but it is not as easy – or as passive – as you might think. If you want to use affiliate marketing to boost your product or become an affiliate marketer yourself, you will need to think carefully about what your goals are and how this type of marketing can help you.

There are a few different stages of affiliate marketing and whether you want to be a marketer or you have a product to market, you should be aware of what the process is and how it works. Affiliate marketing is billed as a passive income but when you add up the number of people involved and the amount of work that really goes into it, it is anything but.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing process where two parties combine forces to market a product. Usually, this means that one party has a product they want to market and they offer another party to market it for them for a commission or a share of the profit.

Normally, affiliate marketing is linked to the number of purchases made by consumers using a particular link. This way, the product owner can track the number of purchases made through the affiliate and compensate them accordingly. Essentially, affiliate marketing is about motivating others to market a product as effectively as possible to make the most on commission.

The success of affiliate marketing always comes down to the number of conversions it creates. This type of marketing is not about brand awareness, it is purely about generating revenue. If the affiliate does not generate revenue then no one gets paid. This is why affiliate marketing isn’t quite as passive as it might sound – you have to work at it.

Who is Involved with Affiliate Marketing?

There are 3 parties involved in affiliate marketing: the product owner, the affiliate marketer and the consumer. Some definitions also include a fourth party: the networker. Let’s start at the beginning.

The Product Owner
Any business or individual entrepreneur may be the product owner and the product can be a physical thing like a spoon or a service like content writing. Large businesses often use affiliate marketers to give new products a boost by using review sites and other similar ideas. To get the most coverage quickly, a product owner might choose to use an affiliate network.

The Network
An affiliate network is a site that combines the forces of lots of affiliate marketers. This is great for product owners who want to access lots of affiliates quickly, but it is also an easy way to get commissions if you are an affiliate marketer yourself. Sites like WOW TRK are a good example of an affiliate network and they bring together lots of different website styles, themes and industries.

The Affiliate Marketer
Many affiliate marketers are bloggers who write and publish articles that they then share with their social network. These blogs contain links to the product the owner wants to market and they encourage users to click the link. More and more bloggers are now being more transparent about the fact that they are using affiliate links but some are not so open.

Some affiliate marketers also create and promote banner ads or use their social media channels to further promote the product. There are lots of platforms available to affiliate marketers and the process works in much the same way regardless of whether they put a YouTube video review up or put a status on their social media advertising the product.

The Consumer
Persuading the consumer to make a purchase is the whole point of affiliate marketing and is the only real way to show whether the marketing process was a success or not. The key is to persuade the consumer that the affiliate marketer – whoever that might be – is trustworthy and their recommendation is worth taking. This is why so many affiliates are so transparent about what they are doing, but also why so many aren’t!

Why Use an Affiliate Marketing Network?

Though it is possible to do affiliate marketing without a network, it does mean that you will do a lot more work to find the right partner. The biggest benefit of a network is that they are much more likely to have a range of partners who are suitable for you which means that your marketing scheme has a greater chance of success.

In some cases, going through a network is the only way to find a suited partner. For example, some product owners will only use networked affiliates because this is the simplest way to be certain that an affiliate understands their brand and is well motivated to succeed. Many affiliates also prefer using a network only because this streamlines payment and means that they don’t need to do anything extra to ensure they get the commission they deserve.

As people become more comfortable with affiliate marketing, the area is getting more and more competitive. This means that marketers need to do ever more to keep showing off the products they are hoping to promote. As with any industry, this means that the service is rapidly improving and many people are forging whole careers out of affiliate marketing. With a network, this knowledge is shared around giving everyone the same advantages and opportunities to succeed.

Affiliate marketing has quickly become a norm in our internet dominated society and getting on board now is a good idea if you want to compete online. While there is plenty to read about affiliate marketing, the best way to educate yourself in this constantly evolving area of marketing is to get involved and start a campaign. It will take time to build up your skill set and work out which strategies work best, but once you are in the swing of things, you will find yourself becoming more creative with your marketing ploys and certainly much better off.

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