Affiliate Marketing Is Invaluable To Learning The Arts And Smarts Of Knowledge Commerce
If you are a starter Knowledge Commerce marketer you may wonder if you have all the skills you need to market and sell your own products, after you have created your own ebooks, courses, membership sites or consulting services.
There is an ultra-smart way to begin your journey into full-scale Knowledge Commerce. Start with Affiliate Marketing and learn to market the info-products of others in Knowledge Commerce.
The skills you learn from Affiliate Marketing will cut out the bulk of the risks, time, and effort you’ll spend on launching your own knowledge products later. You can earn handsomely while you learn, too.
At Solohacks Academy, we see Affiliate Marketing as an earning avenue you can continue, even after launching your own products in Knowledge Commerce. You don’t have to stop this line of earning ever. In fact, your portfolio of products will only be richer and more varied if you sell a lot of affiliate products, that chime well with your own products, that you develop later on your own.
1. What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?
Affiliate Marketing is among the most common ways most online entrepreneurs begin to make money with online businesses. Much before they launch their own products, they experiment by trying to sell other people’s products to online customers, to earn a commission. This preps them to later market their own products with confidence.
The Affiliate Marketing system is so well-oiled nowadays, that if you have the right products to sell from reputed marketers, and you have the right audiences, you can make a fairly reliable income from Affiliate Marketing. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Let’s first see what Affiliate Marketing is and how it works …
a. What is Affiliate Marketing And How Do You Earn From It?
Quite simply, Affiliate Marketing is the process by which an “affiliate” (a subsidiary seller) earns a commission for marketing another person’s products or services. The affiliate picks products suited to his own expertise niche – so he knows his audiences and their tastes, and can convincingly recommend certain much-wanted products to his community.
As he promotes such products, he earns a percentage of the profit from each sale he helps complete.
The process goes like this: the job of the affiliate is to entice people to know more about the products he recommends by clicking links that lead from his own site to the product seller’s site. The seller knows (from the code attached to the link) which affiliate sent the customer to his site … and if the customer buys, the set percentage of commission is automatically assigned as payable to the affiliate who sent the customer.
To visually understand the process, just take a look at this sketch below …
Image courtesy: Entrepreneurship Facts
So what can go wrong, if indeed anything can go wrong? There are some things an affiliate has to be careful about:
- The affiliate should make sure the product seller is a well-known brand, with credibility and reliability in the matter of payments. The affiliate should not fall for offers of a high percentage of commission and agree to work with product sellers with a dubious reputation for paying their affiliates on time and correctly.
- The affiliate should make sure his unique affiliate code, which he uses on his links to direct customers to the seller’s site, do not get hacked or stolen by “affiliate commission thieves”. There are ways to protect oneself, and an affiliate should be well versed in the ways of thieves and the ways to keep them at bay.
- The affiliate should know what his rights are and how to get redressals if there is a dispute regarding commissions. Sometimes you can have a dispute about which affiliate brought a customer to the seller and is therefore due to get the commission. For example, if there has been a time-lapse between the time one affiliate recommended the product but the customer didn’t buy … and another affiliate landed the same customer later by making him buy this time around. perhaps both affiliates may think they are due to get the commission. The seller should have clear rules on how long time-lapses can be, when an affiliate still has a claim on the customer. The seller must also have good grievance redressal mechanisms, so disputes are neatly settled to the satisfaction of all.
If you’re planning to earn affiliate income, though, don’t let probable negatives make you balk. They are all par for the course. As long as the seller’s rules and intentions are clean, and up to the best of industry standards, you have nothing to fear. Most affiliates are extremely happy being affiliates and earning without the hassle of creating a product or servicing a customer. This is the business where all you do to earn handsomely is to sign-post the customer to the seller’s site with a strong recommendation.
b. There Are Many Ways To Earn Affiliate Commissions … Know What These Are
It’s not always necessary that affiliates can earn commissions only if a consumer they send to a seller ends up actually buying a product. There are many forms of affiliate commissions paid by sellers even if affiliates bring customers part of the way towards sales. Here are a few classic options that sellers may provide for affiliates to earn.
Pay per sale
This is the most lucrative affiliate earning structure. Here, the merchant pays the affiliate a declared percentage of the sale price of his products, if the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s communication strategies. The affiliate must actually get the buyer to buy the product before he is paid by the seller.
Pay per lead
In this system, a seller pays an affiliate a set commission for just bringing a potential buyer – a lead – up to the seller’s site, whether or not a sale results from that lead. However, the lead has to be seen performing some desired action on the seller’s site, just short of actually buying. Perhaps the seller may say the lead should fill out a contact form, sign up for a product trial, subscribe to the seller’s newsletter, or choose to download some PDFs or freeware. The idea is that the lead must show some initial level of interest in the seller and his products, for the affiliate to earn his commission.
Pay per click
This is by far the easiest way to earn an affiliate commission. All the affiliate has to do is to incentivize the potential buyer to click the link on his site and reach the seller’s site. For that, he gets a commission because he has reached a potential buyer to the seller’s front door. The affiliate is paid, in essence, for increasing traffic to the seller’s site.
Tiered affiliate earning system
This is a bit more complex as an affiliate program. The seller may allow his existing affiliates a commission for bringing in more affiliates into his affiliate program. Just like multi-layer marketing, the first affiliate is considered to be on the top-tier of the system, while other affiliates he brings to the program are said to be second-tier affiliates. Now, we already know that every time the top-tier affiliate helps the seller make a sale, he would, of course, earn his commission. But in a tiered system, if his second-tier affiliates help the seller make a sale, the top tier affiliate would also earn a percentage from their sales also. Thus any affiliate who brings in a network of other affiliates earns from his own work as well as from the work of other affiliates he introduced into the system. There are sellers who encourage several tiers of affiliates.
c. How Much Can An Affiliate Really Earn?
Here are some examples to whet your appetite:
- Jason Stone, the affiliate marketer, also known as Millionaire Mentor, was responsible for as much as $7 million in retailer sales just in two calendar months.
- Ryan Robinson, an affiliate marketer, reported over $19,000 in affiliate revenue in a month.
- An affiliate website — The Wirecutter — earned an estimated $10 million in revenue annually, and was eventually sold to the New York Times for $30 million.
- Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income makes well over $100,000 in affiliate commissions per month.
In fact, Pat Flynn publishes an income report every month, and I’ve taken a sample report from one of his earlier years to show you how he chooses his best products for affiliate marketing and how much he makes approximately from his collection.