Affiliate marketing has become huge in this day of age. Between social sites, and the popularity of blogging. Affiliates have various platforms to work from.
In fact, many professional bloggers use affiliate marketing as their way of generating revenue. Many affiliates have found that it is pretty easy to sell a product for someone, rather than create their own products to sell.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when a business enlists the help of partners (aka affiliates) to sell their products or services in exchange for a commission. Typically, businesses incentivize affiliates to promote their product by providing them with a percentage of the sale that comes through their personal affiliate link, much like other types of rewards programs.
This should not be confused with a referral marketing program. As the affiliate is not personally sharing the business with their friends. Rather they are displaying their personal link as an ad on their blog or using it in a piece of content. For example, a blogger may provide a product link in a review or article they are writing.
In most cases, affiliates sign up for a merchants affiliate program. On the flip side, very popular bloggers and online celebrities may be asked by a company to link to specific products and such (much like an influencer program). Regardless of how the person became an affiliate, there is one common denominator. The affiliate link, which the affiliate pushes to its followers.
How does it work?
Essentially affiliate marketing involves a merchant paying an affiliate to bring in more consumers. The process really comes full circle, if you think of it. The merchant pays affiliate, affiliate brings in consumer, and the consumer buys from the merchant.
Affiliate marketing is based on performance, commission, and revenue sharing. Typically, affiliates don’t have a product to sell, but instead, promote products for a commission. Meaning, an affiliate will get paid when their promotions of a specific product that leads to a transaction.
Step 1: Merchants find partners who are in their niche.
Most affiliate marketing is done with affiliates who are known for their knowledge in a particular area. For example, a makeup brand may team up with a beauty blogger. Or, a fitness studio, may try to partner with a well-known fitness guru.
Step 2: Merchants provide the affiliate with their own affiliate link.
Step 3: Affiliates are compensated for effective word of mouth.
Most affiliates are paid to display their affiliate link. The terms of payment can vary, but the most common is to pay a percentage of each sale.
History of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing isn’t ‘new’ per say. The gist of affiliate marketing has been around for ages and relies heavily on word of mouth marketing. But, unlike traditional word of mouth, affiliate marketing, most traditionally, needs the Word Wide Web to exist. Therefore, you can see it’s the younger sibling to most other types of word of mouth marketing.
As mentioned, the internet played a huge role in getting affiliate marketing to where it is today. To put an ‘official’ timestamp on it, in 2000, the first set of guidelines were published to further legitimize the exchanges between affiliates and merchants.
Benefits of affiliate marketing
1. Online is the way to go.
Online stores are doing really well. Most could say that they are actually outperforming their brick and mortar counterparts. In fact, most people have turned to the web for their everyday shopping. As you can imagine, this is great for affiliate marketers.
2. Social media platforms are doing well.
Because the internet is booming, social media platforms are highly used, and blogging is huge, affiliate marketing is doing really well. Most affiliate marketers have a good following on their social platforms, and many of those followers trust their influence on products.
3. Popular bloggers can mean high traffic.
Because popular bloggers and such are the ideal candidates for affiliate marketing, many merchants can expect their products to be pushed in front of a high amount of traffic. This boost in traffic helps lower the merchants overall marketing costs. Partly because the affiliates are producing the content, and then promoting it too.
Examples of affiliate marketing
Here are a fewTweet