What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate schemes are in effect a marketing agreement between a brand and a third party (the affiliate) who advertise the brand’s products to help generate sales, and thereby earn a percentage of the monetary value. Or according to Wikipedia, “affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
If you’re new to the online business world and are considering entering into affiliate schemes, we have some tips on the dos, don’ts and hows..
- Do I need a website?
This may sound obvious to some, but creating the right website is crucial to your long term affiliation plans. Becoming an affiliate partner with a brand involves the company giving you a unique link to their website. This allows them to track where the visitors are being sent from. With this link, the theory is you can send potential customers to the brand’s website from anywhere, including social media posts, other people’s blog’s comments section, forums etc. In this way you’d be sneakily spreading a very unstable web.
The proper way to become an affiliate is to build your own website. There are also so many free blog hosting sites, such as WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger, which for a small fee offer some cutting-edge templates to make your website really stand out. The setup process is simple and gives you a good backend from where you can easily update your content. You can view your website as your very own department store with its inviting shop windows. Here is where your affiliate schemes and their products will be represented.
- What products should I promote on my affiliate website?
Before you do anything you need to decide what niche or category of products you would like to market. First of all, the products need to match the content of your website. Ideally you would plan the website theme and the product choices at the same time to complement each other. For example, if you are selling small home decoration items such as candles and mugs, your website could be a blog about home decoration. This way it would then make perfect sense for you to be advertising candles and mugs. Furthermore, the more successful your blog becomes, the more home products you can add to your affiliate schemes, and they will fit in nicely with your blog’s theme.
The other very important factor is to research the popularity of your chosen product by carrying out internet searches. Products which seem great but no one is searching for online will not make you money. You need to find a balance between the likability of the product and actual searches.
In summary: choose products with good search engine volumes that sit naturally within your website theme and choose a theme that has some room for expansion and growth.
- Who should I affiliate with?
One way is to approach affiliate network websites which basically control all of the affiliations to a set of businesses. They are a middle man featuring the brands which offer affiliate schemes. Here you can find your first products. But before you agree to anything make sure you read the contract carefully. In affiliation you should never have to pay anything. Your percentage income needs to be clearly stated, as well as the conditions for which you are paid. Once you get going you can start to approach brands individually, and if you’re really doing well then brands will start approaching you.
- How do I become a successful affiliate?
You have your website ready and you’ve chosen the market and products. What now? You need to create engaging and relevant content to your market. For example, going back to the home decoration idea, suppose your products are a range of locally handmade scented candles. The best thing would be to try lighting the candles in your home and try out the different scents. Does one particular scent feel appropriate for a relaxing bath? Perhaps another is more suitable for a dinner party. Where in my home does the candle look good? If you have a good camera, stage a little photo shoot and inspire your audience to want the product too. In other words, the content needs to be real and authentic. The readers need to feel you actually know the product and are genuinely endorsing it.
- Why is traffic so important in affiliate marketing?
Creating traffic to your website/blog is the backbone to a successful affiliate scheme. Without visitors you don’t have potential customers, which means no income. This is a lot of hard work and takes considerable investment of time. As with any website you need to promote it and make sure it’s seen. To be found organically in search engines takes time, so you will also have to do a lot of other forms of marketing. But beware of paid advertising such as Google Adwords, as some affiliate schemes might not allow that.
We hope this piece gives you an inspiring insight as to what the world of affiliate schemes is all about. Look out for the WestHost affiliate program coming up.