Affiliate marketing is an easier method to make money online by earning a commission for referring a product or services to others.
Affiliate Marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money provided done in the right way. The reason I term it as easiest because of multiple reasons.
One of the major reasons is – it allows you to focus on making sales and generating profit instead of focusing on building products from scratch and testing what works and what not.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a business model based on commission. The one who does is called an affiliate. An affiliate earns a percentage of the total sale as a commission by marketing an individual or company’s products.
While selling online a seller has to have customer support but as an affiliate, you do not need to hire people for help and support for the product you are promoting.
On the contrary, an affiliate is immune to every single process related to products like manufacturing, storage, warehousing, packaging, delivery or even product returns. There’s no such concept in affiliate marketing.
This makes affiliate marketing one of the few ways to make money where you get the benefit of passive income i.e. income without much of an ongoing effort from your end.
Understand Affiliate Marketing with an Example
Assume there’s a Watch Manufacturer. We call him W. He has an established offline business where he produces world-class watches.
To sell those watches he has employed a chain of retail outlets and service centers. Now W decides to expand his business and decides to go online.
As expected W now consults an outsourcing company for his online presence. This is where a second character comes into the scenario. Let us call this company as O.
Company O offers affordable design solutions to sell watches by creating an online store to which W happily agrees.
Now W has an online presence as per his requirement. However, to his surprise, he does not see any sale coming from his online store. Hence, W decides to get started with online marketing efforts for his store.
W again visits some outsourcing company for his online marketing needs to kick start some sales. For simplicity, we will use the same outsourcing company O.
Online Marketing Strategy
To start with W’s store marketing to generate sales, O uses CPC and CPM models. This is where we have a new player in the scenario with companies like Google Adwords and other CPM networks. Let’s call it G.
With time W realizes that online is no different from his traditional brick and mortar store. So he thinks why not we allow people to resale our watches. Hence, he devises a new channel to sell his watches online.
W Appoints Affiliates to Resell
W starts a profit-sharing system where he shares a percentage of profit with his resellers and this way affiliate marketers like me and you come into the scenario.
Now W starts selling his watches using an online reselling model by appointing affiliate platforms like CJ and ShareASale. Let us call them A.
This way W’s products reaches to millions of affiliate marketers. W’s idea is plain and simple – Sell more to Earn More.
As a result, these affiliates start reselling W’s watches putting in their own efforts to earn a huge commission. This way W’s sale starts rolling and gets bigger with time.
What Affiliate Marketers do?
As seen above, W’s profit-sharing model got his sales figure rolling. All thanks to the affiliates but the point is – How did affiliates manage to do this?
What’s the method? Where did they start? and What techniques did they execute? Let’s understand the process in 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Keyword Research
The first step in marketing any type of online business should always be solid research and affiliate marketing is no different. There’s a small twist here.
The research that is to be done is not about the product being sold. It’s actually about understanding the potential customer, the audience whom one has to resell the products.
Some affiliate marketers go one step further. They research what kind of offers, discounts or extra products can be bundled up with the main product. This way they develop different ideas to push the sale of the main product.
Step 2: Register Keyword Rich Domain (or URL)
After the initial research, affiliates get to know the behavior of a buyer. They get to know what people may look for when buying W’s products.
Hence, the next step is to register a killer domain name with a targetted keyword in it for an affiliate website or blog. This domain name will form the base of all online efforts.
One can start building an affiliate website/blog in no time. It doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. Just follow the step-by-step process and see your affiliate website taking shape in front of your eyes. Click the above link to get started.
Moreover, better research means more ideas for keyword rich domain. The reason being, keywords are search terms used by buyers to find desired products.
When a highly sorted keyword is used in the domain name itself the chances of ranking such affiliate website or blog in search results increases.
Additionally, a domain name with rich keyword makes the affiliate website or blog memorable. Buyers can easily memorize and identify when they come across such affiliate sites or blogs.
Why Use Short Domain Names?
As a general rule of thumb, a domain name must be no longer than 16 characters. Take imtips.co as an example. It’s short, easy to remember, looks professional, and I can spell it over a phone call to someone.
Step 3: Write a Killer Review (or a sales pitch)
After completing the tech stuff of getting a domain and hosting, the next step is to write solid product reviews. So, what do I mean when I say solid product reviews?
How I Did It?
On November 14, 2018, I posted an article wherein I wrote a detailed review of a popular lead generation tool called OptinMonster.
It helps to deploy different types of forms on a website or blog to grow email subscribers really fast. It’s a multiuser digital product, a software allowing users to create, edit & manage different forms on their websites/blogs.
The title of the article is OptinMonster – Why It’s The Best Lead Generation Tool Ever?
What I did was, compiled a list of features & benefits this tool offers. Wrote a detailed maybe more than 2000 words content including images.
This way I reviewed a popular lead generation tool in my own words integrating all those experiences I had with it.
As I have optinmonster’s affiliate account hence I provided my affiliate links in the article. I can say that I have included everything that a solid product review article aspires to have in it.
The same goes with writing consumer goods review sold on Amazon, Flipkart or any other marketplaces.
What’s the Motive in Writing Killer Review?
The motive is to earn an affiliate commission. The crux of the whole story is earning huge payouts from the vendors whose products you are trying to resell.
It must be an in-depth, resourceful and honest one. I do not write about every xyz things I come across. I only write & recommend products I personally use.
The real motive of a solid review suffices when a buyer is intending to buy a product but hasn’t bought yet. He/she triggers a product review search and lands on your affiliate product page.
Here the buyer gets to know all the pros and cons of the product in detail. Your review helps him/her to make a wise decision – to buy or not to buy!
Final Step: Marketing
Now that everything is in place right from a domain name to killer reviews the final step is marketing. An affiliate makes people visit the site and drive sales using various marketing tools & resources.
The expertise of an affiliate decides what he does next. If he is comfortable with organic SEO he may work on building links to the site and rank well in Google organic search results for the keywords.
If he/she is more into PPC then he/she may throw in some bucks to G and work on creating an arbitrage. Some Affiliates may do both.
The good news is the ongoing marketing efforts reduce drastically over time and passive income starts trickling in.
Now let us analyze the complete example as to who makes what and how much.
The Watchmaker – W
W holds the complete business of making the watches/distributing, selling, providing support and service. He makes tons of money but the money also comes at a price of setting up the business.
He has a million dollar investment for not only manufacturing but also stores in an offline format. W makes a profit depending on the quality of products.
Outsourcing Company – O
The outsourcing company does a good job of creating an online presence for W. They make money doing the web design & development.
Along with it, they may also get a continuous flow of money in the form of monthly maintenance jobs. The better outsourcing company works the lesser chances are of getting a maintenance job. However, companies like O can capitalize on repeat and/or referral work.
PPC Provider – G
G being a PPC provider yet again like W manages a giant system. Users come, advertise their products and service, generates a bill and make payment.
Moreover, G provides a system to monitor click fraud and mechanisms to prevent frauds to keep advertisers happy. This way G makes a lot of money but needs a huge system to keep it operational and functional.
Affiliate Network – A
Here A represents an affiliate network with a giant system where affiliates and advertisers can work in a friendly environment similar to G. Furthermore, A being an affiliate network handles all the hassles of moving the money from the advertisers to affiliates.
This means apart from a robust tracking mechanism to track affiliate link clicks they also need a constant support system to help publishers and advertisers with their queries and questions.
We the Affiliate Marketers – M
M represents me, you and every affiliate marketers altogether. We research about what could work for W’s product. For that, we set up a system where W’s product is sold via our reseller account and get paid for it.
To help us further we have wonderful stats and tracking system upfront which can help us build the arbitrage model.
The Bottom Line
When you look closely at the above scenario you will see the easiest money is made by M who does the right research to drive sales.
M doesn’t manufacture nor does anything related to the product. Still, M earns handsome amount simply pushing the product to the right buyer.
This not only concludes but also proves that if affiliate marketing is done in the right way it is one of the easiest ways to earn money online.
I know this has become a bit longer than what I normally prefer but don’t let that come in your way to speak your heart out in comments below.
Further Reading …