Detailing the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, and what it takes to be successful.
Some websites are launched with vocational or philanthropic intentions. Others are created as ecommerce platforms whose primary aim is to promote and sell products or services. Some sites, though, have the express aim of generating revenue, and this is increasingly being achieved by becoming an affiliate. First popularised by the founder of Amazon two decades ago, affiliate marketing is now a global industry worth billions of pounds each year.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing involves creating or distributing content that encourages people to make purchases from a third-party website. The word ‘marketing’ is key, since brazen sales pitches are best left to the aforementioned third-party site. Rather than shouting from the rooftops, a successful affiliate will subtly steer people towards a particular product or service through a weblink or banner. After all, if selling something was as easy as writing “BUY THIS NOW” in 48-point text, the affiliate marketing industry probably wouldn’t exist.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Becoming an affiliate is surprisingly straightforward. The process typically begins by registering with an affiliate program and then agreeing to feature adverts on your website, or generating content with direct relevance (and clickable links) to affiliate sites. From here the aim is to direct traffic away from your own website towards the platform you are affiliated to, directing sales towards the affiliated company.
What makes a good affiliate?
It’s important to note that as an affiliate you must be willing to promote something regardless of your personal opinions on it. A vegetarian may find themselves penning a glowing review of a steakhouse, and a pacifist might have to extol the virtues of a local boxing club. It will be immediately evident to visitors that an affiliate website is not an unbiased review centre, but that shouldn’t matter too much if the clicks come through and the revenue stream flows.
Each click-through from your website to the third-party site will be tracked and logged. This is often supervised by affiliate networks or brokers who monitor activity and process payments in exchange for a percentage of the revenue earned in each transaction. Income may be generated at any stage between the initial click-through and the completion of a sale, depending on the terms of that particular agreement. The latter option is less likely to generate significant funds, so multiple affiliations may be required to earn a decent income.
When generating content for affiliate purposes, it’s important to understand what you’re selling and why it might appeal to customers. For this reason, many people concentrate their affiliations on industries or topics they’re familiar with, where content generation and effective promotion can be undertaken with ease. If the product or service itself can’t be analysed or tested, study the competition. Why do other people like these rivals, and does your affiliated product or service do anything better/faster/cheaper/more reliably? Impartial review sites like Amazon, Ciao and ReviewCentre.com can be useful sources of information, but don’t be afraid to investigate other affiliate marketing services.
Using the right tone is crucial in building successful affiliate marketing relationships, so try to establish positive connotations without sounding like a sales brochure. Indiscriminate affiliations can irreparably harm your reputation, such as promoting a website that spams anyone who signs up. Always undertake some research before signing any agreements to ensure your website won’t become tainted by association with linked third-party sites.
You can now become a UK2 affiliate and make money from your own website! Click here to find out more and get started today.