Affiliate marketing a great tool for businesses and brands, and understanding the best affiliate marketing strategies is key to launching a successful affiliate marketing campaign. For small and online businesses, affiliate marketing has proven useful and effective, as information about products and services can spread widely in a short period of time. And, for aspiring affiliate marketers, it’s a fairly simple way to earn income!
Affiliate marketing is an essential tool for businesses of all kinds, and it's been around for a long time, but has gained in popularity in recent years for businesses looking to offer affiliate programs, and individuals looking to dive into the world of affiliate marketing! Affiliate marketing can an effective way to market your product or service, as well as an effective way for and platforms, like Shopify, to earn commission (income) each time a product is purchased through their recommended link.
However, there are specific techniques and strategies that must be implemented in order to successfully market a product through affiliate sources, and, to earn income as an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is like any other kind of marketing in the sense that it's a way to get your product in front of customers who are interested in buying it. But, it’s unique in that it’s cost effective for businesses, and for aspiring affiliates, you don’t need a marketing degree or business experience in order to earn some passive income…or even a full salary, depending on how many people are viewing your affiliate materials and purchasing through your links. Similar to other advertising models, affiliates—meaning the people and/or company that promotes your product or service—earn commission based on conversion that occurs through their platform. In this case, the "product" can be anything from a physical good like a book or a tool, to an online service like a website, app, or consulting service.
The key part of affiliate marketing is that you're not selling the product yourself—you're just getting people excited about it by telling they'll benefit from buying it, and you're recommending it to them in a unique way. Affiliates must present products, most often in lists or listicle style blogs, in enticing ways that prompt readers to act and not only click links to read about specific products and services, but, make a purchase. Most often, affiliates artfully insert links and recommend several products throughout one article, so, there are plenty of opportunities for readers to click, companies to make a sale, and affiliates to earn commission.
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The 3 different types of affiliate marketing are:
- Unattached affiliate marketing
- Related affiliate marketing
- Involved affiliate marketing
Affiliate blogs are often titled and written in a way that allows the affiliate to introduce a topic, product or problem, share some insight about it, and offer their suggestion of products with a brief description and the appropriate link. For example: " The top 10 lip balms for dry lips you can buy on Amazon", “7 X [services] you need to consider before heading to College”, or "Best X [books] every psych student needs to read". The company or individual who published the article/blog and inserted the links will receive commission based on the number of clicks each link gets, and purchases made through the link. This is a great way to make money, and it's also a great way to help others find what they need in their lives. As an affiliate, or somebody considering affiliate marketing, consider the many ways you could profit from affiliate marketing, and how you could help people. Whether your chosen topic involves one of your passions or just something that interests you, think about how many people might benefit from learning more about the subject and finding products/services that you help them. Essentially, you are guiding them through a list and making recommendations to help with a need, problem or consumer desire.
On the flip side, as a company considering affiliate marketing, it’s worth considering how broad your reach could be if you were to either utilize a platform, like Shopify or Amazon, or, blogs, articles and influencers to help spread word of your product or type of business by writing great pieces that describe a topic and make recommendations accordingly. Affiliate marketing offers fantastic exposure that can often target niche audiences, as well as the general public. You never know who may stumble upon your product in a blog or article and be amazed by it!
Affiliate marketing exists because there's always going to be more demand than supply. You might have great ideas for things that people need, and you might be able to make those things yourself—whether or not your product or service is one-in-a-million, or, one of millions, you’ve got something that other people want and you could use affiliate marketing as a way to connect with new customers who will happily buy what you have for sale.
Businesses of all sizes, and of all types, utilize affiliate marketing. For example, farming equipment and livestock feed companies approach bloggers (who write about homestead recipes and farm living, for example) to include links to their products in their blog, and/or, to write specific articles that highlight the uses and benefits of certain products. Affiliate marketing in the tech industry is outrageously popular, and this is because the tech-sphere is everchanging and rapidly evolving, and customers are always doing research, reading reviews, and eagerly hunting for the next best smart phone, watch, computer, or tech accessory to add to their home. The fitness industry, as well as home improvement businesses, big-box stores, Amazon, book and lifestyle brands, clothing and cosmetic brands, and even pet food companies thrive with affiliate marketing, because people are always searching for answers and recommendations online. And, with the normalization of online shopping and online businesses, people will not only be quick to read about a product or service, but, to act on it and make the purchase, too.
A win for the business, and a win for the affiliate earning commission!
While big-box stores and online empires, like Amazon, certainly utilize affiliate marketing, it’s especially beneficial for small businesses without an expansive budget to spend on marketing and advertising campaigns and agency advice. It doesn’t cost a lot to partner with an affiliate or affiliate platform—often, larger platforms will hire their own writers and offer them a small portion of their commission or payout—which makes it a low risk investment. Affiliate marketing also offers businesses and affiliates far more control and access to information, like important analytics, to measure engagement and track things like clicks, bounce rates, leads, and sales that come directly from the link. This is something that other marketing strategies, such as a billboard or poster on public transit, cannot offer! This information is very important in understanding when to post, what to post, and what to include, as it offers clear data that can guide future decisions in order to boost brand awareness and conversion rates.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your education services and educational resource related products or services. Whether you do so through educational blogs, personal blogs, school-run websites, organizations or other related people and companies, you can make your service visible and encourage others to promote it to relevant audiences!
For example, if you offer an educational service, a program, or an education product, you may wish to have it marketed through other websites that are associated with accredited education programs. And, as an affiliate marketer or blogger who creates content related to the education sector, you can earn commissions by promoting other people's courses, books, software and other relevant materials through your respective blog, website, or other platform.
Anyone can become an affiliate marketer.
Well, almost anyone. While you don’t need a specific education or a very broad knowledge of a specific topic, if you want to actually earn money by being an affiliate, you do require a working computer, a platform to promote other people’s products and services on, and decent, if not great, language and grammar skills.
You can either begin affiliate marketing as an affiliate marketer through an existing company like Clickbank or ShareASale, or you can set up your own affiliate program with the help of some kind of e-commerce platform such as Shopify or Amazon. There are many bloggers and influencers who have several affiliate associations, for example, some may discuss various educational resources, apparel stories, pet brands and beauty brands throughout their various blogs, because they’ve attracted a large audience and have asserted themselves as the expert—or at least, a trusted voice—on a variety of topics, items, and brands.
On that note, it’s important to recognize that becoming an affiliate marketer doesn’t lead to overnight success…just as hiring an affiliate marketer most often does not make a brand ‘blow up’ overnight. Brand visibility, awareness, and/or affiliate material visibility can take time to establish. Patience, good language and writing skills, a working computer, an audience, and a platform are all required to become a successful affiliate marketer.
Overall, a lot goes into making affiliate marketing effective, but, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Partnering with the right affiliates—small blogs, influencers, brand partnerships, and medium-to-large sized platforms—means that your brand and product/service will reach a broad range of people in a short period of time, and will continue to do so as months and years pass by, so long as the blog/article is still published and being searching, and affiliate links are still active.
Because of the low cost and low risk behind affiliate marketing, it’s appealing to many on a budget and it is in many ways more impactful (and far-reaching) than other types of marketing, such as print, billboard or radio—as people will be able to act as soon as they see the product link—making it a more ‘immediate’ response.
Businesses and brands should ensure they are tracking important data and analytics, and, that they know who they are marketing to, so that they can pass this information onto their affiliate marketers to ensure the content they produce is relevant, factual and enticing. Moreover, brands must select affiliates of all backgrounds, but should ensure that they are at the very least semi-interested in their brand, product, service, and mission!
Finally, brands must pay their affiliates fair commission.
For current and aspiring affiliates, it’s important that you partner with brands that offer fair compensation and produce a product or service that you’re able to write about and vouge for, and, that you have a functional computer and well developed reading and writing skills!
1. What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing means you’re having your service or product advertised through a blog, article, or another platform, and you’ll pay affiliates (your partners/people who post content about your brand) a pre-determined commission based on the amount of time a particular product is purchased through the link they provided.
For example, you may own a small cosmetic business, and have 16 affiliate partners, some of whom write blogs with a mid-sized reach, and others with influencer status. You may also have a brand partnership. Each affiliate generates content for you where they recommend your products, or, include your products in a list-style or comparison blog, with the appropriate links so that their audience can immediately be redirected to your website and purchase.
When a purchase is made, you’d owe the owner of the blog, your affiliate, a percentage of your earning. If they were to earn 10% commission, then each time a $100 product was purchased through their link, you would owe them $10.
2. Is affiliate marketing effective?
Yes. Affiliate marketing is particularly effective due to the general popularity and utilization of the internet for things like social media, blogs, general interest reading, and searching online for answers and recommendations! People see affiliate links in articles, blogs and ads daily and can take immediate action!
3. How can I, an aspiring affiliate, start a partnership?
Many companies have information about their affiliate programs listed on their websites! Often, they’ll want to know what platform you use, what your reach is, and other information about followers and engagement. This isn’t to say you need hundreds of views to become an affiliate partner, but, some brands want to ensure that they’ll earn money by partnering with you. Establishing a good following on your blog or another platform can help with this.
4. How can I, an established brand or small business, benefit from affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing can increase brand visibility, and is an effective way of putting your name and product/service all around the internet on a variety of platforms. Plus, it’s evergreen (if you want it to be). Links from a decade ago still exist, so long as the product does, and both the merchant and affiliate platforms do, too! Additionally, affiliate marketing costs far less than a traditional ad campaign.
5. Can anyone be an affiliate marketer?
You need to qualify for a partnership, and, you need at least basic language and writing skills, as well as a functional laptop to become an affiliate marketer. It can take time to grow your audience.
6. What are some good strategies for affiliate marketing?
In general, identifying your audience, choosing the right affiliates and ensuring they have the tools and information they need in order to produce great content, and, optimizing accordingly can make for a successful affiliate marketing venture.
7. Are analytics and data tracking important?
Absolutely! If you don’t track things like your click rates, leads, engagement and conversion, you may be wasting money! It’s important to note what’s working, and what isn’t.
8. I have a blog related to education, can I be an affiliate partner?
Yes, affiliate marketing is relevant in many fields and across many sectors! For example, has an affiliate program and offers great partnership opportunities for individuals with blogs and websites related to education, university students, post-secondary institutions and other organizations who are interested in becoming affiliates.