What is Affiliate Marketing?

what is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a great, cost effective way to monetize your website or blog.

The easiest way to explain the question what is affiliate marketing, is that it is a way of making money online where the “publisher,” is compensated on a commission basis for helping a business promote their website, products, or services.

A “publisher” is someone who owns/runs a blog or website. They publish their own content, whether it’s a blog, an online store, or and informational site. Many publishers have found that they can add an additional income source from their site or blog through affiliate marketing. Publishers add a link to their site so that when someone clicks it they are directed to a site where they buy a widget or an eBook on manscaping. Publishers get a commission on this sale. A pretty good passive income source, huh?

There are other variations of affiliate marketing where you earn a commission for referring a visitor who then takes some kind of action – for example when they sign up for something and give contact information like an email address, or a name, phone number and address etc.

Commissions are typically a percentage of a sale but they can also be a fixed amount per click or per conversion.

These conversions are tracked when the publisher uses a unique code embedded link that enables the advertiser (seller) to track where conversions come from. Some times an advertiser may give a publisher a coupon code or QR code for their website visitors to use that helps to track conversions.

Advertisers Like Affiliate Marketers

Advertisers are in business to sell their product or service. They buy ads and do whatever they can to try to drive traffic to their site to sell products. Affiliate marketers have an intriguing value proposition. They say, “Hey, I have a site that gets 5,000 vists per day, if I put a link to your site, will you split the sales with me?” That’s clicks on their site and sales that they would otherwise not get, and they don’t have to do any additional work to get them. Needless to say they are ecstatic to get the offer. Advertisers know that while they earn less for each individual sale, having a network of affiliates promoting their product almost certainly increase overall sales levels dramatically.

Publishers Like Affiliate Marketing

On the publisher side, they are looking to get readers, followers and likes and those don’t necessarily translate into dollars. A great way to monetize their site is affiliate marketing. It doesn’t cost anything, there is no additional work and, if they have a lot of visitors to their site, they can make some pretty good cash flow. The great part about affiliate marketing is that publishers can find advertisers affiliate offers that are similar and relevant to the niche of their website.

Is it Easy to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

While affiliate marketing can be a great source of cash flow it is also important to keep in mind that affiliate marketing is not easy money. There are a number of successes in the industry and there are also a lot of failures. The failures of those who try it don’t make much money can be broken down into the following factors:

  1. Low traffic numbers
  2. Lack of quality products or services
  3. Lack of trust with your readers
  4. Lack of visitors who are actual buyers
  5. Inability to write good sales copy

You should also keep in mind that there is some risk associated with affiliate marketing in promoting low quality products. Going for the big score in affiliate income if it’s the wrong product can hurt your personal reputation and brand.

Sometimes affiliate marketing doesn’t work on all blogs. For instance, if you write a blog about religion and you have affiliate ads for sports betting or astrology, it may not be a good fit. And sometimes blogs are not money making vehicles. If you love what you write about and you’re passionate about it, that may be payment enough.

There is money to be made in affiliate marketing if you do it right. In later articles we’ll dive a bit deeper into the mechanics, structure, format, etc so that you can add another source of cash flow to your Make Cash Flow bucket.