“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” – Thomas Edison
Perhaps the simplest of all forms of online businesses, affiliate marketing is also the most popular among the beginners. The concept of affiliate marketing is pretty straightforward and if one learns about it through a little bit of training, it is a highly rewarding venture. Essentially, affiliate marketing is an internet-based system where a merchant (like Amazon, eBay, etc.) pays commissions to online entities known as affiliates for driving sales to the merchant’s website. Affiliate marketing is purely performance-based business where the affiliates get paid when their promotional efforts results in a sale and actual transaction.
Who are the affiliates?
An affiliate, also called a publisher is a website or a person who owns a website, mostly bloggers with content related to an industry owned by a merchant. An affiliate marketer gets commission for referring sales to another business through the content in his blog. His work involves any online activity to drive traffic back to the merchant’s site and making a sale there. He works to promote the merchant’s brand to the visitors to his website through engaging blog posts about a product or service, through banner ads, search links on his own site with an aim at making a sale through his promotional efforts. When a person buys a product through links (called affiliate links) on the affiliate’s page or blog post (on clicking the ad, the visitor is redirected to the merchant’s site), the affiliate is paid a commission. Whenever a lead is generated from the content in the publisher’s blog, the publisher is paid a commission which is usually a percentage of the amount of the product sold. Simple.
An advertiser is the merchant or retailer that sells products and services online. In affiliate marketing arrangement, the advertiser partners with the affiliate or publisher to generate more leads and sales. The affiliate showcases the products of the merchant on his site to visitors to his site and are paid through leads, pay-per-lead, pay-per-click, or pay-per-sale.
The payments through various means
Depending upon the type of affiliate program of a merchant, an affiliate is paid for various activities. The leads generated do not always result in an actual sale but most merchants pay only for leads and not for just mere visits to the merchant’s site.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) is an affiliate program where an affiliate gets paid for all the clicks whether a sale is made or not.
- Pay Per Lead (PPL) is a program where an affiliate is paid for every valuable lead generated. The lead could be an action that involves installation, free trial, short survey, online form submission or sign-ups for a program of the merchant.
- Pay Per Sale (PPS) is a program where advertisers pay the affiliate a percentage of all sales made through the affiliate’s online efforts (blogs, ads). Most popular PPS program is the Amazon Associates where the percentage of commission for a sale can be as high as 15 %. There are many popular associates offering even better percentage than Amazon.
There are also Affiliate Networks that provides a link between an advertiser and a publisher. They manage the payments by tracking all conversions of affiliates.
Why become an affiliate?
- Start-up costs are very low. Most affiliate programs are free to join, and so all costs are for the marketing methods employed by the affiliate like creating a website, or an online training program on affiliate marketing. As opposed to a regular business that involves renting a space, stock inventory or payment for staff salary, the startup cost is really low.
- No product or service creation is required. An affiliate need not create a product or service as the marketing activity involves only promotion of products which are already there for sale on the merchant’s site. There is no cost involved for stocking or shipping products. There is a product line for every niche market that an affiliate can promote.
- The freedom to work anytime or from anywhere. As long as there is a computer and internet connection, an affiliate can work from anywhere, even from the comforts of one’s home and at any time of his convenience. In short, be your own boss.
- Earn passive income. The income earned is passive in the sense that one need not continuously work but has the potential to keep on earning as long as sales are made. See? It can even earn while one remains asleep and for as long as the content in the blog remains relevant and valuable to visitors.
- The market is not limited to the vicinity of the business. That’s the power of the internet. An affiliate can sell products to any buyer from any corner of the globe.
- The second source of income. One need not be an expert in the product range promoted for sale. All that is needed is the eagerness to work and good communication skills (writing good content) to help people make the right buying decisions through the content in the blog.
What is the earning potential?
The potential to earn a lifetime of good, passive income is huge in affiliate marketing. But like all businesses, it also requires hard work and good dedication. Affiliate marketing is like a real offline business. The more effort one puts in, the greater is the return. There are many online training programs available for affiliate marketing. Get enrolled today, and see your business grow. Affiliate marketing can be learnt.
READ MORE: “Start A Home-Based Online Business Today”.