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Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started

Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started
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Last updated: December 14, 2022
Reading time: 17 minutes

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to monetize a blog, website, or social media account. It allows you to create a semi-passive income stream without producing or selling your own products. The best part? You don’t need to be tech-savvy to start earning good affiliate commissions.

But how to become an affiliate marketer? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you want to know about affiliate marketing. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a deep understanding of how to start affiliate marketing, how it works, the different types of affiliate marketing, and what you need to succeed as an affiliate marketer.

So, let’s start with the basics first.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing arrangement through which a company rewards an affiliate for generating sales through referrals. 

Let us simplify the definition of affiliate marketing. Simply put, it’s a type of marketing in which you, as an affiliate, earn a commission for each sale made through your efforts. You can include affiliate links in your blog posts, YouTube videos, Instagram posts, or website. If someone makes a purchase through those links, you get a commission from the business. 

For example, the sites you find on Google by searching something like “best gaming laptops” will almost always be affiliate sites. They lead you to e-commerce stores like Amazon and make a commission on every sale they refer.

You, as an affiliate, make very little money for each sale (e.g., $5 for a $50 product). But the more sales you make, the more commision you earn. 

Suppose you make 100 sales. This means you made $500 from only a few hours of work! And if you continue to do this consistently, you can easily make a full-time income from affiliate marketing.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing model in which a business, referred to as a merchant, pays commission to one or more affiliates for each sale made through the affiliate’s marketing efforts. 

The merchant supplies affiliates with special links or banners to place on their websites or blogs. The affiliate gets a commission if a customer makes a purchase through the affiliate link. 

While affiliate marketing may seem simple in concept, it can be quite challenging to execute.  There are three main parties involved in an affiliate marketing relationship:

  • Merchant: The seller who fulfills the order.
  • Network or Program: The platform that facilitates affiliate marketing.
  • The affiliate: The marketer who sells the merchant’s products or services in exchange for a commision.

The merchant is the business that creates the affiliate program and provides affiliates with special links to place on their websites or blogs. But the merchant can also use some other platform for affiliate marketing, such as Impact or ShareASale.

The merchant is usually responsible for tracking sales and paying commissions to the affiliates. The affiliate program or network is an intermediary between the merchant and the affiliates, helping to track sales and payments.

The affiliate is probably YOU! For you to receive a commission, your referred customer must first click on one of the special links or banners supplied by the merchant.

If a customer clicks on the link and makes a purchase within a certain timeframe (24 hours to a few days), the affiliate receives a commission.

The merchant or affiliate network uses cookies to keep track of orders. You, as an affiliate, cannot receive credit for a sale if a customer clears their cookies or doesn’t buy within the specified timeframe.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way for businesses to expand their reach and increase sales. However, tracking sales and payments can also be difficult, so it’s important to work with a reputable network or affiliate program.

Affiliate marketing can also be rewarding and profitable for you as an affiliate. But you must understand the associated risks and potential challenges before getting started.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Affiliate marketers get paid through different commission models, mainly PPS and PPL:

  1. Pay-per-sale (PPS): You get an affiliate commission per sale.
  2. Pay-per-lead (PPL): You get an affiliate commission per lead. The merchant or the selling company may convert that lead into a sale.

The most common way affiliate marketers get paid is through pay-per-sale (PPS) commissions. When a referred customer clicks on a merchant’s link and makes a purchase, the affiliate marketer earns a commission.

PPS affiliate commissions are usually a percentage of the sale price, ranging from 5% to 50%. For example, as a Dripify Affiliate Partner, you get up to 35% commissions regularly. But it can also be a flat commission, such as $10 per sale.

Why Be an Affiliate Marketer: Top 7 Reasons

Why market someone else’s products or services? After all, you’re not the one selling them, so why should you bother? 

Did you know that the affiliate marketing industry is worth over $17 billion? We bet you would like a piece of the pie, won’t you? There are tons of reasons it is a good idea to start affiliate marketing.

1. You Don’t Need Your Product

One of the biggest advantages of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to create your own product. This can save you a lot of time and money and eliminate the risk of launching a product that might flop. 

And that’s not just it; you don’t risk anything else that’s associated with product development and launching, such as:

  • Customer support
  • Inventory
  • Shipping and fulfillment
  • Returns and refunds

All you have to do is focus on promoting a product or service you’re passionate about.

2. You Can Promote a Variety of Products

You’re not limited to promoting just one product as an affiliate marketer. You’re free to promote as many products as possible from as many different companies. This gives you a lot of flexibility and allows you to tap into different markets.

3. Earn Passive Income 

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you get to make passive income. In other words, it means you can earn money even when you’re not actively working. This is because you receive a commission whenever someone buys a product that you’ve promoted. 

Let’s say you have written a blog post about “Email Automation Tools” and promoted Dripify through your post. If you’re a part of the Dripify affiliate program, you’ll earn a recurring commission if a reader clicks on your affiliate link and buys a plan.

If that post generates organic traffic, you don’t need to do anything to make an affiliate commission regularly. Isn’t it amazing?

4. Low Start-Up Costs

As an affiliate marketer, you don’t need to invest in inventory or produce a product. All you need is an internet connection and a channel to promote your affiliate links, such as a blog, website, social media account, or email list. 

Affiliate marketing is a very cost-effective way to make money online. It’s often possible to start generating sales with helpful content. Compare this to other marketing channels like pay-per-click advertising, which can quickly eat up your budget with minimal results.

5. You Don’t Need Much Traffic

You don’t need tons of website traffic with affiliate marketing to start generating sales. Some people have had success with just a few hundred visitors per day. This is because the affiliate commission rates are usually high.

6. It’s Flexible and Scalable

Affiliate marketing is flexible and scalable; you can adapt it to suit any business model or size. This makes it an excellent way to supplement your current income or build a full-time business from scratch.

As an inspiration, take the affiliate marketing example of Wirecutter that earns millions of dollars annually through affiliate marketing.

The best part? There is no geographical limit to affiliate marketing. You can sell products anywhere in the world, regardless of location. This makes it easy to target new markets and expand your reach.

7. Build Your Credibility

As an affiliate marketer, one of your goals should be to build credibility with your audience. After all, why would they trust you if they don’t even know you? 

Fortunately, you can build credibility by creating helpful content and promoting high-quality products from reputable companies.

Now that you know the benefits of affiliate marketing, let’s find out the top affiliate marketing channels you can use to market products or services.

Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

In this section, you’ll learn how to market an affiliate offer. We’ve explained some of the most common affiliate marketing channels below. 

1. Paid Traffic

With this channel, you place affiliate ads in the sponsored section of major search engines like Google. Or maybe you’d want to run ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

But you must be careful because many companies don’t allow affiliates to run ads. And even if they do, you should use deep linking so that the user is taken to the landing page of your offer, not just the merchant’s site.

2. Content Rich Sites or Blogs

This is one of the best and organic ways to draw traffic to your affiliate links. You can get free placement in the search results of major search engines by creating content and optimizing your website for SEO. That’s our favorite way to get traffic because it’s free (somehow) and consistent. 

Here’s how it works; you do your research and pick a niche to develop content around. Next, build a website or blog around that topic and fill it with quality content. Once you have built some authority in your niche, you’ll start ranking for keywords related to your offer.

And once you rank higher in search engines like Google, you’ll start getting organic traffic consistently. This is when you can start monetizing your content through affiliate marketing. 

3. Social Media

You can market your offers on major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But again, you must be careful about this because many companies have strict rules about how affiliates can promote their offers on social media.

You can promote your offers on social media by creating posts about the benefits of using affiliate products or services. And include a link to the offer in the post. You can also create a graphic or video explaining how a product or service will change users’ lives.

4. Email Marketing

Email is undoubtedly one of the best affiliate marketing channels. You can promote your offers through email marketing by sending out a newsletter to your subscribers. In each newsletter, you can include a link to an affiliate offer.

It is also good to set up an autoresponder series, where you send out emails over some time, each with a link to an affiliate offer. This is a great way to build trust with your subscribers and get them to purchase products through your affiliate links. 

But first, you must build an email list and for that, you must have a website or blog where you can capture email addresses with lead magnets. Once you have a list of email addresses, you can start sending promotional emails.

5. Videos Marketing

This channel requires you to create review videos or demonstration videos about an affiliate product or service and include your affiliate link in the description. That’s probably the best channel to promote your affiliate offers.

Why? Because you are taking time to show your audience how the product or service works. And if it’s a good fit for them, they will be more likely to buy it through your link. Most affiliate marketers use YouTube videos to market affiliate products.

6. Forum Marketing

Forum marketing means using relevant industry forums for marketing your affiliate offers. This channel is pretty simple. Become an active member of the community and start helping others out. And in doing so, include a link to your website or blog in your signature.

Plus, if you have a helpful piece of content on your site related to the topic, you can include a link to that as well. But don’t just drop links everywhere because doing so will get you banned from the forum.

How to Pick the Right Affiliate Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Now that you know the different types of affiliate marketing channels, it’s time to learn how to choose an affiliate strategy for your business.

The best way to pick an affiliate marketing strategy is to look at your business goals and decide which type of channel will help you achieve those goals.

For example, if your goal is to generate more leads, then you should focus on creating content that will rank high on search engines. If you want to build an email list, focus on using lead magnets to capture email addresses.

Or maybe you want to sell more products. In this case, you must focus on creating review videos and demonstration videos. Once you know your business goals, it will be much easier to pick the right affiliate marketing strategy.

But before you get started with affiliate marketing, keep the following factors in mind:

1. Implementing an affiliate marketing strategy takes time.

2. It is a good idea to test different strategies and channels.

3. Ensure you only promote high-quality products.

4. It takes patience and consistency to succeed as an affiliate marketer.

6. Make sure to track your progress and results along the way.

7. Keep optimizing and improving your affiliate marketing strategy. 

By including these simple steps in your plan, you’ll be well on your way to successful affiliate marketing. Now go out there and start implementing your chosen strategy! Let’s learn how to go about it!

The Ultimate LinkedIn Sales Guide

​​7 Steps for Affiliate Marketing Beginners

In this section, you’ll learn how to start affiliate marketing as a beginner. Let’s start!

1. Pick Your Niche and Content Platform

The first step is to choose a niche that you’re interested in or have expertise in. This can be anything from cooking, fashion, health & fitness, travel, or even technology. 

Once you’ve chosen your niche, you must decide what content platform you’ll use to market the affiliate products. Think about starting a blog, a YouTube channel, or even a podcast. 

If you are up for a blog or any content-rich site, consider WordPress to manage your content seamlessly. For YouTube, ensure you have a good quality camera and microphone for recording.

2. Start Creating Content to Build an Audience

Once you have chosen your niche and content distribution platform, its time to develop content to build an audience.

First, ensure you know your target audience. You have to understand their needs and desires, their pain points, and the problems they face. 

Next, focus your content on topics that interests your target audience and provide value. You can also use this information to create targeted email campaigns to help you grow your subscribers list.

Be sure to always create high-quality content that engages your readers. This could be in the form of blog posts, videos, or even infographics. And finally, promote your content on social media and other channels. This way, you’ll start building an audience.

3. Sign Up for an Affiliate Marketing Program

Once you’ve built authority in your niche, it’s time to join an affiliate network or program. There are many different networks to choose from, but some of the most popular ones include:

  • Amazon Associates
  • Clickbank
  • CJ Affiliate
  • ShareASale
  • Impact

Also, you can also find many programs specific to your niche. For example, if you are in the health & fitness niche, you can find affiliate programs for fitness companies like Fitbit.

And if you are into LinkedIn marketing or the B2B industry, you might be interested in the Dripify affiliate program. More on this later!

4. Choose the Right Products or Services

That’s probably the most important part of an affiliate marketer’s job. You must choose only high-quality products or services to promote.

Firstly, ensure it’s something you would personally use or recommend to your friends. Plus, it must provide value to the end user. And finally, it should be something that pays a good commission and comes with a substantial cookie duration.

You can find all this information by reading the affiliate program’s terms and conditions. And listen to what other people say about the product or service by reading online reviews.

5. Promote, Promote, Promote!

Now that you’ve chosen the right products or services to promote, it’s time to get the word out! There are a few ways you can do this.

You may want to create more content around the product or service. Or run ads on social media or Google. You can also use email marketing to send out personalized emails with your affiliate links.

Go back to the types of affiliate marketing channels we discussed earlier to see which ones would be most effective for the product or service you’re promoting.

6. Optimize Your Content for Conversions

The next step is to start optimizing your content for more conversions. This means adding call-to-actions (CTAs) and affiliate links in your content. But that’s not all; you must research how you can give value to your readers or viewers.

Plus, you must ensure the CTAs are clear and stand out from the rest of the text. And that the affiliate links are relevant to the content’s theme or topic. You don’t want to come across as salesy or pushy. Just provide value and let your audience decide whether or not they want to buy through your affiliate link. 

7. Track Your Progress and Get Paid

That’s the last but continuous step in the affiliate marketing process. You need to track your progress to see how well your campaigns are doing. And more importantly, how much money you’re making from each sale.

Most affiliate networks or programs will provide you with tracking links and reports. But you can also use Google Analytics to track your progress. Just add a few lines of code to your website or blog and you’re good to go. 

Dripify affiliate program gives you the built-in analytics report, showing you the detailed statistics of your affiliate links.

And finally, you’ll get paid according to the commission structure set by the merchant. This could be a fixed amount per sale or a percentage of the total sale value.

Congrats! You’ve now learned the seven steps for affiliate marketing beginners. Just remember that it takes time and consistency to see results. So don’t give up, and keep learning as you go.

How to Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer: Top 10 Tips

There are affiliate marketers who make a full-time income from their online business, and some only make a few hundred dollars a month. So, how to successfully do affiliate marketing?

Let us share our top 10 tips that may help you succeed in the world of affiliate marketing.

1. Choose the Right Niche

The first step to becoming a successful affiliate marketer is to choose the right niche. A niche is a group of people with a shared interest. It can be anything from animal lovers to those who love fashion.

The key is to find a niche that you are interested in and that is promising enough to build your audience. For example, if you are passionate about make-up, you could write blog posts and reviews about different products.

2. Learn About the Products or Services

When promoting products or services as an affiliate, you must understand what you are selling. This means doing your research and learning about the products or services you want to promote.

If you are not familiar with the products or services, how can you expect to sell them to others? Understanding the features and benefits of the products or services will help you create effective marketing materials, such as website copy or social media posts.

3. Choose the Right Affiliate Program

Remember that not all affiliate programs are created equal. As such, it is important to choose an affiliate program that is a good fit for your niche and interests.

Some factors to consider when choosing an affiliate program include the commission rate, the type of products or services you want to sell, and the payment terms. Plus, ensure that the program has a good reputation and offers good customer support.

4. Create High-Quality Content

This is the most important part of affiliate marketing. You must create high-quality content to be successful as an affiliate marketer. This means writing blog posts, creating videos, and designing infographics that are both informative and engaging.

Your content should be well-researched and provide valuable information to your readers. The goal is to help your readers learn more about the products or services you are promoting and make an informed buying decision.

5. Build a Strong Online Presence

In order to reach more people and sell more products or services, it is important to build a good online presence. That means creating a website, setting up social media profiles, and writing guest posts on other websites.

Also, you should actively engage in online communities related to your niche and share content with others. The more people who know about you and your work, the higher your chance of making sales.

6. Use Effective Marketing Strategies

As an affiliate marketer, it is important to use effective marketing strategies to reach your target audience. This includes using SEO techniques to rank your website higher in search engine results pages, creating social media ads, and distributing e-newsletters.

It is also important to experiment with different marketing strategies until you find ones that work best for you and your niche.

7. Offer Freebies and Discounts

One way to increase sales as an affiliate marketer is to offer freebies or discounts on the products or services you are promoting. This can be done by adding a special discount code to your marketing materials or by offering a freebie with purchase.

8. Keep Track of Your Results

Keep an eye on the results to effectively market products or services as an affiliate. This means tracking the number of visitors to your website, the number of sales made, and the income you have earned. 

9. Make a Plan

Your marketing plan is critical to the success of your affiliate campaign. So, be sure to set goals and objectives to target a specific audience. It is also good to create a budget and track your results. Without a written plan, it will be difficult to measure your success.

10. Be Patient

Success in affiliate marketing does not happen overnight. It takes time to build an audience, create high-quality content, and implement effective marketing strategies.

Therefore, it is important to be patient and persistent in your efforts. Do not get discouraged if you do not see immediate results. Stay focused on your goals and continue working hard, and you will eventually see success.

Benefits of Joining an Affiliate Program

Joining any affiliate marketing websites or programs comes with tons of benefits. For example, you’ll get:

  • Access to the analytics of your affiliate sales.
  • Affiliate link protection.
  • Real-time tracking of your sales and commissions.
  • Timely payments.
  • A wide variety of marketing materials.

These are just a few benefits of joining affiliate marketing programs. So, if you’re thinking about joining one, ensure that you weigh up all the benefits before making your decision.

How Does the Dripify Affiliate Program Work?

Dripify is a powerful LinkedIn automation tool that allows you to connect with your target audience, send automated messages, create drip campaigns, and track your results.

Dripify has an affiliate program for you to earn recurring commissions by promoting the tool to your audience. When someone buys a subscription using your affiliate link, you will earn a commission on the sale. Let’s learn how it works.

Dripify Affiliate Program Commissions

The Dripify affiliate program offers up to 35% commission on a recurring basis. It’s a great way to make money while helping others improve their marketing campaigns.

Dripify offers a tiered commission structure for its affiliate program. The commission percentage for first-time purchases is 35%, and the commission percentage for renewals is 20%. This means that affiliates can earn consistent commission.

Getting Started is Super Easy

Getting started with the Dripify affiliate program is very straightforward! Just complete the affiliate marketing form, and you’re ready to go.

Once your application is approved, you’ll receive an email from Dripify together with the onboarding materials. This will include the link to access your affiliate dashboard. 

Dripify will also send you your affiliate link, training materials, and marketing materials, including banners, coupon codes, and text links.

Dripify allows you to promote the LinkedIn automation tool however you like – through email newsletters, personalized outreach on LinkedIn, social media posts, or Pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

When a customer clicks through your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission directly to your PayPal account. 

Why You Should Sign Up for Dripify Affiliate Program

There are many reasons it makes sense to join the Dripify affiliate program.

First, Dripify is one of the most trusted and the best LinkedIn automation platforms on the market. This means that you can be confident in the quality of the products you are promoting.

Second, you get free access to your affiliate control panel along with a variety of marketing materials, including affiliate links, banners, coupon codes, and more! This makes it easy for you to promote Dripify products and earn commissions.

Third, the commission structure is attractive, with up to 35% commission from each sale and 20% commission on renewal. This can add up to a significant passive income stream over time.

Finally, we provide free training to help new affiliates get started quickly and easily. So if you want a great opportunity to promote high-quality products and earn commissions, the Dripify affiliate program has you covered. 

Affiliate Marketing Mistakes and Strategies to Avoid

There are a lot of affiliate marketing programs out there, and each one has its own set of rules and regulations. If you’re not careful, you can easily make some common mistakes that will hurt your chances of success.

Let us share some common affiliate marketing mistakes:

1. Not Doing Your Research

In affiliate marketing, like any other business, you need to do your research. Research will help you find a profitable niche and then find the right products to promote. If you don’t take the time to research your niche and affiliate products, you’ll likely end up promoting products that nobody wants.

2. Not Building an Email List

If you’re not building an email list from day one, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Your email list is your most valuable asset, and it can help you make a lot of affiliate bucks if you know how to use it correctly.

3. Not Providing Value

People won’t buy from you if they don’t see any value in your offer. So, make sure to always provide valuable content and high-quality products. Doing so can supercharge your sales.

4. Not Being Patient

Patience is key in affiliate marketing. It takes time to build an audience, and it takes time to make sales. If you’re not patient, you’ll likely give up before seeing any results.

5. Not Promoting the Right Products

If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to promote the right products. Promote products that are relevant to your niche and that offer value to your audience.

Don’t promote products just because they’re popular or because you think they’ll make you a lot of money. 

What is the Difference Between Referral and Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing and referral marketing are two of the most popular ways to make money online. But what is the difference between affiliate and referral marketing, you ask?

Referral marketing is when you reward your current customers for inviting their friends to try your product or service. On the other hand, affiliate marketing is when you pay a third-party company or marketer to send customers to your business.

Both referral marketing and affiliate marketing have their pros and cons.

Referral marketing is great because it incentivizes customers to spread the word about your company, leading to more sales. 

However, it can be difficult to track how successful referral marketing is, and you may not always get new customers from referrals.

Affiliate marketing is more popular because you know exactly how much money you’re spending on each customer, and it’s easier to track the success of your campaigns.

But, it can be difficult to find good affiliates, and you may not always get new customers from them either.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra income besides your full-time job. In fact, many people quit their job after finding success with affiliate marketing. 

Also, did you know that you can start affiliate marketing with no money? Yes, that’s true. You just need a computer, internet connection, and social media presence to begin affiliate marketing.

Moreover, affiliate marketing can be done from any corner of the world and requires very little time commitment from the marketer as there is no need to create your own products.

If you’re new to the world of affiliate marketing, it can seem like a pretty tricky business to break into. But, once you get used to it and understand how everything works together, you’ll see that it’s not such a difficult process after all.

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FAQ

An affiliate marketing platform is a system that allows both advertisers and publishers to manage their affiliate marketing campaigns. The most popular platforms include CJ, ShareASale, and ClickBank.

The amount of money you can make as an affiliate depends on your experience, the type of products you promote, and the size of your audience. 

However, as an affiliate marketer, you can expect to earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per month.

The best affiliate marketing products are the ones that sell fast and offer good commision for the affiliate. There are many products out there that meet these criteria, but some of the most popular include digital products, such as online courses and software like Dripify.

There are many ways to track your affiliate marketing success. The most important metric is usually the number of sales or leads you generate. But you may consider these metrics as well:

  • Clicks
  • Conversion rate
  • Return on ad spend
  • Incremental revenue
  • Cost per click and cost per sale

And the list goes on. The best way to track your affiliate marketing success is to focus on analytics reports generated by your affiliate marketing programs.

Yes, affiliate marketing is absolutely legal. In fact, it is one of the most effective online marketing methods available to businesses today. That makes up a win-win situation for both advertisers and publishers.

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