So what is affiliate marketing? Affiliate Marketing is the process by which a company or an individual promotes a product or service in order to get paid commissions for their referrals.
For example, you ( as an affiliate) could promote products found on Amazon … let’s say a specific fitness product found on Amazon. It would be your job as an affiliate marketer to promote this product to a target audience. Every time someone from this audience buys the product on Amazon, you will receive a commission.
What is Affiliate Marketing Benefits
Here is an example of one of my affiliate links. I am an affiliate with HostGator. They provide web hosting and free domain registration. Through my link you can use there domain search tool and claim your website. HostGator offers affordable plans less than $5 per month. That’s probably less than your favorite drink at Starbucks.
Affiliate Marketing can be a good source for extra cash because you are able to leverage the power of a large network of products without the market research, warehousing, storage, and other cost associated with bringing a product to the market.
With Affiliate marketing you’ll be able to offer products that are trusted and proven. Using simple tools you will be able to link to products easily without creating sales pages. One more thought you can create a passive income stream that pays you when your doing other things or maybe even while your asleep.
You receive a commission, or flat rate, as people who go through your affiliate links make their purchase.
Depending on the program or network, you might have a payment threshold. This means you might have to receive a certain amount of sales to have an account balance go past a payment threshold until you receive your payment.
Payments can be made in a number of ways, Some will send you a check, or deposit into your checking account, while others may use Pay Pal.
Many products have affiliate programs attached to them. They range from something as simple as a membership to a service you use, or even your favorite products you order through Amazon.
Affiliate programs exist for just about any niche in blogging. Makeup, clothing, software, travel, crafts and DIY, online courses, eBooks.
Whatever your blog topic is you should be able to find an affiliate program to monetize your blog with.
What is affiliate marketing Tracking
Merchants use what’s known as “cookies”. Cookies are used to connect you with the buyer and get you paid.
Your affiliate links identify you as the referrer of the person who clicks that link. Then a cookie is used after the customer gets to the merchants site to make sure you get credit for what they buy or do. Cookies can last anywhere from just the time the customer is on the merchant’s site to over a year.
Some terms to be familiar with
Affiliate – this would be you, if you choose to use affiliate marketing to make money blogging. You are a partner that promotes products or a business for a business in return for a set commission.
Affiliate programs are individual programs offered by merchants. Many companies offer what is referred to as an in-house affiliate program. With this set up you usually go to that company’s website and log in to get your links and check your stats. Your payment will come directly from the company themselves.
Affiliate networks are where you log into one site and have access to many different affiliate programs, sometimes numbering into the 10s of thousands. Merchants sign up with with the network and the network handles payments and tracking of sales. You will receive your payment from the network in this set up.
Affiliate Agreement – each company you sign up with will have it’s own agreement, even in affiliate networks. This agreement specifies the rules that both you and the company you are partnering will will follow. This will tell you what is allowed and not allowed when promoting their products. And they have a bunch of legal jargon so everyone is protected from all the legal stuff.
Affiliate Disclosure/Disclaimer – a statement that is put on your website to inform potential customers that you receive compensation/commission from merchants in exchange for referring them customers. These are required by the FTC.
Affiliate Link – this is a URL that you will use (you get this from the affiliate program or affiliate network) on your site. You send your referrals through this link to the company’s website whose product or service you are promoting. This link is how the sale/referral is able to be tracked so you can get your commissions.
Commission – a percentage or a flat rate for a sale that is paid to the affiliate who referred the sale to the affiliate program.
Cookie – these are used to keep track of sales by affiliates. When a user clicks on your individual affiliate link they are given a cookie on their computer that allows the merchant to know that the referral of that customer is from the individual affiliate and not someone else. These are just like the cookies you delete from your browser, same thing, and they go in the same place on a computer.
CPA – aka Cost Per Action – this is another form of reward from merchants to affiliates. Instead of a commission percentage you get a flat rate in return for an action the referred customer makes. This action could be anything from a sale, an email newsletter sign up, a download, a phone call, some are even just a zip code entry. There are entire affiliate networks that are set up for just CPA offers.
CPC – aka Cost Per Click – this is referring to the amount of money paid to generate a click through on a link. So if you spent $50 to bring people to your site and see the link and there were 100 clicks on the link, that would be 50 cents per click or $0.50 CPC.
CPM – aka Cost Per Thousand – this is referring to the amount of money it costs to pay for 1000 impressions. So if you spent $50 for 500,000 impressions that would be $0.10 CPM. Or if you wanted to buy some advertising that was $1 CPM and you wanted to display your ad 30,000 times then that would cost you $30.
CTR – aka Click Through Rate – this is a percentage rate of the amount of click throughs you get to the number of impressions. So lets say you have 100 impressions of your affiliate link, and 3 click throughs, that would be a 3% CTR.
Datafeed – This is a file that contains products a merchant sells. Sometimes the merchant will have all or their products in this file, and sometimes they won’t. These are updated regularly by the merchant. Typically datafeeds will include images, descriptions, and price of the product, along with your affiliate link.
Direct Linking – this is when an affiliate links directly to the advertising from ads or social media posts instead of creating a website, blog, or landing page and directing the affiliate link to that.
EPC – aka Earnings Per Click – this is the average amount of what you earn every time someone clicks on your affiliate link. So if you earned on average $100 for ever 10 clicks on your affiliate link, then your EPC would be $10.
Impression – a measure of how many times an ad is shown. If an ad is shown 1000 times then that’s 1000 impressions.
Landing Page – a standalone web page that is created for marketing or adverting. Visitors “land” on this page when they click on a link for a product or service an affiliate is promoting.
Payment Threshold – in many affiliate programs there is a certain amount you must earn before a payout is done. So if the payment threshold is $50 then you will not get a payment until your earnings are over $50. This resets each time you are paid, so after a payment you must earn $50 again before you receive your next payment.
Publisher – you the affiliate. Affiliates are sometimes referred to as publishers, especially if you are signing up for an affiliate network. Many times on the affiliate networks you will see a section named Publishers, this is where you would go to sign up as an affiliate.
Squeeze Page – a type of landing page that is designed to capture opt-in email addresses. These are often used by affiliate marketers to grow email lists. Once they get an email they send the referral on to the affiliate offer that was advertised.
Two-Tier (2 Tier) – some programs are two-tier affiliate programs, this means you can refer affiliates and earn a small percentage of their earnings or sometimes a set flat amount once they reach a predetermined amount in earnings. ShareASale, has this feature.
Unique Clicks – this is how many unique people have clicked your affiliate link vs all of the clicks on your affiliate link.
Will I need Blog or Website for Affiliate Marketing?
You don’t need a blog or website for affiliate marketing, but you’re going to find you are limited on which programs or networks will work with you without one.
So yes, it is best to have a blog or website
There are some affiliate programs and networks that require you to have a website in order to just be approved to join.
One of the biggest pieces of making money online is having your own email list. You need a website to be able to build your list. There will be a small cost and you may not even have the expertise but that’s ok because on your journey to affiliate marketing building your own self hosted blog is something you’ll learn, and it will be most profitable to have a blog/website.
Having a blog also helps bring in free search engine traffic for the content you create. Google is wonderful for bringing traffic to your blog. You will need to learn all there is to know about SEO Search Engine Optimization and it will take some time but learn it. While your optimizing for Google there’s Pinterest.
These are the most important words I n this post
You Need an Affiliate Disclaimer
You are legally required to disclose to your audience that you receive compensation for in exchange for referring them to a merchant. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is who enforces this law. You can read their info on disclosures for affiliate marketing here: The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking.
According to the FTC your affiliate disclosure needs to be “clear and conspicuous”, meaning you have to use clear language when stating that you are earning commissions for sales through your affiliate links. You can’t confuse your readers with fancy words or anything when saying you are getting compensation.
You don’t need fancy legal terms or anything like that. With the FTC rules you are able to make your disclaimer using your own word, just make sure it follows the FTC’s rules.
Placement of your affiliate disclosure is another thing the FTC has guidelines on too. They state that the disclaimer must be before any affiliate links are added, on the same page as your affiliate links, and in plain sight.
Also along with an affiliate disclaimer on your blog, if you do use direct linking from social media, you also have to disclose there that it is an affiliate link. There are several ways to do this. One is by just starting off saying it is sponsored or an ad. Another is to in front of the link “affiliate link”or #affiliatelink
Related post How to use affiliate links effectively
Affiliate Networks and Programs
SHAREASALE one of the largest affiliate networks with a large variety of products to offer.
AMAZON ASSOCIATES also one of the largest and most trusted companies to buy from.
SITEGROUND web hosting with great support, dependability, and low monthly plans.
BLUCHIC offering some of the most elegant and beautiful website themes to use for your blog
Affiliate Marketing can be a great way to make income. Finding great products for your readers is essential. With so many products available you may want to find a small handful to offer.
Keeping your offers simple and easy to navigate is helpful and could increase conversions.
If you have questions about affiliate marketing feel free to email. We love hearing from our readers.
Final thoughts and a share request
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We appreciate you stopping by. If you enjoyed the post #yoursharematters and would help a lot with all my efforts in growing this blog.
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