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Tips & Guides — 17 Nov 2022

Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Started

You hear about bloggers, influencers, and other entrepreneurs who have created a juicy revenue stream for themselves by becoming affiliate marketers. Perhaps you’re not quite sure how affiliate marketing works, however, or how you would even go about becoming one. Is that revenue stream something you could replicate?    

You do some research and realize that US affiliate marketing spend is set to reach over 8 billion dollars by 2022 – and this figure is continuing to grow. That’s one delicious-looking pie, and you know you want a slice of it. 

Affiliate marketing spending in the United States

Source (statista.com)

How does it work, though? How do you get from this great idea to actually becoming a successful affiliate marketer with a good affiliate site? What steps and practices should you follow to get that tasty slice of pie sitting on your plate?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing programs (also called partnership programs, associate programs, or referral programs) are a relationship set up between a brand and an individual or organization like bloggers, Youtube videos, influencers.

It’s been around for a while. The first affiliate program was started in 1989 but really took off with the widespread use of the internet in the nineties. In 1996, Amazon began Amazon Associates, which is still a major player in the affiliate world today. Affiliate networks started to pop up throughout the late nineties, including Commission Junction in 1998, allowing ecommerce businesses and advertisers the opportunity to connect with content creators and vice versa. The rest is history. 

Once the affiliate partners sell the product, they receive a percentage of the sale, resulting in revenue generation that fluctuates based on performance and audience.

Here’s an example: if you run a popular blog about pets and pet care, you can focus on content that goes into detail about popular pet items, like “The 10 Best Dog Collars for 2022.” In your article, you can describe each collar, why you think it’s the best, and then provide a link to buy the collar. This is the affiliate model. 

Once someone reading your blog clicks on that partner marketing link to buy a collar, you receive a part of the revenue. Of course, how and when you get paid will depend on your pay model, but we’ll get more into that later. In a nutshell, that’s how affiliate marketing works. But there are plenty of specifics, which we’re going to look at now. 

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is a simple concept within digital marketing. You have a website, blog, social media platform, or other online presence that you (and the retailer) believe can help increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive traffic to the retailer’s website.

As the affiliate, you include elements such as links or banner ads on your website or social media posts. If those links lead to sales or leads for the retailer, then you receive an affiliate commission. 

Here’s an example: Skillshare offers opportunities to become affiliates with their business, promoting their online courses. Affiliates can share any of the courses in the Skillshare catalog, earning a commission on free trial sign-ups and subscriptions. 

How does affiliate marketing work

Source (skillshare.com)

So if a graphic artist shares a post on Instagram about how they refresh their skills with a link to a Skillshare drawing class they’ve taken, they’ll receive revenue from the click-through with a unique URL indicating where the referral came from.

Product Creator

It all starts with the product creator because they have the product that needs promoting. The product creator goes by many names, including the retailer, the brand, the seller, or the vendor. The product can be a thing you buy, like a motorcycle, or a service, like an online cooking class.

 

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The product creator doesn’t necessarily need to be involved in the marketing of the product, but they can participate and receive a cut from the revenue share coming in from the partner marketing.

Product creation can be one of the more difficult aspects of affiliate marketing to get into as a beginner. After all, you need a product to promote. Developing a physical product can be time-consuming and difficult. If you’re starting out as a product creator, developing a digital product like an e-book or webinar may be easier.

But don’t let that put you off – if you have an excellent idea for a product, physical or digital, work on perfecting it and getting it out to an audience.

Publisher or Advertiser

The publisher or advertiser is the person or company doing the product promoting. They might have a small blog or a big media website, or they could be

 

an influencer on Instagram. Generally, they have a focused area of interest that instills trust in their followers. For example, a cook on Youtube publishing cooking videos can promote dish soap or a cookware brand. 

Their main goal is to promote the product in a way that entices potential consumers to buy. When the consumer purchases the product, the publisher receives a part of the revenue made from the sale.

In the chart below, you can see videos and blogs are the most popular forms of content on the internet. 

Publisher or Advertiser

Source (hubspot.com)

It’s estimated that there are more than 600 million blogs on the internet, with new ones created every day and others closing. As for videos, in 2020 it was estimated that over 500 hours of video was uploaded to Youtube every minute. That’s a lot of video. 

But don’t be discouraged; not every video and blog on the internet is going to participate in partnership marketing or focus on your particular area of interest. To build an audience concentrate on your area of expertise or what you’re passionate about and the rest will follow.

Consumer

And then there’s the consumer. The consumer is the engine behind the entire affiliate marketing machine; there would be no sales without the consumer. Once the consumer purchases the promoted product, the affiliate, and the seller receive their share of the revenue. 

Fortunately, the consumer won’t pay more than the retail price as the performance marketing share is worked into the product’s price from the beginning. It’s important to note that consumers may be unaware that a part of the profits are going to publishers or advertisers they engage with on the internet. 

However, affiliates will often post a short message stating that they receive a commission from the sale. You’ve most likely seen this on an Instagram marketing campaign when a post features a hashtag that says #ad or sponsored partnership.

Consumer

Source (fitsmallbusiness.com)

3 Types of affiliate marketing

Believe it or not, there are three types of affiliate marketing that you can try your hand at, each with its own benefits and challenges. Let’s take a look. 

Unattached

If you decide to pursue unattached partner marketing, you don’t need to worry about being an expert in a particular field or a niche blogger. Unattached partner marketing usually means that the affiliate has no relationship or connection with the product or service and no related authority on its use or function. 

As an unattached affiliate marketer, you would have no duty to advise on the product you’re marketing. So you could market products you have no expertise in, but you may not attract many customers due to your lack of connection to the product. 

You’ll most often see unattached marketing in the form of Facebook ads and Google ads. It’s an impersonal way to generate revenue with mixed results. You’re mainly banking on the fact that people may be intrigued by your ad and click through to the product landing page. 

If you’ve tried unattached affiliate marketing and you’ve been disappointed with the results, you may want to try your hand at more personal, relationship-building techniques.

Related

In contrast to unattached partner marketing, related partner marketing means the publisher or advertiser has a relationship or connection to the product category. Their influence and relationship to the product category gives them the upper hand when it comes to generating traffic and boosting sales

However, the related affiliate marketer usually has not used the product or service themself, only similar products. As an authority on the category, they can promote the product but not make any specific recommendations based on their product or service use. 

For example, imagine you’re an expert on microwaves, and you’re promoting a microwave you’ve never used before. You may be an expert in that particular brand’s microwaves, so you’re a trusted, related source, but you’ve never used that specific microwave, so you’re not an involved marketer, which we’ll cover next.

Involved

An involved affiliate marketer is someone who has used the product and is confident in recommending it to their audience. They’re a trusted and reliable source because they have used the product and can speak of its performance. 

Here’s another way to think about it: imagine you want to purchase a microwave. So you ask for a friend’s opinion on a particular microwave despite the fact they’ve never used it. Would you trust that opinion? Or would you rather buy the microwave they’ve used and loved for years? 

We’d all choose the microwave with the trusted review from a trusted source. And this is most likely the partnership marketing you’re most familiar with. You’ll see detailed content marketing for all kinds of products, like make-up, organizational tools, software, and more, with detailed blog posts or videos walking you through the product step-by-step or providing in-depth reviews.

Like these makeup tutorial videos: 

involved affiliate marketer

Source (google.com/search)

And the benefit is clear. Your audience will feel more engaged with you and the product, increasing your authority and boosting the product profile. And they’ll know exactly what they’re getting from a product. 

Pros & Cons of affiliate marketing

Like everything else in the world, performance marketing has its pros and cons. Below are some of the biggies; assess them for yourself and see where you fall in the risk vs. reward of affiliate marketing. 

Pros

First, the good stuff. Here are some pros of performance marketing. 

Cost-efficient advertising

Partner marketing is a low-cost, efficient way to get your product or service out to a wider audience that you may not have had access to previously. There’s little investment in the actual advertising, and you only pay when you make a sale. At the same time, you’re more likely to make a sale because you’ll be bringing in leads that are already interested and qualified.

And if you’re advertising the product, becoming an affiliate marketer can cost you next to nothing, or even absolutely nothing in some cases. Setting up a Youtube channel or Instagram account is free. The only real initial outlay you may face is setting up a website or an online business, and even that can be done for free with a platform like WordPress.

Cost-efficient advertising

Source (wordpress.com)

Low risk

Since your investment in partnership marketing is low, your risk level for performance marketing is inconsequential. It’s wise to vet your affiliates before committing to using their services. Some companies will send potential affiliates questionnaires to fill out before considering if they’re a good match to the brand. 

If you’re looking how to become an affiliate marketer, in addition to a low starting cost, you’ll decide what area you want to work in (possibly related to existing knowledge and skill sets or a completely new area of interest that seems attractive). You choose the medium you’ll use (social media, affiliate website, or blog), and then you simply start creating content and looking for partners.

Access to a larger market

As mentioned before, using affiliate marketing means you’ll reach larger markets and wider audiences than you would with traditional marketing. Bloggers, influencers, and content creators have followers from all walks of life, interested in all kinds of things. That means you’ll have access to a potential customer who normally wouldn’t consider your product or maybe wasn’t even aware of your brand. 

At the same time, many content creators have a very specific interest or expertise. Access to a niche audience can help you increase your conversions. If an audience is interested in a little-known or served pastime, then they’ll have more of a need for a product suited to their hobby. So, even small, niche audiences can gain you access to a larger market.

Like bookbinding: 

bookbinding

Source (thecuriouslycreative.com)

Cons

And now, the not-so-good stuff. You should know the cons along with the pros – having all the information will better steer you towards the right choice for your business. 

No monthly or weekly paycheck

As an affiliate marketer, you won’t be able to count on a monthly or weekly paycheck, and your pay period will be determined by the product creator. Your paycheck will fluctuate based on how much revenue you generate. So you won’t be able to plan ahead when it comes to your partner marketing money. 

However, if you’re considering affiliate marketing as a side gig to earn some extra money, there’s nothing wrong with a variating paycheck. If you’re looking for more stable earnings, a lot of work will have to be put in before you see steady, consistent returns. 

While not an exact science, we can divide affiliate marketers into different groups according to their earnings:

  • Beginners. This group has just started on the affiliate ladder and may be making zero earnings or even a slight loss (if they’ve invested in things like a website and/or any relevant software). 
  • Low-level. This group may be beginning to climb or are doing performance marketing as a side gig. They are earning up to $300 per day. 
  • Intermediates. These affiliate marketers have spread their wings a little and may be working on several programs at once and earning anywhere from $300 to $3000 per day. 
  • High level. Experienced and savvy, they may have built their own network and are earning more than $3000 per day.
  • Super affiliates. These are sometimes called “gurus of affiliate marketing.” They will likely have a large network of their own, operate across multiple platforms, and will often have brands approach them rather than vice-versa. Their earnings can be in excess of $10,000 per day.

You’re not going to become a super affiliate overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, a willingness to learn new processes, and a good eye for what the market wants. However, reaching the intermediate stage is a very achievable goal.

Limited program control

If you’re a product creator, you don’t have to be creative or invest lots of money in partner marketing. But you do have to be careful about who you work with. You don’t want to align yourself with a disreputable affiliate marketer sharing violent or unsavory content that could harm your brand reputation.

Limited program control

Source (thisisbeacon.com)

You also need to be on the lookout for fraud. We’ll go into more fraud detail later in this article, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind. 

As we mentioned earlier, look into your affiliate partnerships before using their services, so you don’t get burned. If you want more control over your marketing program, consider setting up guidelines for content creators that list exactly how products can be marketed and review content before it goes live. 

While this creates more work for your business or network, it will also give you peace of mind that your product is being marketed correctly.

Subject to fraud

As promised, here’s some fraud information you need to remember. Unfortunately, partner marketing is vulnerable to fraud in a number of ways. Here are a few of the most common methods:

  • Affiliates can take advantage of SEO practices by purchasing Adwords on search terms that your company may already rank high on. 
  • Affiliates can install adware or spyware that redirects searches to their page.
  • Affiliates may purchase domain names with misspellings, and subsequently receive a share of profits from the redirects.
  • Affiliates can create online registration forms with made-up or stolen information.

It’s estimated that the rate of fraud across performance marketing is roughly 9%. While that may all seem daunting and possibly put you off performance marketing, it’s better to know what you  could encounter. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated member of your team, like an affiliate manager, monitoring your affiliate marketing for any possible fraud.

How do you get paid in affiliate marketing?

Of course, this is the million-dollar question you’ll be asking yourself. A lot will depend on whether you do partner marketing as a full-time occupation or as a side gig. It will also depend on how many affiliate programs you sign up with, what reach you have, and what area you focus on. 

It’s worth noting that affiliate marketing is a growing industry, with spending expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2022, up from the $5.4 billion spent in 2017. So the pie is getting bigger but so is the number of people wanting a slice of that very pie. It’s impossible to tell how many marketers there are in the US but there are at least 11,400 affiliate programs you should consider.

get paid in affiliate marketing

Source (affiliate-marketing-statistics.com) 

Here are some of the ways you can expect to make money when you start performance marketing.

Pay-per-sale

Pay-per-sale, or PPS, is the traditional affiliate marketing method. The affiliate earns a percentage of the product’s purchase price once the consumer has purchased the product. The affiliate needs to focus their marketing strategy on achieving a customer sale to earn a commission. 

One of the most well-known PPS programs is Amazon Associates. You can link to any product on Amazon, and once someone follows your link and makes the sale, you’ll earn a commission.

Pay-per-click

In a pay-per-click model or PPC, the affiliate needs to convince the consumer to visit the seller’s website to generate revenue. If web traffic to the seller’s site from the affiliate’s platform increases, the affiliate is paid accordingly. 

Leadpages runs on a PPC model, offering 50% commission when partners endorse their business and increase the amount of new customers.

Payper-lead

Pay-per-lead or PPL can be a bit tricky for the affiliate marketer, though not impossible. In a pay-per-lead model, the affiliate marketer needs to convince the consumer to visit the seller’s site and complete an action on their site solidifying their lead, like filling out a form, signing up for the seller’s newsletter, or committing to a product demo. 

Liberty Mutual has an affiliate program that uses the PPL model. The affiliate partner receives a commission when someone goes to their site from a link and completes a quote.

Types of affiliate marketing channels

There are so many different options available – from Amazon Affiliates to other affiliate networks like ClickBank, to working directly with a business – that it can be difficult to know where to start. Before you get into any of this, however, you need to decide what channels you want to focus on. 

Your best bet is to think about your strengths and choose a channel, or multiple channels, that speak to your abilities. If you have a passion for knitting and you’re a good writer, consider starting a blog and posting content to Instagram. Here are some ways you could do it.

Influencer

Influencer

Source (influencermarketinghub.com) 

It’s difficult to give an exact figure on how many influencers there are, but some estimates put the figure as high as 37.8 million across the three primary platforms. If you’re (or intend to be) an influencer, you’ll probably be publishing on social media channels, especially Instagram, YouTube, and Tik Tok. You might also have your own Facebook page, or produce webinars and podcasts. 

Whatever your primary focus, your followers will respect your opinions and are likely to make purchases based on your recommendations. 

Here are some of the ways you can build an audience and promote a brand as an influencer: 

  • Product reviews
  • Live videos
  • Product comparisons
  • Gift guides
  • Account takeovers
  • Live videos

If you decide to participate in online marketing as an influencer, remember to choose products that speak to your brand. If a product seems like it’s not a good fit, it probably isn’t, and you should go with something else.

Referral links

After you sign up for an affiliate program like Amazon Associates, you receive a unique referral link that earns you a commission every time a consumer clicks on them to visit a seller’s site. Referral links are perfect for a number of different marketing formats like blogs or resource pages. The trick to mastering referral links is to focus on your content. 

Referral links

Source (referralrock.com)

Interesting, timely, and informed content will attract consumers and followers, increasing your conversion rates and solidifying your status as a source of truth. 

You’ll usually find links in the following places: 

Social media: links can be placed in profiles or on posts. Remember to keep your social media links low-key. People can be turned off by in-your-face, aggressive campaigning that doesn’t match your usual aesthetic. 

Blogs: referral links are often put in the blog content in a natural way that entices the reader to click on them for more information or to purchase the item. 

Email marketing: links are featured prominently in the boy of the email or towards the end in a round-up of links. Links can also be used in conjunction with coupons. 

Blogs

Blogs can be great for partner marketing. If you’re already running one, you probably have an established list of subscribers as well as casual visitors. They also tend to feature organically when you look for something specific on Google search. 

Blogs

Source (google.co.uk)

If you write about a particular area, it’s always worth writing product reviews for that niche. Additionally, you can talk about how you use them–for instance, if you run a beauty blog, mentioning which company’s products you used for a certain look is a great way to include links. This way, you can drive traffic to the retailer’s site, generate leads and conversions, and earn a healthy revenue from your partners.

You can also use blogs and guest blog posts to enhance your brand and establish your authority. Find websites and blogs within your niche and offer to write guest posts that link back to your own platform. This helps increase your search engine ranking. Do not take up the (usually cheap) offers of automated links as they may be ignored or penalized. Building a series of quality links can help build trust as well as your audience.

If this seems like a lot of work, for little reward, think again. Unlike most jobs, affiliate marketing does not have to be hands-on. In fact, you could be earning from blogs or something similar you created months earlier. 

Many top affiliate programs also offer recurring commissions, so, for example, a customer who signed up for an SaaS service in February could still be making you money in December.

Microsites

Microsites are specialized sites that focus on paid searches. When you look for something via a search engine, you’ll notice a list of paid results at the top of the page. They may also be advertised within an organization’s main site too. Microsites can produce good sales levels if used properly.

Because these sites are more focused, they offer more relevant and quality content to a small but enthusiastic audience. With this narrower focus and simple calls to action (CTAs), they can be an appealing channel for affiliate programs. 

An example of a microsite: 

microsite

Source (blog.hubspot.com)

Because they offer more focused content, they often have their own domain or a sub-domain. There are plenty of benefits to creating microsites. Here are a few we thought were worth mentioning: 

  • Because microsites are more straightforward than other web pages, they’re often cheaper than them too. 
  • SEO (search engine optimization) content can be easier to promote on a microsite than on a larger website. People will find, like, and share your microsite, improving your SEO rankings. 
  • Microsites have fewer pages and less content, so naturally, they’re going to take less time to put together and launch. 
  • Microsites are great for small businesses and niche interests because they don’t often need large sites with lots of features. Usually, a simple microsite with engaging content will do the trick. 

Another benefit? Microsites are easy to build, and any business can do it. You can make it yourself or use a website builder. If you’re stuck, you can always hire a freelance website designer or employ a website design studio.

Email catalog

You might think it’s old-fashioned, but email marketing remains a huge market, worth an estimated $2 billion in the US alone (and $7.5 billion globally). 

If for whatever reason, you have an existing list of email subscribers, this is the way to go. By sending out regular newsletters, you can include links to earn commissions. If you don’t, it’s time to build one. This method can easily be used alongside any of the others listed here for added effect.

Read also: How to become an affiliate marketer

The trick to building an email list over time is to hang onto all of the emails you collect and add them to your email list to promote your products or services further. Collecting emails has the added benefit of letting you reach out to network with other affiliate marketers. 

Remember to send out emails, but don’t overdo it—plan on sending one email a week to keep your email subscribers engaged but not inundated. Don’t make your emails too sales aggressive—include valuable content that your readers will want to receive and maybe even share with friends. 

Social media websites

Social media usage has grown tremendously in the last ten years, and it’s now a daily part of (mostly) everyone’s life. Just look at the following chart:

Social media websites

Source (queenbeemedia.co)

On a daily basis, 74% of people use Facebook every day, and the other social media sites aren’t far off. It makes sense, then, that you’d consider social media websites as one of your affiliate marketing channels. 

If you choose to use one or all of the major social media sites as your main performance marketing platforms, keep track of the other affiliate marketers you interact with. Create a network of peers that you can connect with to share posts and links. Communicate and post regularly to keep your audience engaged. If you start to neglect your social media sites, you may find your audience drifting away to other users.

If you decide this is a channel you want to pursue, make sure to check the posting guidelines for each individual platform. Your ads and content will need to align with the rules of each site, like how upfront you need to be with followers about sponsored content. 

8 affiliate marketing best practices

Besides avoiding fraud and illegal practices, there aren’t many rules for affiliate marketing, but you can follow some best practices. We’ve rounded up eight of our favorites to get you started. 

1. Know your product

The number one rule in partner marketing, and possibly in all of marketing, is to know the product or service you’re promoting inside and out. Consumers will be able to see through half-hearted or uninformed marketing efforts that ring hollow. To be an effective affiliate marketer, you need to have experience with the thing you’re selling.

An involved marketing strategy is a great way to show potential customers that you’ve done your homework when it comes to the product. If you’ve used the affiliate product or service, your authority with the product will be evident to your audience, driving sales in the process. 

For example, if you’ve never been to Spain, you might have a hard time convincing someone to go there on vacation. You could give the person a generalized rundown of all the great places to visit and reasons to go, but you couldn’t go into persuasive detail.

At the same time, it’s essential to have a grasp of your audience. What content and products do they want to see? As you work on understanding your product, make time to understand your customer. Knowledge of both will only help your marketing efforts in the long run.

product

Source (marketingcharts.com)

And finally, know your rules and regulations. You don’t want to have everything set up and running smoothly and then immediately shut down because you forgot to follow GDPR rules or FTC disclosures. Make sure to keep your entire operation on the up-and-up by following all necessary regulations. 

2. Create a tutorial

If you’re following our first best practice tip, then our second should come as a no-brainer. To further cement your authority, create a tutorial that shows your audience how a product works step-by-step, its best uses, or how it stacks up to competitors. 

Consumers want to see a product in action before they purchase, so creating a video or a detailed how-to blog is a great way to ensure the quality of what you’re marketing. 

Keep in mind it might be difficult to promote a service, like a webinar series, but you can still walk your target audience through the ins and outs of what they’ll receive and the various benefits. For example, you could detail the sign-up process and any benefits you might receive. Or you could outline what the service provides without giving away too much detailed content.

Create tutorial

Source (google.com)

3. Consider your position

“To thine, ownself be true,” as Shakespeare wrote, and never is this more true than when it comes to affiliate marketing. Think about your talents, accumulated skills, education, background, hobbies, interests, and anything else that makes you, you. These are the things that will help you stand out, find your audience, and excel at affiliate marketing. 

Having an expertise or passion to blog, share, or post about will naturally lead you to products that sync naturally with your content. If you’re a beginner starting your own Youtube make-up tutorial channel, it will make sense to lean towards make-up products and tools to ensure successful affiliate marketing. Don’t market something that doesn’t mesh with your brand or speak to your content. 

At the same time, you want to pick a merchant program or affiliate network that ticks all of your boxes, and that means research. What models do they use? CPA (Cost-Per-Action), CPI (Cost-Per-Install), or CPC (Cost per Click – or Pay per Click)? Which ones fit your chosen affiliate marketing niche? What sort of commission rates do they offer? Perhaps most importantly, what level of support and tutorials do they offer their affiliates?

4. Know the current trends

Stay true to your passions and interests, but don’t forget to keep an eye on current trends. After all, that’s what consumers are interested in and looking for. Staying on top of trends will help you remain competitive in the crowded affiliate income space. Knowing trends will also help you discover new ways to highlight your niche, like new technologies or product developments. 

Pay attention to industry or niche blogs and publications, subscribe to newsletters in your chosen industry, and follow like-minded affiliate marketers.

Here are some trends to watch out for in 2022:

  • A rise in video versus blogs to learn something new. If you need to learn something or want to see a product review, it’s much easier to watch a video instead of reading through review sites. 
  • Influencers will continue to rule with their dedicated audiences, especially those in niche markets that eat up new products and content. 
  • Use of smart devices like Alexa and Siri to find content and products. 

The key with trends is to keep an eye on them as they’re naturally going to shift and change. Every year will bring new trends, but keep an eye on smaller trends in your market that will have more of an impact on your affiliate marketing strategy.

5. Use multiple marketing channels

A single-channel TV would be pretty boring, and that applies to partner marketing too. If you really want to make a go of your new business, you need to use multiple channels to reach your audience. These can include:

  • Email marketing
  • Websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging (including regular articles on LinkedIn).
  • Online advertising such as banner ads

You also want to make sure to optimize your content for mobile. People use their phones 24/7 to look at websites, check their social media, and read their favorite blogs and newsletters. Not optimizing for mobile would be a big hit to your revenue. 

multiple marketing channels

Source (reviews.org)

6. Performance monitoring

So how do you know if all of your hard work is paying off? You have to track your metrics! 

If you’re using an affiliate website like Google or Amazon, you’ll have a dashboard built in that shows you a number of different measurements tracking your progress. Seeing your numbers will show you where you’re doing well and where you need to focus more attention. Is your blog content outperforming your email list? Focus on more blog content and scale back your daily emails to weekly emails. 

The following are the main metrics you want to keep an eye on: 

  • Ad spend
  • Click-throughs
  • Conversion rates
  • Net monthly sales
  • Overall revenue
  • Return on investment (ROI)

Of course, you’ll find some metrics more valuable than others. But when you first start tracking, look at everything until you figure out what works best for your content and strategy. For example, if you’re paid via the number of click-throughs you receive, that metric will be incredibly valuable. But, if you’re paid per purchase, then click-through will be valuable, although, not as much as your conversion rate metric.

7. Engagement tracking

In addition to monitoring your performance, you want to keep an eye on your engagement numbers. If your engagement numbers are low, you need to figure out why. Maybe you need to adjust your content for a different audience or consider a new channel to market on, like social media. 

Tracking your engagement will require more than just counting your followers or views of your blog. Your best course of action is to track your affiliate links, your affiliate referrals, and your affiliate conversions.

Once you have these numbers, you’ll have a better grasp of how many of those followers and viewers are actually engaging with your content, driving revenue in the process. 

8. Creating email lists

An email list is a smart way to keep in touch with your current audience and bring in new followers. You can share content, links, and really anything you want with the people subscribing to your email list. The best way to get started is to use a service like Mailchimp to set up your list with all of the registered users you already have emails for. 

email lists

Source (mailchimp.com)

To get new subscribers, set up a landing page on your website or place a link into your social media feed inviting new users to subscribe. To draw people in, offer a free item like an ebook or a template for people when they sign-up. 

Here are the basic steps to starting your own email list: 

  • Decide on an email provider and sign up for an account – a quick Google search will give you a number of options. Choose the one that fits best with your business. 
  • Create your opt-in form so people can sign up for your email list easily.
  • Create your welcome email that will go out automatically when people sign up for your email list. 
  • Make a content plan and work on your first newsletter. You want to create a schedule to stay on top of your emails, so you don’t fall behind or let your emails lapse. 
  • Test your service before you send out your first email. Send it to a friend and have them look it over. Double-check all your links and proofread your work. 

And you’re done. Click send and enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. 

Ace the market with Affise

You’ve got to the end of our guide, you’re excited about the potential, and you want to plunge into the partner marketing pool. A great way to begin your journey is with Affise Reach. Affise Reach is a global platform where affiliate marketers can partner with top brands from any vertical to expand their partnerships and get access to the most lucrative offers in a couple of clicks.

Tracking & analytics

See everything in one glance with Affise’s robust tracking and analytics tools. Craft all of your dashboards into easy-to-read line charts, bar charts, hashtags – whatever you prefer as your layout. You can enable your team to see tracking and analytics on their own, or you can share reports on a need-to-know basis. 

Powerful tracking tools include: 

  • Client to server tracking: a unique pixel in the code of success page notifies you of conversions. 
  • Server to server tracking: easy to use tracking integration via postbacks. 
  • Server parallel tracking: users will land on the final landing page instead of going through redirect chain elements. 
  • Promo codes tracking: build a loyalty program and save money with cross-promotion.
  • Cookieless tracking: immediate transfer from the original link to the final landing page. 
  • Google parallel tracking: stay compatible with Google’s policy and increase the load time. 

If you’re already reviewing data on another platform, you can easily sync it with Affise so you can see all of your data in one place. You can merge Affise with: 

  • Appsflyer (can also integrate with Affise BI)
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook for Business
  • TikTok for Business

Start your optimization with tracking and analytics and go from there with Affise.

Offers & partner guidance

When you work with Affise, it doesn’t matter whether you’re an affiliate network, content creator, influencer, or brand – there’s a solution to meet your needs. If you’re looking for partner guidance, Affise can connect you with new contacts and influencers. 

In addition to partner guidance, you can also keep an eye on offers. With AffiliTest and CPAPI by Affise, you can bulk test all of your links to see which advertiser offers are working and which ones aren’t anymore. 

Offers & partner guidance

Affise constantly adds new brands to their network (they’re currently at 500 and growing). It’s the perfect platform to build new relationships, expand your business, and track your existing offers. 

Task automation

Routine tasks, like tracking traffic and campaign notifications can take a big chunk out of your workday. Affise streamlines all of your routine and not-so-routine tasks with their powerful affiliate marketing tools. Here are just some of the great automation benefits you can expect with Affise: 

  • Fraud prevention: set up your own fraud rules from your account to better protect your brand. You’ll receive detailed fraud analytics and the ability to customize prevention processes. 
  • SmartLinks: Affise’s smart algorithms will send traffic exactly where it needs to go, making you the most money in the process. 
  • Notification system: Instantly know when something changes in your set-up with customizable notifications. 
  • Affise Checker: Helps you monitor the traffic you work with, even letting you check and edit thousands of offers using a bulk actions bar. 
  • CPAPI: Affise’s CPAPI solution takes automation to the next level by opening you up to hundreds of advertisers and thousands of offers with automated transfers and free synchronization.

Payouts management

Affise Reach is ideal for any stage, from beginning your affiliate journey to expanding your partnerships. It brings you together with your ideal partners and helps you to integrate efficiently. You can maximize your productivity and affiliate sales while minimizing the time you spend in finding those ideal partnerships. 

With Affise you can automate payments, making it simple to manage charges and commissions. That means no more chasing bills and invoices, everything will be automatically updated for you. 

If you’re ready to boost your affiliate marketing and change the way you approach your business, reach out to Affise today to get started. 

Conclusion

Be realistic in the targets you set. You’re not going to achieve overnight success and be driving a brand new Porsche in your first year. It may take six months or more until you start to see positive results. However, once you’ve mastered the basics and start seeing a healthy monthly income, you can then start thinking about expanding your personal affiliate marketing business. 

If done correctly, your startup can generate a healthy and mostly passive income within a couple of years. By researching and making careful plans, and by linking with modern programs such as Affise Reach, then affiliate marketing can pay off in the long term. Think, research, and plan before taking that first step – and maybe a second-hand Porsche won’t be that far off. 

Looking for a full-stack technology to connect with partners and drive your affiliate marketing business? Try Affise Reach

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Sam O'Brien

Written by

Sam is the Chief Marketing Officer at Affise. Based in Newquay, he has over 10 years of experience in growth marketing, product management, and design. Sam is currently responsible for global marketing and is passionate about showing the benefits of partner marketing for online businesses. When he's not by his computer, Sam spends his time travelling and surfing.

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