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Affiliate Marketing

With affiliate marketing estimated to be worth $12 billion globally and with more than 80% of brands offering affiliate programs, this is a lucrative marketing platform to climb into.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, the focus shouldn’t be on just affiliate sales, but rather on providing constant value to your followers.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to do both, how to grow your own affiliate program, and we’ll also provide some great platforms to get started on.

Ready to get started?

Let’s begin.

1. What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a strategy where a company makes money by paying 3rd parties (such as bloggers or social media influencers) to advertise their products and services and generate sales.

In return, these 3rd parties receive a commission when the customer they referred makes a purchase.

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that anyone can do it and you don’t need a website to get started (we do, however, recommend that you have a landing page, but more on this later).

Let’s look at how affiliate marketing works.

1.1. How does affiliate marketing work?

In the affiliate marketing business, you have 3 options to choose from:

  • Become an affiliate
  • Run an affiliate program
  • Join an affiliate network

1.1.1. Affiliates

Affiliates earn money by recommending products or services to their followers.

They add their affiliate links to their sign-up and checkout pages and in their content and get paid when someone purchases through their link.

1.1.2. Affiliate programs

Also known as associate programs, these are set up by companies that require others to promote their goods or services using a referral link.

This system of affiliate marketing works well because the affiliate marketer can earn a passive income and the company gets access to a new audience base to generate more sales.

1.1.3. Affiliate networks

Where an affiliate program directly links you with a company, affiliate networks work as an intermediary between you and a merchant.

Affiliate networks are essentially a digital marketplace that connects affiliate marketers with merchants willing to outsource marketing their products and services to others.

Two popular examples are ShareASale and CJ Affiliate.

1.2. Do affiliate marketers make a lot of money?

What an affiliate earns depends entirely on their marketing strategy and the type of products they sell.

How much your audience trusts you also impacts your earnings.

Affiliate marketers can be summed up in 3 sectors:

  • Top/Super affiliates — Affiliates who earn more than $100k/month (Pat Flynn, Finch Sells, Missy Ward)
  • Middle-class affiliates — Affiliates who earn between $1,000-$10k/month
  • New/beginner affiliates — Affiliates who haven’t earned any passive income yet

Depending on the source, affiliate marketers can earn the following (on average):

ZipRecruiter’s higher forecast shows us that there’s definitely room to make money, and with the U.S. affiliate marketing spend due to reach $8.2 billion by 2022, this can’t be closer to the truth.

What you can earn comes down to your years of experience, skill level, and location.

1.2.1. How do affiliate marketers get paid?

The affiliate marketing system has a lot of different ways to help you earn a passive income.

Each affiliate model works differently, and some might require you to put in more work than others.

Ultimately, your efforts will determine if you become a successful affiliate marketer.

Let’s examine these different affiliate models below:

  • Revenue Sharing Model

The affiliate gets a percentage of the total sales of a company’s products or services once their referral makes a purchase.

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

The advertiser places their ads on an affiliate website and offers a fee to the marketer whenever someone clicks on these ads.

  • Pay-Per-Acquisition (PPA) or Cost-Per-Action (CPA)

The affiliate gets a commission when their referral does a specific action, such as watching a video, filling out a form, making a purchase, or getting a quote.

  • Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)

The affiliate gets paid a referral fee whenever they successfully get a lead to sign up.

  • Pay-Per-Impression (PPI)

The affiliate receives a payment based on the number of times a visitor views an ad on their website. 

This is analyzed by how many times the ad was requested from the server and viewed.

  • Two-tier or multi-level affiliate programs

The affiliate earns a commission based on the sales their recruits make.

Payments made for affiliate marketing

Payments made for affiliate marketing are automatic.

All you need to do is sign up for an affiliate program, provide your payment details, and you’re all set!

Be aware that some payment options will have transaction fees that need to be taken into account.

Below is a table of the most common payment methods and what they charge per transaction:

table of the most common payment methods

Some companies, like systeme.io, offer no transaction fees (Stripe and PayPal) so be sure to look out for these options.

Now that you know all the basics of how affiliate marketing works, let’s look at how you can turn this into a successful business.

2. How to become an affiliate marketer

2.1. Choose a growing niche

The best way for you to share affiliate links is through a blog, social media, and email marketing.

Although it might sound great to have content that caters to everybody, this will actually hinder your sales.

Finding a specific niche that interests you will make it a lot easier to market to a specific group of people.

2.1.1. How to choose a blogging niche

Choose a blogging niche

The best niche to choose is one that’s both profitable and one that you enjoy.

Choose a niche that you have a lot of experience or knowledge about.

This, in turn, helps you:

  • Understand your market audience better than anyone else
  • Identify your customers’ pain points and solutions easier
  • Generate return customers by providing products that relate to them

On top of having a niche, we also recommend you have a sub-niche.

For example, if your niche is about dogs, your sub-niche could be about training dogs to do different tricks.

Sites like Ubersuggest, AnswerThePublic, and YouTube will help you determine what people in your niche are searching for and asking about — use this information to create topics for your blog content.

Your content needs to provide the answers people are looking for.

To rank high on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you’ll need to optimize your blog posts.

This can be done through a keyword research tool, such as QuestionDB or Keyword Surfer, which can help improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

Once you have an idea of the type of niche you want to market and you’ve started writing content, turn your attention to affiliate programs and networks.

2.2. Join affiliate programs or networks

Search for products related to your niche and research companies that sell them.

Then sign up for their affiliate programs. Once you sign up, you’ll be given an affiliate ID and an affiliate link.

When you promote a product on your blog post, include your affiliate link and ID — this will redirect users to that company's sign-up/checkout page.

It also ensures that any sales made through that link can be tracked and credited to you.

2.3. Create content that drives traffic to your landing pages

The reason why so many people choose affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to forcefully promote products or services.

You just have to create high-quality content that establishes trust between you and the reader, then they’ll gladly buy what you recommend.

How do you create top-notch content?

  • Answer questions that readers are asking
  • Be honest and authentic
  • Provide valuable content
  • Publish articles regularly and update old content
  • Include links to authority sites
  • Interview influencers in your niche
  • Post about trending topics
  • Tell personal stories (connects you and your audience)

And most importantly, always provide value to your readers.

To do this, offer your readers something that will entertain, educate, or inspire them to purchase from you. Something like a lead magnet.

A lead magnet is used to gather your lead’s email addresses in exchange for something free and valuable.

Some lead magnet examples include:

  • A discount
  • A free product sample
  • A template or cheat sheet
  • An eBook
  • A mini-course video

By providing free value, you can improve your affiliate relationship with your followers and get them to trust you.

You’ll also want to create a landing page that will help build your email list and easily convert readers into leads — giving you more affiliate sales.

One of systeme.io’s landing page templates

One of systeme.io’s landing page templates

Landing pages are designed to get all the information out of your readers that you can use to add them to your email list and database (this is also the perfect place to offer your free lead magnet).

To do this, head over to systeme.io, an all-in-one platform that provides free marketing tools and an easy-to-use drag-and-drop landing page builder.

Once your landing page is up and running, it’s time to focus on email marketing.

2.4. Getting started with email marketing

Email marketing is the king of the digital marketing world and a surefire route to growing your affiliate network.

As noted by Forbes, email marketing can generate you up to $42 for every $1 spent — that’s a return on investment of up to 4,200%!

So how do you start?

  • Get readers to sign up for your mailing list

The easiest way to do this is to offer a lead magnet with a pop-up form.

Pop-up forms can either be timed, or they can appear once users decide to exit your sites.

  • Segment users into different lists

Segmenting your subscribers into different lists, based on interests, location, and purchase history will help you understand your customers better.

Segmentation allows you to send more personalized and relevant emails to your list through autoresponders.

By using segmentation and email automation tools, you can boost your opening rates and generate more engagement — which helps grow your brand loyalty and your sales.

  • Email campaigns

An email campaign is a series of emails you send that eventually leads prospects to a sign-up page, and you can use this to promote your affiliate products.

Here’s an example of an email campaign sequence:

Email 1 — Make $100,000 with this

Email 2 — How I boosted my sales with digital marketing

Email 3 — The greatest digital tool (I made $100,000)

Email 4 — Get systeme.io now! FREE forever!

It’s important to send emails weekly to prevent your readers from forgetting you.

Make sure your email headlines are also captivating to help improve your email open rates.

A great free tool to use to improve your headlines is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

  • Track your performance and sales

Use an email marketing service or a digital marketing service to keep track of your success and help improve your sales rates.

Stats to monitor include your open rates, click rates, and bounce rates.

2.5. Convert prospects

Although it’s important to get readers to click on your affiliate links, the real trick is to get them to make a purchase.

To get this right, there are a few factors to take into consideration:

2.5.1. Link placement

There are a couple of ways that you can share your affiliate links.

Links can be provided either directly in your emails when you’re promoting a product, or indirectly.

Indirect marketing can be done through social media platforms, product reviews, or email newsletters.

The idea is not to specifically sell a product or service but simply to guide users to a place where your affiliate links are (such as a YouTube channel or webinar) — this helps build trust and improves your brand awareness.

If you already have a website, you can also create affiliate banners by placing your links on the header and footer of your web pages.

2.5.2. Use pictures

People are more likely to purchase something when they can see what it looks like.

When using pictures, make sure they’re compelling and of high quality

It only takes 1/10th of a second for people to make a judgment based on visual design.

If your pictures look boring or blurry, it’ll not only make you seem unprofessional but could also scare away potential sales.

It’s also important to include your affiliate links below or immediately above images of the product.

You can make these links stand out by using different call-to-actions.

2.5.3. Call-to-actions (CTAs)

Call-to-actions (CTAs)

A call-to-action (CTA) is a marketing tool that’s used to encourage readers to act a certain way or to make a sale.

To make a CTA stand out (like in the image above), your call-to-action button should be clearly visible.

A great tactic is using a contrasting color and placing it on a landing page where it’s easily visible.

Some good CTA examples include:

  • Learn more
  • Sign up for free (Anything free is already a winner)
  • Subscribe
  • Get started now

Now that you know how to become an affiliate marketer, let’s look at where you can do this.

3. The best affiliate marketing programs to join

If you decide to join an affiliate marketing program and begin your new career, then we have some options available for you.

Be aware that not all affiliate programs are equal. 

Some important factors to consider when choosing an affiliate site are:

  • The commission you’ll earn on affiliate sales — This differs between affiliate networks and programs
  • Your cookie lifetime — The time you have to make a commission from a link

Your virtual timer starts the moment someone clicks on your affiliate link, but if they don’t actually purchase the product in the given timeframe, you won’t get paid.

Let’s look at some affiliate programs.

3.1. Systeme.io

systeme.io logo

systeme.io logo

Systeme.io’s free affiliate program is available as soon as you sign up with us.

Once you start sending visitors to our website using your affiliate link, we’ll convert them into customers, and you can start earning commissions.

Systeme.io affiliates get a 40% commission (before tax) on all products and training sales.

This is a lifetime affiliation — once you've referred someone to us and they opt-in using your affiliate link, your affiliate ID is linked to your referral's email address for life.

Whenever we send out emails to your referrals, your affiliate ID will automatically be added.

We understand that people often use different devices to browse the internet — our affiliate tracking method caters to this.

If your referrals operate on different devices or use different email addresses to make purchases using your link, you’ll still get credited for the sale and earn affiliate commissions.

Unlike cookies, this link never expires.

Our affiliate program works on the last cookie.

If affiliates referred the same lead that you have with their affiliate ID after you, they’ll get credit for the sale.

If your referrals promote our affiliate program, you'll earn 5% affiliate commissions on the sales made with their affiliate links.

If you’d like to convince more prospects to sign up as one of your recruits, you can add some credibility to your affiliate pitch, mentioning that:

  • We pay more than $100,000 in affiliate commissions each month
  • We’ve paid out well over $2,000,000 in commissions to our affiliates
systeme.io’s affiliate marketplace

systeme.io’s affiliate marketplace

Let’s look below at how systeme.io’s programs benefit our affiliates.

As mentioned previously, members of our affiliate program receive a 40% lifetime commission on all products that are purchased through their sales funnels or on their websites.

These products include:

  • Our forever Free plan (no card details are required)
  • Our free ‘The New System To Launch An Online Business’ eBook
  • Our best-performing ‘Business Coach: Turn 1h of work a week into $2,000 a month’ course

For more options, visit our product list here.

Not only is systeme.io perfect to get you started as an affiliate, as an all-in-one software package, you’ll also be able to build your whole online business from the ground up.

Our features include:

  • Sales funnel builder — Create funnels easily based on proven templates. Integrate your email list, payment system, and membership sites
  • Email Marketing — Send unlimited emails, and create email campaigns. Categorize your customers, and send tailored emails to specific groups
  • Online course builder — No experience needed, and you can easily control your membership sites and your students' access
  • Blogging capabilities — Create and share converting content to get more followers behind you
  • Marketplace — Become a drop shipper, or sell your own products on your website, blog, or our built-in marketplace

And more!

Software affiliate programs like systeme.io also allow you to get recurring commissions (unlike products with one-off payments).

All you need to do to get started in the affiliate marketing industry is to click right here.

3.2. Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates logo

Amazon Associates logo

Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates, has a variety of products for any niche to help you make more than just a few dollars on the side.

According to their website, you can earn up to 10% commissions, but this depends on their extensive product criteria.

One of their greatest downfalls is their cookie life — you only get 24 hours to make a commission on sales once someone uses your affiliate link.

To earn an affiliate income with Amazon, you’ll need to be a blogger, publisher, or content creator with a qualifying website or mobile app.

Alternatively, you could sign up with the Amazon Influencer Program to sell their products through your social media posts or YouTube channel.

To find out more, click here.

3.3. Etsy

Etsy’s affiliate landing page

Etsy’s affiliate landing page

With Etsy, you can choose to either create your own online store, or you can opt for their affiliate marketing program.

Although their commission rate is only 4%, they do have a lot of benefits that make up for it:

  • More than 81 million active buyers
  • Anyone can become an affiliate from anywhere in the world (except cashback and voucher websites)
  • Their cookie lifespan is 30 days on the web and 7 days on their app (longer than Amazon’s)

If you’re interested in more affiliate options, read our article here.

4. Conclusion

When you start affiliate marketing, pick a niche that’s both profitable and interesting to you.

Make sure that the affiliate platforms you decide to join are not only trustworthy, but also offer great commissions, small or no transaction fees, and long-lasting cookie lifespans.

Are you ready to start your journey?

Click here, and let systeme.io help you reach affiliate marketing success!

affiliate marketing success

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