Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is an awesome way to earn a passive income for an affiliate.

35% of affiliates in the U.S. earn $20,000/year from affiliate marketing, according to AffStats latest report.

For the seller or brand, it can increase their awareness and generate sales.

This overview of affiliate marketing will look at the basics and tips for successful affiliate marketing. 

Let’s find out if affiliate marketing really works.

1. Basics of Affiliate Marketing

1.1. What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing involves an affiliate promoting a brand’s products on their own platform, which aims to bring in sales for the brand.

The brand, also called the company, the seller, or the merchant is the one who creates or sells the product.

Anyone from solopreneurs to massive companies can partner with affiliate marketers.

The affiliate, also called the marketer, can be an individual or a company that promotes a brand’s products to its audience.

If a consumer makes a purchase using the affiliate’s link, the affiliate receives a commission.

It’s a win-win for both parties!

Although affiliate marketing is centred around the seller and the marketer, without the consumer there would be no affiliate marketing.

affiliate marketing process

The consumer making a purchase is the reason for the revenuethe business receives and the commissionthe affiliate gets.

Affiliate marketing can be fulfilling, but it doesn’t bring overnight success. It requires effort, time, and most importantly, successful tactics to see results.

1.2. How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

The brand gives the affiliate a unique link to use when they promote a product.

This way, the business can keep track of which sales came from an affiliate’s link.

The link includes a cookie that stays on the customer’s device for up to 90 days. 

If they decide to purchase later, the company can still see that the sale came from the affiliate’s link.

Affiliate links can be promoted on social media, blogs, web pages, or emails.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Although affiliates commonly promote products for a commission, companies can also work with affiliates to get leads or traffic.

So instead of promoting a product, affiliates would aim to get their audience to check out the brand’s site, or to subscribe to their newsletter.

1.3. Why Use Affiliate Marketing?

For a business, affiliate marketing can be a rewarding form of digital marketing. 

You’ll be expanding your reach through the affiliates you partner with and you’ll generate revenue from the sales.

The right affiliate program can generate around 30% in revenue from affiliate marketing.

Not only does affiliate marketing let you reach more people, but you’ll reach a different audience to yours.

1.4. Why Become an Affiliate Marketer?

There are heaps of reasons to become an affiliate marketer. 

You’ll get to choose which brands you want to work with and which products you’d like to promote.

You’d also have the freedom to work with as many companies as you want to, so you could earn several commissions.

On sites like Amazon, a fantastic perk is if a customer uses your link to buy the product you promoted and ends up buying other products, you’ll get a commission on the extra products too!

Affiliate marketers don’t handle products and stock, so they can focus solely on promoting.

You wouldn’t need to invest money into affiliate marketing so you’d save money on start-up costs.

2. Successful Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as promoting a product though. It takes time to build partnerships and reach the right audience.

The following tips aim to provide affiliate marketers with someinsight into effective and successful marketing.

We’ve also thrown in a bonus tip for businesses at the end.

2.1. Tips for Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate Marketers

2.1.1. Stick to a Niche

Choosing one topic to focus on makes it easier to reach an audience. 

If you’re all over the place, you might not be able to build a solid following.

Decide on a topic that you’re interested in and build on that. 

Some industries that might pique your interest are food, fashion, DIY, beauty, or fitness.

Because these are broad industries, you can extract a specific niche from the general topics. 

Instead of food, you can focus on gourmet food or yoga instead of general fitness.

This will help you reach an audience who will show true interest and support you, which brings you the success you need.

2.1.2. Create Your Own Brand

Even if you aren’t selling something, creating a brand for yourself gives you a professional edge.

Set up a site or blog that tells the world who you are and features your work and collaborations.

For instance, if you’re a beauty expert focused on recording make-up tutorials, you could have some of your most viewed tutorials featured on your site.

If you’re already an affiliate, display the brands that you’ve worked with.

When companies look you up, they’ll see a professional who takes pride in what they do and who they partner with.

2.1.3. Promote Products You’re Interested in

This goes hand-in-hand with creating your brand.

By selecting products that you would use or take an interest in, you’d be showing authenticity, which audiences love to see.

It will also keep you engaged and eager to promote these products.

Try to use links where they fit in naturally so your post doesn’t sound like an ad, but rather like you’re sharing a great product with your followers.

Your content should be thoughtful and tactfully created.

Promote Products

2.1.4. Use Different Channels

A great deal of affiliate marketing is done through social media, specifically on YouTube and Instagram.

While these are very effective platforms, blogs and emails can be just as profitable.

Blogging has grown exponentially and tonnes of bloggers have become affiliate marketers.

Email marketing is a very rewarding type of marketing.

Use emails to inform your audience about the content on your blog and social media, encouraging them to view your content. 

You can even include the affiliate link in the email.

Take note of which channel your audience is most responsive to, and then zero in on promoting through that channel.

2.1.5. Targeted Campaigns

Targeted campaigns are incredibly effective. 

One way to promote a product is through a pop-up on your blog or website.

If the pop-up shows up in an article about the product you’re promoting, it’s perfect targeting.

Exit pop-upswork extremely well too.

Users are more likely to purchase through targeted campaigns like these instead of a general campaign.

2.1.6. Build Partnerships

Having a good relationship with your collaborators is important.

As an affiliate, you’ll be working with many brands and you’ll want to build a solid reputation, especially if affiliate marketing is a big part of your income.

Develop long-term partnerships instead of one-time promotions by having a transparent relationship.

2.1.7. Bonus Tip: Measure Your Success

The last tip is specifically for the brand or seller.

Test the results of your affiliate marketing campaigns by monitoring your conversion rates.

Measuring your conversions will let you know what needs to be optimized (landing page, sales page, etc.).

There are helpful tools you can use to test your conversions.

3. Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Like any new venture, there are both perks and drawbacks.

Before we answer the million-dollar question, let’s evaluate the pros and cons of affiliate marketing.

3.1. Pros

  • Low start-up costs. Affiliate marketers can usually join affiliate programs for free.
  • Affiliates don’t need to handle products, shipping, or sales.
  • The job comes with a lot of flexibility. Affiliates can work remotely and decide when they want to work.
  • With consistent effort, affiliate marketing can become a passive income.

3.2. Cons

  • You’ll have to put in a lot of time before you see sufficient results. If you’re looking to make a quick buck, this won’t work for you.
  • There’s plenty of competition in affiliate marketing, so you’d have to put in extra effort to stand out.
  • Losing out on payments can sometimes happen. Affiliate link hijacking occurs if someone hacks your account or site.
  • There’s a hint of unreliability. Some companies may not stick to their word and could pay their affiliates a lesser amount than agreed.

So, does affiliate marketing work?

Yes! If you’re willing to put in the effort it takes to build it. Think of it as running a business.

It will take dedication and focus, so prepare to be in it for the long haul.

4. Final Thoughts

Affiliate marketing does work! It can be a profitable side hustle, or a full-time income if you put in consistent work.

Like many freelance careers, what you earn depends on the quality of work you produce and the time you put in.

For both the brand and the affiliate, ensure that you do ample research on the companies and affiliates you’d want to partner with.

Affiliate marketing is a rewarding marketing avenue that’s beneficial to both the brand and the affiliate.

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