Illustration of a man coming out of a laptop holding a megaphone. The laptop is surrounded by illustrations of money, coins, plants, and clouds.

A Quick Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other companies’ products for a commission when sales are made using an affiliate link. An affiliate is like a salesperson, except with more range to do business with whomever they choose. As an affiliate marketer, you have the flexibility to promote products from various companies with the potential to earn commission from them all.

Who Is Affiliate Marketing For?

Many entrepreneurs looking to build an online business and marketers looking to monetize their web traffic turn to affiliate marketing to start generating income. Affiliate marketing continues to grow and is reported to increase to $8.2 billion by 2022 – up from $5.4 billion in 2017.

HubSpot lists four parties involved in affiliate marketing:

  • An affiliate can be an individual or a company. Today, we see a lot of bloggers and influencers promoting products and services for big-name brands. When one of their followers or visitors makes a purchase, the affiliate receives a commission.
  • A product creator offers revenue sharing and commission to people or companies with a significant following that share their products or services.
  • Affiliate networks manage the relationship between the product creator and their affiliates. Networks are not always necessary but serve as an extra layer of protection.
  • Consumers make the purchase or submit a lead form for the product an affiliate is promoting.

How do affiliates get paid?

Affiliates are paid whenever a visitor creates a transaction, whether a click, lead form submission, or a sale.

The following are popular affiliate marketing models:

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): The affiliate is paid for every click that is made, whether it leads to a sale or not.
  • Pay-Per-Lead (PPL): The affiliate is paid for every generated lead.
  • Pay-Per-Sale (PPS): The affiliate is paid for every sale.

Perks of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing requires little to no cost. You can start earning money with an affiliate product or service without any upfront investment.

As an affiliate, you focus on handling the digital marketing side of business when building and promoting a product.

The ease of scalability allows affiliates to introduce new products while continuing to generate income for existing products.

While promoting many different products and services is easy, it’s important not to focus solely on generating income. Genuine interest in a product helps build trust with your audience. Stick to products you are passionate about advertising.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Pick your niche and build a platform. Create content around a topic you are passionate about and post regularly to encourage engagement. This can be done via a blog, social media, or a YouTube channel.

Choose products and services to promote. Recommend products and services to your audience that you are familiar with and have had a positive experience using. Describe your experience highlighting the value and quality of each product and service you promote.

Optimize and track. The merchant can track when a transaction is made, but so should you. By keeping up with your performance, you can determine what content produces the best results and areas you can improve. This way, you focus on marketing content that best resonates with your audience.

Shopify is an excellent example of an affiliate marketing platform. A network comprised of entrepreneurs, educators, influencers, and creators, Shopify provides affiliates with a unique link to share with their audience, earning a commission each time someone signs up through the link for a paid Shopify plan.

Affiliate marketing is a rewarding way to earn revenue without taking on too much risk. By investing the time and energy to build your brand, choose the products you love, create valuable content, and inspire your audience, you can reap the rewards and gain a new stream of revenue.