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Affiliate program? What is it exactly?

affiliate marketing
June 11, 2021
Author: Hamster, www.hostens.com

Why should you become an affiliate? What are the benefits? How does it work, and what are the conditions for joining it?

Let’s start from the very beginning. Affiliate marketing gives you the possibility to earn passive income. You can make money from a company by promoting its products or services. It takes time to set up a good website or blog and get a lot of traffic, but once you do that and put some work into it, it all pays off. In the end, affiliate marketing makes you financially independent. People can come to your site at any time 24/7, click on the link, get redirected to the company’s website, and buy the product or service you advertise.

This is how the company receives profit from you. After the purchase, the company pays you an agreed share; it might be a percentage from the sale or some specific amount. The great thing is that you make money even when you are away or sleeping. People can visit your online space at any point of the day, help your site grow, and make affiliate programs work.

What should I do as an affiliate?

As a member of an affiliate program, or maybe even a few, you will be spending some time creating engaging, helpful, promotional content, building relationships with your visitors, and pushing the brands you believe in. You can also review some products on your site and rate them, bringing the best ones to the top. Being an affiliate marketer can be a side hustle besides your main activity, however, if you want to be a full-time affiliate marketer, you need to take this a bit more seriously.

In this case, you should be able to promote not only the brands you are working with but also promote yourself. You need to attract more people to your site and get them to subscribe to your newsletters. To bring a lot of volume to your site and to get followers on your social media takes time, dedication, observation, and a bit of supervision. Just find a good affiliate program for yourself. Advertise products and services that you believe in, those that you know are good ones. Dedicate some time to it, work out your strategy, and – that’s it. You can do it!

How does affiliate program work?

1. Someone is looking for a specific product or service online and lands on a publisher’s (affiliate) website. They find promoted items they are interested in and they click on the advertised link, which leads them to the third-party landing page.
2. Visitors purchase the suggested product.
3. Publisher (affiliate) receives a commission based on agreed conditions. It can be a percentage from the wholesale or a specific amount of money for the new lead.

Win-Win strategy

As you have already noticed, there are three parties involved in affiliate marketing, and all of them win.
The merchant or vendor is responsible for the end product. Anybody who has a service or a product to sell can be a vendor. For example, if you would like to be an affiliate for our cute Hamster, then, in this situation, Hostens would be the vendor.

Publisher (affiliate)– this is who you most probably would like to be. If someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases your promoted services or product, you receive money. To convince potential customers that the merchant’s product or service is good, you need a space to explain that. The most popular ones are websites, blogs, and social media accounts.

Customer– We need to know who we are targeting and who our potential customers are. Think carefully about who you are selling the product to, who needs it the most, and how you can attract these people’s attention the best.

As you can see, everyone wins in this situation. The customer gets the best product advertised without much confusion. Affiliates help customers make the decision quicker and earn a commission. The merchant sells its product or service.

Where to find the right affiliate program?

You should check the merchant’s website and look for “Affiliate program “or “Partnership programs.” Besides that, you can look at more extensive networks, which have partnerships with many different companies and can offer to choose from multiple affiliate programs.

You will find that all merchants have different conditions regarding commissions – how and when they pay. Some merchants will also pay you extra if you write a bit longer article about them, but you have to ask about this directly.

Our little Hamster offers you a $25 (for hosting) commission. You can find more information about the affiliate program here https://www.hostens.com/affiliate-program/.

Find the right products to promote

Now when you know there are many opportunities for you as an affiliate, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and start promoting just about everything. However, that’s not the best idea. To you, as a beginner, it would be best to stick to a single topic. Also, when you start with only one thing, you can pay more attention to it. You can dedicate more time to updates and other corrections that might be needed. You will find it less complicated and allow yourself to settle down for that specific niche.

Later, little by little, you can join more affiliate programs. Don’t forget: do not promote products you do not believe in just to earn a commission. Your visitors will realize that you’re faking it, or even if they don’t, your reputation will suffer if you promote a product that is not good. People will stop trusting you, and in the end, you risk losing a lot.
You have to think very well before deciding what to promote.

Commission

You might get blinded by the high commission prospect. However, we would also recommend looking at the product or service price and seeing what would be easier to sell. You may get high commissions (for example, $1000) for some specific products, but those products may cost a lot (for instance, $2500), and you will find it challenging to promote them. This is one of the things to consider before signing up for a specific affiliate program.

Also, some companies pay a lesser amount of commissions, but they pay for every single purchase (recurring), while others pay more, but for the first invoice only (one time) – in this case, you basically get paid for every new lead. Keep this in mind and calculate carefully which program is the best one to keep you happy.

How to advertise

Websites and blogs are the most common tools for affiliate marketing, and they are the best.
Some affiliate marketers use paid advertisements, such as PPC, or others with different price levels. You can do this too, but better wait for a little, till you start making some income and have money to spend on paid advertisements.

• Using your website you can do soft promotions at no extra cost for you. Many hosting providers now offer a website-building tool in their package, which is typically very easy to use (drag and drop). If you want to have more options on your website and create something unique, you can opt for tools like WordPress, which is also easy to use. There are numerous tutorials for this tool, in case you need some help.

Blog – another way to reach an audience organically. Write news, updates, and fixes that are related to a product or service you promote. Customers looking for information and insights about the specific industry are more likely to pitch on your website, thus they will have a look at the products suggested by you as well.

Review site – nowadays reviews are essential no matter what industry we are talking about. This kind of site is perfect for including affiliate links. The author (you) write a review about the product or service and then adds an affiliate link to where it can be bought and in this way boosts the product on social media platforms and blogs.

Coupon site – very effective method. That’s where affiliate marketing is noticeable. Visitors to these kinds of websites love discounts, and they are there because they are ready to have successful online shopping. You don’t need to rely on your ability to convince and write perfect content. Here you can rely on visitors’ passion for a bargain.

Email marketing – generally used for sending newsletters. It’s an excellent promotional tool. You can reach out to your clients by sending a monthly newsletter and informing them about discounts, freebies, or new, valuable content with a link to it (blog, website).

Content

The content has to be valuable. People are looking for helpful advice and want to find the right product. You also have to seem comfortable and confident about what you do. Don’t start vlogging if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera.

• Choose the right medium – website content, blog, forums, social media, or emails (if you prefer written communication).
• You should fill it with valuable content, for example – “how-to” guides on your website or product and price comparisons. If it’s not working, try the A/B test (comparing how products perform on the different versions). Don’t forget product reviews as well as visitors’ feedback. The more, the better.
• Communicate with the vendor and keep your banners updated.
• Inform your visitors about the sales if the vendor is running one.
• Don’t forget to add the FTC disclaimer; it’s a legal thing you have to do. You have to inform your visitors that you receive compensation for reviewing and suggesting the product or service.

You must know the product inside-out and share as much information as you can. This will help you to make sure the customer feels knowledgeable enough to make the purchase. That’s why the best thing to do is to promote something that interests you.

Generate Traffic

As mentioned above, if you want to take on affiliate marketing more seriously and make it your primary income source, you have to work on it. Writing quality content on your blog or website is essential, but you have to think about one more key aspect: how people are going to find you.

Social Media

One of the best ways to inform people these days is through social media. You can tell people about yourself, your website, or your blog. One post isn’t enough: you must be active on social media and post consistently (not more than three times a week, though).

You can have an account on a number of social media platforms, look for groups that relate to your products. These groups will help you increase the products’ reach effectively in terms of organic audience.

Please don’t ask the vendor to use their social media for backlinks. They are paying commission to you to promote their product, not the other way around.

Email List

One more way of telling people about yourself. You can build a mailing list of subscribers. These are the people that already expressed interest in what you have to say and to offer. Use this as targeted leverage for your blog or website.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

A lot of people use search engines daily many times and for different purposes. SEO is a modern method for promoting; it is all about visibility and focuses on organic (unpaid) search results. It won’t work quickly, however, it can bring fantastic results in the long run.

Typically, the merchant will ask you as an affiliate to use a unique link to share with your visitors. This is very important because that’s how the merchant will know that it was you who brought the new customer. So then, after some time (typically a month), they can calculate all the new customers and orders that got generated because of your promoted content, and then, as a reward, you will receive a commission.

You can promote products and services in many different ways – it’s best if you talk to a merchant directly about all the possibilities. Usually, when you join an affiliate program, you get a dedicated person, like an account manager, who can provide you with all the needed information and answer the questions you may have.
Don’t forget – choose the program wisely.

If you think “Hostens” is something you would like to promote, you are very welcome to sign up https://controlpanel.missaffiliate.com/signup.

Going forward with affiliate marketing

Let’s imagine that so far you’ve been doing great in the affiliate market. You earn enough and now have some money to spend on paid advertisements. You can make money in all of the organic ways described above. However, here we are looking at the next level. If you are ready, try these methods to increase your commissions.

PPC advertising

PPC stands for Pay Per Click, one of the best-known paid advertisement tactics. Here you have to bid on keywords relevant to your business. Your ads will show up when someone looks for these phrases in a search engine. For example, if someone searches for a specific type of jacket such as “The North Face,” Amazon is bidding on a related keyword such as “Outdoors jacket.” Amazon’s advertisement will show up in the results.

Most search engines follow the PPC model. If you are not sure about the keywords you should choose, there are many tools that can help you, such as Google Keyword Planner. Also, don’t forget that even though Google is the most popular search engine, there are other widely used ones, like Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.

Keywords

Keyword Planner gives an impression about search volume for each keyword on Google search engine, which helps a lot. It tells you the number of clicks it receives and the average cost per click. Bing Keyword tool is very similar to Google’s, but all the keywords are related to Bing. It’s useful for finding high-volume keywords.

Those who are very new to affiliate marketing might mistake PPC for just writing an advertisement with target keywords, then throwing it in and leaving it like that. While it might be a part of the process, this alone won’t give you many conversions. To validate paid advertisements, you should familiarise yourself with AdWords and Analytics tools. Tracking everything and making sure that keywords work (bring sales) is a big part of PPC.

Track your analytics and make sure that conversion tracking is in place. All the major search engines such as Google and Bing allow you to manage your accounts easily because they offer prompt access to conversion statistics.

Social media is an essential everyday tool for many. People put a lot of information on their accounts, such as demographics, language, relationship status, work etc. You also can see their typical behavior on social media and groups they have joined. It comes as no surprise that social media has become a powerful and effective marketing tool.

All information you can find in social media’s platform insights can reach the desired audience. Especially it can be effective if you think about sponsored social posts and messages. However, you can get some audience with unpaid messages too. Let’s have a fleeting look at the leading social media channels, shall we?

Facebook Ads

For this, you need to create a Facebook page for your affiliate account. The best thing about these ads is the advantage of targeting your audience, which means reaching the right people. Advertising on Facebook doesn’t cost much, you can even decide about the limits. If you are still not sure, you can check it out for a week and see how it works for you. Facebook also targets Instagram users, which can result in more conversions.

Instagram Ads

One of the youngest and arguably one of the most prominent social media platforms. At first, this network mainly attracted the young generation who loved interacting: showing the world their pictures, videos, and other visual content. In general, the younger generation prefers visuals instead of words and written content.

However, nowadays this channel gets more variety in terms of users’ age. Also, around 80% of users here follow the brands, and many of them take action. This is why Instagram can be a fantastic tool for marketers. Visuals remain an essential communication instrument here. So if you can create strong visuals, Instagram will be the right channel for your ads and will pay off.

Twitter and hashtags

Twitter likes short and sweet messages. Those who use this platform know that hashtags are one of the most important elements to add to the post. The best thing is that you can create hashtags yourself and follow others. Also, you can use Twitter influencers to promote your products or category directly from the Twitter platform. Do not forget to add your affiliate link to benefit from the conversions.

LinkedIn Ads

Very different from other social media platforms, but you can benefit greatly from them. Of course, you will need to create a business account here, just like on other platforms. According to the data, people share with other members, such as the industry they are working in, their job titles, and interest groups, you can target your audience.

LinkedIn Ads options include boosted content, sidebar ads, and InMail messages (sponsored). Many B2B leads come from this channel, and it might be just what you need. LinkedIn simplifies form filling ritual by preloading information from the account in the form for anyone who clicks on your ad.

Conclusion

Now that we have walked you through the essential steps of affiliate marketing, I hope you feel that you have learned where to start and if that’s what you want to do in the first place. While you read information about affiliate marketing, everything might seem to be so easy. We don’t want you to get disappointed: indeed, affiliate marketing can give you an excellent opportunity to lead that flexible freelancing lifestyle, but you have to put a lot of work into it until you see positive results.

Now you know what the main three players in the affiliate marketing process are. You’ve understood what you should look for while choosing the product or service you want to work with. We have also reviewed different paid and unpaid marketing strategies that work and that you can start with. Don’t forget: writing an article in your blog or putting a banner on your website is OK, but you have to use social media to get traffic and see positive results faster. Keep all the points listed above in mind, and go ahead – get started.

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