If you have a blog or are considering starting a blog as a side hustle, then you need to consider how you will make money from your website. Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways for new bloggers to make money. As an affiliate marketer, you discuss and promote products via your blog. If people decide to purchase items based on your blog, then you receive a small commission. This Affiliate Marketing for Beginners post is going to cover all the basics to start you on your journey.
Affiliate marketing for beginners
In the affiliate marketing relationship, there are three parties involved the affiliate, the advertiser and the consumer.
The consumer is just any person purchasing things online.
The merchant (or advertiser) is the owner of the product, service or brand that is being marketed. The merchant could be anyone from a small start-up website selling an online course to a large corporation like Amazon. The only requirement is that they need to have something to sell. While larger companies may run their affiliate program, many businesses run their affiliate program via an affiliate network. I will talk more about affiliate networks below.
The affiliate or publisher is the person or company who owns the blog or website (this would be you!). The affiliates job is to drive the consumer to the merchant’s site to make a purchase or sign up for a service. Often this is done via blog content or social media.
How affiliate marketing works
The blog promotes the advertisers’ product via advertising, blog posts or product reviews. The affiliate provided links on their website to the advertiser’s website for the consumer to get more information. These are “affiliate links” which are tracked with cookies, and if the consumer clicks on an affiliate link and then decides to purchase something from the advertiser’s website, a small commission is paid to the affiliate. It does not cost the consumer anything to use the affiliate link, but the advertiser is paying the affiliate for their referral.
Affiliate Marketing Example
Let’s look at a real-life example. You visit mumcents.com.au to learn about some great tips to save money. You read my post Saving Money Shopping Online and learn about strategies you can use to save money when shopping online. In this post your learn about the Ebates program and how you can earn cash back for your online purchases at major retailers. You decided you would like to try the service and click on the link I have provided.
Once on the Ebates website, you decide to sign-up for a free account and try the service. As an affiliate, I am given a fee for referring the business to Ebates.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a great solution for everyone involved.
Benefits to Affiliates
Being an affiliate marketer means that you can sell a product without any of the risks. You do not need to buy stock, or manufacture anything. Your role is to create content to educate buyers on the product, so they want to buy them. You can advertise many products across a single blog. In many cases, blogger promotes products they already use.
Benefits to Merchant
Many hands make light work. An affiliate program allows the merchant to have hundreds if not thousands of people promoting their product. There are no financial risks as they are not required to pay an affiliate until there is a sale. It also allows the advertisers to have actual people speak and review their products, which can feel more genuine than a slick advertising campaign.
Benefits to Consumer
It is important to point out that affiliate marketing does not cost the consumer any money. They will pay no more if they purchase through an affiliate link than if they had gone directly to the merchant’s website. The main benefit to consumers is that many bloggers will provide the pros and cons of the products so their readers can decide if they want to try something out.
Can you really make money affiliate marketing?
Yes, it is possible. You can make large amounts of money with affiliate marketing. But, it takes work and time. To make a commission from affiliate marketing, you need someone to click on a link. Before this can happen, you need to build traffic to your website, and this requires creating content that people want to read. This all takes time and effort, but it is possible.
Another benefit of affiliate marketing to consider is that it can create passive income. Once a blog post is written, it is there forever (well until you take it down). Someone might click on your link a year after you post it and you will still make a commission on that sale. Again, it takes time, but it is possible.
What is an affiliate marketing network
Affiliate marketing networks manage affiliate programs. Often it is too hard for a small business to run their stand-alone affiliate program, so they join an affiliate network. The network administers the affiliate program and generates the tracking cookies for affiliates and tracks sales and traffic from those links. They also manage payments to affiliates. Some examples of affiliate networks are Commission Junction and Share-a-sale. Between these networks, there are 1000s of businesses that you promote for profit.
These “middlemen” make it easier for everyone in the equation. The benefit of joining an affiliate network for you is that instead of signing up individually with every product that you want to promote, you can sign up to a network and minimize the administration involved. The Through an affiliate program, you can get a single payment for all of your suppliers, instead of multiple small payments.
More Affiliate Marketing Resources
When I built my first website, and I had no success with affiliate marketing because I was flying blind. I just expected that I would write great content and then magically people would come. It did not happen. After a few months with limited success, I invested some time and did some free online training. Here are of the top three resources I would recommend if you want to learn more about affiliate marketing.
Wealthy Affiliate – If you’ve looked around my blog, I’ve mentioned this program a few times. Wealthy Affiliate has hours of free online training. The training will help guide you through everything from setting up your website, joining affiliate programs and driving traffic to your site. There is a paid program for Wealthy Affiliate but, you can set up a free account and go through the training before you decide you want to join.
Neil Patel -Neil is pretty much the king of digital marketing. His website is full of amazing and insightful posts about just about anything you need know.
Smart Passive Income – Another great resource. I have only used the free content on this blog, so I cannot vouch for any of the paid content.
I hope you enjoyed my Affiliate Marketing for Beginners overview. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I would be happy to provide my advice. If you are ready to set up your blog and give affiliate marketing a try, check out my list of the best tools for bloggers to find some great resources to save you time and money on your blogging journey.