Updated: Sep 22
In this guide, I will discuss the right approach to affiliate marketing and the best programs out there. I hope it provides you with the details you need.
Affiliate Marketing Insights
Are you eager to expand your knowledge of Affiliate marketing? Or, interested in joining an affiliate program? If yes, this blog post explains the Affiliate Marketing concept, in an 'easy to grasp' way.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing technique, whereby, a brand includes 'third parties' to help it in promoting its product online; the affiliate partners are then paid a commission for any actual sales achieved.
The above affiliate marketing definition does not provide a comprehensive affiliate marketing meaning. In other words, it does not tell it all, below is a further elaboration:
Affiliate marketing can also be termed as a framework that helps a brand to partner with other individuals, who will aid in promoting its products or services, and then in return, compensate them for their services.
It is a move for brands to promote their products or drive sales in a fast and more effective way. The partners or players in the entire marketing channel are the affiliates.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing is multidimensional, it can be viewed as a channel. The players in an affiliate marketing program are:
(i) Brand: these are the product owners, they can be individuals or companies.
(ii) Affiliates: These are the partners who promote the product in their various platforms, and are paid commission per performance.
(iii) Consumers: These are the web visitors or the targeted audience.
In simple terms, affiliates publish a product or service, and when actual outcomes are achieved, they are paid a share of the profit, commonly known as a 'kickback'.
In most cases, the affiliates are bloggers or content creators, who are related in one way or another to the brand being promoted. An affiliate utilizes all possible marketing skills to ensure that a consumer buys a product.
In affiliate marketing, both parties benefit, this means that it is a gain-gain situation.
For the company, an affiliate marketing propels the business forward through the increased online sales, and for the affiliate, this marketing strategy can earn you money, even without you having to produce your product.
Affiliate Marketing: How To
Below is a highlight of the steps on 'how to be an affiliate marketer':
(i) Join an affiliate marketing program
(ii) Find a product that you would wish to advertise or recommend
(iii) Acquire an affiliate link for each product.
(iv) Share that link in all your social media sites (eg Facebook, Instagram), and other affiliate marketing sites.
(v) A consumer clicks on the link
(vi) A consumer is redirected to the company's website
(vii) A consumer purchases the product
(viii) The brand pays a commission to the affiliate
Why should a brand join an affiliate marketing program?
An affiliate marketing program will easily connect you to your target audience, this is because affiliate marketers already have established platforms with a regular visitor base.
Affiliate marketing partners will assist in scaling your sales.
Affiliate marketing cuts on cost since as a brand you can choose to only pay per sale. This performance-based marketing will hence save you money.
Partnering with reputable affiliate marketing programs will enhance your reputation. Being recommended by a trustworthy affiliate program will facilitate consumers to have trust in your product.
Affiliate marketing helps in advancing the SEO ratings of the brand. When target audiences visit affiliate marketing sites that are advertising your product, even without making a sale, your brand is likely to become popular, helping it to rank (halo-effect).
Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?
Is a career in Affiliate Marketing worth it? Of course yes, some of the benefits of joining an affiliate marketing program include:
Affiliate marketing is 'easy'
You don't have to create your own brand, and you don't have to go through the hassle of stocking up stores or shipping products.
Affiliate marketing is flexible
You can work from the comfort of your home as long as you have internet access. You can even earn money while sleeping.
Affiliate marketing saves on cost
Most affiliate programs are free to join, hence, no upfront costs are required. Due to the low operational costs, low-risk is involved.
Affiliate marketing can be a passive source of income
You can do it as a side hustle to complement the income earned from other jobs or investments. Through the commission earned, an affiliate marketing job can generate your stable passive income.
Becoming an affiliate marketer doesn't need any expertise or special skills, all you need is an affiliate marketing website where you can post links, posters, and ads.
Does a consumer gain from Affiliate Marketing?
A consumer can obtain plenty of useful information on the product they are interested in.
Good products will be recommended for you. This is because most bloggers and webmasters promote products that they have already used, and derive satisfaction from.
Consumers can acquire special discounts from offers.
Affiliate marketing for beginners
Affiliate marketing John Crestani: He is a renowned affiliate marketing expert, as an aspiring affiliate marketer, go through his journey to success, and I can assure you that you will learn a lot.
As a newbie publisher, you can read affiliate marketing books for guidance or join affiliate marketing for dummies.
Reddit is also an excellent platform for affiliate marketing beginners to learn. A beginner can learn a big deal from the discussions, and conversations on Reddit. Also, you can enroll for an affiliate marketing course, to obtain affiliate marketing training, on: 'affiliate marketing how to make money'.Also, learn how to make a website for affiliate marketing, and how to do affiliate marketing without a website.
One of the best affiliate marketing website examples is Nerdwallet, this company has scaled heights in affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
Affiliate networks are the fourth parties in an affiliate marketing scheme. They are the middlemen who operate in between the brand, and the affiliate. They are the brokers or connecting platforms between the advertiser, and the publisher.
Their work is to manage the relationship between the brand, and the affiliate. Specifically, the middlemen manage payments, tracking, and also reporting.
If you are interested in becoming an online marketer, then it is important to sign up with an affiliate network, the network will connect you to some of the companies with affiliate marketing.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
Companies usually join affiliate marketing platforms, with the goal of achieving better sales. A brand is hence willing to pay commission to the other players involved in closing the deal.
The commission can be a prior agreed amount (flat-rate) between the company, and the marketing partner, but in most cases, the commission is usually a certain share of the amount made from a sale.
An affiliate marketer posts a product link in affiliate marketing platforms such as social media sites. (Affiliate marketing on Facebook, and; affiliate marketing on Instagram), are some of the most commonly used advertisement platforms. Or, you can post the links on other sites; like affiliate marketing on Pinterest. Pinterest is a platform that is majorly used for file sharing.
After so doing, the audience can view a product in your post. If they click on the link to the product and end up buying it, then the affiliates get paid a commission for the sale done.
Three modes of payments can be used:
Pay-per-sale: Commission is earned when a consumer makes an actual purchase.
Pay-per-click: the affiliate marketer is paid based on the number of visitors who visit the brands' site via the affiliate link.
Pay-per-lead: This payment is paid based on the number of consumers, who visit the brands' site, and sign up.
Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Sites
How is the categorization done? These channels are usually classified by brand owners, and affiliates marketers. However, there is no agreed formula for classifying affiliate marketing sites. The following is a list of some recognized types:
These sites, advertise discounted products. If you are striving to make your product popular, you can decide to first sell it at a discounted price, until it peaks.
In this case, your product or service is a niche, and you want to sell it at an expensive price. The product owner researches top review sites for similar products. The brand then reaches out to the publisher or writer of that particular review site, to include an affiliate link of their product inside some of their articles or publications. In that case, as traffic researches about similar products they are likely to come across your product's affiliate link.
This involves sending emails to consumers who are likely to need or use your product. However, it does not involves sending bulk emails to uninterested persons. Emails are sent to selected persons or clients.
Bloggers, and social media influencers
A brand can partner with bloggers or influencers who specialize in your product. For instance, if you own a clothing line, you can approach bloggers, and social influencers who post about 'style, and fashion', ask them to feature your product in their social media, or post for you a blog for affiliate marketing. In so doing, it will be possible for your target audience to come across your product.
In this case, freelancers pay their own money to advertise a product on search engines or social media platforms they will then benefit from Returns On Investment (ROI).
Video sharing types
These types of channels involve advertising products through videos. Affiliate Marketing YouTube, and affiliate marketing on youtube, are the most common video-sharing channels.
These channels advertise products through sharing files such as images. A good example is affiliate marketing on Pinterest. You need to open a business account on Pinterest for this. Check out my Pinterest account to see what a business account looks like, @simblogshare.
Tips to Help You Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer
Making money as an affiliate partner requires traffic (visitors to your site). If no-one visits your site, then no commission will be earned. So, one way of becoming successful in the affiliate marketing realm is attracting a lot of traffic to your site.
The following is a highlight of some tactics that one can employ, to reap more returns from affiliate marketing.
Promote your website on social media platforms, this can help in spiking your traffic.
Use expert skills, and techniques when creating your website to ensure that your website ranks well on SEO.
Use paid ads, while this may incur you lots of money, it may give you good returns in the long run. However, this is can be a high-risk investment.
Choose to promote a product that you are genuinely interested in (a good niche). This will ensure that you do not lose motivation.
Choose an affiliate program that pays good commission
It would be more rewarding to promote expensive products
Learn how to estimate traffic potential for your niche
Do keyword research for your niche
This will entail finding the product roundup keywords, the product review keywords, and the blog keywords.
Publish the right content in terms of product roundup, product review, and blog post
Create content hubs, and builds links to attract traffic to your site
What are the Top Affiliate Marketing Trends of 2020?
Affiliate marketing is changing from time to time, and that's why an affiliate marketer should keep up to date with the most recent trends. The following is a highlight of the top affiliate marketing trends to watch out for this year:
Reliable, accurate, and trend-dynamic tracking strategies.
Automation, and machine learning trends.
Increased use of Artificial intelligence (AI) in consumer behavior analysis.
Significant user journey tracking, from general targeting to more profound targeting.
Increased use of new supply channels such as TikTok.
Growth in human-generated shoppable content.
Increase in mobile advertising
Growth in influencer marketing
Growth in voice-based search, and image recognition
Growth in cross-border e-commerce
Localization: targeting consumers at local levels
What Affiliate Marketing Strategies Should You Employ in 2020?
Based on observations, and experience from 2019. The following affiliate marketing strategies can help you shape, and expand your marketing this year:
Recruit a wide-range of affiliates to market your brand.
Incorporate video in your blog, and website content.
Promote mobile-friendly content by avoiding long-form blogs.
Use a data-driven strategy of boosting your site.
Use micro-influencers, and pay-for-performance influencers to optimize your social media promotions in 2020.
Now let's dive into the main part of this post.
What are the Best Affiliate Programs?
If you are looking for affiliate marketing programs either as an advertiser or publisher, the following is a list of credible, and trustworthy affiliate marketing programs in no particular order to choose from:
MaxBounty is an expert in performance marketing techniques. The company has for two years consecutively, been ranked no. 1, for its expertise in affiliate marketing. Through their high-end technology, MaxBounty ensures that the affiliates blossom fully in their affiliate marketing jobs.
If you are a brand and looking to join an affiliate program that will fully suit your needs, then MaxBouty serves your purpose. They have a multi-channeled system of operation that will ensure tailor-made solutions for you.
Tradedoubler is another main affiliate marketing agency, this firm serves many advertisers and a large pool of publishers. They are currently providing marketing solutions to over 2,000 top brands. They are renowned for utilizing the 'white label technology' in serving their clients. With their market-leading technology, their platform will offer you excellent services and steer you to your goal.
One unique characteristic of Tradedoubler is that its operations are data-driven, as a result, their services are credible and transparent.
As an advertiser looking to boost returns via online marketing, just contact Tradedoubler, they will first listen to your challenges and come up with the most suited digital marketing solutions for you. They will also allow you to engage with your target audiences throughout the online purchase journey.
Tapgerine is an affiliate marketing company that was established in 2010 in Las Vegas, US. It is a mobile ad technology corporation that specializes in the global app ecosystem. It is reputable for providing data-driven solutions for advertising, and monetization.
Tapgerine utilizes proprietary technology to solve marketing strategies and is known for creating the best ads with data analysis. This ad tech company provides an avenue for affiliates to monetize mobile traffic.
Affiliate marketing Clickbank is a renowned performance affiliate network for brands and affiliates. It acts as the middleman between creators, and affiliate marketers.
Clickbank is a top global retailer with its own affiliate market place. It enables affiliate marketers to drive sales, and earn a commission based on performance.
Bluehost is a top affiliate program, It offers a platform whereby you can host your website. As a web hosting company, Bluehost specializes in: shared hosting, woo-commerce hosting, word press hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting.
ConvertKit is one of the world's fastest-growing email marketing company, it focuses on developing Word Press themes.
It is known for providing customized sign-up forms, and landing pages that entice new email subscribers. Despite being relatively new, the ConvertKit platform is already competitive in automation, tagging, and sending out bulk course emails.
ConvertKit will assist you in building a competitive website that will rank in SEO easily with WordPress.
Shopify is a Canadian multinational eCommerce solution company that focuses on growing the right tools for online marketing.
Shopify is good for affiliate marketing beginners to create online sites without coding. No software installations or hosting services are required.
The Shopify platform makes it easy not only for affiliates but also for merchants to run affiliate marketing online stores, at any retail location.
Wix is an affiliate marketing software company that has its headquarters in Israel. It focuses on providing cloud-based web building services. It enables users to utilize their drag, and drop tools, to create mobile sites, and HTML5 websites.
They are reputable for their remarkable layouts that are designed to suit small business enterprises, hotels, online stores, and artists.
Wix is mobile-friendly and, can be enhanced with one of the many apps available from the Wix App Market.
Rakuten is one of the largest e-commerce sites in Japan. It is an online retailing company established in 1997 and based in Tokyo. The company operates Japan's biggest Internet bank, and leading credit card company.
Rakuten has over one billion clients from all over the world. It provides services such as e-commerce, fintech, online content, and communications. Some refer to it as "the Amazon of Japan".
Rakuten is shutting down its U.S. branch Buy.com in the course of September this year.
SEMrush is a renowned SEO tool that has been in operation for over 12 years. The company specializes in keyword research, competitor analysis, and the optimization of Google Ads. It serves thousands of marketers around the world. It helps product owners in knowing their competitors' traffic sources, rankings, and, social media results.
Affiliate marketing Amazon is an internationally recognized company. They provide outstanding services to content makers, webmasters, publishers, and bloggers to earn referral fees. Amazon has millions of products, and programs, to be utilized by affiliates in making money. It is also referred to as Amazon Associates.
Becoming an affiliate marketer for Amazon doesn't cost a dime. You just sign in, get affiliate links, advertise them on your site, and when a purchase is made via your website in 24 hours, you earn your commission.
Amazon is termed as the guru in eCommerce marketing. They handle a large global consumer base, hence, providing you with the finest platform for you to build gainful partnerships.
Affiliate marketing for amazon enables affiliate marketers to earn referral fees from successful sales of items sold by Amazon. If you post a link on your website, then a consumer clicks on the link, and is directed to Amazon, and then proceeds to purchase the product from Amazon within 24 hours, you are bound to earn a commission.
Affiliate marketing with Amazon gives associates a chance to make money by marketing a brand with Amazon. When a consumer clicks on an affiliate link on amazon, they are directed to the brand's site, if they make an actual sale, the affiliate marketer earns the commission. Affiliate marketing with Amazon hence allows a merchant to expand sales through affordable marketing.
Affiliate marketing on Amazon enables affiliates to promote products for sale on Amazon on their websites and earn a commission. It also gives the affiliates a chance to access expert tools that help them to maximize potential.
It is an American e-commerce corporation company based in San Jose, California. It focuses on the provision of investments, and acquisitions. As a global e-commerce corporation, eBay connects millions of shoppers, and sellers worldwide.
eBay provides credible e-commerce operations for buyers, sellers, and developers. The company has been in operation for over 25 years. Their commitment to ensuring sellers' success has been the cornerstone of the company.
ShareASale is a reputable affiliate marketing network based in Chicago, Illinois. It is a chief provider of performance marketing solutions for the past 20 years. They utilize cutting edge technology that ensures speed, accuracy, and efficiency.
They have a widespread network of affiliate marketers who attract substantial traffic and sales. They are renowned for fairness, and honesty in providing clients with healthy, and value-based growth. ShareASale will help you maneuver the dynamic industry of affiliate marketing.
AWIN is a global affiliate marketing network that empowers advertisers, and publishers to grow their businesses. They connect sellers to thousands of affiliate marketers around the world and create partnerships that drive growth.
AWIN is known for blending high-end technology, and proficient account management, while humanizing marketing in a world where technology is dominant. They will help you create profitable partnerships with the world's leading brands. Shareasale is a subsidiary of theirs.
15. JD Sports
JD is a Sports Affiliate Program Based in the US. JD Sports is a top retailer of athletic sneakers, and gear. It does partnerships with internationally recognized brands. JD emphasizes relevance, passion, and integrity.
One remarkable characteristic of Leadpages is that it enables you to build a superb website with code-free customizations. They are the most preferred in growing small businesses. With Leadpages, you will easily create code-free websites with top-notch landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and the like. They will help you connect with an audience, collect leads, and make sales.
Taobao is a Chinese online marketing website. It is one of the world's biggest e-commerce website, it is based in Hangzhou and owned by Alibaba. It was founded in 2003, and is commonly termed as "Chinese eBay".
It is reputable for low price tags, and diversified shopping categories. It has partnered with top online brands and encourages consumer-to-consumer retail.
18. CJ by Conversant
It tops the list of great, and well-established affiliate marketing companies. It was previously known as Commission Junction. It is aimed at helping publishers, and advertisers to achieve scalable, and sustainable growth.
It is a marketplace with lots of products for you to promote, and make money. They are trusted by global brands, and publishers, and their pay per sale is high. They are popular for using cross-device tracking.
StudioPress is a company that was founded in 2010 and deals with developing WordPress themes. One of the most common means of publishing content online is via WordPress. StudioPress enables affiliate marketers to create a remarkable WordPress site that will attract a load of traffic.
Based on their proficient knowledge in SEO, StudioPress will help you in building smart and reliable WordPress sites that will be a marketplace for you to publish your content to the world. The StudioPress program is in Shareasale since last year August.
Affiliate marketing is with time proving to be an effective, and efficient way of optimizing returns.
Is affiliate marketing dead?
Of course not, it is more alive than ever before. As a business entrepreneur, step up your game by joining an affiliate program, waste no time, and propel your business forward. As an affiliate marketer, grab this chance and earn yourself some stable passive income. Let affiliate marketing propel you to your desired heights.
That's all folks.
Is there any program I should have included in my list? Leave me a comment.
A key factor in being successful in affiliate marketing is high-quality content to drive traffic to your site. Check out my article on the best content marketing toolkit to achieve this for your site.