This is going to be the quickest affiliate marketing walk through you ever have had. The problem with the affiliate marketing world is part in parcel the result of so much misinformation about the industry being out there, companies pretending they are affiliate marketing (when they actually are not), and the fact that many companies try to over-complicate things in order to sell you their over complicated affiliate marketing product or service.
I am going to set the record straight and truly simplify things for you and help you comprehend the affiliate marketing space in the most concise way possible. In fact, if you bear with me for the next 5 minutes, you are not only going to understand affiliate marketing, you are going to be well versed and ready to use my article as a “spring board” to your affiliate marketing career.
Ready? Cool, let’s go!
The Affiliate Marketing Process, in a Nutshell
Affiliate marketing has three entities. You have an affiliate (you), you have an affiliate program (the company/product owner) and you have a customer (the person buying).
As an affiliate, you can join an affiliate program and this will give you the ability to promote a product/service or a subset of products and services. An affiliate program will give you a special and unique “affiliate link” when you join their program, which will give you the ability to promote their services, and for it to be tracked.
If, as an affiliate, you send someone to the product website and they make a purchase, you earn flat rate sale or percentage commission. These typically range from 1% – 75%, depending on the company or product/service.
Let’s look at a little chart breaking down the process.
As an example, let’s say I join to become an affiliate for Amazon (known as Amazon Associates). As an affiliate I can promote over 500 MILLION (yes, million) products as an affiliate. It is actually quite amazing when you consider the sheer size of the opportunity.
If I drive somebody from my website, my social media account, or from an email I send out to Amazon through my affiliate link and they purchase something, say as an example, a toaster, I earn 6% commission for that. If the toaster is $100, I get paid $6.
Although that may not sound like a lot, people are buying 100,000’s of toaster every day, and people are buying 100’s of millions of products from Amazon every month. What if you sold 30 toasters per day? You would be earning $180/day.
What if you were selling a more expensive item on Amazon that cost $1,000 and paid $60 in commissions with every sale? If you sold 30 of those, you would be earning $1,800 in commissions every day. That is the reality of affiliate marketing and this is just one very tiny example.
So now that you know how the affiliate marketing process work, let’s talk a bit more about YOU, the affiliate.
Who Can Become an Affiliate. At What Cost.
Generally speaking, affiliate programs are completely free to join. In some very rare cases, an affiliate program will charge a small, nominal fee to attempt to prevent fraudulent affiliates (and verify you are real), but that is quite unusual.
Affiliate programs should be free, they shouldn’t charge, and if one is charging you to be able to promote their products/services, chances are they are not an affiliate program (they are likely a scam, or something completely different).
So the awesome part about affiliate programs is that they are completely free to join and as an affiliate, you can promote pretty much every brand/product/service you can imagine and earn a commission for doing so. There are over 550 MILLION products and services that you can promote as an affiliate.
How Affiliate Programs Work
An affiliate program is in essence a piece of tracking software that allows affiliates (you) to promote merchants (the company) and earn a commission. The affiliate program will typically track all clicks, all sales transactions, and calculate all commissions. They also allow you to manage your payment details and personal details.
Here is an example of what an affiliate program stats look like, these are the stats from WealthyAffiliate.com’s affiliate program.
Affiliate program stats are automated and accurate. As affiliate tracking technology has advanced, so has the ability to get more sophisticated and granular with your affiliate tracking campaigns. Affiliates now have a great deal of control and can track conversions and the source of conversions quite easily.
Affiliate programs typically offer promotional materials such as banners, widgets, or even plugins that you can leverage on your website or social platforms. The more comprehensive the affiliate program is, the better equipped affiliates are to promote that given product/service, so it is advantageous for a company to offer a high quality experience for their affiliates.
What is an Affiliate Network?
An affiliate network is a grouping of affiliate programs under one company. For example, an affiliate network like Awin.com (the largest in the world), you can promote 6,000 different companies and their respective products from under one roof.
There are 100’s of affiliate networks out there, with 100,000’s of companies and brands within their networks. Joining an affiliate network can save you a lot of time and is a lot less management as an affiliate (to manage all of your passwords, links, payments, etc).
Instead of having to join 1,000’s of programs independently, you can join one affiliate network like Awin or Cj.com and promote 1,000’s of products under one management area and get paid through a single payment for all of them.
Some of the most popular affiliate networks in the world are:
- Amazon Associates
- Ebay Partners
- CJ by Conversant
The Affiliate Opportunity & How to Get Paid.
All affiliate programs/networks pay different. They all have different pay schedules. Typically an affiliate company will offer multiple forms of payment.
It is also very typical for your payment to be centralized in US Dollars. It is becoming a standard within the online world to pay affiliates in US dollars, but some companies certainly will pay you in your own currency and many payment gateways will do the conversion for you from USD to your country currency (like PayPal)
These may include:
- Cheque Payment
- Bank Wire
As an example, the Wealthy Affiliate affiliate program (which I manage) pays primarily through PayPal, but we also offer cheque payment in addition to those and if someone meets a certain payment threshold we can offer bank wire payments.
Affiliate programs don’t make it difficult to get paid, if they did, no affiliate in the right mind would promote the given program.
Where Do You Go to Run an Affiliate Business?
So you want to get started within the affiliate marketing world, but you are not sure where to go. It is tough these days with the influx of programs and education that are claiming to be best. The problem with many of the services out there is the fact that they are not actually even “affiliate marketing”.
Where do you start your research?
Well I am going to speed up your research drastically. There is an elite platform in the affiliate marketing space, which I happen to be very much involved with (and that I can coach you within) called Wealthy Affiliate. It is where the “who’s who” of the affiliate space not only hang out, but where they managed their respective businesses.
This is the one platform that you must have if you plan on learning affiliate marketing, but also if you want environment where you can get all the tools, websites, hosting, training, coaching and interact support to create and grow a business within the affiliate marketing world.
There are two membership options, a completely free Starter membership (free to try) and a cost-efficient, more advanced Premium option (as low as $29 per month). I recommend that you get rolling on the Starter membership, as I recommend that you always “try” a service before you consider every purchasing anything.
Within the first few lessons you are going to have your own affiliate coach, chosen a direction for your business, your own affiliate website (with hosting), and access to training that will truly take you from a beginner to an affiliate marketing expert.
I have also created a video on the process of affiliate marketing and how it REALLY works. I would recommend you check this out if you get the opportunity.
If you have any questions about ANY aspect affiliate marketing, I am more than happy to share my knowledge and help with you. Feel free to leave any questions below and I will be sure to get back to you right away.