What Is Affiliate Marketing? Letting You in on the Secrets
By Zintle Nkohla
The concept of affiliate marketing has existed since 1989. It gained momentum during the mid-90s when blogging started becoming popular.
Affiliate marketing is one of many strategies content creators can use to monetise their content. Initially, affiliate marketing was popular among bloggers but carried over to social media over the years. Although this form of marketing has been around the block for quite some time, it can still be a very effective way of generating income through content creation.
According to Mohjhos Research, in 2019, the market size for this industry was worth over $17 billion globally, an enormous increase from $13 billion in 2016.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most challenging industries to crack. Only a few start making decent money from it.
This article will let you in on the secrets of cracking the industry.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
First things first: what is affiliate marketing? It is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referral.
The affiliate marketing ecosystem consists of four stakeholders: the network or the programme, the affiliate or the publisher, the product provider or the seller, and the customer. All these participants play a unique role in ensuring a sale, but the affiliate plays the most crucial role.
Usually, this goes about in the following steps.
- You find an affiliate network (Amazon Associates is the largest, with more than 20% market share)
- Once you have found an affiliate network/programme, you need to decide on a niche (you might already have one if you are a blogger)
- Find products that align with your niche on your affiliate network and write content that promotes the products
- Earn a commission for each conversion
How to make a successful affiliate marketer
Being an affiliate marketer might sound like water under the bridge, but it is more challenging than it seems, especially if you have yet to gain experience. It’s not just stuffing links all over your website pages or social media; you have to put in the work.
Here’s how to crack it
- Do not steer away from your regular content; stick to your niche
- Write quality content to attract a larger audience
- Don’t make it weird; let your audience know you will/have included affiliate links in your content
- Look out for malicious links (you don’t want your audience exposed to cyber attacks)
- Be patient; you won’t make a lot of money instantly
- Don’t let anyone convince you it’s easy; it’s not
It’s essential to take note of the last point because most people online will tell you that you can start earning money quickly without having many subscribers or followers, but the truth is you won’t start earning much unless you have traffic that will actually click on the affiliate links. So, in my opinion, try to grow your audience first, know the demographics and get to work.
Affiliate Marketing Vs. Influencer Marketing
Although influencer marketing and affiliate marketing seem the same, the difference is that affiliates get a commission when a lead converts to a sale. In contrast, influencers get paid at a flat rate, with a free product, or per post.
Influencer marketing also focuses mainly on accentuating your brand, while affiliate marketing focuses on driving the sale of a specific product.
If we compare the two, affiliate marketing is the easiest because once you have created your content and posted your links, you can rest and run affiliate campaigns with other companies, almost like earning passive income. Influencer marketing requires you to be more involved most of the time, and you might work with a brand for extended periods.
No matter how you choose to tackle it, you can earn a lot of money through affiliate marketing if you get the basics right and are patient until you see growth. Some flourish by posting social media content, and others thrive by writing blog posts. Pick your fighter.