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What Is Affiliate Marketing?


You can make money while you sleep. 

It is an idea that sounds too good to be true. But it is valid for successful affiliate marketers.

The process is quite easy for them. Affiliate marketers choose a product that they like, promote it, and earn some money from each sale. They do this by employing methods that don’t require any work from them. So they plug in the link and test the funnel. Once they have a proper funnel working, they get more traffic for that funnel so that they can make more sales. 

Simple, right?

The best part? You don’t even need an online presence. 

With this business model, anyone can make money as long as they know how to promote a product online. You don’t need to be a celebrity. You don’t even need to have a website. It all boils down to your knowledge of promoting and refining funnels so that you get the maximum return for your investments. 

What is Affiliate Marketing?

According to Pat Flynn, Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products. As I have said earlier, it is the process of choosing a product, developing it, and making money in the process. 

However, there are two paths that you must take - The Merchant’s Path or the Affiliate Path. Both are very different. You must first define who you are in the process before you can engage in it. 

Becoming a Merchant

The merchant is the primary seller of the product. In eCommerce, these are the online shop owners. They can also be bloggers who are looking to sell some of their products online. 

What differentiates a merchant from the affiliate is product contact. The merchant has direct product contact - whether it is digital or physical. They usually have it in their inventory, or they are the ones who crafted the digital product from scratch. If not, they have a copy of the product and the sales page, and they are in charge of administering the product to the customers.

In some cases, there may also be a third party - a product owner. The product owner is in charge of manufacturing the product while the merchant is in charge of selling it. But the merchant should still have access to the leading portal or sales page of the product.

If you want to enter affiliate marketing as a merchant, you may need to do the following steps.

STEP 1: Creating or Choosing a Product

The process starts with creating or choosing a product. You cannot expect to run an affiliate program if your affiliates have nothing to promote. And you cannot recruit affiliates before you have a product. It just doesn’t work that way. A product is essential for the affiliate marketing process to work. It can be the sole reason why a marketer will promote your website. 

Now, the process that you will choose in this step will depend on the path that you plan to take. If you plan to create your product, you may need to set some time for that. This is true, especially for digital products like ebooks and courses. Although these are valuable, they take some time to make. So if you choose to take the product creation route, be sure to consider time.

But if you plan to sell other people’s products instead, you can create an eCommerce website with a variety of products. There are different eCommerce platforms that you can use. Some of the most popular ones are Shopify and BigCommerce. All this will require is for you to choose the products that you like to sell, look for a reliable supplier, and start creating your website. 

This will then bring us to the next step: Creating your sales page.

STEP 2: Creating a Sales Page

Now I used the word ‘sales page’ in this step. This is because I am assuming that you have one page per product. For online stores, this is the product page that contains the product image, description, and reviews. While for digital products, this is the page that contains the copy.

You’ll need a compelling sales page because your affiliates will only preempt the process of selling. Sure, they will be in charge of referring people to your website. But that will mean that the final conversion will still come from your website.

With this in mind, you should ensure that you are creating a compelling sales copy - A copy that appeals to the needs of your target market. A copy that encourages customers to act immediately. 

STEP 3: Creating an Affiliate Program

Once you have the first two elements, it is time to create an affiliate program. This is where you set up a system in your website that will accept affiliates into your system. There are many elements that you must consider in this area: affiliate signup, affiliate management, payment management, and unique ID management.

Now, if you know how to code and you can create a system like this inside your website, go ahead.

But if you are a coding dummy like me, you may want to use an affiliate software instead.

What’s an affiliate software? These are the systems that you integrate into your website so that you can start accepting affiliate signups. From here, your affiliates will then receive a unique affiliate ID that they can use to promote your products and you can pay them when they manage to refer customers to you. 

STEP 4: Promoting Your Affiliate Program

There is no use in having an affiliate program if no one knows that it exists. 

Aside from putting a link to your affiliate program on your website, you may want to promote your program in JV forums as well. This will encourage some of the big players in the field to promote your product.

Another strategy to get more people to promote your product is the 100% commission strategy. This is where you have an entry product (usually from $5 to $20), and you offer it to your affiliates for 100% commission. This means that they will get all the money for every sale they make. From here, you can now collect these customers in your list and promote more products to them. Why does this work? Well, the 100% commission is always attractive to affiliates. This will make them feel that they get all the money for all the promotion work that they have done, and they did not even need to create their product.

Now, these are just some strategies to promote your program. It also helps to have the right product or sales page. If you have a sales page that can sell its products, then more affiliates will want to work with you.

Becoming an Affiliate

The other path of affiliate marketing is the affiliate’s path. This is where your goal is to create a system that will make you money day after day without the need for your product or website. 

The best part is that this works and it works really well. In fact, there are so many Internet marketers who are making thousands of dollars each day just from affiliate marketing. 

Today, I am going to take you through all the ways to promote your affiliate products as well as how to use these methods so that you can create a system that can help you to become a super affiliate eventually. 

STEP 1: Have the Knowledge in Promoting Affiliate Products

Affiliate products are not that hard to promote. You would do the same as you would as if it is your product. The issue here is not who creates the product or where it originates. It is about mastering the art of promoting the product to its target market. From here, the goal is to get the maximum conversion rate so that you get more sales for every promotion that you do. 

For this, I have two methods. I limited the process into two so that you can focus your marketing efforts on the most effective ways that I know. 

Promoting Affiliate Products to Your List

One of the easiest ways to promote affiliate products is by promoting it to your list. This works well if you have an existing list of people in a particular niche. 

If not, you can start building one by having a free offer and paying other list owners to promote your offer. This is called a ‘Solo Ad’. It is the process of paying another list owner to have them develop your website on their list. From here, you can get some signups and build your list easily.

Why do you need a list? Well, let me tell you a secret. Those overnight riches that you see in other people’s affiliate dashboards usually come from list promotion. All they did was promote the product to their list and voila! Instant money. 

So if you are serious about becoming a successful affiliate marketing, list marketing is the way to go. 

Promoting Affiliate Products through Paid Advertising

How can you make money without lifting a finger? The answer is in paid advertising. This is where you spend your way to traffic.

There are three ways to approach this.

The first is display advertising. You can do this directly by paying for advertisements in some of the most active websites in your niche or you can target some keywords in Google Adwords or other ad networks.

Second, you can also promote through social media. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest now allow ads on their website. The best part? You can refine your target market by specifying their primary interests. This will enable you to target the right people thus giving you a chance for higher conversions. 

The third way is through Pay-Per-View or PPV. This is a method that I have recently discovered. For this, you need to sign up to websites like TrafficVance or Media Traffic and add some money into their system. Then, your ad will then be administered into their network. If your ad is relevant, it can quickly get more people to your affiliate product’s page and may even give you more sales. 

STEP 2: Refining Your System

Remember that your goal should be to create a system. This is where you know three things: the source of the traffic, the copy and the conversion rate of your traffic. 

The source of the traffic is based on the promotion method that you have chosen or applied. You may need to test this to know the best method to use for your purpose. 

The copy may also be a contributing factor in the conversion rate in your system. Split testing or the process of tweaking some aspects of your copy and then testing your traffic is a way to increase your conversion rate.

Lastly, you should consider the quality of your traffic. If your traffic converts at a high rate, then it is considered as high quality. If the conversion rate is not as high as you want it to be, you may want to explore other sources of traffic for a better conversion rate.

STEP 3: Becoming a Super Affiliate

Becoming a super affiliate highly depends on the effectiveness of your system. Once you have a system going (which means that you know that your traffic converts at a specific rate and there are certain types of products that they are interested in), you can now choose other affiliate products to promote. Some marketers rotate affiliate products in the emails that they sent to their list. This allows them to make sales over and over again because they have an endless stream of products that they can promote.

However, you must look out for over promotion. Most people don’t really like getting promotions on a regular basis. Be sure to balance your promotions with valuable content.

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So what path will you choose? Will you become a merchant or an affiliate? Share your experience below.  Checkout our article about the best facebook marketing courses.

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