Affiliate Marketing: Start, Setup, Choosing Network, Tracking & Analysis

The cliché phrase “Make money while you sleep” never ceases to excite us. Over these years, it has grown to represent the world of affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you can make money not only when you sleep but also when you have your breakfast or lunch!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing promotes other companies’ products through an affiliate link and earns a commission when someone buys the product through the link. Simply put, in affiliate marketing, you act as a virtual salesperson for a company and earn a reward when a product gets sold through your referral. If you own a website or a blog, you already have a platform to share affiliate links. Even if you don’t, there are various available options like forum posts, classifieds websites, and social media posts where you can earn your money through affiliate marketing.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing can be started in four simple steps:

1. Search a suitable product for promotion.

2. Look out for affiliate programs for that particular product and signup for them. If the product is on Amazon, then Amazon Associates is what you are looking for.

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3. The merchant provides a special affiliate link, and sales generated through clicking of the affiliate link can be tracked. The most common method of tracking is through the use of cookies. When a buyer clicks on the affiliate link, a cookie gets generated and saved on the buyer’s computer through which merchants can track the affiliate.

4. You get a pre-agreed commission on every individual sale.

How to Setup Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing works best when the links for buying the product are accompanied by suitable product information, which will motivate readers to go for instant purchase online. Blogs are best suited for this purpose, and here’s how you to start affiliate marketing blogs in simple steps:

1. Create your free website or blog to start with. A little bit of online research will leave you spoilt for options.

2. Zero in on the industry segment you want to focus on.

3. Research a niche category of products you can review. The small group of products will draw a selective group of visitors online who are the most likely to convert. Broader the bucket, the higher the chances of visitors who are unsure about what they are looking for and the lesser the chance of link clicks. The choice of products can be influenced by a higher rate of returns or a higher sales volume.

4. Look for affiliate programs of your preferred products and sign up as an affiliate marketer.

5. Focus on creating quality content, simple tutorials, or informative review posts about your chosen products.

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6. Work on increasing traffic to your site through some basic SEO techniques. Quality DIY tutorials available online are of great help for beginners.

7. Sit back and relax; the hard work is done. While the paycheck might look bleak initially, a sustained focus on fresh content and traffic management will surely bring in the rewards.

How to choose Affiliate Networks and Products?

Doing prior research on affiliate networks and products most suitable for your marketing, promotion, and content creation are highly recommended. Amazon, Google, and Apple are big brands in affiliate networking. Almost any physical product sold can be listed on Amazon. Promoting a product listed on Amazon assures high sales volumes as the brand shares a strong trust rapport with its worldwide clientele.

You can also opt to work as an affiliate for a company or individual directly, rather than being a part of a sales network. Reaching out to entrepreneurs and companies may work well to get you on board as an affiliate marketer.

Physical products usually offer commissions under 5%, which can be offset by higher sales volumes. You can also opt for digital information products that generally offer commissions in the 10-70% range if you are good at pitching in ideas for skill training and up-gradation. Digital products like e-books, online courses, webinars, software, and phone applications are currently the bestsellers. Before finalizing your products, you can always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you buy this product if required?
  • Will it provide value for money for your readers?
  • Is there a good demand for the product in current market conditions?
  • Is the commission rate attractive? (negotiable in cases of high sales volume)

If the answers to most of the questions are a big Yes, you can go ahead and create a crisp ad copy or blog for online promotion. It is always advisable to try out a product before opting for promotion, as personal experiences matter strongly in building up a trust quotient. Your blog should be the best place for your audience to get valuable insights into new products. Once you build a steady list of visitors, subscribers, and buyers, merchants offer free sample copies for you to review, or else, you can always ask for one.

Read: 17 Fun Social Media Project Ideas & Topics For Beginners

Traffic Management and Tracking

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube are great places to generate word of mouth traffic. Search engine optimization is a long-term solution that can ensure your site’s high visibility whenever any users search for your products through different keywords.

If you have a good budget to start with, you can opt for paid ads that can generate instant traffic to your site. Once traffic starts trickling in, care should be taken to analyze which posts and product genres are attracting the most attention. Depending upon the response generated, the marketing pitch and product choices have to be moderated and improved upon.

Checkout: Digital Marketing Tutorial

Get Ready to Launch

Whether you are looking at a supplementary source of income or a full-time income prospect, affiliate marketing is a dependable source for money generation. The best part is that once your site starts attracting a steady source of visitors who find your posts and product reviews compelling enough to make an instant purchase, there is no looking back.

The site will keep on generating income with minimum effort and zero investment. If you have the patience to weather through the initial testing phase and a good understanding of the market forces and demand trends, affiliate marketing is just for you.

If you are curious to get into the world of digital marketing, check out MICA & upGrad’s PG Certification in Digital Marketing & Communication. Become an expert in email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis, and PR.

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