The use of affiliate marketing on blog can be a very good way to earn money while providing honesty to the readers, but it can also be a tremendous waste of time when you do not understand how it works.
What is affiliate marketing ?
Affiliate marketing consists of forming a partnership with a brand: you publish links of this brand on your blog and if you bring business to the brand, you receive compensation in return. In a way, you play the role of “provider of business”.
You may have noticed that we are talking about “bringing business” and not “making money for a brand”. Why ? Because the affiliate marketing can take very different forms.
The forms of affiliate marketing
Take a percentage of the sales that are got by your means (pay-per-sale): The typical example is the Amazon affiliate marketing. When someone makes a purchase on Amazon through your affiliate link, you get a percentage of the sale, which is variable depending on the brand concerned!
Pay-per-lead: A brand can very well decide that what interests them is not the sale, but the potential customer, the one who will make the move to create an account on his site. Maybe he will not buy in the end, but maybe he will also become very profitable for the brand. You will earn income for any registered customer via your link or for anyone completing a form.
Pay-per-click: It is rare in affiliate marketing but some brands are placed in a perspective of visibility. What interests them is not the sale but the mere fact that you send them traffic. It is generally quite low-paying, less than one cent per click.
The principle of the affiliate link
The principle is simple – you publish on your blog and link the affiliate which includes a tracking code. This tracking code identifies a visitor who is going through you to go to the brand’s site. By simplifying, it is thanks to this system that you will be termed as the “owner” of a sale or a lead.
Affiliate marketing still suffers from an often risky image because the method has been (and still is) used by some “dream sellers” to promise unlimited wealth without even having to work. Yet, one can earn money with affiliate marketing, with a lot of honesty and a little hard work.
How to use affiliate?
In my opinion, we can consider using the affiliate marketing on a blog by several main channels.
Affiliate network platforms
There are first multi-brand platforms, such as Awin (which included the famous Zanox network), Netaffiliate marketing or CJ Affiliate. You sign up for these platforms as a site publisher then apply to campaigns advertisers (ie, brands).
The affiliate network platform gives you the terms of the campaign and the method of remuneration (sales, lead, etc.). Some terms are very common, such as prohibiting you from advertising online to maximize your profits on the brand name.
Each advertiser can have their own requirements: for example, limiting their affiliate program to highly specialized sites on a subject, etc.
The advantage of these platforms is to give you access to a wide range of advertisers, where you have chances to find brands you like. It also, very often, to be reassured as to the seriousness of the intermediary, an important point when there is money at stake!
It also simplifies the administrative management of things because these platforms often have tools for tracking performance, easy insertion of links on your pages, etc.
In the same spirit, some sites offer a sponsorship system. For example, a web host can offer it to you: if you are satisfied with the service, you mention it on your blog and if other people sign up thanks to your recommendation, you receive money that can be paid to you or be converted to “have” to reduce your own hosting bill.
The advantage is often to benefit from a more attractive remuneration than through a platform because there are fewer intermediaries.
The disadvantage is perhaps the administrative management of the whole system because nothing is centralized. You have as many interfaces, invoices, terms of payment and participation in the affiliate program as there are sites you work with. Each one has their own payment threshold, which requires being sharp in his administrative management. This can be tricky to handle if you have no experience in handling things.
Start an advertiser without an affiliate program
This is what many people do not think about doing however it can be very interesting. It involves contacting a professional directly whom you wish to recommend … by proposing to set up affiliate marketing, without going through a program.
It can be a great idea to promote a small designer, craftsman or professional who is not a marketer.
In this case, you will often have to play an advisory role on how this professional can track the performance of affiliate links (for example by tracking events on Google Analytics) and provide you with detailed reporting. Similarly, it may be helpful to have a legal professional assist you to establish a formal contract.
Offer an Affiliate Program
If you sell services or products yourself via your blog, you may also want to create your own affiliate program, by encouraging other bloggers to send you customers and offering them a financial contribution in return.
At the end of the day, there are a number of different ways you can go about it, and while it can get confusing, once you do find your groove, all you need to do is follow the path with a little dedication and focus and you’ll get there eventually. Like all good things, affiliate marketing does take a little time to set in and you will have to be patient before you see the results. But once you choose something that works, there’s high potential of earning and you can then consider exploring more methods to increase your income via affiliate marketing.