What is affiliate marketing? If you spend any amount of time online today then you have come in contact with affiliate marketing. you may not have realized it, but you did. You see it in Facebook ads, emails, product reviews, ads on websites, and a lot of other places. It is all but impossible to avoid if you are using the internet at all, yet many people don’t know what it is. Some people don’t even know that it exists. Today we are going to work on changing that. First, we will div deep into what affiliate marketing is and then look at an example of how it actually works. Are you ready?
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?
Affiliate marketing as a concept is quite simple. It is another way of marketing products or services to buyers and potential buyers.
Still confused? Me too. Here is a quick basic example: Let’s say you need to buy a new toaster. Your old toaster keeps burning your toast and you are simply fed up with it. What toaster should you buy? You can look at all the toasters at your local store but it will not tell you which toaster makes the best toast for you. These stores used to have salespeople. These salespeople got educated on the features and functions of each item they sold. They could help you decide which toaster is the best one for you.
Most stores don’t have these kinds of helpful salespeople anymore. So you decide to look online. You start at your favorite search engine and type in, “best toasters.” It will tell you it found over 100 million places related to the information you are looking for. Well, who could read through that much information in a whole lifetime? So it will also offer you the 10 places that will offer the best information that it thinks you are looking for.
Well, if you typed in best toasters then it seems pretty obvious you are looking to buy a toaster. The first ten results are probably going to have what you are looking for – toasters. When I searched all ten of these results were things like,
“Top 10 Toasters Voted Best of June ’19 Trusted Reviews ”
“Top 5 Toasters of 2019 Toasters Buyers Guide”
“7 Best Toasters, Reviews: 2019”
“The best toaster you can buy”
You get the idea. All these search results are from websites that are using affiliate marketing.
Let’s say you decide to take a look at the trusted reviews of the top 10 toasters for 2019. What you will find is a web page that shows a lot of glossy pictures. It might have some review ratings shown as stars or even little pieces of toast. It will tell you all the features for each of the ten toasters they are promoting. They might offer you some insight into how well the toaster worked for them. It will include links of some kind so you can easily buy one of these ten toasters.
While reading the article you fall head over heels in love with one of the toasters. You absolutely must have it and you want it delivered today! Tomorrow’s breakfast is going to be absolute heaven! So you click on the link. You buy the toaster. You pay extra to have it delivered by teleporter in the next 20 minutes. You forget all about the website where you read that wonderful review.
When your toaster arrives, you plug it in and the next day you make yourself the best piece of toast you have ever had. In the next few weeks, the owner of that website will get a commission check from the site that sold the toaster. Why? Because he or she is a salesperson. They helped you to discover the toaster that would be best for you. They then guided you to a specific merchant to make buy it. This is what salespeople do and this is what affiliate marketers do.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Do you need another example? Let’s try this. You and your spouse are looking to buy your dream home. You have spent years building the perfect home in your mind and you know exactly what you want. When you go to apply for a mortgage you are blown away by the outrageously high rates your bank offers you. With these kinds of rates, your dream home will have to remain a dream for quite a while longer.
Later that night you are catching up with your Facebook friends and notice a small ad for mortgages. The rates are several times less than what your bank offered you. Feeling that slight glimmer of hope rekindling your dream, you click on the ad and fill out the form. The next day you receive an email asking you to fill out a bunch more forms. Then fax some other forms. Now stand on your head while you recite the Gettysburg Address. A few days later you are prequalified for a mortgage you can afford and you set out to buy that perfect home.
A few weeks later, while you and your significant other are packing up to move, the person who placed that ad on Facebook is receiving a commission check. Why? For referring you to the lender that holds your mortgage. That person is an affiliate marketer, also known as a salesman. They helped you find a lender that would lend you the money at a rate you could afford so you could buy your dream home. Affiliate marketers are salespeople. Affiliate marketing is a different method of selling products or services.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING.
If affiliate marketing is just another way of selling things then how does it all work? The concept is simple, but each program has its own specific rules and requirements. I will keep my explanation pretty basic.
There are affiliate marketing programs for everything you can think of buying. Some manufacturers run these programs as do many retailers. All these programs are set up to maximize the companies sales. They do this by outsourcing some of their advertising and marketing to affiliate marketers.
They all work in the same basic way. The company wants to market it’s products to a broader audience. The affiliate marketer has an audience they want to use to generate some income from. The affiliate marketer signs up for the program and gets accepted. The company gives the affiliate marketer some tools to use in promoting the products. Generally speaking, the company provides product images, pre-made advertisements, and affiliate links.
Affiliate links are the primary tool an affiliate marketer uses. I have a more in-depth discussion about affiliate links here. The affiliate link is a link to the page where you can buy the product. The link includes a small piece of data identifying which affiliate referred the customer. When this code is clicked, the link lets the merchant know which affiliate referred that customer. If the customer buys something the merchant will send the affiliate a commission for referring the customer to the merchant.
HOW IT MIGHT WORK FOR YOU
That description was confusing for me to write so I’m sure it was confusing to read. Let’s look at an example of how this works.
Say that you really love cooking. You love it so much that most of your friends won’t even let you talk about cooking with them. They are so tired of listening to you go on and on about your cooking. But you love cooking so much that you have to talk about it so you start an online video channel about cooking. This is great, you get to talk about the thing you love most in life. You find that there are thousands of other people who love watching you talk about cooking. Life is good, right?
Well, there’s this one little tiny problem. You are creating your videos in your own kitchen and it’s a little outdated and dingy. Ok, it’s more than a little outdated. If you could remodel your kitchen you could probably increase your audience quite a lot. But, kitchen remodels cost a lot of money and you don’t have that much money available, so how do you get that money. You monetize your audience.
You find out that the company that makes your cookware has an affiliate program. Now you LOVE your cookware. You know that it has made a big difference in your cooking. You believe that everyone should have this cookware to cook on. You sign up on the website for Grandma’s Finest Cookware Company. When you are accepted they provide you with an affiliate link. Next, you create a couple of videos highlighting this awesome cookware. Tell everyone all that it has done for you. Put your affiliate link in the videos and let your fans know they can buy these great pots and pans by using the link.
Your subscribers know you and trust you. Some of them are looking to buy some new pans. They click on the link in your video to see what Grandma’s Finest Cookware Company has to offer. Some of these people will buy pans and some won’t. The tiny bit of data contained in your link tells Grandma’s which customers clicked on your link. If they buy some pans, Grandma’s will send you a commission for a percentage of the sale.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?
Now as I said earlier this is a very basic explanation of how affiliate marketing works. Yet, this is the core of the affiliate marketing concept. We will be looking deeper into how this works in future articles.
Another caveat is that in all my examples here everyone’s motives were pure white. Every party involved acted ethically. The vast majority of affiliate marketers are honest and ethical business people. As with any form of business, there are some people who fall to temptation. They do not act in an honest and ethical manner. These few are the ones that you often read about. They give some people a bad impression of what affiliate marketing is and how it works. I am not going to dive into the topic of ethics today. I have already done that in a different article here: legitimate Affiliate Marketing. Be aware. Anytime money is involved, not everyone acts with honesty and integrity.
I hope that I have answered most of your questions about what affiliate marketing is and how it works. If you have some questions that I have not answered, please ask me by using the comment section below. You can also use my Contact Form. I will try to answer your questions as thoroughly and as quickly as I can.
Thank you for reading my rag and I hope you have a wonderful day,