Affiliate Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

Affiliate marketing is prevalent on social media platforms. You don’t have to spend a great amount of time on any social media platform to see ads. They come in explicit form such as a post with the words “sponsored ad,” attached, or they can also come in a more subtle way. Many influencers have dominated social media platforms as a voice of authority and respect. These influencers use something called affiliate marketing. They are sometimes approached by companies to test their product or service and then to tell others about it. In a world of influencers, this is one of the most effective ways to get your product to the masses. The beauty of affiliate marketing however is that you don’t have to be a famous influencer with thousands of followers. In fact, anyone can use affiliate marketing. 

what is affiliate marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when an influencer or affiliate earns income off of sales in the form of a commission, by marketing a company or person’s product or service. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another. This is a great way to earn passive income and it benefits both parties. 

Who?

In this day and age there are many areas of expertise that people want to learn. With websites such as YouTube, learning a craft or skill is at anyone’s fingertips. By becoming an expert in any of these areas; art, music, makeup, mechanics, etc, you can become a resource for someone that needs advice on what material to use or what tools to use. By providing affiliate links you are helping provide a need while also making passive income. With affiliate marketing being a billion-dollar industry, there’s a place for everyone at this proverbial table. 

Where?  

YouTube

As previously mentioned, you can add an affiliate link to your YouTube channel. Many times the links are to products that are shown in the video. They can also be affiliate links to the  tools used in the video and the materials. Sometimes the whole video revolves around testing the products and sometimes the video uses the products to create or build something. 

Blogs

Another place to incorporate affiliate links is a blog. This can be your personal blog about: 

  • Cooking
  • Sports
  • Fitness
  • Baking 
  • Your love for music
  • Horses
  • Stationary
  • Jewelry
  • Education

The list goes and on and on. The great part of technology and the wide range of blogging services available is that you can choose the right blogging platform based on your needs and interests. 

affiliate marketing

Social Media 

One of the more obvious options is to post your affiliate links on your social media accounts and pages. This can be done easily on Facebook and a bit more strategically on Instagram. You will need your Instagram account to be verified or to have a business account in order to use links through the Instagram Stories. The business account must also have 10,000 followers before Instagram gives you access to this feature. The other option is to use the bio section in your Instagram account like people with personal accounts usually do. 

Email

If you have some type of fan base, then chances are you also have some type of mailing list. For businesses that want to start using affiliate marketing, using their email list to target potential buyers is an easy way to cover all bases. You can include links to your YouTube channel that already has the affiliate links or you can include the links in the email itself. Something important to note in general when it comes to marketing is that email lists are here to stay. Everyone still uses their emails and as long as that is true, emails marketing needs to be taken advantage of. The number one use for email marketing is to promote your business, but another use is affiliate marketing.

How?

There are specific affiliate programs and there are also brands and companies that use affiliates to help market their products. So, you can go through a program or you can work directly with a brand that wants your help to market their product. Most times it makes sense to partner with companies that share your same audience interests and that make a product that your audience will genuinely be interested in. For example if you blog about fitness then a great product to advertise and team up with would be a protein drink, exercise equipment, or meal-prep service. Ultimately the best way to find these affiliate programs is with a Google search.

affiliate programs

Affiliate Programs

These are affiliate marketing programs that allow ease of use and don’t rely in popularity. You can enroll in any of these programs. There’s nothing to lose, the programs are free and if you don’t sell anything, no harm done. Ultimately these programs want to sell their products in any way possible. 

Amazon Affiliate Program

One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs out there is from Amazon. You may notice that many people on YouTube include Amazon links to the products they are using. This is an easy way to monetize your website or blog. However, there are some things you should know before getting started with Amazon affiliate marketing.

It requires making an account and also filling out an application. They want to make sure that your website is legitimate and that it does not infringe on anyone’s rights, involve illegal activities, violence, or abuse. This verification process generally will not take more than a day or two.

From there you will be able to create your affiliate links. You can search for the item you want to promote and when signed under your affiliate or Amazon Associate account, you can click a Get Link button. Then all that’s left is to post it on whatever platform you have decided to use to share your affiliate links. 

Hubspot Affiliate Program

Unlike Amazon’s program, which offers a 10% commission, Hubspot offers a flat rate. Hubspot’s audience will be a bit different from the audiences of Amazon’s affiliate program since it focuses more on software while Amazon allows unlimited categories of options. There is unlimited earning with Hubspot and is based on product tiers. 

Target

Besides Starbucks and Chipotle, many people love Target. Luckily for you they offer a way for you to make a profit off of sharing their products and your love for their pumpkin spiced latte selection. As part of Target Affiliates, you can earn up to 8% when people buy. Similarly to Amazon, Target offers a wider range of products. 

TripAdvisor

With TripAdvisor, you choose a network partner and they provide you with the affiliate links. After choosing the partner you then sign up for the affiliate program under TripAdvisor. A unique feature of this program is that you can earn commission even when someone doesn’t make a purchase but just clicks on your link.

Cheapflights

Cheapflights’ affiliate program is also user-friendly and allows simple integration into your blog or website. It also offers a commission for a potential customer clicking on the links and a flat fee for a purchase. Since travel is the largest retail category on the internet, this program is worth researching. 

affiliate marketing programs

Affiliate Marketing Programs

With any of these affiliate programs there are different factors to consider:

  • The way commission is calculated
  • How long the link is good for
  • Payout conditions

Commission

Some companies have tricky rules that you need to be aware of. One of those rules includes paying based on what the website you are promoting gets paid. This is especially helpful to think about when using affiliate links from third party travel sites such as Booking.com. The percentage of the commission you make is based on how much the airline or flight pays to Booking.com and not the total cost of the travel expenses. 

Link Duration  

This part is what’s known as the Cookie Life. It tells you how long the link will be considered commissionable from when you first link it on your website, blog, or social media platform. Basically, the longer cookie time window the better.

Payout Conditions

Like many reward type programs, there are sometimes some disclaimers on how and when you can get your money. In some cases the money is distributed in increments maybe weekly or maybe monthly. In other cases, you may need to earn a certain amount of money in order to get paid at all. 

influencer marketing

Consider Your Choices

All in all, it doesn’t take much effort to include an affiliate marketing link on whatever platform you are using to reach your audience. You don’t have to be a famous influencer to take advantage of these affiliate marketing options. The best approach is to share links to products or services you genuinely enjoy and tell your audience why you love said product, and why they should buy it too. When done correctly, this should be an organic give and take process that benefits you, the affiliate company, and the customer purchasing the product or service. Go ahead, tell the world about your favorite pen…and make some money in the process. Or, you can find an influencer to help you promote your company’s products. With affiliate marketing, the opportunities are endless.

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