The business model behind affiliate marketing is relatively straightforward, involving two parties, retailer and marketer/online business owner. The retailer offers affiliate programs, which are a list of products they are willing to allow a third party to sell on their behalf in exchange for a commission. The marketer then promotes these items.
How much income you can in gather is down to two main considerations. Firstly, the product you sign up to promote. Secondly, how efficiently you promote it. But if you can crack these two areas, then your affiliate marketing endeavors can act as a strong sales channel for your existing online business. So how do you apply this business model?
Choose your product
Products lie at the heart of any affiliate marketing program. Before deciding on which items to sign up to promote, you need to consider several factors. How well does is this particular product selling? Is it something of perennial interest or is it liable to be a trend or fad with little long-term staying power? If it is something universally popular, does this mean there will be many affiliate marketers already on board in a saturated market? But most importantly of all, is this item something that would sit well with whatever it is you are currently promoting in your online business?
It is this latter aspect of affiliate marketing that makes it such an attractive proposition for small businesses. If you can combine a particular topic area you are already well versed in with this new product, then you possess the core ingredients for a successful affiliate marketing business.
Affiliate marketing is nothing like the traditional forms of online advertising that preceded it. Once you join an affiliate program you will be given a series of hyperlinks by the retailer. These are then posted within your existing web content. The trick is not to make these links the focus of your promotional drive. Your web content should be the most important aspect of your sales campaign. You need to write succinct, punchy articles, grammatically concise and containing the right balance between being informative and entertaining. The links to the products should almost be an afterthought. Your primary aim should be to entice your site visitors to engage with your content about the products, establishing a positive sense you are an authority on the subject. Only then should they feel compelled to click through to the purchase pages.
Social media is truly one of the Internet phenomena of our times. Unlike previously inefficient business models that involved web banners or pay-per-click campaigns, affiliate marketing encourages you to thoroughly engage with your existing customer base via blogging or Facebook posts or Twitter feeds. What you can also do is purchase a sample of the product yourself and then film a review. Post this on your social media in order to encourage your customers to see the direct benefits of buying this product themselves. With social media, you don’t have to spend any money on advertising. You can rely on your customer base to do this groundwork for you. If they like the products they can share their experience with their own friends, ensuring the items gain maximum exposure.
Finally, one of the most efficient ways of getting your message out there is to encourage your most loyal customers to subscribe to e-mail lists. You can then issue periodic bulletins on upgrades to the products to any number of customers at the click of one button; including the appropriate links.