What is affiliate marketing?

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Affiliate marketing is the system of a publisher sending web visitors to an online retailer, and receiving a percentage of the sales made. That’s a very brief definition. Here’s a small guide for beginners to help you under what affiliate marketing is.

You may have heard it referred to other names, such as ‘network marketing’ or ‘multi-level marketing’. Ignore those, that’s not what it’s normally called. Performance marketing is another popular one, which is more recognized and clearer from its name what it’s about.

Some people in the industry prefer other titles for it. Such as; commission marketers or retail affiliates. To be honest you can mix up a lot of different terms, acronyms, and buzzwords but ultimately we may as well stick with the same name. Wikipedia has a page about the industry. It defines things as;

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

How affiliate marketing works

Here’s the basic step-by-step of how affiliate marketing works:

  1. You join an affiliate program
  2. Place your unique affiliate links on your website or wherever you can
  3. Receive commissions from sales made from customers you sent
  4. Receive your payouts

Always keep it simple, focus on expected conversion rates, commission per conversion, and how many visitors you can send. That bit of simple maths will keep you on the right track. And always pick good products to promote too, they will do half the selling by themselves. As long as you are acting legally with a good code of conduct (doing go doing fake reviews or cookie stuffing) and you work hard to promote you will bring in some good results.

How much money can I earn from affiliate programs?

Unfortunately, this is very much a; how long is a piece of string situation. It all depends on the access to potential clickers of your affiliate links, the niche, the company you’re promoting, how targeted the campaign is, and of course a bit of lady luck also. If you have a niche website receiving 100,000 unique visitors per month and you promote a highly-targeted good product to them (which pays fair commissions) then you should expect some returns. If you push the campaign hard with good advertising and marketing tactics and get 25% of visitors to click on an affiliate link, and 2% of those people convert, that’s 500 sales per month. If you’re receiving an average of only $3 per sale that is already $1500 revenue. If you want to run more quick numbers we have a very basic calculator you can use.

Who regulates affiliate marketing?

There’s no one central organization that regulates affiliate marketing. But there are sources you can use and methods for keeping yourself safe in the industry. Use methods such as reading terms and conditions, and considering the legitimacy of reviews, to help avoid scams.

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