There are a lot of more or less legal ways to make money online, and some of them even morally questionable. But among the widespread (and also within everyone’s reach) ways to make money, we find affiliations. Let’s see now what are affiliate marketing programs about, how to become an affiliate and what are the best online affiliate networks.
Most of the people who look for a way to make money online, be it an extra income or a real full-time living, sooner or later turn to affiliate marketing.
I noticed that, for a beginner words like “marketing”, “affiliate”, “network” etc. may sound a bit difficult to understand, or even have a negative impact on the desire to set up an online business, as these words may be perceived as complex concepts. Luckily, these are some easy ideas to implement and within the reach of everyone, even newbies.
Marketing is just the way a product is presented to the consumer, a set of strategies aimed at persuading people to buy something.
Here are a few practical examples:
- all the advertising we see on tv, or on Facebook is Marketing;
- the design, colors and information on the packaging of a product we buy is Marketing;
- the design of a website we visit is Marketing;
- the smile a sales assistant gives us at the supermarket is often merely Marketing;
- even getting dressed, putting on make-up, combing one’s hair and putting on perfume before going out is a form of Marketing.
Thanks to the Internet and the various social media platforms, Marketing has evolved and new Marketing strategies have risen, such as Affiliate Marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is part of the new forms of web marketing, and consists in a commercial agreement among 3 parties:
#1 – The Merchant, who promotes an affiliate program to recruit affiliates (also known as Advertiser) to promote a business or a product online.
#2 – The Publisher (Affiliate) who takes part in the program registering his/her website/blog or social media accounts, on which postings will be placed. Later, through promotion, the publisher is going to attract traffic on his/her website/ social media account promoting the Merchant’s postings and content.
#3 – The Affiliate platform (also known as affiliate network), the party that provides KnowHow and technology to manage payments, advertising material and the relationships between the advertiser and the affiliate.
In other words, if you have a website or a blog, you can subscribe to one or more affiliate platforms, choose a product related to your niche (the topic of your website), and promote it on the same site and social media accounts, in order to later get a commission when your followers decide to buy using your affiliate link.
Affiliate programs are also called referral programs.
What products can become objects of affiliate marketing?
Anything can be the object of affiliate marketing: from material products (food supplements, food, cosmetics, household products, appliances, cell phones, dvd’s, books, etc.) to digital products (e-books, online video courses, subscriptions etc.)
The choice is wide, and you also have the opportunity to earn an income. The most important thing is to choose a product that reflects your website’s niche, in order to promote it more effectively.
Who can become an affiliate?
Anyone can become an affiliate.
Most affiliate networks demand that the affiliates have an active web site, though there exist a few niche platforms where you don’t need to have a blog.
Clearly, if you have a website, you have a better chance to make money in the long term and, with time, to build up a passive income with affiliate marketing.
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How to become an affiliate?
Some merchants (dealers, retailers) manage their affiliate programs by themselves, but most of them entrust to affiliate networks.
In order to become an affiliate, you have to choose an affiliate platform, related to your niche. Then you have to sign-up, filling in your name, surname, website and typing a short description of your website content.
A few platforms accept affiliates immediately, some others, on the other hand, need a few days to evaluate the applications and decide whether to accept them or not, judging by the number of views the website gets or the by the quality of content that is being posted.
Once you have been accepted as an affiliate, you have access to your dashboard on the affiliate platform, upon inserting your username (or e-mail) and password. Once on the platform, you can access your banners and affiliate links, which are customized and contain an affiliate code, that you can now add to your website or mailing list. By doing so, it is possible to keep track of the affiliate’s traffic, and it is then possible to know the amount of sales the affiliate had drummed up for the company. Your reward for the sales is what is called commission on sales. It varies according to the affiliation and the field of interest, and it goes from 5% to even 75% (mostly digital products). Not bad, isn’t it?
Thanks to cookies on the publisher’s website, it is kept track of the visits from your affiliate link, and even if the person decides to buy the item some other day, you will get a commission anyway. This is the reason why it is better to choose the affiliate programs with a longer cookie validity.
Affiliate marketing is an easy concept, that may become money-making, if we consistently publish quality and helpful content, and nurture relations with our followers.
What are the best networks and affiliate programs?
Among the most famous affiliate programs we find:
The best affiliate networks are:
TimeOne Performance(Public Idées)
Awin (ex Zanox)
TradeDoubler and others.
You can also make money with niche affiliations:
Health and wellbeing:
Web Marketing Products:
Udemy (part of the Rakuten network)
CPA (cost per action) affiliations:
It is a type of affiliation when you get paid if a client carries out tasks like (and not only buying an item/product): filling in a form or downloading a trial software. The most known CPA affiliations are:
The PROS of affiliate marketing programs:
- you can make money and manage your business comfortably from home, from your computer;
- you can make money by promoting already existing items or services – you don’t have to create your own product;
- it is not compulsory to buy an item in order to be able to promote it;
- in a few cases, you don’t have to have a website;
- you don’t have to recruit other people, like with network marketing.
The CONS of affiliate marketing:
- it is important to pay attention to cookie validity (in a few cases it is very short, which may lead to losing the commission), then choosing the programs with a longer cookie life;
- most platforms demand that you have a website for you to become an affiliate;
- in order to build up a long-term income with affiliate marketing, you have to invest time to build a captivating website with quality content and a growing number of visitors.
Now that we have clear what affiliate marketing programs are, once more I want to remind you that there don’t exist easy and fast ways to make money online, and whoever says the contrary is most likely to be referring to illegal or morally questionable forms of income.
Affiliate programs are a real opportunity to create an income online, which is real and feasible for all those people who aren’t familiar with websites and blogging.
Nowadays you don’t have to know web programming, if you want to build a website. There are lots of online platforms, that allow you to create your own blog with just a couple of clicks. Yet it is not enough to make it through. In order to be successful, you have to put in constant effort and you really have to want to learn how to make your first steps in such a changeable world as the World Wide Web.
If you are really serious about making money online, the one training platform I would recommend above all the others, is Wealthy Affiliate. You can read my detailed review of this platform here: Wealthy Affiliate Honest Review.
It’s free to start and with the free membership you will get 1 completely free website and access to 10 lessons of the affiliate marketing getting started course for beginners.
Remember, you don’t need any programming skills to build a website – with this platform it will only take you 30 seconds!
The great thing is that upon completion of the free training course, you will have your own profit-ready website up and running.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me in the comment section below. I’d be happy to help.
To get a jumpstart on your success online, I have also prepared a free guide for you, where you will learn the exact steps to start making money online. Click on the button below to request access to my guide.
Wishing you all the best in your journey online,