At first glance affiliate marketing can seem to be very complex and full of technical terms.
In this article we are going to look at the topic step by step.
From what affiliate marketing actually is and how it works, through to descriptions of various common terms, and finally to where you can learn the skills set for free.
This guide is intended for complete beginners so don’t worry if you have zero knowledge on the topic.
By the end this affiliate marketing made easy beginners guide you will know the basics of the overall concept.
What is affiliate marketing?
The basic concept of affiliate marketing is actually very simple.
Online retailers need customers to find their products in order to make sales.
Pretty obvious and straight forward.
But, in todays competitive online world, this is easier said than done.
Many of the main methods of attracting customers are seriously saturated with other retailers and brands all vying for peoples attention.
Search engine results for top keyword searches are extremely competitive and social media is a constant stream of ads and sales pitches.
Pay per click advertising is also very expensive and is usually dominated by larger companies who have the ability to pump money into their campaigns.
But, there is another method to attract customers, and therefore sales, that the majority of online retailers are now turning to.
How affiliate marketing works is actually very simple.
A company that sells online sets up an affiliate program.
This is a program that offers commissions for sales referred to them by affiliates.
Think of affiliates as online sales people who get paid on commission.
The program will offer financial compensation, usually a percentage of the sale.
This is tracked by using a special referral URL known as an affiliate link.
This URL will contains an unique I.D. that tells the website which affiliate referred the customer.
So when a person clicks the link, they will be taken to the website as normal, and if they buy anything, the company will know that they owe the affiliate a commission on the sale.
A clothing company has a website where they sell all their latest lines.
Their affiliate program offers 10% commission for any referred sales.
Jenny has a fashion blog and also a YouTube channel based around fashion.
She joins the affiliate program and is then able to use the affiliate links to send people to products on the fashion companies website.
She creates blog posts and YouTube videos and suggests various products from the fashion website.
The suggestions in the blog content are pictures and affiliate links to the sales page of the product.
On YouTube, she showcases various products in the video and mentions that a link to the products is below in the video description
The link in the description is an affiliate link.
Joanne reads one of Jennies blog posts and likes the look of one of the products she suggest.
She clicks the affiliate link and is taken to the fashion companies website.
She browses for a while and ends up purchasing an item of clothing.
She pays through the fashion website as normal and waits for the product to arrive in the mail.
The fashion company knows that Joanne arrived to their website and made a purchase after clicking on one of Jennies affiliate links.
The purchase was $80, so this means that Jenny gets 10% which is $8.
Jenny never handles any part of the sale or any after sale customer service.
She earns her commission simply because she was referring people through her links.
Driving customers to the fashion companies website.
The more content Jenny creates with the affiliate links, the more people she sends to the fashion companies website.
The more people that go to the website, the more chances of sales she has.
Not everyone will buy, but, it’s a numbers game.
The more people she sends, the better.
As you can imagine, she can earn a lot of money if she refers a lot of sales.
That is affiliate marketing as an overall concept.
Here is a quick overview of some basic terms.
An affiliate link is a special URL that contains a unique I.D. that tells the merchant which affiliate needs to be compensated for the referral.
A normal URL may look like this normalurl.com
An affiliate URL may look like this normaurl/j24.com
The person who clicks on it will still be taken to the website as normal.
The only difference is that if they purchase something, the affiliate will earn a commission.
The customer will not pay a penny extra just because it is an affiliate link.
The commission comes out of the companies margin just the same as if it was a salesperson in a normal offline shop.
The merchant is simply the company who is selling the products.
So, in the example above, the fashion company is the merchant.
Here is a glossary of 100 affiliate marketing terms explained
How to do affiliate marketing
There are many ways of doing affiliate marketing.
The most common way is to set up a blog based around a topic.
A topic is normally known as a niche.
A niche may be broad or deep.
A broad niche would be “Outdoor Pursuits”
A deep niche would be “Hiking boots”
The difference is pretty simple.
A blog based around outdoor pursuits would contain various topics and products related to the topic.
On the other hand, a blog based around hiking boots would be more focused information.
The broad niche will attract people looking for all kinds of information related to the topic.
The deep niche would be people looking for more specific information.
People looking for more specific information are often more likely to purchase.
For example, if you are searching for “Hiking boot reviews”, you are far more likely to be looking to purchase something than someone who searches for “Cool hiking trails”
Most affiliates will build blogs based around a deep niche rather than a broad niche.
Simply because if people are looking for information on specific products, they are more likely to purchase.
This is not to say you wont make money with a broad niche, but it is a lot easier with a more targeted deep niche.
Affiliates will write blog posts, typically reviews, around the topic and aim to have them rank in search engines.
When a person types a search request in a search engine, they will get a page of results.
Affiliates aim to be top of those results for certain keywords and phrases.
A keyword would be “Hiking”
A keyword phrase would be “What are the best hiking boots for under $100”
So affiliates will write blog posts titled and based around keyword phrases.
If they rank top in search engine results for those phrases, then anyone who types in that phrase as a search engine request will see the affiliates page.
If the person click son that page to read the information, then they will be sent to the affiliates blog post which also contains the affiliates product links.
If the person reads the content, likes one of the products and clicks on the link, they will be sent to a company website were they can buy the product.
If they do, the affiliate earns a commission.
Here is an article that goes into detail on how to choose an affiliate niche
Affiliates will also use social media to promote products.
They often post links to their blog articles, but will sometimes just post links to products.
The blog articles often convert into sales far better than just posting product links.
The reason is that people don’t often impulse buy from social media.
If they encounter a product on social media that interests them, they will often go to search engines to look for reviews and further information before purchasing.
This is why getting ranked in search engines or getting people to read blog posts is far better than just hoping they impulse buy directly from social media.
This is not to say posting product links on social media doesn’t work, it is just not as effective in producing sales as product reviews and blog posts.
I have written an article that talks about posting links on social media and how to do affiliate marketing from your phone
Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?
There are people out there who make a LOT of money from affiliate marketing.
There are also lots of people who make a full time living, have replaced their jobs, and now work from home affiliate marketing.
Some people do it just to earn extra money each month.
It all depends on how much effort the individual is prepared to put in.
Someone who only works a few hours here and there is unlikely to earn as much money as someone who works full time on their affiliate business .
But, with the correct techniques it is possible to make money in relation to the amount of effort put in.
Here are some articles you may find interesting
Where can you learn affiliate marketing?
There are various course online that can teach you the skill set needed to make money online.
Most are pre-packaged courses that are of varied price and effectiveness.
Below I have linked to an article that goes into detail on how you can learn the skill set for free.
This is the platform I personally use and I have been a member for years.