Affiliate marketing, at an advanced level, can be very complex.
It is full of terminology that can be quite intimidating to someone new even at the basic level.
In this article we are going to look at the basics of affiliate marketing and explain some of the terms used.
Once you have an understanding of the basic concepts, even the advanced levels will make sense.
These key aspects will give you a firm foundation of knowledge to get you started.
So, are you ready to learn the affiliate marketing basics?
Then let’s start.
Step 1 – What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the practice of referring internet traffic to third party websites with the aim of creating sales in exchange for commission.
Think of it like being an online salesperson.
When you go into a store, you may ask an associate which product is best for your needs and where it is located in the store.
Affiliate marketing is a similar concept.
People (Internet traffic) will enter your website looking for information about products related to a topic.
You will then have content that will tell them what products you recommend, their features and benefits to fit their needs, and where to find them (Third party website)
You will direct them by posting affiliate links that, when clicked, will send them to where the product is available for sale.
Very similar to an offline salesperson, wouldn’t you agree?
Step 2 – Basic Terminology – Part 1
An affiliate is someone who is part of an affiliate program that is paid a commission on any sales they refer to a third party website. (Merchant)
Commission is the compensation that the affiliate receives once the referred person performs an action.
Typically, this is a percentage of a sale.
So, if the affiliate program offers 10%, then the affiliate will receive 10% of any sales they refer.
If a person (Referral) clicks on an affiliate link, is taken to the third party website (Merchant) and spends $300, then the commission for the affiliate would be 10% which is $30.
An affiliate link is a special URL that contains a unique I.D. that tells the merchant which affiliate referred the sale.
So, a normal URL would look like… Amazon.com.
An affiliate URL would look like this… Amazon.com/124BC
The 124BC is the unique affiliate I.D.
The link will send the person who clicks it to Amazon.com as normal.
The only difference is that if the person purchases a product on Amazon while there after clicking the link, the affiliate will receive a percentage commission.
The person will pay nothing extra and the entire transaction would be as if they had gone straight to Amazon without clicking an affiliate link.
The commission comes out of Amazons profit margin and does not impact the price the customer pays.
The affiliate does not have any role in the sale apart from posting the link that referred the person.
An affiliate program is what the affiliate joins in order to have access to the links to promote the merchants products.
We will use Amazon as an example again.
If someone joins the amazon affiliate program, they will be given a unique affiliate I.D.
They can then go to any product on Amazon and click a button that creates an affiliate link.
That link, when clicked by someone, will take them straight to the product page on Amazon.
because it has the special I.D. attached, Amazon will know which affiliate referred the person and who to pay commission to if they purchase.
Some programs will credit the affiliate with anything a referral buys within 24 hours.
so, if the person ends up purchasing multiple items, the affiliate will earn commission on each sale.
Other programs may honor this up to 30 days, and some programs even have lifetime commissions.
This simply means website visitors.
So, if you have 300 people a day visit your site, they are your website “Traffic”
A merchant is the company/website/third party that sells the products the affiliate refers traffic to.
In the examples above, Amazon is the merchant.
This is a person who clicks on the affiliate link and is “Referred” to the third party website (Merchant) website.
If you visit a blog that is about electronic goods, read a review, then click on a product/affiliate link that refers you to Amazon, then you are a referral.
If you purchase anything, then the affiliate who’s link you clicked on will earn a commission because you are their referral.
Here is a glossary of 100 terms and terminology you will encounter when researching or practicing affiliate marketing.
Step 3 – How it works
Although I have given some basic examples above, here I will go into greater detail and also use some more advanced terms.
In order to start affiliate marketing, the first thing you will need to do is choose a niche.
An affiliate niche is simply the topic you will be creating content about and promoting products within.
An affiliate may choose to create content and promote products within the niche of “Cars”
They would write articles and create content, perhaps YouTube videos, related to cars and they would look for an affiliate program related to that niche.
Perhaps they would join the Amazon affiliate program and then link to various car related products that can be purchased on there.
Niches are typically, “Broad” or “Deep”
A broad niche would be “Cars”
A deep niche would be “Ford Mustangs”
The difference is the focused topics, products, and therefore traffic, that will come from the niche.
Someone who is researching cars may not be interested in Ford Mustangs specifically, and may just be casually browsing information.
A person who is researching Ford Mustangs is more focused and is most likely looking for information and possibly products.
If they are looking for specific information and products, they are more likely to purchase something than someone who is casually browsing a broad niche topic.
This is not to say broad niches are not good for affiliate marketing, but, deep niches tend to produce more referrals who are actually likely to buy products.
So, the first thing you would need to do is to decide what kind of niche you would be focusing on.
For this I suggest something that you have knowledge on, interest in, enough other people are interested in, and also that has affiliate programs you can join.
Although I keep referring to the Amazon affiliate program, there are actually many programs.
Just about any niche you can think of will almost certainly have affiliate programs available.
Here are some examples of affiliate programs from companies you may have heard of.
As you can see, programs are used by many famous companies.
I have written some more articles that may help you with the above aspects.
When starting to look into affiliate marketing, there are many new terms that are presented.
One of the most common questions is “What is an affiliate program?”
In this article we will look at what they are and how they work.
We will also look at where to find the best affiliate programs for your online business.
Read the article what is an affiliate program
In this article we are going to look at how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
Your choice of niche can greatly impact your target market and therefore your potential income.
It will dictate what kind of products you promote, your type of customers, and also the amount of revenue potential in many cases.
It will also be the topic you will be spending a lot of time working within, so your interest and knowledge levels are very important factors.
We will go step by step through the process of starting off on the right foot.
Read the article how to choose an affiliate niche
Step 4 – Promoting products
Once you have chosen a niche and found an affiliate program, you will then need to set up your infrastructure and promotion plan.
Your infrastructure would most likely be a blog and a presence of a few social media platforms.
Some affiliates will also use video platforms such as YouTube, or even just use that platform for their affiliate marketing promotions.
How it works is actually quite simple.
An affiliate will typically start a blog based around a topic within their chosen niche.
They will create content such as review or helpful informational articles.
They would then find relevant affiliate products to post within that content.
Dave creates a blog based around the weight training niche.
He has various articles about how to make lifting gains, correct form, nutrition etc.
He also has some product reviews of various supplements such as protein powders, vitamins, etc.
Within the articles and of course reviews, he will post links to the supplements on the merchants website that he is an affiliate for.
So, if he has a review of a protein powder, he will link to that protein powder on the merchants website.
He will then post links to his articles and reviews on his social media.
If anyone reads his content and clicks on one of the links to the products that he has suggested and purchase, Dave will earn a commission.
Dave may also create a YouTube channel and create video content as well as his blog content.
He may do video reviews of products for example.
He would then post the affiliate link in the video description and mention it within the video.
You may have heard people say in YouTube product reviews “There’s a link in the description where you can purchase the product”
Those are almost certainly affiliate links.
Dave will also aim to get his blog content to rank in search engine results.
Examples of search engines are, Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Dave will aim to get his content as high in results as possible for certain keywords and phrases.
A keyword is simply a word that someone types in to find information.
A keyword phrase is the same concept, but a sentence rather than a word or two.
“Protein” is a keyword
“What are the best protein supplements” is a keyword phrase.
In order to rank for these words and phrases, Dave needs to create content that is relevant and search engine optimized.
Relevant content is simply as it sounds.
If someone is looking for information, then they will want to find the most detailed, reliable, and informative content.
This is what search engines aim to provide.
So, typically, when you type search request into a search engine, the top results you get should be the most relevant and reliable etc.
Search engine optimization is a very detailed topic that does require training tp become proficient.
But, if you learn this skill and get your content at the top of search results, the traffic you will get will be numerous, targeted, and most likely to purchase.
Search engine optimization is the bread and butter of affiliate marketers.
If an affiliate can get content ranked for targeted and competitive keywords, they can make a LOT of money.
Many keywords and phrases can get 1000’s of searches per week.
If it is targeted content and the correct products are linked to…
Below I will tell you how to learn search engine optimization for free!
Step 5 – Can Anyone do affiliate marketing?
Yes, in fact pretty much anyone can, if they are willing to learn the skills and also put in the effort.
There are people from every walk of life earning money from affiliate marketing as you read this sentence.
The internet is running 24 hours a day and people from all over the world are searching for information and products, and also watching video content.
Everyone from students, stay at home mothers, retirees, people who do it as well as work a full time job, just about anyone you can think of.
Some people make a lot of money and promote products fulltime, others will do it in their spare time just to earn a little bit of extra money each month.
A lot of people are under the impression that in order to do affiliate marketing you have to be some kind of tech genius or heavily experienced in coding.
This is absolutely not the case!
In this article we shall look at how anyone can do affiliate marketing and some of the types of people that do.
Read the article can anyone do affiliate marketing
Step 6 – Where to learn
There are multiple course available online, but the one I personally use and recommend is Wealthy affiliate
I have been a member for many years and find them to have the best training to be found anywhere on the internet.
I have written an article here that goes into detail on what I consider to be the best free affiliate marketing training course