Module 6: An Ultimate Guide To Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between a company and publishers where the publishers get paid for directing traffic via links on their platform to the company’s website.

The publisher's compensation is usually a percentage of the company's product or service bought by traffic from the publisher’s website.

Arguably, over 80% of bloggers monetize their blogs using affiliate marketing. In this section, you will learn how to properly position your blog to make the most out of affiliate marketing through time-tested guidelines and processes that have helped the best blogs earn.

Affiliate Marketing

Why Should You Consider Affiliate Marketing?

  • Low Cost of Implementation: With affiliate marketing, you spend absolutely nothing relative to the amount you will make. Your affiliated company will do inventory, shipping, customer service, tracking, and more. 
  • Easy To Set Up: As long as you meet the requirement of the affiliate network or company you aim to affiliate with, the entire process often requires you to add one or a few links to your site.
  • Multiple Affiliation: You can affiliate with as many businesses as you want: This serves you well when you write review and comparison articles. It also increases your chances of making money irrespective of the product or service your client decides to purchase. 
  • Ultimate Passive Income: Affiliate marketing is one of the best choices for passive income. You keep earning irrespective of whether you work or not.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work

Affiliate marketing is a synergy of several parties. Understanding each party's role will help you know how affiliate marketing works.

Below are vital parties in affiliate marketing.

Publisher: A publisher can be a blogger, a social media influencer with a sizable following, or an email marketer with a robust list.

The Merchant: This is the business or company with products or services they intend to sell through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Network: These platforms act as a go-between for merchants and publishers. An affiliate network would have tens to hundreds of merchants from which interested publishers can choose to affiliate with.

Affiliate Program: An affiliate program is a program set up by businesses that offer their products or services directly to publishers. These companies have cut out the middleman. 

Ad Network: This is similar to the WordPress ad network discussed in the previous section. These are blogs that prefer to work with merchants directly. They are directly affiliated with companies and businesses. 

However, there are instances when a merchant prefers to promote their affiliate program alone. Such merchants have their own Affiliate Programs. Also, you can choose not to sign up with an affiliate network but instead liaise with a merchant directly.

Affiliate marketing works like this; 

  • You sign up for an affiliate network or an affiliate program 
  • And when your application is approved after signup, you will be given a link or links specific to the product or services you wish to promote on your blog/website
  • You then insert that link or links in your blog posts
  • Interested audiences click on those links in your posts to purchase the merchant’s product
  •  You get paid a commission for every purchase made by your audience

Required WordPress Plugins For Effective Affiliate Marketing

To be effective as an affiliate marketer, you must go beyond just placing product links in your blog posts. These links are often long and ugly. Some of them come with banner ads. All these can make your blog posts look disorganized.

Below are a few WordPress plugins that can help you organize links on your site.

Pretty Links: This is an easy-to-use plugin to beautify affiliate links. It integrates well with Google Analytics and comes equipped with a dashboard.

Thirsty Affiliates: You can cloak ugly affiliate links using Thirsty affiliates. You can also add images and analyze reports on its dashboard. It works perfectly with Amazon.

AdSanity: This is a powerful Plugin for banner display of affiliate links. It helps you display affiliate links in the best format possible through widgets and shortcodes.

MonsterInsight: With Monster Insights, you can track your highest-earning posts and the source of your best traffic. It works seamlessly with Google Insights, and with it, you can optimize affiliate marketing on your blog.

Factors To Consider Before Choosing An Affiliate Network or Affiliate Program

There are several Affiliate networks and programs, and deciding which to sign up to can be daunting. However, there are a few factors to consider before making your choice.

  1. 1
    A simple user interface: A simple user interface is important for you to keep checking the performance of affiliate programs. Ensure the user interface is easy to use and has all the metrics that are important to keep an eye on your affiliate marketing performance. 
  2. 2
    Transparency: The last thing you want is surprisesSo, ensure your affiliate network or program is transparent on all issues. 
  3. 3
    Good Customer Support: Customer support vary with each affiliate network. However, the most important thing is signing up with a network that cares enough to respond quickly. So, you can check whether they care their partners by responding timely. 
  4. 4
    Payment Method: Care to find out the commission spread on the products and services; when publishers are paid; the minimum you have to make before you withdraw; and how payment can be withdrawn. Having knowledge of all these critical things is important.
  5. 5
    The Size of the Network:  The more merchants per niche within a network, the better it is for you as a publisher. You can test which one works well and stick to that.

How do you Get Paid As A Publisher?

Payment in affiliate marketing is based on commission. You get paid a percentage of the merchants' profit from every purchase your traffic makes on the merchant's website.

Commission can be as low as 1 percent. The average commission is about 20%, but some affiliate networks pay as high as 50% in commission. Ad programs, however, pay more commission to publishers.

The factors that determine the rate of commission are:

The Products: Certain products have a higher commission on them than others. Services tend to have better commission than products. Digital assets also have an impressive commission because it is easy to make them and once they are done, they can easily be produced and dispatched.

Niche: Luxury, automobile, beauty, SAAS, and medicine are some niches that boast high commissions. 

Affiliate Programs: Merchants that cuts out affiliate networks and decide to work with publishers directly offer better commissions on their products or services.

For optimal profit, work with both affiliate programs and networks.

How To Look For An Affiliate Program For Your Niche

There are several affiliate programs, and finding one for your niche is relatively easy. Simply Google search “your niche + affiliate program," and you will get information on most of the affiliate programs available in your niche.

5 Best Affiliate Programs 

Below are five businesses that offer affiliate programs to publishers directly.

1. Semrush 

Semrush is a top firm that offers more than 40 solutions for digital marketing. They are known more for their several SEO tools. They pay 200 dollars to affiliates for every subscription. Payment takes place every 27 days to affiliates. The Cookie life for the SemRush affiliate link is 120 days.

2. SiteGround 

SiteGround is a major hosting company and has over 2 million domains hosted with them. Site Ground offers affiliates a sliding scale commission: for every 11 to 20 signups you bring, you get paid 75 dollars for each. Affiliates also get one month of free domain hosting. The Cookie life for SiteGround is 60 days.

3. Elementor

Elementor is a web developmental tool specifically for WordPress. They have a robust affiliate program with a commission rate of 50%! The cookie life for Elementor's affiliate link is 30 days.

4. Fiverr

Fiverr offers strictly a service-based network where publishers can profit from the amount freelancers get paid for providing diverse client services. Fiverr has several robust offerings for affiliates, including commissions of up to a thousand dollars. Their cookie has no life limit.

5. GetResponse

GetResponse is a powerful Email marketing tool with more than 800,000 users. They run two affiliate packages. They offer a one-off 100 dollars commission for a signup or a 33% share for ongoing subscriptions.

9 Best Affiliate Networks 

Below are ten affiliate networks you can join.

  • Amazon Associates

  • Amazon Associates is one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the world. It boasts over 150 thousand merchants across several categories, including luxury and beauty products, digital products, physical books, electronics, toys, furniture, beverages, games, etc. 

    Some of their influential merchants include Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Samsung.

    Amazon boasts a simple user interface. Amazon's only disadvantage is that it is open to only some regions of the world. Cookies also last just 2 hours, which means you won't earn a commission on your traffic's purchase if it is not made in 2 hours.

  • Click Bank

  • ClickBank offers publishers thousands of physical and digital products. What makes ClickBank stand out in that is, it pays its publishers weekly and bi-weekly. And they are one of the highest-paying affiliate networks. Why because there are programs that pay you 50-75% of the sale?

    • Commission Junction

    Commission Junction, now known as CJ Affiliate, boasts some of the most luxurious merchants like Barnes and Noble, Blue Apron, Overstock, and J.Crew. They also have a wide range of products across several niches, including automotive, gardening, recycling, and health products.
    Depending on the product type, payment on CJ affiliates is based on pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, or pay-per-call. Unfortunately, they have one of the most complicated user interfaces.

    • Awin

    Awin offers products and services that cut across fashion, telecommunication, travel, retail, energy, automobile, health, and electronics, among others, with ove 21,200 merchants.

    Awin is notably transparent with its payment process, which can be monitored via an interface accessible by all affiliates.

    • Impact

    Impact is a relatively new affiliate network. So its user interface is more modern and optimized. They have over 1,000 merchants across telecommunication, travel, retail, energy, automobile, health, and electronics. Airbnb, HSBC, Lenovo, Levi's, and L'Oréal are some of the brands on Impact.

    • Etsy

    Etsy is the biggest marketplace for creative goods. Most of the goods on Etsy are handmade, vintage items and craft supplies that fall under a wide range of categories: jewelry, bags, clothing, home decor, furniture, toys, arts, and collections. Etsy has a fantastic cookie period of 30 days.

    • ShareASale

    ShareASale has over 20,000 merchant programs hosted on its network platform, offering services and products across multiple markets. It has a simple user interface. 

    • Rakuten

    Rakuten Advertising features merchants across clothing, cosmetics, electronics, food, etc. Some big brands on the network include Fiverr, Udemy, AT&T, etc. They have an incredible dashboard. However, their commission is one of the lowest, and their payout is usually every three months.

    • FlexOffers

    FlexOffers has over 12,000 active merchants on its platform, including Microsoft, Nordstrom, Samsung, Hulu, Wayfair, and hp. Their merchants cover major categories like automotive, business, education, entertainment, legal services, sports, travel, etc.

    Affiliates can automate their affiliate links with Flexlinks. FlexOffers boasts one of the highest commission rates of up to 50%.

    Here is the completion of module 6 and we're ready to move on module 7.