If you are looking for ways to earn passive income online, your best bet would be affiliate marketing.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing means you get to earn a commission for every product you sell online.
For instance, you wrote a blog post that recommends online stores wherein beginners can buy affordable and beginner-friendly bikes. And then, one of your readers clicked on one of the links and bought his first bike.
If you are an affiliate for the bike shop, you are more likely to earn a commission from that sale. This is usually possible with the help of affiliate links or referral codes.
The Affiliate Marketing Process
Now that you know how affiliate marketing works, it is time to understand its process.
Affiliate marketing usually involves four parties:
- Merchant. They are basically online stores, retailers, or manufacturers that are leveraging affiliate marketing to drive sales.
- Affiliate. These are people, usually online influencers, who promote products and services from various merchants.
- Affiliate Network. This refers to the niche where an affiliate belongs. So, if you run an online bike shop, your affiliate network could be athletes or health enthusiasts. A merchant can even tap the help of a trusted digital marketing agency to identify which affiliate network they should work with.
- Consumer. A merchant’s target customer. Sometimes, it is easier to reach your target market with the help of affiliates.
So, how do these parties benefit from affiliate marketing?
Benefits to Merchants
It is common for businesses to want to generate sales. However, it is less likely to happen if your target market does not know that your business exists.
Luckily, affiliate marketing allows you to reach your preferred consumers with the help of your affiliates.
Benefits to Affiliates and Affiliate Networks
On the other hand, affiliates benefit from this kind of marketing strategy by earning a passive income online.
What’s even better is that affiliate marketing allows you to promote a product creatively and without bombarding your audience with a sales pitch. Mind you, 84% of online buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Benefits to Consumer
As for the consumers, affiliate marketing allows them to read honest reviews regarding a product. That’s because affiliates tend to produce comparison content, which helps consumers make an informed decision on which products to buy.
Understanding the Affiliate Marketing Process
So, whether you are a merchant or an affiliate, it is imperative that you understand the affiliate marketing process. Here’s how you can make one for your business:
Create Your Affiliate Marketing Plan
Just like with any marketing strategy, it is always advisable to get started with a plan. Otherwise, you will not know what to do, as well as how you can work things out in case your affiliate marketing strategy did not go as planned.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to making an affiliate marketing plan. But it should have the following components:
- Dedicated budget
- Affiliate marketing tools
- Important KPIs and metrics
- List of affiliate networks
- List of products to promote via affiliates
- Expected revenue
If you include these components in your affiliate marketing plan, then you can rest assure that you only need to fill in very little information on your plan.
Select the Products You Want to Promote
Now that your affiliate marketing plan is all set, the next step is to select which products you want to promote via affiliate marketing.
Sure, you can opt to promote all of your products. However, choosing just a product or two allows you to streamline your process. It also allows you to test the waters first before you go full blast with affiliate marketing.
There are two ways to validate which products you should promote:
- Which of your products is generating the most demand?
- Which products are creating the most buzz among your affiliate networks?
Answering these questions could be helpful in selecting the products that you would want to promote via affiliate marketing.
For one, it ensures that you can generate sales regardless of the competition. Second, promoting a product that is creating a buzz among your affiliate network can make it easy for you to employ affiliates.
After all, your affiliates would only want to promote the products that they are confident to share and recommend to their audience. Not to mention that affiliates tend to be niche-specific.
Choose Your Affiliate Marketing Platform
Now that you have your products, the next step is to choose your affiliate marketing platform.
Here’s the thing: Every platform has its pros and cons. So it is important that you pick the platform that would make it easy for you to execute your strategy.
This can include the following:
- Generating affiliate links and codes
- Creating a list of your affiliates
- Monitoring how much sales they bring in
- Sending sales commissions
Tap Your Affiliate Network
You now have your affiliate marketing plan, you know which of your products you would want to promote, and you have your platform all set up, it is time to tap your network.
As mentioned earlier, an affiliate network refers to a niche where your affiliates belong.
So using our previous example, it would make sense to reach out to affiliates who are into cycling. This includes athletes and health enthusiasts.
Why is it important to tap on the right affiliate network? That’s because they are the ones who will bring in the leads to your online store.
If your affiliates are bringing in unqualified leads, there is a very slim chance that you can turn those leads into customers.
It’s Time to Execute Your Affiliate Marketing Plan
To recap, an affiliate marketing process involves the following parties:
- Affiliate network
And in order for your plan to work, you will need to do the following:
- Create your affiliate marketing plan
- Select the products that you want to promote
- Choose your affiliate marketing platform
- Tap your affiliate network
Once you have these points in place, you are now ready to kickstart your affiliate marketing program. That way, you will have another revenue stream, which allows you to maximize your digital marketing efforts.