There’s a reason why some of the top bloggers earn a formidable income through affiliate marketing. It’s one of the best ways to create multiple passive income streams.
Has anyone ever offered you an incentive to provide leads for a fee? Just yesterday I received an anonymous text that went like this …
Here’s the exact text and grammar:
Hello, do you have any clients that you could refer to our blockchain cryptocurrency consultancy? for a fee? The BULL RUN in the cryptocurrency market is near”.
Well that’s exactly what affiliate marketing isn’t!
But it’s exactly that kind of behavior that reflects badly on an honest business model.
What Is Affiliate Marketing - Numerous Definitions
There are naturally a number of definitions for affiliate marketing and most will go along these lines:
It’s an arrangement between an online retailer and an online referral source, whereby the retailer pays a commission to the referrer for traffic or sales generated from those leads.
Some bloggers go so far as to say that affiliate marketing is a process whereby a marketer convinces consumers to purchase a product and then earns a commission in return for the referral.
I’m personally not so so happy with some of the views expressed by certain bloggers.
Nevertheless, the bulk of the views out there focus on earning commission.
My Definition Of Affiliate Marketing
If affiliate marketing were that simple and easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
Let’s assume you’re in the market to purchase a vacuum cleaner.
You’ve shopped around a bit and found there are a number of stores that sell the makes and models you have your eye on.
But each salesperson has given you a different recommendation and you don’t know who to trust.
And you’re acutely aware that those suggestions are often driven by the underlying commission rates offered by each retailer.
The problem is that none of those salespeople has given you real reason to purchase any particular product.
That evening, you ring up an old friend and in passing you happen to mention that you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner.
Your friend goes on the explain how the brand she purchased 5 years ago has been an absolute workhorse, does a real fine job of cleaning high pile carpets and hasn’t given a single days’ trouble.
Now tell me something – whose opinion would you value more?
So let’s look at my definition of affiliate marketing:
Affiliate marketing is NOT about convincing someone to buy a product or service. It’s about helping people, through a trusting relationship, to solve a problem or find a solution which a particular product or service offers. It’s about creating a genuine need for a product or service, not just a desire. People want to feel like they’ve bought something, not like they’ve been sold something. ~Adam
Affiliate marketing is truly a win-win situation for everyone in chain – customer, product provider and marketer.
I firmly believe you’ll be happier and enjoy more financial success when you stop trying to get what YOU want and start helping other people to get what THEY want.
A Sound Business Model To Generate Passive Income
Some people see passive income as earning money while you sleep.
Whilst this may essentially be true, the way it comes across gives me the creeps.
It just doesn’t sound like an ethical way of describing what passive income is truly about.
I suppose the reason for this is because I’ve seen some shady bloggers out there that associate the imagery of earning huge sums of money, fancy sports cars and mansions at other people’s expense.
Well let me tell you something – it’s all fake!
And it’s sad because those very tactics have tarnished the good name of affiliate marketing.
So I’m here to explain to you that affiliate marketing is not like that at all.
Yes – it can be a very lucrative way to make money online if done properly and ethically.
And it’s a very sound method of generating passive income streams.
But it’s not about taking advantage of people.
I’ve always believed that you can only take someone for a ride ONCE!
And a once off recompense is by no means passive income.
To be classified as passive, the cash flow or income stream must be regular and involve virtually no effort by the recipient, other than the original efforts that were put in to achieve the income stream.
Affiliate marketing, if done properly and ethically, involves a substantial investment of time and effort in the initial stages of the business in order to put the earnings mechanisms in place.
But once effected, it fits perfectly into the passive income paradigm.
And besides being compensated for your honest marketing efforts and sound advice, many affiliate programs offer recurring referral fees based on annual product renewals by users.
Therefore, besides putting the affiliate marketing wheels in motion, you put the passive income wheels into motion at the same time.
How It All Fits Together
Many people don’t have their own products to sell.
Well the good news is – you don’t need your own product. The beauty of affiliate marketing is the ability to promote one or a number of products within your niche.
From the diagram above, you’ll see that there are three parties involved in the affiliate marketing model, viz. the consumer, the marketer and the product developer or seller. In some instances there may be a fourth party, being an affiliate network.
An affiliate network is an organization or company to which product developers or sellers belong. Not all sellers belong to a network. Those who do, use the network as an intermediary between themselves and affiliate marketers.
A network also strengthens the perception of a professional outfit. This is particularly true of well known networks like Clickbank, Amazon and Shareasale. [Note: This is an affiliate link. I will be reimbursed, at no cost to you whatsoever, if you join the Shareasale Network. It’s FREE to join Shareasale and FREE to become an affiliate marketer with any of the affiliate programs on offer].
The advantage of a network is that it gives you access to multiple vendors on a single platform. So there could potentially be plenty of products to promote.
It’s not imperative to have a blog to promote products or services by way of affiliate marketing. You can promote through social media if you wish.
However, I believe that a blog is the best platform for promoting products effectively.
If you don’t have a blog as yet, you can follow my step by step tutorial and create a blog for free. You can one up within 15 minutes.
How Does The Vendor Know Where The Lead Came From And How Do You Get Paid
Once you’ve applied and the vendor has accepted you into their affiliate program, you will be able to login to your affiliate dashboard.
In most cases, you will be paid via PayPal.
If you don’t have a PayPal account, it’s best to open one up straight away.
During the affiliate application process, you normally enter your PayPal email – the one you used to create the account.
In your dashboard, you will find an affiliate link that you can place on your website. The link contains a tracking code specific to your account.
When a consumer follows that link, the vendor can trace the source that back to you for payment.
The link looks something like this and the part following the last forward slash is the tracking code: https://www.example.com/?adsfg4r213 btwc4er215jhn.
Additionally, when a consumer follows your link, a cookie is placed on their computer. The vendor issues the cookie and decides how long the cookie is valid for.
For this example let’s say it’s valid for 90 days. The consumer doesn’t land up purchasing the product that day, but returns to do so in 14 days time.
Because that cookie is still valid, the merchant will pay you your referral fee, but with a caveat.
It can sometimes happen that the same consumer followed a link to the vendor’s website a few days before visiting yours’.
In that instance, the vendor will pay the other marketer because their cookie was the first one living on the consumer’s computer.
That said, some vendor cookies are based on “last click”, not first click.
If you haven’t already done so, I would recommend you read my article about affiliate link cloaking. I believe it’s necessary in order to prevent commission theft – explained in the article.
The Most Important Link In The Chain
I’m putting my money on it that you already know who this is.
The customer is king. That’s a known fact in sales and marketing.
In blogging circles and even more importantly in the eyes of Google, you need to get used to that. Do what’s right for the customer and Google will smile on you too.
Like I said earlier on, it’s paramount to focus on building trust with your audience.
Focus on creating value and a need for a product instead of a sales pitch.
Without trust, you’ll have no audience. Likewise, without an audience you have no consumers or customers to market to.
On the subject of trust, it’s only fair and ethical to recommend products and services you use or have used in the past and really enjoyed. After all, you’re personally endorsing that product.
How can anyone possibly recommend a product they’ve never used?
Don’t do it. You’ll lose trust real quick. And what’s more, you’ll bring the industry into disrepute. It’s just not fair for the honest operators out there.
Once you become good at affiliate marketing and you start doing well, you’ll find that vendors will gravitate towards you.
Some will offer you a custom account, possibly offering higher commissions and incentivizing sales by way of promoting discounted prices to your readers.
Some may also offer you help to optimize your content to best market their product, thus making your blog more attractive than the next.
Then there’s also two tier affiliate marketing. Basically you recommend an affiliate program to other affiliate marketers and the vendor pays you for each sub-affiliate signup.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Writing Blog Posts
One of the best ways to get started is to write articles about the products you’re going to promote.
The more meaningful and helpful your articles are for readers, the better your Google ranking will become.
And the better your website ranking, the bigger your audience will become.
And bigger audience will translate to a greater amount of referred sales, which in turn will translate into a greater passive income stream.
And once your website is generating traffic, your blog posts become the ideal platform to market affiliate products.
Furthermore, a busy blog is a great way to grow your audience (email list).
And besides maintaining engagement with your subscribers who will now trust you, email marketing is a great method of promoting affiliate products.
Are You Using Email Popup Opt-In Forms To Grow Your Subscriber Base?
Email opt in forms work well in certain circumstances, but it’s important to use them wisely so as to not irritate your readers.
Constant fly-outs and screen overlays Screen fillers) can annoy readers.
They certainly tick me off at times!
Nevertheless, you can use an exit intent popup form to your advantage to gain subscribers to your list.
These popups are activated only once a user has read your content (undisturbed) and then decides to leave the page.
Personally, I don’t use screen fillers or exit intent popups. I generally only use popups which are activated when a user clicks on a button.
There are numerous opt-in products in the marketplace.
Some of them come at quite a high cost and are renewable yearly.
Thrive Leads is not only reasonably priced ($67 once off) but the software comes with a ton of pre-configured templates that will save you a huge amount of time and you can tweak these to your liking using their own drag and drop page builder. [Note: This is an affiliate link. I will be reimbursed, at no cost to you whatsoever, if you make a purchase using this link. Your business will be greatly appreciated].
Joint Venture Webinars
Yesterday, I attended a joint venture webinar.
An affiliate marketer co-hosted a webinar that focused on building online courses.
He marketed this to his email subscribers and over 2500 people attended the webinar.
This generated many signups for which, I’m certain, the marketer earned affiliate referral fees.
What a great way to boost your income!
A landing page is basically a single web page dedicated to promoting one particular product or service.
They work really well for affiliate marketing products.
A landing page contains no header, footer or sidebar.
I generally include a button or a link on my landing pages to return to the main website easily.
Without a link you have to click the back button on the browser or close the tab (if separate).
There’s an art to building landing pages that work effectively.
And I recognize that we all have our own skills and specialities, so I prefer to leave the design aspects of my landing pages to Leadpages who are way better equipped than I am. [Note: This is an affiliate link. I will be reimbursed, at no cost to you whatsoever, if you make a purchase using this link. Your business will be greatly appreciated].
The software comes with heaps of templates that you can use straight out of the box or tweak to your personal liking.
Once you’re up and running, you can strategically use Pay Per Click (ppc) Google advertising to sell affiliate products.
You can also strategically piggy back on, or get in front of, a competitor’s audience. Here’s a perfect example.
In this image, you can see how a Leadpages advert appears directly beneath an Instapage advert, with the wording, “Try Leadpages Instead”.
Hey, there’s no law about being competitive!
There’s much more to affiliate marketing than meets the eye.
I will post more on this topic in the future.
For now, this post should give you a god feel for what affiliate marketing is all about – and what it’s not.
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