What is Affiliate Marketing – 17 Questions Answered

While getting an answer to the common question “What is Affiliate Marketing” is important, there are a dozen other questions that you need to understand if you are to succeed as an affiliate.

These questions vary from the most basic such as understanding what affiliate marketing is to the most technical such as understanding why every affiliate blog should have an affiliate disclosure statement.

Getting informed on such matters will make your affiliate marketing journey easier. So, let’s answer the most common affiliate-related questions and help you set a solid foundation for your affiliate journey.

1. What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a business model where a product or service provider get publishers (also known as affiliates) to promote their products or services and get paid commissions when a sale, lead, or click is made (collectively known as conversion).

From a publisher’s standpoint, it’s where you recommend products or services to your readers (if you have a blog) or followers (on social media) using an affiliate link and get paid a commission which can be a fixed amount or a pre-set percentage of the sale value.

2. What is an Affiliate Link?

An affiliate link is a custom link given to you (the affiliate) by an affiliate program and is used to identify and track all the clicks, leads, or sales coming from your platform(s).

Affiliate links are unique to every affiliate marketer, which means you will be credited with the conversion resulting from your affiliate link. You can find your affiliate links when you log in to your affiliate account, often in your dashboard.

3. What is an Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program refers to the package a product or service provider makes available to qualifying publishers (affiliates) to join. It includes product or service details, retail value, commission levels, and promotional materials such as affiliate links and banners.

Most affiliate programs are managed through affiliate networks, which connect publishers (affiliates) with advertisers (affiliate program providers – “merchants”).

4. What is an Affiliate Network?

An affiliate network is a company that acts as the “middleman” between publishers (“affiliates”) and companies offering affiliate programs (“merchants”).

Affiliate networks provide a single portal for publishers to access multiple affiliate programs where they can apply and get approved to promote their products or services. Affiliate networks are great as you get to manage all your affiliate program links from one place. The most common affiliate networks include:

  • ShareASale
  • Clickbank
  • Amazon Associates
  • Impact Radius
  • Rakuten Marketing
  • CJ Affiliate
  • Awin

5. Is Affiliate Marketing Legit?

YES. Affiliate marketing is a legal business. In simple terms, it’s an agreement between a publisher and the company with an affiliate program where the affiliate is paid a commission for recommending a product or service to their readers or followers.

Just think of affiliate marketing as an alternative to advertising, where instead of a company running ads on TV or Google, they accept affiliates who will market the products or services on their behalf and pay them commissions.

Related: 13 Work From Home Jobs That Pay Well (2020)

6. How Do Affiliate Marketers Make Money?

Affiliate marketers make money through commissions when their affiliate links generate conversions, which can be leads, subscriptions, or sales.

The commissions, as earlier noted, can be a fixed amount, such as $50, or a percentage of the product or service retail value, e.g. 30%. The more conversions you generate, the more commission you earn.

7. How to Share/Promote Affiliate Links

In order for you to generate conversions and earn commissions, you need to share or promote your affiliate links. If you have a blog, the easiest way is to include them in your blog posts as recommendations. You can also write in-depth product and/or service reviews where you will include the links.

Other great ways to promote your affiliate links through YouTube videos. Make YouTube tutorials or product/service review videos and include the links in the description section. Other options would be on social media and in emails. Whichever way you choose, make sure to indicate that they are affiliate links.

If you share your links through blog posts, ensure to add Nofollow tag to comply with affiliate links guidelines. You can do so with a simple HTML code or use a simple plugin such as “Rel Nofollow Checkbox” that adds a simple checkbox in the insert/edit link popup for including the Nofollow attribute.

8. How to Track My Affiliate Links and Earnings

It’s quite easy to track the performance of each affiliate link and how much affiliate commissions you’re getting. You get to do so from your affiliate program dashboard where you get all the analytics you need, such as clicks, conversions, and commissions earned.

To track only your affiliate links, you can use affiliate plugins such as Pretty Links, which you can use to shorten and track how each of the links is performing. With such a plugin, you can tell which affiliate link is getting the most clicks and which one isn’t, which gives you enough data to optimize the underperforming links.

9. What are the Requirements to Join an Affiliate Program?

Most affiliate programs do not have minimum requirements. However, there are some that require you to have a website or blog or be living in some specific countries. The same applies to affiliate networks. The good news, though, is that you can still re-apply in the future if you will have met the requirements.

Additionally, there are hundreds of affiliate programs you can apply, and just a few might have such requirements. You can also apply for a different affiliate network if the one you wanted could not approve your application.

10. Do I Need to Pay to Join an Affiliate Program?

NO. You do not need to pay to join any of the best affiliate programs or networks. Personally, I have never come across an affiliate program that needed me to pay in order to join their network. Besides, why would an affiliate program want you to pay to be approved to recommend their products?

Related: 13 Proven Ways to Make Money Blogging in 2020

11. How Much Traffic Do I Need to Make Money?

In most cases, there are no minimum traffic requirements to start making money with affiliate marketing. It all depends on the niche you choose and the type of products or services you recommend. In the beginning, you won’t get many conversions, but over time you will gain trust among your readers, which leads to higher conversion rates.

12. When and How Do I Get Paid?

Most affiliate programs pay at the start of every month, on the 15th or 20th of every month. That means if you reach your minimum payout threshold, which varies from one program to another, you will receive your payment in the next payout. I recommend you join an affiliate network then go on and apply for different affiliate programs within the network.

Why? 

It’s easy to reach the minimum earnings required for a payout if you’re using an affiliate network. Let’s say you join three affiliate programs where each sets minimum payout at $50. That means you have to reach at least $50 earnings on each program to receive payments.

If you reach $49 in two and $50 in one, you will only get paid $50 and you will have to wait until you hit the minimum payout threshold on the other two programs for them to pay you.

However, if you were to join an affiliate network (any of the ones we mentioned above), and their minimum payout threshold is $100, that means you only need to make an average of $34 from the three programs to reach your target. That’s easier than aiming for $50 for every single program.

Besides, one program might convert higher than the others, which means even if you make $10 in one program and $90 in the other two, you will still get paid.

Each program is different when it comes to how they pay their affiliates. However, the most common payment methods include check (cheque), PayPal, bank deposit (wire transfer) or credits towards your account. Most of the programs will give you the freedom to choose your preferred payment method.

13. Can I Join Multiple Affiliate Programs?

Yes, you can. You are free to join as many affiliate programs as you wish. However, it’s advisable to join just a few, most ideal affiliate programs when you’re starting. That can be 10 or 20 programs. Then over time, as your blog grows and your traffic increases, you can expand the number of affiliate programs.

It’s also advisable to focus on a few, related topics, if not a specific niche when you start. This allows you to recommend different but closely-related products or services within a single post.

Example?

Let’s say you are into tech, gadgets, and related stuff and you start a blog. You can start by focusing on smartphones and their accessories only. Then over time, you can expand to laptops, cameras, drones, and wearables (such as smartwatches).

If you start an affiliate blog focusing on all these topics at once then it will be tough to break even. Besides, it’s easier to rank on Google if you start by focusing on one sub-niche first, then after a few months, you can expand.

14. Which is the Best Platform for Affiliate Marketing?

If you intend to start a website or blog, then you need to choose the right blogging platform to start your blog or affiliate website. I recommend you use a platform such as WordPress.Org and buy your own custom domain. Avoid using free platforms such as wordpress.com or blogger.com.

You should also buy a custom domain, such as mydomain.com rather than mydomain.wordpress.com or mydomain.blogspot.com. Be professional and have a professional website or blog. The brand is important if you’re to be successful in doing affiliate marketing.

This article can help you when it comes to avoiding some basic mistakes – 15 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid in 2020.

15. What is a Super Affiliate?

A super affiliate is an affiliate marketer who has built a thriving, influential, and highly converting affiliate business that consistently generates conversions from any program they promote. Super affiliates are mostly making six-figure incomes a month and seven figures a year from their affiliate business.

16. What is an Affiliate Disclosure Statement?

This is a statement that reveals to the reader that the content they are reading may have affiliate links, and the owner of the blog will receive commissions from any successful conversion. This includes purchases, subscriptions, or leads resulting from someone clicking on the links.

Any publisher doing affiliate marketing is required to have an Affiliate Disclosure Statement.

17. How Do Affiliate Marketing Benefit Businesses?

Wondering how affiliate marketing benefits businesses that have affiliate programs for their products and/or services? Some of the benefits a business gets from launching an affiliate program include:

  • Getting access to professional, long-term marketers (the publishers or affiliates)
  • Getting more and better exposure with long-term benefits (affiliates will always be there)
  • Enjoying cost-effective marketing with impressive ROI (Returns on Investment)
  • Outsourcing marketing so as to focus on other important aspects of the business

In conclusion, affiliate marketing gas massive benefits for both the publishers (“affiliates”) and the businesses (“merchants”). If you wish to start affiliate marketing, then be sure to avoid the common affiliate mistakes to stand a good chance of seeing your blog grow and be successful.

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