We can simply say that affiliate marketing is content marketing. Affiliate marketing is an advertising model where publishers earn a commission by promoting a product or service made by another retailer or advertiser. The affiliate partner has rewarded a payout for providing a specific result to the retailer or advertiser.
Typically, the result is a sale. But some programs can reward you for leads, a free-trial user clicks to a website, or getting downloads for an app.
Affiliate programs are usually free to join, so you don’t have to worry about high startup costs. Done well, this performance-based opportunity can go from side hustle to a profitable online business idea by netting you a healthy income.
➥ How does it work?
Affiliate marketing works in a simple way. You just have to share affiliate links with other people. Affiliate marketing involves referring a product or service by sharing it on a blog, social media platform, podcast, or website. The affiliate earns a commission each time someone makes a purchase through the unique link associated with their recommendation.
- You show an ad or a link to beumaxonline on your website, blog, or social network.
- A customer clicks your unique link.
- The customer makes a purchase from beumaxonline.
- The affiliate network records the transaction.
- The purchase is confirmed by beumaxonline.
➥ You get paid a commission
Commission rates vary depending on the products and the offer. On the low end, you’ll earn about 1 to 5% of the sale but, with some arrangements, you can earn as much as 50%, usually when promoting a class or event.
➥ Types of affiliate marketing
It seems very simple to do an affiliate market and we think there is only a model for it. But there are different types of affiliate marketing. Affiliates always carry a bit of mystery you never know if the person has ever really used the product, or if they are just promoting it for the money. Both cases still exist today.
It wasn’t until 2009 when renowned affiliate marketer Pat Flynn broke down the different types of affiliate marketers into three groups. Understanding these types of affiliate marketing can show you the different ways how you make money online in this space, regardless of your moral compass.
Involved affiliate marketing refers to only recommending products and services you’ve used and truly believe in. “Involved affiliate marketing is the way forward,” says Elise. “It’s rooted in trust and authenticity, which is best for your audience and business.”
In this type of marketing, you use your influence to promote products and services that followers may actually need, instead of paying to get clicks on a banner ad. It takes more time to build this type of credibility with an audience, but it’s necessary to build a sustainable business.
Elise explains that advertising also becomes much easier. “You don’t have to hide behind expensive PPC ads and hope for clicks and sales. An organic Instagram Story or blog post about your experience with a product will go a long way.” Elise prefers this method because it’s honest and is “the only genuine way to become a trusted source on any topic.”
Related affiliate marketing is where you promote products and services you don’t use, but that are related to your niche. Affiliates in this case have an audience, whether it’s through blogging, YouTube, TikTok, or another channel. They have influence, which makes them a trusted source for recommending products, even if they’ve never used them before.
The problem with related affiliate marketing is, do you want to promote something you’ve never tried before? It could be the worst product or service ever and you wouldn’t even know. It only takes one bad recommendation to lose the trust of your audience. If you don’t have trust and transparency, it’ll be hard to build a sustainable affiliate marketing business.
The first type of affiliate marketing is referred to as “unattached,” or when you have no authority in the niche of the product you’re advertising. There is no connection between you and the customer. Often you are running pay-per-click advertising campaigns with your affiliate link and hoping people will click it, buy the product, and earn a commission.
Unattached affiliate marketing is attractive because you don’t need to do any legwork. Affiliate marketing businesses rely on reputation and trust with a target audience online. Some don’t have the time or desire to build those relationships, so this type of marketing is their best option.
“Unattached affiliate marketing isn’t a genuine business model, it’s for people who just want to generate income,” explains Elise Dopson, founder of Sprocker Lovers. “Our focus for Sprocker Lovers is building community and providing free education around a particular niche first, which in our case is the sprocket spaniel dog breed, and selling second.”
➥ Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is beneficial in many ways. There’s no doubt affiliate marketing is worth it, given its growth in popularity. Statista estimates the affiliate marketing industry will be worth $8.2 billion by 2022, up from $5.4 billion in 2017. It’s also a low- to no-cost business venture you can profit from immensely.
While industry growth is a good indication of success, entrepreneurs also take this referral marketing route for many other reasons.
> Low risk
Since there’s no cost to join affiliate programs, you can start making money with an established affiliate product or service without any upfront investment. Affiliate marketing also can generate relatively passive income through commission—the ideal money-making scenario. Though initially, you’ll have to invest time in creating traffic sources, your affiliate links can continue to deliver a steady paycheck.
> Targeted Traffic
Since the affiliates are handpicked by you, it can ensure that the traffic that comes to your site is from individuals that find your product or service useful. This is because affiliates that resonate with your brand will most likely have individuals with their area of influence that’ll find your brand useful.
> Low cost of start-up
An affiliate program does not require that you have an advertising team for ad visuals or purchase ad space.
Rather than that, you’ll have to depend on your affiliates to come up with their marketing content. Other than the initial effort of selecting and vetting affiliates, there’s little effort required from you to market your products, which is one of the reasons it’s become such a popular method of marketing.
Once a company is comfortable working with an affiliate and has built a good relationship, they can for the most part let them get on with marketing your service or product.
> Easy to scale
Successful affiliate marketing offers the potential to significantly scale your earnings without hiring extra help. You can introduce new products to your current audience and build campaigns for additional products while your existing work continues to generate revenue in the background.
Before you get too excited, know that great affiliate marketing is built on trust. While seemingly there is an endless number of products or services to promote, it’s best to only highlight those you personally use or would recommend. Even when a product interests you or fits within an existing hobby, becoming a great marketer for that product takes a lot of work.
> Low ongoing costs
Since most of your marketing activities are done by affiliates, they’ll also bear the chunk of the cost attached. And since it’s a commission-based program, it means that you’ll only pay affiliates from sales they bring in.
This marketing model makes cost easy to manage and does not interrupt your cash flow, unlike other marketing models such as PPC advertising which requires you to pay for every click leading to your website. But affiliate marketing ensures that you only part ways with your money when sales are made.
> Easy to execute
Your side of the equation simply involves handling the digital marketing side of the building and selling a product. You don’t have to worry about the harder tasks, like developing, supporting, or fulfilling the offer.
➥ How Can You Make Money?
There is much space for you in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing income spans a large spectrum. There are some marketers that’ll make a few hundred bucks per month and others that make six figures a year. The larger your following, the more money you can make.
Compensation software company Payscale reports that the average annual salary of an affiliate marketer is $52,130, based on over 7,000 salary profiles, with the highest tier making an annual salary of $72,000.
There are also marketers like blogger Ryan Robinson, who makes over $17,000 per month through affiliate income alone.
But how do affiliates actually get paid? When you choose an affiliate program to promote, you’ll notice there are different payment models.
For marketers that promote physical products, the goal will likely be a purchase.
Five common ways affiliates get paid include:
- Pay-per-click is a rare payout system where you earn a commission on every click on your affiliate link. Pay-per-click programs are used by big merchants with the goal to build brand awareness. Customers don’t need to sign up or buy anything, just to visit the merchant’s website.
How much you make depends on your affiliate niche. For example, research* found that the highest average commission rate ($70.99) was for business-related programs. While books and media and clothing categories earned just over $6 per commission. The maximum average commission we found was around $289.06 per sale.
- Pay per action, which earns you a commission for a specific action. Many affiliate programs use this payout model because it’s broad and can be applied to different offers: newsletter signup, a click, contact request, form submission, etc.
- Pay per sale, where you earn a commission for each sale you make. It’s a common payout model for eCommerce offers.
- Pay per install, where you are paid for every install generated from your website traffic. The goal of your content would be to promote mobile apps and software so that people download or install them.
Pay per lead, which pays you every time someone signs up for something. It’s a popular payout method because companies use it for sweepstakes, lead generation, and other types of offers. Cost-per-lead offers are common for beginners because it’s easier to generate leads than to sell products to an audience.