In today’s increasingly digital online marketplace for products and services, affiliate marketing is a highly effective tool to increase brand awareness and drive sales. Whether you’re a company looking to spread the word about your offering, an Instagram influencer with thousands of followers, a blogger looking to monetize your content, or a shopper on the web, affiliate marketing is relevant to you.
But how does the process work exactly? What is it and how do you get started? In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Examples of affiliate marketing websites, companies and programs
- How to get started if you’re new to the game
- Best practices for affiliate marketing strategy
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Firstly, we will dive in with a general definition of affiliate marketing, which is “performance-based marketing in which businesses use a partner organization or entity (affiliate) to promote their offerings and in turn offer a commission to the affiliate for each visitor or customer brought in by the affiliate.”
If that’s a little too wordy for you, here’s a simpler definition: it’s the process through which someone introduces others to products or services.
Typically, we can assume that there are three key players in an affiliate marketing structure:
- the merchant
- the affiliate
- the customer
Sometimes, people talk about there being a fourth player, ‘the network,’ meaning the platform through which customers make their purchases and which handles the transactions. But we’ll just focus on the first three for now.
An old-school example would be hearing an advertisement on the radio where a host would say something like, “Head on down to Big Bob’s Burgers and tell them Billy sent you!” In that scenario, Big Bob’s Burgers is the merchant and Billy is the affiliate. Billy will get a kick-back from all burger sales made by customers who show up and say that Billy sent them. Make sense? That’s an “affiliate marketing for dummies” level example, but you get the idea.
Nowadays, affiliate marketing almost always refers to online/web-based advertising. The merchant can be any business with an online presence. The affiliate can be a website, blog, or social network while the marketing itself comes in the form of written or spoken recommendations or paid ads. The customer would be the online shopper and the ‘network’ would be the merchant’s online store. The affiliate gets a unique link from which clicks (and subsequently, web traffic) can be tracked, typically using cookies. The traffic and/or sales are tracked and the commission is then sent to the affiliate.
What is High Ticket Affiliate Marketing?
You may be able to guess based on the name, but high ticket affiliate marketing refers to a technique that prioritizes high-priced items with fewer sales. The affiliate will push the sales of product types that are bound to give higher commission on their low sales.
While there’s no textbook definition for what counts as high-ticket affiliate marketing, commissions in the range of $500-$1,000 usually fall under that umbrella. Examples include gold jewelry, fitness products, travel packages, and expensive software.
Affiliate Marketing Programs and Websites
So now that we’re clear on what affiliate marketing is, let’s talk about examples of affiliate marketing websites, companies, and programs. These are systems through which the merchant allows a potential affiliate to apply for affiliate status and begin promoting their product or service through their platform. Basically, it’s a streamlined way of doing business. Companies want to make it easier for affiliates to market their goods because it drives their sales. Affiliates need an easy way to market for merchants because it makes their earning more efficient.
But not all affiliate marketing sites are created equal. It can take time to research and discover which are the most successful affiliate marketing websites. But good news: we’ve saved you that step! Below, we’ve compiled some of the best examples of affiliate marketing websites that pay the highest commission so you can check them out:
- Blue Summit Supplies Affiliate Program
How to Get Started
Wondering how to get started as an affiliate marketer? Begin to search for the best affiliate marketing websites based on your expertise, your audience, the logistics of commission percentages, and other considerations. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to get started.
- Find your focus – First, it’s time to find your niche. Who and what are you going to target? Think about the topics you’re passionate about and the topics you use your platform to speak about. Niche affiliate marketing can be successful if you’ve found an untapped niche with little or no competition.
- Join an affiliate marketing forum – Affiliate marketing forums could not only boost your business and sales, but also provide great connections, conversations, and information about best practices for affiliate marketing strategy. Try forums like iAmAffiliate or affLIFT for some of these helpful resources.
- Discover the Right Affiliate Marketing Website – We covered this above, but it’s important enough to repeat. Take your time to find the best examples of affiliate marketing websites. Check out the list in the section above to get started!
- Build Your Platform – We’re assuming that if you’re doing this research, you already have a platform (blog, YouTube channel, etc.) on which to do your marketing. But maybe not! If you need to create your platform, do that first since you can’t market without it. You’ll also need to start churning out top-notch content to attract viewers. Need some inspiration for what kind of content to create? Check out this blog post for 113 types of content to post on your platform. Find what works for you!
- Find a Hosting Service - Once your platform is ready, you need to optimize it for hosting by using a hosting service like BlueHost or GoDaddy, which offer domain names, WordPress.org integration, and professional email addresses in addition to reliable hosting.
Best Practices for Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Although everyone you talk to will probably have a different idea on the best strategies for driving sales and profits through affiliate marketing, there are some widely agreed upon best practices.
First, you’ll want to make sure that the merchant with whom you choose to partner has a good rapport with their audience. A poorly engaged audience — or one that doesn’t think highly of the merchant in question — will do nothing to help you grow your business. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to compile a good bit of information and research to show your potential partners so they will take you seriously as a newcomer. You can also consider using deals like coupons and promotions to drive traffic and clicks. Everyone loves a good bargain!
And finally, make sure that whatever platform you’re using for your marketing is optimized for your potential audience. You can do this by making sure all your content loads quickly, you’re only using high-quality images, and you can even feature product reviews to build trust with your audience.
Affiliate marketing can be a highly profitable tool for all parties involved. By thoughtfully building your platform and content as well as leveraging best strategies, you can attract a loyal audience and build strong relationships. There are a multitude of approaches you can take to this kind of marketing and a plethora of resources at your disposal, but no matter which route you take, the steps laid out in the article will help you on your way to becoming a successful and profitable affiliate marketer.
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