Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing that enables you to partner with third parties to promote their products or services, and earn a commission when someone follows your link and makes a purchase. It is commonly referred to as “referral marketing” or “lead generation”.
In this article, we will explain what affiliate marketing is and why it's useful for businesses. We'll also cover some case studies of companies that have had success with affiliate programs, as well as tips on getting started as an affiliate marketer.

Topic Index
  1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
  2. Why Is Affiliate Marketing Important?
  3. How to Start an Affiliate Program
    1.  Choosing a Merchant Account
    2. Choosing an Affiliate Software
    3. Creating an Affiliate Program
    4. Promoting your Affiliate Program
    5. Case Study: Blue Apron
    6. Case Study: Audible
    7. Case Study: Amazon

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's efforts. Affiliates are paid a commission for each sale generated by their marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is an ideal marketing strategy for many businesses because it doesn't require a large investment in terms of time or money. When you outsource the work of promoting your products to affiliates, you can focus on growing your business and generating revenue.

Affiliates can promote your products through their websites, social media channels, email newsletters, banner advertisements, and more. The potential reach of affiliate marketing extends beyond your immediate customer base.
Affiliate marketing is often leveraged by entrepreneurs as part of a wider business marketing strategy to attract new customers and increase sales and revenue.

Why Is Affiliate Marketing Important?

Affiliate marketing provides a way for your business to promote other businesses' products. This can help you build your brand and increase your revenue. You earn a commission on every sale generated by your affiliate links.
This marketing channel is particularly useful for businesses with products that are highly consumable, such as food and beauty products.
People often buy these products on impulse and don't have much brand loyalty. They are therefore likely to purchase the same product from different brands.
You can take advantage of this by partnering with brands whose products fit your target customer's needs.

How to Start an Affiliate Program

When you create an affiliate program, you’re inviting other people to promote your products, services, or brand and earn a commission in the process. Affiliate programs are a win-win situation, as they offer commission-based jobs to affiliate marketers and increased sales opportunities for merchants.

Affiliate marketing requires a few key elements to be successful. These include a merchant account, affiliate links, a marketing strategy, and consistent monitoring and follow-up, along with some patience to see your efforts pay off.

Let's walk through the process in more detail.

 Choosing a Merchant Account

The first step is to find a payment processing partner. This can be done by either using one of the big brands, such as PayPal or Stripe, or finding a payment processing solution in your country.

Choosing an Affiliate Software

Affiliate marketing is a numbers game, so tracking your progress and measuring your ROI is a must. Affiliate-tracking software allows you to monitor your progress and identify potential problem areas.

Creating an Affiliate Program

After you’ve been approved as a merchant by your payment processing partner, you can start to develop your affiliate program. This is a good time to create an affiliate marketing strategy and set realistic expectations.

Promoting your Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing is a long-term strategy, and you should be patient. It can take awhile to get results, but they will come.

Case Study: Blue Apron

Blue Apron is a popular meal kit delivery service that provides pre-portioned ingredients and recipes for customers to cook at home. The service is particularly helpful for people who feel overwhelmed trying to shop for and prepare meals for a large family.
Blue Apron wanted to expand their business and increase sales, but they didn't have the resources to do so organically. Instead, they decided to partner with other brands and offer their referral program to their customers.

The program was an instant success, with thousands of customers sharing their unique referral codes and increasing Blue Apron's reach and sales.

Case Study: Audible

Audible is an audiobook subscription service. They expanded into the business of audiobooks because many people prefer to listen to books rather than read them.
Audible saw an opportunity to partner with other businesses and offer their customers special discounts and free audiobooks.
Audible partnered with companies such as Amazon, Lyft, and GV, and offered their customers discounted products and free audiobooks. This helped to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.

Case Study: Amazon

Amazon is one of the biggest businesses in the world. Their affiliate marketing program is one of the best and most recognizable in the world. The program has been around for more than 20 years, which is a testament to its stability and effectiveness.

Amazon's affiliate marketing program is called Amazon Associates. It's free to join and open to anyone with a website or social media account. Amazon Associates is one of the best affiliate marketing networks out there because of its brand recognition, vast product selection, and high commissions.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate leads and increase sales for your business. However, it's important to choose the right products for your marketing efforts. Make sure that you select products that meet your customer's needs.

When choosing products, keep these tips in mind:

  •  Make sure that the product is in demand. Poorly-selling products will not help your business and can cause you to lose money.
  •  Make sure that you can easily promote the product. If it's difficult to promote the product, you won't be as successful.
  •  Make sure that the product is high quality. Poor-quality products will reflect poorly on your business.

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