How to get started in affiliate marketing: a beginners guide

With an abundance of affiliate marketing networks, programs, and vendors the process of getting started can feel overwhelming. What should you look for in an affiliate program? Which vendor partners offer the most value to your business? And how do you avoid ending up with a lot of un-integratable partner code that doesn’t meet your needs.

If you’re new to the world of affiliate marketing, this post will give you everything you need to know to get started. Read on to learn about what affiliate marketing is, why it’s important for advertisers, and which vendors are best for different types of businesses.

Topic Index
  1. What is affiliate marketing?
  2. Why is affiliate marketing important for advertisers?
  3. How to choose the right affiliate program
  4. The cost of getting started with an affiliate network
  5. Things to look for in an affiliate network

What is affiliate marketing?

If you’re new to the world of affiliate marketing, the first thing you’ll want to understand is what it is. Put simply, affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other peoples’ products or services and earning a commission on those sales.

The process is straightforward; publishers (that’s you!) use content to drive traffic to merchants’ websites, where they can purchase the product or service. When the sale is made, the affiliate network pays you a commission for driving that purchase.

Affiliate marketing becomes even more powerful when you consider the fact that most merchants have affiliate programs. Such programs allow publishers to promote their products or services through a special affiliate link. When a user clicks on the link and completes the desired action (purchasing the product, signing up for the service, etc.), the affiliate network pays the publisher a commission on that sale.

Why is affiliate marketing important for advertisers?

Online marketing is a game of numbers - getting as many eyes on your product or service as possible. Traditional advertising methods like newspaper and TV commercials are incredibly effective, but they’re also incredibly expensive. Affiliate marketing is an online marketing tactic that allows advertisers to leverage their existing web traffic by sharing links to their products and services.

Affiliate marketing is important for advertisers because it’s one of the most effective ways to generate new leads and sales for your business. By partnering with publishers who have a loyal following, you can tap into an entirely new customer base and increase your sales by an average of 44%!

Affiliate programs allow advertisers to scale their business quickly by tapping into other publishers’ audiences and using their creative to drive sales.

How to choose the right affiliate program

There are thousands of affiliate networks and thousands of affiliate programs to choose from. You’ll want to be strategic and thoughtful when selecting a partner. There are a few things you should be looking for when choosing an affiliate program.

  • Value vs. cost - When evaluating any partnership, you want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Be sure you understand how much you’ll be paying in terms of fees and service charges.
  • Uptime and reliability - This is especially important if you’re relying on affiliate links to drive traffic and sales. You don’t want to be put in a sticky situation when your links suddenly break and your customers can’t complete their desired action!
  • Deployment options - Depending on your network, you may be working with a proprietary CMS or the ability to generate custom code. Your needs may vary, but having the ability to customize your affiliate links, creatives, and creatives is a sure way to stand out from the crowd and get the most out of your campaigns.

The cost of getting started with an affiliate network

Affiliate marketing isn’t free, but the costs associated with getting started aren’t insurmountable. The average payout for affiliate marketing is about $50 per sale. For an average sale price of $100, you’d earn a commission. Some networks charge a flat fee per click, while others charge a percentage of the sale. It’s important to be mindful of the costs associated with affiliate marketing when setting goals and calculating ROI.

Most publishers break even on their campaigns within three to six months. As you build your brand, brand equity, and scale your campaigns, you’ll be able to negotiate better terms with your network and earn more per sale.

Things to look for in an affiliate network

As a publisher, you’re going to want to select an affiliate network that facilitates a smooth and profitable partnership. Here are a few things to look for when evaluating potential affiliate networks and their program offerings.

  • Value - When choosing an affiliate network, it’s important to select one that offers the best value for your business. Does the network have a wide variety of partners? Are their partners relevant to your audience? Are they offering competitive pricing?

Ease of use - This goes hand-in-hand with value. The network you choose should offer a simple onboarding process, simple website integration, and helpful support. You’ll want to be able to get running quickly and efficiently so you can focus on driving traffic and earning sales.

Affiliate marketing is a tried-and-true way to drive sales for your business. With an abundance of affiliate networks, programs, and vendors to choose from, getting started may seem daunting. Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to earning healthy commissions from affiliate marketing.

Got an idea for a blog post? Read this article again and see if there’s a way to plug your affiliate link into the post so you can earn a commission off your own article.

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