Are you finding it challenging to keep up with the high living costs and rentals? Do you spend most of your time trying to make ends meet and pay all those hefty bills? Perhaps a little extra side income would help. But, if you want to earn money outside of your job, you need to find a profitable side hustle.
Fortunately, the internet has opened up a plethora of new and unique opportunities for making extra money. From taking online surveys to becoming a professional proofreader – there are ample options to choose from. However, if your side hustle demands as much time and hard work as your job, it may not be worth the effort. The key is to find something that helps you make more money, without being overly time-consuming.
In other words, what you need is a source of passive income. Think of it like your very own hen that lays golden eggs. When executed judiciously, affiliate marketing strategies can prove to be sustainable as well.
Affiliate marketing is equally beneficial when you want to promote a new product and/or target a new demographic. However, ever since it has come into the limelight, affiliate marketing has been exploited by many brands and marketers. Therefore, if you want to turn it into a sustainable side hustle, you must leverage the best affiliate marketing strategies. You have to build your audience and earn their trust before you can make your sales pitch.
In the following sections, we will discuss some of the best affiliate marketing strategies for beginners as well as experts. Before we do that, let us first take a closer look at the concept of affiliate marketing.
Decoding Affiliate Marketing
In layman terms, affiliate marketing is the process of making money by promoting someone else’s product. You build an engaged audience and find a product that resonates with your online image. Then, you promote the product to your audience and earn a commission every time you make a sale.
Affiliate marketing typically involves three parties: the merchant, the affiliate, and the customer.
The merchant or advertiser is usually the creator or owner of the product. It can be a big brand, a small startup, or even a solo entrepreneur. The key is to have a sellable product. A merchant is also known by other names, such as a seller, retailer, vendor, brand, etc.
The affiliate someone who promotes and sells the merchant’s product in exchange for a commission. The affiliate needs to build a loyal and devoted audience before they can even start promoting a product.
It is equally crucial for them to establish their authority and promote only those products that are relevant to their niche. The affiliate can be a single individual or a full-fledged company.
The customer or consumer is the actual buyer of the product. In the absence of paying customers, even the best affiliate marketing strategies won’t be fruitful. It is thus important for the affiliate to have a good rapport with the customer. Otherwise, they won’t be able to convince the customer to buy a particular product.
Affiliates utilize various strategies to promote a merchant’s products. You can publish an authentic review of the product on your blog or YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can subtly plug the product in your weekly newsletters or social media posts. The key is to find the communication channel that your audience will most likely use.
As an affiliate, it is also essential to maintain transparency with your audience. It is recommended that you disclose the fact that the promotion is financially incentivized. This also ensures that you comply with the FTC guidelines and help you avoid legal complications.
It is vital to understand that affiliate marketing can be used to sell tangible as well as intangible products. Tangible products include anything that has to be physically created and shipped to the buyer. Intangible products are mostly digital products such as online courses, webinars, podcasts, etc.
Apart from the merchant, affiliate, and customer, you will encounter a few other terms while trying your hands at affiliate marketing. Here are a few of them:
• Affiliate network:
An affiliate network is an online marketplace where merchants can list the products they wish to promote and sell. To make money, you have to sign-up as an affiliate and find products that will appeal to your audience. When you select a product to sell, the network will provide you with a unique affiliate link. You can add this link in your blog posts, YouTube videos, newsletters, etc. to promote the product.
Popular examples of affiliate networks include Clickbank, CJ Affiliate, Amazon Associates, Rakuten Marketing, etc.
Instead of affiliate links, merchants can also provide affiliates with unique discount codes. These codes serve the same purpose as links.
• Affiliate link:
It is a trackable URL that is assigned to an affiliate. It contains a unique ID or username that helps identify the affiliate. This, in turn, helps attribute website traffic or a sale to the affiliate.
The affiliate usually advertises this link on their website and social media profiles. Take a look at the screenshot below:
• Affiliate commission:
It is the incentive offered to an affiliate in exchange for a sale. It is usually a percentage of the total sale.
• Affiliate agreement:
It refers to the agreement between the merchant and affiliate that outlines responsibilities, commission, timelines, etc. Most online affiliate networks have a pre-defined agreement. In case an affiliate network is not involved, the merchant and affiliate can mutually decide on an informal agreement.
It is defined as the credit or reward given to an affiliate when they drive traffic to a merchant’s website.
• Affiliate program:
It is the framework developed by a merchant to promote their products through relevant affiliates.
Now that we’ve established a deeper understanding of the concept of affiliate marketing and its terminology, let us look at an example.