I started my blog, Cashoverflow, in May 2015 but couldn’t make any money for the first 15 months. In August 2016, I came to know about affiliate marketing by chance.
I clicked on the product link when I was reading an article and the link took me to the Amazon website. I noticed that the blog name was mentioned in the URL of the amazon product.
That made me think, that the website that is referring to a particular product might be earning a commission by some means. Later, I discovered that anyone can earn an affiliate commission when people buy products through your referred links.
Quite similar to the image below with red box highlight.
For example, if you are on tinypaisa.com and reading about the Bluetooth speakers then you can click on amazon product links. You can also notice “tinypaisa” tag in the URL of the product.
What is Affiliate Marketing & How to Start It
Affiliate marketing is all about recommending the best product to the readers. You earn a commision when anyone buys the product using your referred link.
The commission varies from program to program and can range from 3% for physical products to 70% for digital products.
Affiliate marketing helps selling products without having any need to keep the inventory of the products.
The process involves receiving commission by promoting other people’s services or products online but the marketing is performance-based and affiliates get paid only when the actual sales happen.
Below is a snapshot showing how affiliate marketing works;
To get started, you have to simply join an affiliate program by opening an account. After joining you will receive an affiliate link or URL containing affiliate ID, which you can use to refer any product.
Later, you have to decide what all the products you need to promote and then embed the links with recommendations on your website. You can also share the affiliate links via blog posts, e-mails, YouTube and even Facebook.
The commission payouts are usually given on a monthly basis but vary depending on the affiliate program terms and conditions.
Amazon pays approximately 60 days after the end of each month, whereas other non-Amazon programs have payout ranging from weekly to quarterly commission payments. So, it entirely depends on which type of affiliate programs you are enrolled in.
Amazon Vs. Non-Amazon
Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon affiliate program has a wide range of products, mostly physical and few digital e-commerce products sold exclusively through various region-wise Amazon websites
Amazon sells more than 3 billion products across 11 different marketplaces worldwide catering to approximately 300 million+ customers.
The chart below shows the number of products in January 2018 and Dec-2017 on Amazon around the world.
However, Amazon doesn’t have informational products, has a lower commission structure with only 24 hours of cookie duration and is extremely strict on terms of service.
Global Best Non- Amazon Affiliate Marketing Programs
The other non-Amazon affiliate marketplaces have a host of different services and products which range from traditional arts & music to even merchants for employment and job services. The list of best Non-Amazon affiliate programs are as under;
- Rakuten Marketing
- eBay Partner Network
Few examples of merchants listing products and services on the above marketplace include;
- Home & Garden Merchants
- Fashion Merchants
- Green Merchants
- Business Merchants
- Art & Music Merchants
- Family & Kids Merchants
- Food & Drink Merchants
- Education Merchants
- Health Merchants
- Sports & Recreation Merchants
- Wedding Merchants
- Tech and Software Merchants
- Travel Merchants
The idea is to pick products from various merchants as per your niche and then build a content-rich blog and get started with affiliate marketing.
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs in India
VCommission is India’s leading affiliate network with 200+ brands and 18,000+ growing affiliates. VCommission has 10 years of long experience and is known for performance-based marketing.
Admitad India is a part of the Global Admitad network which has a catalog of 1711 affiliate programs which includes shops, banks, and games.
Caution – Do not work with small affiliate networks programs, which may not have great products to market, can have non-standard terms and are highly unreliable.
It is risky to work with lesser-known programs and fly-by-night companies as there are cases of cheating.
Different Ways to do Affiliate Marketing
Regardless of any niche, blogs create a lot of trust with readers and are the easiest and common way to promote products. Blogs having review posts with good content having clear headlines, recommendations, and links is an awesome way to start affiliate marketing.
#2. YouTube Affiliate Marketing
YouTube is the second-best platform with a monthly viewership of over 6 billion hours of video. YouTube affiliate marketing involves creating videos and placing affiliate links in the videos or in the descriptions.
#3. Email Marketing
Affiliate marketing via email marketing has the highest potential to convert due to a personal recommendation effect. The email marketing campaigns require meaningful newsletters with affiliate links embedded in the call to action without sounding too sales oriented.
#4. Facebook / Social Media
As of January 2019, Facebook had a massive 2.37 billion monthly active users all over the world. With insights on reach and engagement, Facebook helps you create authentic presence through posts and ads resulting in affiliate sales.
There are 3.48 billion social media users in 2019 which creates an opportunity for marketers to earn money online without requiring a blog or a website. Social media channels that allow affiliate marketing includes, FB, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, Twitter, and WhatsApp groups.
Steps on How to Start Affiliate Marketing
#1. Choose a Niche
Niche is an ‘interest area’ where you will be working online and serving the users. The key factors to consider while picking a niche for affiliate marketing includes;
- Niches where you have interest or willing to learn
- Niches having large audiences
- Niches that are evergreen
- Niches which have an existing competition
- Niches which have a profit potential
#2. Produce High-Quality Content
Quality content is the backbone to get engaging audiences. The content can be in the form of articles, embedded videos, and infographics. But focus on creating user-centric content, add engaging stories while embedding the affiliate links naturally.
#3. Build an Audience
You need serious efforts in building engaged audiences because that will help convert on a multitude of a product. Building audiences would require quality content, honest opinions and clear call to action.
#4. Finding the Right Affiliate Program
For long term success, the right affiliate program should be a reputed network with quality products from merchants. The program should offer an attractive commission level and should help with promotion & other support.
The program should have a range of products desired by the audiences in your niche.
However, not all programs are created equal, some are best for small businesses and others for large companies. A wrong program can lead to wastage of time and efforts, snowball into lower campaign output, higher spending for traffic and programs being no more profitable.
#5. Optimize the Conversion Rate
Optimizing leads to higher earnings. In order to optimize conversion rate one should analyze revenue and customer data. Do A/B testing and keep track of competitors and strategies adopted.
Why Choose Affiliate Marketing Over Other Blog Monetization
Because affiliate marketing;
- Saves time and efforts needed to create courses, digital products or e-books
- Does not need to build an email list, lead magnet and landing pages to pitch the products.
- No requirements to show irrelevant ads on the blog and drive traffic away.
- No expertise required as in offering coaching services.
- Keeps you away from the hassle of managing sponsored links.
Let me know if I missed any information in the article. I will update the article as per your feedback.