What are Affiliate Networks Really? (July 2017)

Published July 2017

Affiliate Marketing:

This type of marketing is really a traditional, old-school type of web business. Exciting stuff! It was born to generate money off traffic on established websites and blogs. With that said, I think there are still a lot of people who have an entirely incorrect concept of what it actually is. Myself included at one point.

Affiliate marketing is actually a type of business model. It is the process of earning money from marketing someone else’s product or service. Marketing…not selling—that’s important to remember—and then generating a commission from each sale…which you had nothing to do with.

The structure and process is in its simplicity:

  1. You have a website or blog—let’s call it a platform—anything with web traffic on it. How you get traffic is where the magic has to happen and really what you’re in charge of; writing articles, posting videos, images, videos, reviews or whatever you decide.
  2. On your platform you have a number of visitors and you decide to give an affiliate virtual space to display their offer, promotion or advert. It is basically an opportunity to punt a product or service to your web visitors.
  3. Then the visitors might engage or they might not, but if they do they end up leaving your platform and will be redirected through the affiliate to the true seller or service provider. A clever bit of code, provided by the affiliate, tracks your visitors’ movements.
  4. Once a sale is made, the affiliate program pays you a commission.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Affiliate marketing, once established, is a type of passive income. I believe this is its greatest appeal. People must accept the simple facts. It takes a lot of work to get to this point and affiliate marketing does not work for everyone. It simply does not.

Very few people will make all their money off affiliate marketing, and I think if you accept it as a means for supplemtary income, you have controlled your expectations well.

The general rule is that you need a big audience to be successful with affiliate marking. I mean audience as in followers, likes or traffic; basically, the eyes on your current blog or website.

If you look at some of the most common facts on campaigns working well, there are three:

  1. Don’t keep all eggs in one basket. In other words, punt a variety of products and services. Similar interests, likes and needs.
  2. Don’t offer only cheap options or only expensive options. Rather offer a variety of similar options or solutions in different price ranges; for example, name brands and non-name brands. Some people are happy to pay a lot for a car but not for car tyres.
  3. Match your offerings to your audience. If you have a website selling V8 cars, it is probably pointless trying to punt o-zone friendly products.

Some success stories about affiliate marketing:

On the other side of the coin, and a point made in this video that I really like, is a perspective about who owns the client in the end:

On the other side of the coin—yes, my coin has three sides—some interesting points in this video:

Onto the backend of the business:

Affiliates Programs.

These are the companies that sign up other companies wanting to sell things via your websites or platforms. Using your web eyes.

Most affiliates have their sites divided into two sections, one for people who want to sell products and the other for people who want to sell products signed with the affiliate. It is normally very easy to work out. Here are the BIG name companies.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

I would like to make some points and comments:

Setting up a business like this gives you the advantage of not needing to know the product or service you are selling. This is because the products knowledge is shared on the page you direct the visitor to, and you don’t even need to manage that page.

Affiliate marketing is about maximizing return from the same eyes. It is like walking into a traditional shop. You come to the shop to buy milk but you snake past the sweet shelves on your way to the checkout till. That labyrinth of sweets is affiliate marketing. It is about trading off eyes and the chance that they might want something they see before leaving the shop. It is a win-win for everyone involved. The company gets clients, you get commission and the client gets a product or service that addresses a need or want.

On that note, I want to solve a common misunderstanding. AdSense is someone selling ad-space for other people’s products; space, not products. It is not affiliate marketing. You earn off clicks, not selling a product.

When you choose an affiliate company, be aware of coupon payments or verifying methods. If you would like to know more please send me an email.

A final tip:

Try to get your eyes to give you their contact information so that you may retain the client. Reason being and this is the biggest flaw in this business, once the visitor is directed away from your platform they might be gone for good…and then they belong to the affiliate company. Especially when you consider that the special code used to track a sale can disappear when clearing cookies on the user’s device.

Published July 2017

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