Affiliate marketing: a simple guide

Affiliate Marketing: A Simple Guide

In affiliate marketing, affiliates, or independent marketing partners, promote a brand's products or services in exchange for a commission on each website visitor, lead, or sale they generate. A brand may work with several parties in their affiliate marketing strategy, including:

With a successfully executed affiliate marketing strategy, each party can realize significant benefits.

How does affiliate marketing work?

While every affiliate marketing program has its own target audience, unique features, and budget, most of them function in a similar manner.

Brands create affiliate programs

A brand will decide they’d like to use affiliate marketing to promote their offerings and increase revenues, in turn creating their own program and recruiting affiliates. Alternately, they use an agency or network to help them get up and running. It’s important to note agencies and networks aren’t necessary for the success of a brand or affiliate. However, they may be useful to those new to affiliate marketing.

Affiliates promote the brand on their platforms

An affiliate will promote your brand on its website, blog, or social media outlets using articles, videos, advertisements, emails, or even podcasts. Every time a consumer clicks on your brand’s promotion, a tracking cookie is stored in their browser. The cookie allows you to track the consumer’s behavior.

Consumers take action

The consumer will likely be redirected to your website or landing page so they can make the desired action such as filling out a form or purchasing a product. Once they have answered the call to action, the cookie will activate so the affiliate will receive a commission based on the rules established for driving a lead or sale.

Brands and affiliates share revenue

Since affiliate marketing depends on a revenue-sharing model and affiliates receive a set commission, some affiliates will earn more money than others for a number of reasons. First, they may publish higher-quality content and utilize proper SEO strategies. They may also have a superior website experience, a deeper understanding of what you’re selling, and an audience better suited for your products.

Additionally, some affiliates may simply choose brands which pay higher commissions. The price of a product or service, industry, and value a brand sees in affiliate marketing will all play a role in commission rates. On average, however, an affiliate commission is anywhere between 5 and 30% of a sale. Commissions are usually paid out on a monthly or quarterly basis.

The type of program affiliates choose may also influence their earning potential. Your program will likely fall into one of the following categories:

Brands track and measure ROI

With a strategically designed affiliate marketing program, you can easily track and measure the marketing activity and success of your affiliates. You’ll be able to calculate ROI very effectively so there won’t be any uncertainty about the success of your program.

Benefits of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a great business option for your business on multiple levels.

Tips for your affiliate marketing strategy

Having explored the benefits of affiliate marketing, let’s review some tips on implementing a strong strategy.

Fine-tune or create your product

Before you start your affiliate marketing journey, make sure your new or already created product is perfected by gathering feedback from current customers, researching competitors, and refining messaging. You can’t create a poor or subpar product and hope affiliates will still be capable of selling it. Make sure to articulate the unique selling points which differentiate your product from competitors.

Find your niche and target market

Once you’ve finalized your product, figure out what you’d like your angle, area, or focus to be. For example, if you’re in the beauty industry you may need to decide if your focus will be on eyelash extensions or natural makeup. From here, you will need to determine your target audience by using Google Analytics and other data analysis tools to target consumer segments who have purchased from you or expressed interest in your brand.

Find affiliates

When it is time to search for affiliates, keep in mind not all are created equal. Make sure that the partners you choose can bring the following qualities and resources to the table:

Manage affiliates

After you’ve recruited affiliates and set up tracking, it is time to start managing your program. Get into the habit of measuring affiliate results on a weekly or even daily basis. Doing so helps to re-evaluate partnerships with affiliates who aren’t performing well while incentivizing top performers by increasing commissions or providing free products and services.

Pay your affiliates on time and communicate with them frequently so you can answer questions or address concerns. You may want to schedule monthly or quarterly meetings with your top-performing affiliates to continuously improve the partnership you have with one another.

Tips for becoming an affiliate marketer

While affiliate marketing offers an excellent opportunity for brands to drive revenue, it also helps affiliates develop a generous income stream. If you’re intrigued by the idea of earning money as an affiliate marketer, here are some handy tips.

Affiliate marketing takes strategy and hard work for affiliate marketers just as much as it does for brands. However, if you’re willing to put in the necessary work, you can potentially enjoy significant rewards. These may include free merchandise samples, generous commissions, and advance exposure to groundbreaking products.

Let affiliate marketing work for you

Regardless of your business size or industry, affiliate marketing can spell success for your business. It may be the perfect addition to your current digital marketing program, delivering the opportunity to maximize profits in an affordable, low-risk manner. Once you start earning money from affiliate marketing, you will find new ways to continually improve and grow the program.

If you’d like to develop your own affiliate marketing program, Adobe Commerce can help.

Schedule your free demo today.