Affiliate marketing for beginners in 2021


How to start affiliate marketing in 2021

Affiliate marketing is well suited for anyone with the drive and passion for promoting products and services on the internet, with the low cost of setting up a blog or website earning money online in 2021 being a real possibility. Of course, it’s fundamental that you are hardworking and persistent and have the drive and motivation to pursue a career in affiliate marketing.

Getting started with affiliate marketing

Once you have decided to get started on affiliate marketing, you must research the product verticals that you want to promote and find out if there is demand for these products. It’s also imperative to assess how competitive your target market is. We would recommend that you start marketing products and services that are digital that you have experience in or are passionate about.

The next important step is to research the merchants that offer your chosen affiliate products and services. Make a list of the affiliate merchants alongside important factors such as affiliate commission rates – are these commissions a one-off CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) payment? Or are they percentage commission payable for the lifetime of the customer? Making sure that you are well informed will help you to maximise your commissions earnings and avoid future misunderstandings with the affiliate program manager.

Today there are many affiliate programs offering digital marketers the opportunity to make money while working from home in 2021 and without having to invest large amounts of money. Ideally, new aspiring affiliates need to set up a website or blog in order to publish their online content, product reviews and affiliate offers. Some are buying a domain that reflects their affiliate website content as it doesn’t cost too much to create an affiliate blog or website, all that is required is time and dedication.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simply an alternative way to promote the products and services of other companies without having to buy stock, collect payment or be responsible for delivery. The affiliate or affiliate publisher is only responsible for promoting the merchant’s products for example in a website, blog, email list, through media buys or via affiliate marketing on their social media channels. You the affiliate get a commission payment when a user referred by you buys a product using your affiliate links embedded in the product review or service comparison.

The affiliate or affiliate publisher

In simple terms, the affiliate is the company salesman or sales representative with the main responsibility for promotion and delivering sales for the company in return for a commission payment for every completed sale. One of the greatest advantages of affiliates is that you can start small and as you become more familiar and knowledgeable in your chosen product vertical you can then do it on a larger scale. Affiliate marketing allows for larger scale expansion as you can sell products and services from different online stores and earn additional commissions from all of them.

The affiliate merchant running the affiliate program

This describes the online retailer or affiliate brand that uses affiliate marketing methods and affiliate campaigns to increase internet visits to the merchant’s website, generate online sales and build brand awareness for the merchant in exchange for a commission payment. In order to run affiliate marketing campaigns, the online store has to set up an affiliate program with a tracking system to be able to run and manage the affiliate sales cycle from providing tracking links, banners, performance stats to affiliate communications and payments.

A merchant or online store has the option of running their affiliate program via an affiliate network such as Awin, Commission Junction or ShareASale, where the network acts as a middleman between the online store and the affiliate marketer. It’s up to the affiliate marketer to decide which program to join based on their personal interests, hobbies, or specific industry knowledge. Many digital marketers prefer to look for seasonal affiliate products that they can promote depending on the season or product popularity during the year.

There is also the option for affiliate merchants to run their affiliate program in-house which allows them to have more control over the affiliate program offering dedicated affiliate support, tracking technology, and promoting exclusively their own products and services.

The main role of the affiliate or publisher

After joining an affiliate program, the new affiliate publisher is responsible for getting the images, banners and text links integrated into  the website, blog or social media. It’s important that the affiliate starts promoting the products and services in prominent places to entice users to click and find out more information about the products. Affiliates must ensure that product descriptions, offers and promotions are accurate and up to date.

It’s highly recommended for affiliates to write product reviews and supplier comparisons to drive  user engagement and get them closer to the sale. After the potential customer clicks on the product link to view the product page and buys the product, a commission is then generated. It’s good practice for affiliates to let customers know that the affiliate website may receive a small commission per sale.

As the customer buys from the online store the affiliate tracking system then takes care of the whole process in the background with the purchase generating a sale and a commission for the affiliate.  From this point onward the online store or affiliate merchant is responsible for taking payment, delivering the order to the customer, and offering customer support.

Best affiliate programs to make money in 2021

Before you decide to join an affiliate program it is very important to understand the differences between product verticals as they pay different commission rates and also payment frequency varies from program to program. So, affiliates must spend some time investigating the affiliate terms on offer to maximise future commission payments.

The affiliate commission rate

Affiliate programs offer different commission rates in every product vertical, in some cases the online merchant uses a one-off CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) payment for every completed sale. Some merchants offer a percentage commission of the sale price. Each commission rate model has its advantages and disadvantages.

Obviously the higher the commission the better therefore affiliates should compare the different commissions offered by online merchants in a given product or service vertical. A CPA commission model is great for new affiliates that want to get remunerated quickly and generate cash in the short term and reinvest it in media buys. A percentage commission is very attractive to affiliates as they can offer higher commission rates in a given product vertical or if the product or service is purchased regularly. A percentage commission model is the best way to ensure that you benefit from recurrent commissions and becomes a passive income revenue stream.

Affiliate commission frequency

A very important consideration for affiliates is the chosen model which will dictate when the affiliate product or service offers a one-off time payment. It can be a fixed CPA amount per sale or as a percentage commission of the sale but only paid once for the referred sale. The recurrent lifetime commission model is far more attractive and profitable in the long term for affiliates as the commission is paid not just once but every time the customer renews an order or subscription. This is a popular model offered by many SaaS companies.

The average order value – average basket value of the affiliate product

Affiliates should also look out for the average basket value of the product that they want to promote as this will impact the level of commission that they will make now and in the future. Simply put, the average order value is the average amount spent by a customer in a given transaction; just divide the total sales revenue by the total number of sale orders made. The higher the AOV the more commission you will make so make sure to promote additional products and services from your affiliate merchants and drive the AOV up.

Length of the cookie lifetime for affiliate marketing

Affiliates should look for affiliate programs that offer 30 days cookie lifetime to ensure you get the corresponding commission for your affiliate efforts. This time parameter sets how long the relation between the visitor and affiliate will be valid after the visitor clicks the affiliate link. This time frame ensures that you the affiliate gets awarded the commission from the sale occurred during this period.

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