Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common terms you’ll come across in affiliate marketing:
- Affiliate link: An affiliate link is a unique URL which contains your tracking ID. This is what allows you to get credit for the traffic that you send to the advertiser so that you get credit for any sale.
- Affiliate Network: An affiliate network creates a campaign with the merchant, and sets up the tracking which the affiliates use to ensure they get paid for any sales they generate.
- AM: Stands for “Affiliate Manager”. Your AM is your go-to person in the network
- Banner Ad: Banner ads are visual, clickable ads which you can display on your site to redirect visitors from your site to the advertiser’s site.
- Chargeback: If a sale falls through for whatever reason, the advertiser will claw back any commission earned on that sale.
- Click through rate: Click through rate (CTR) is simply the number of clicks through to an advertiser’s website in relation to how many times the link is displayed to a visitor (impressions). This is one of the most important metrics to look at because it tells you whether a particular ad copy has been effective for your campaign. It is calculated by dividing the number of times an ad was clicked by the number of times the ad was shown.
- Conversion: This indicates that someone who clicked through your affiliate link has made a purchase on the merchant’s website.
- Conversion rate: Conversion rate is the number of conversions that have occurred measured against the number of visitors that have clicked through to the advertiser’s site through your affiliate link. For example, 10 sales in 100 visits to the advertiser’s site would be a conversion rate of 10%.
- Cookie: A cookie is a small text files that is stored on the user’s computer. It is used to identify or track affiliate referrals.
- Cookie expiration date: Most affiliate cookies have an expiration date. This means that if a sale doesn’t occur within the cookie duration, the referring affiliate will not be credited with any sale that occurs after the expiration date. Some affiliate programs have lifetime cookies, which means that the cookies will only ever expire if the visitor clears their cookies in their browser.
- CPA: Cost per action or cost per acquisition. This is how much it costs for a conversion. You’ll want your CPA to be as low as possible.
- Direct Linking: The practice of using an affiliate link to directly send traffic to the advertiser’s website without first pre-selling the product. This is typically done using Facebook ads, Google ads or any other type of PPC advertising.
- Display: This includes text links and banner ads.
- Download/Install: You get paid when someone downloads or installs a piece of software.
- Email/Zip Submit: User is only required to provide their email and zip code.
- Impressions: This refers to the amount of times a user has viewed the affiliate link on your website.
- Incent: Short for “incentivized”. This means that you can offer users a free gift.
- Landing Page: A landing page is a standalone web page that is created specifically for the purpose of capturing leads. It is an essential component of an online marketing campaign because it prompts visitors to provide data in exchange for information.
- Lead: This typically refers to someone submitting their name, email, phone, etc.
- Offer: The offer covers the fine details of what you can expect from the advertiser, including commission percentage and cookie length, and also provides exactly what they expect from you in return. For example, if the advertiser doesn’t want you incentivizing users, this is where you’ll find details of this.
- Pay Per Call: You’re paid when someone makes a call of a certain duration after clicking on your affiliate link.
- Performance Based Marketing: This relates to the practice of an affiliate being paid a commission only based on the sales that they are able to generate for the merchant.
- Pre-sell: This is the very essence of what is required of an affiliate. Your job is to convince a prospective buyer of why they should be interested in what the merchant is selling. You will be successful if you are able to master the art of preselling.
- Publisher: The affiliate that promotes the offer.
- Trial: When user signs up for a free trial of a product or service.
- “Pixel Fires”: This is what happens when someone clicks on your link (they become a lead).
- US/FR/CA: Offer only valid in that specific country.
AFFILIATE MARKETING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
- What are the different types of affiliate marketing models?
- Do I need a blog for affiliate marketing?
- Can I target everyone to get the best chance of making sales?
- What is a niche?
- What factors should I consider when picking a niche?
- What is the best type of website to design for my affiliate marketing business?
- What are some legal requirements that I should know about affiliate marketing?
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is simply the process of selling other people’s products or services for a commission. You can choose to promote a product or service that is relevant to your blog’s topic and that you believe will be useful for your readers. The party you are promoting can be known as the seller, product creator, vendor, merchant or advertiser. You are known as the affiliate or publisher. Every time somebody buys a product or subscribes to a service through your affiliate link within a specified period of time, you get paid a commission based on the offer that was agreed between you and the advertiser or the affiliate network that is managing that offer.
There are two main ways you can sign up for an affiliate program. You can sign up directly with the merchant or through an affiliate network, which acts as the intermediary between the affiliate and the merchant. Sometimes, you have no choice but to go through an affiliate network to promote the product if the merchant manages their affiliate program through that network. When you sign up to an affiliate marketing program, you’ll be provided with your tracking id, which is typically included in all of your affiliate links.
What are the different types of affiliate marketing models?
There are 3 main types of affiliate marketing models.
1. Pay per sale.
This is the traditional affiliate marketing model, where you get paid for sales that you generate. With this model, you get paid only if a sale is made through your affiliate link, and you will earn a percentage of the sale price.
2. Pay per lead.
This is type of affiliate marketing is also known as CPA marketing. It is a type of affiliate marketing model that offers a commission to the affiliate when a specific action is completed. That action doesn’t have to be a sale. With CPA marketing, the affiliate company pays you even if the actual sale doesn’t go through. Examples of this action includes completing a lead gen form, watching a video for a specified period of time, getting a quote, making a phone call, installing an app, signing up for a free trial and making a purchase.
3. Pay per click.
With this model, you are compensated when you are able to redirect your target audience to the merchant’s website. You are paid for an increase in the merchant’s web traffic.
Do I need a blog for affiliate marketing?
Having a blog is not a requirement for becoming an affiliate marketer, although a blog will make things considerably easier. For example, a number of affiliate programs require a blog to participate, and some social platforms expressly forbid affiliate links. In such situations, you will have to drive traffic to your blog. That being said, there are several ways to succeed as an affiliate marketer without having a blog or website. For example, you can easily build a following and build trust on social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook, using high value content that is meaningful and attractive to them. You can then strategically post links to your affiliate offers where affiliate links are allowed. For sites that expressly forbid affiliate links like Facebook, you can drive traffic to a landing page to capture leads that will allow you to market to those users in the future.
Can I target everyone to get the best chance of making sales?
The biggest mistake you can make in affiliate marketing s targeting everyone and promoting unrelated stuff like laptops, makeup, iPhone cases and cat toys. That is the quickest way to fail at affiliate marketing. Many sellers are reluctant to narrow down their focus to a specific target market, because they feel that they would be missing out on some business elsewhere. However, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing, you must narrow down your focus to a group of people with specific needs. The most successful online businesses begin by choosing a broad niche, and then, they focus on something that is more specific within that niche.
For example, if you choose to become an affiliate in the healthcare niche, you can choose to sell all types of health products, and you’ll have a huge market to target. This is because there are lots of people with all types of health problems. However, if you target all types of people with various health conditions, you won’t get a lot of attention from those people because your marketing messages will be too general to resonate with them. On the other hand, if you narrow down your focus to something like weight loss, you’ll have a more specific market to target. And if you narrowed down even further to choose a sub-niche of men who are struggling with man boobs, you’ll be able to create more targeted content that will get the attention of those men.
What is a niche?
A niche is simply the area of expertise in which you are going to specialize. It is a more focused target market within a larger industry. If you want to craft effective marketing messages, you must identify a niche that is targeted towards a specific audience that is likely to be interested in the products you’re promoting.
Once you have selected a niche, the next thing you’ll want to do is to find out if it is worth targeting. And you can do this by analyzing trends. Check to see if people are searching for keywords or search phrases related to that niche. If there’s very little demand, you won’t want to waste time and effort promoting it. You may also want to focus your search on countries like the United States, UK, Canada and Australia, as those are the countries where the bulk of spending on the web is. And the best free tool you can use to analyze trends is Google trends: https://www.google.com/trends.
As you can see in the above screenshot, this is the perfect niche because the demand is big and stable throughout the year. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to determine the competitiveness of the niche at this point. You simply want to validate if there’s a big demand for your niche idea.
What factors should I consider when picking a niche?
The best niche to pick for your affiliate marketing business is something that you are good at, but also passionate about. When you are passionate about something that you’re also good at, it is going to be a lot easier for you to influence other people that are also passionate about the same topic. For example, if you are passionate about fishing, you would know how to engage your audience with content that will entice them to purchase something online.
What is the best type of website to design for my affiliate marketing business?
The best type of design to go with is a niche site that is built around solutions to the problems and challenges of your target audience. The makes money by publishing high quality content, and promoting relevant and useful affiliate products that are strategically placed in the site’s content. An example of a high quality niche affiliate marketing site is fatherly.com.
What are legal requirements that I should know about affiliate marketing?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an agency of the United States federal government, now requires that you disclose that you are receiving commission for the sales that you make as an affiliate. This applies whether you tweet, blog, make videos, post to Facebook, or otherwise communicate online about brands or products. Your post needs to include the disclosure, and there aren’t any exemptions to the FTC disclosure policy.
Examples of affiliate disclosures:
- Full disclosure: I may earn some coffee money for sharing my story which I promise to drink while creating some more helpful content like this.
- Heads up! This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!