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Affiliate Marketing Frequently Asked Questions for Beginners

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Are you thinking about a career in affiliate marketing?

The following are some of the most common terms you’ll encounter when working 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: Affiliate networks set up campaigns with merchants and create tracking so the affiliates can be paid for 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 1000 visits to the advertiser’s site would be a conversion rate of 1%. 
  • 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 web page that is designed specifically to capture leads for marketing purposes. Online marketing campaigns require it to prompt visitors to provide data in exchange for information.
  • Lead: This typically refers to someone submitting their name, email, phone, etc.
  • Offer: In the offer, the advertiser describes the fine details of the commission percentage and cookie length, as well as what they expect from you. If, for instance, an advertiser does not want you to incentivize users, you can find out about this information here.
  • 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 it takes to be an affiliate. Your job is to persuade a prospective buyer to buy what the merchant is offering. Preselling is the key to being successful.
  • 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.

It’s wise to read up on a couple of things before you start promoting products or services through affiliate networks to avoid getting sucked into phony affiliate marketing programs.

For your convenience, we’ve listed some of the most common affiliate marketing questions any new affiliate marketer might have.

1. What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is the practice of selling other people’s products or services for a commission.

You can promote a product or service that you believe will be useful to your readers and is relevant to your blog’s topic.

The person you are promoting can be known as a seller, product creator, vendor, merchant or advertiser.

You are known as an affiliate or publisher.

If somebody purchases a product or subscribes to a service through your affiliate link within a specific period of time, you get paid a commission based on the offer agreed to between you and the advertiser or affiliate network managing that offer.

You can sign up for an affiliate program in two ways.

You can sign up directly with the merchant or through an affiliate network, which acts as a middleman between the affiliate and the merchant.

If the merchant manages its affiliate program through an affiliate network, you may have no choice but to use the affiliate network to promote the product.

When you sign up for an affiliate marketing program, you will be provided with your tracking ID, which will be included in all affiliate links you create.

2. 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 include:

  • 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 or
  • 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.

3. What is the average time it takes to become financially stable?

Since you might take some time to achieve consistent earnings from affiliate programs, you probably should not quit your job immediately.

Profits from affiliate marketing can take at least six months to materialize.

The overall success of your business depends on your ability to create quality content, optimize for search engine optimization, drive targeted traffic, promote the right affiliate products, stay active on social media and leverage email marketing.

Success does not happen overnight.

However, if you are consistent in your promotion of affiliate products, you will achieve your desired income level.

4. Is a blog necessary for affiliate marketing?

Anyone interested in maximizing their income from affiliate marketing should consider setting up a blog.

A blog is necessary for participation in many affiliate marketing programs, while some social media platforms expressly prohibit affiliate links.

Having a blog allows you to direct traffic to your blog in such circumstances.

With social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can easily build a following and build trust by providing them with high-quality, meaningful and appealing content.

You can then strategically post links to your affiliate offers on sites that accept affiliate links.

For sites that do not allow affiliate links, such as Facebook, you can send traffic to a landing page to capture leads that will allow you to market to those users in the future.

The same reasons that make blogs effective for businesses also make them good for generating affiliate income.

  • There is quality content on your blog, and you can build an audience for it
  • You’ve got a large, relevant readership
  • There is no problem including content relevant to affiliate promotions, whether it is content or promotional links
  • Over time, creating quality content can help you build authority in your niche.

There are many affiliate marketers who make thousands of dollars a month from their blogs alone.

5. What is the minimum amount of traffic needed for affiliate marketing?

The general rule of thumb is that if you optimize and plan your campaign extremely well, even with very little traffic, you can make a significant amount of money since your conversion rate will be high.

If your campaign has a low conversion rate or has a small cost per conversion or cost per acquisition (which means you only get a few cents per conversion), you will need to have a large volume of traffic.

6. Affiliate marketing can be a tricky business. What’s the biggest mistake one can make?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in affiliate marketing is targeting everyone and promoting unrelated products like laptops, makeup, iPhone cases, and cat toys.

This is the fastest way to fail at affiliate marketing.

Many sellers are wary of focusing their attention on a specific market because they fear that some opportunities will pass them by. 

You must, however, narrow your focus on a group of people who have specific needs in order to succeed in affiliate marketing. A successful online business begins with a broad niche, and then concentrates on a specific aspect of it.

Assume you choose to work as an affiliate in the healthcare industry, and you choose to sell a wide range of health products.

You’ll have a broad market to target, since the majority of people suffer from some form of health problem.

If you target your marketing to a wide range of people with various health conditions, however, you will not be able to capture their attention since your marketing messaging will be too general to appeal to anyone.

Alternatively, narrowing your attention to a certain market, such as weight loss, allows you to target a more targeted consumer.

If you restrict your niche even further to include males who battle with man boobs, you’ll be able to offer more tailored material that will appeal to these men.

7. 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’ve selected a niche, you should determine whether targeting it is worthwhile.

You can do this by analyzing trends. Search for keywords or search phrases related to that niche to see if anybody is searching for them.

You won’t want to spend time and effort promoting a product with very little demand.

It may also be a good idea to limit your search to countries like the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, since it is in those countries that the bulk of online spending occurs.

The best free tool to analyze trends is Google Trends.  

Keep in mind that you aren’t trying to determine whether the niche is competitive at this point. You simply want to determine whether there is a high demand for your niche idea.

8. What factors should I consider when picking a niche?

The best niche to choose for your affiliate marketing business is something that you are comfortable with but also passionate about.

Here are the main factors to consider when picking a niche:

  1. It is specific
  2. It is profitable
  3. It is a topic you are passionate about
  4. It is a topic you know well  
  5. It is evergreen

9. What is the best type of website to design for my affiliate marketing business?

You should build a niche site around solutions to the problems and challenges faced by your target audience. The site generates revenue by publishing high quality content and promoting relevant and useful affiliate products strategically integrated into its content. Fatherly.com is an example of a high quality niche affiliate marketing site.

10. What are legal requirements that I should know about affiliate marketing?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an agency of the federal government of the United States, affiliates must now disclose that they are receiving commission for sales they make. This rule applies to anyone communicating online about brands and products, whether they tweet, blog, make videos, or post on Facebook. Disclosure is a requirement in your post, and there are no exemptions to the FTC policy.

Affiliate disclosure examples:

  • Disclosure: This post may earn me some coffee money, which I promise to drink while creating more helpful content like this.
  • Take note! Affiliate links are included in this post. By clicking on these links and making a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support!

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