5 Times to Use Affiliate Marketing (And When Not to). Affiliate marketing is an agreement between a merchant that wants to sell a product and a marketer who wants to help get people to buy that product. Affiliates can be anyone, really. But at least you know that he’s an affiliate marketer. Let’s take a look at five reasons you should consider doing affiliate marketing. When you have a good reputation with your audience Affiliate marketing works best when there’s trust between the affiliate and the visitor. For example, Amazon works with a lot of affiliate marketers, and they have a lot of products you can get affiliate links for. When you need a reliable source of income immediately Affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra money by promoting products you love. You don’t want to manage an affiliate account An affiliate marketing program can be a lot of work to maintain. Look for partnerships with merchants that are reputable, give you a decent commission, or hook your readers up with discounts.
Can you really “get rich quick” with affiliate marketing?
That’s literally the million-dollar question.
Bloggers and gurus might tell you that you can.
But I’m going to be honest with you.
Affiliate marketing can work extremely well when done correctly.
Just because anyone can get an affiliate link doesn’t mean that person is going to be successful.
Using affiliate marketing to really grow your brand takes a lot more than that.
It takes time, strategy, and a ton of hustle to see results.
It’s not going to happen overnight.
The harsh truth is that a lot of people won’t see the results they’re hoping for.
There will be times when it just works and other times when it falls flat.
So will you be able to find success as an affiliate marketer?
Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the deal with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an agreement between a merchant that wants to sell a product and a marketer who wants to help get people to buy that product.
Let’s take a quick look at the two characters in play:
- The Merchant — also known as the seller, brand, retail, or vendor — has something they want to sell.
- The Affiliate — also known as the marketer or the publisher — is someone who can make money from the merchant by promoting certain products.
Affiliates can be anyone, really.
You find a lot of affiliates in the blogging world.
They usually review products and then include affiliate links in their video descriptions.
The blogger makes a small commission each time someone clicks on that link to purchase the product.
Take this video from The Deal Guy reviewing Jet.com versus Amazon:
This might be affiliate link overkill.
But at least you know that he’s an affiliate marketer.
An affiliate is usually given a link with a tracking ID. You’ll notice that, in the above examples, those links are hidden with a bit.ly link.
Technically, you should disclose the fact that you’re an affiliate.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now requires this for anyone who promotes a product and receives some form of compensation.
Once someone clicks the link, they’re taken to the merchant’s site.
Typically, a cookie is placed on the visitor’s device for anywhere from 30-90 days. So if they do end up purchasing the product in the future, the company can see which affiliate sent that customer.
Fairly straightforward, right?
So why doesn’t everyone do it?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to being an affiliate marketer.
First, I’ll go through some of the reasons why you might want to participate.
Then I’ll also give you a few reasons to steer clear.
When affiliate marketing a great idea
There are a lot of benefits to being an affiliate.
For one, there’s relatively little cost to get started.
With Amazon’s affiliate program, for example, you just signup for an Amazon Associates account and fill out a tax form.
Once you’re approved, you get your own dashboard:
And presto chango, you’re an affiliate marketer!
You also don’t pay anything if your links are unsuccessful. You simply don’t make a commission.
So there’s little downside. It’s about as low-risk as you can get.
Let’s take a look at five reasons you should consider doing affiliate marketing.
1. When you have a strong connection to the product
Nobody likes a smarmy salesman.
It can be obvious when people are pushing products they don’t believe in.
You don’t want to become an affiliate marketer if you don’t believe in what you’re selling.
It will be instantly obvious to everyone.
The same is true on the other hand, too.
If you love the product, people will respond.
For example, CIO.com reviewer James A. Martin gives his “3 reasons you’ll love Amazon Echo”:
His affiliate link is in the first paragraph.
You know it’s an affiliate link because the URL looks like this:
An affiliate link in the very first paragraph seems suspicious, right?
Except that, when you read the article, you can tell James really likes the Echo.
He’s not just trying to trick you or make a quick buck. He loves the product and believes more people should have it. So it’s a win-win.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity if you truly believe in the value of the product you’re selling.
Because many times, you can make money off of something you would probably recommend anyway.
2. When you want to provide additional value for your audience
You can add multiple offers to your mix without creating a new product.
This could include a bonus on something you already use or recommend, or it could be a discount on the product itself.
Take this example from beauty blogger Jamie Page:
She tells her followers the exact makeup she uses. But she only provides a discount for one of them.
That’s because it’s a popular product. It’s a fan favorite.
So she became an affiliate to offer a discount for her readers. She’s hooking them up, in essence.
The best part is that she doesn’t have to set up an e-commerce account and sell the product herself.
But her audience still benefits from the affiliation just as much as she does.
3. When you’re okay with taking things slow
Affiliate marketing won’t get you rich quick.
You need a large audience that loves clicking on your content.
Or you need the patience to promote that content over a long period of time.
Because your income might come in slowly.
Check out the math on each of those sales. You’re making somewhere between $10 – 30 per purchase.
Obviously, there are affiliate products that will pay you more per sale. However, the point remains the same.
You’re going to need to sell hundreds, if not thousands, of products just to make a decent monthly income.
But if you’re okay with either (or both) of those things, affiliate marketing can be a great way to make relatively ‘easy’ side money.
There’s little financial risk on your end with affiliate marketing.
4. When you have a…