What Is Affiliate Marketing?




Now, for starters, affiliate marketing has been around for years, and it will continue to grow due to how effective it is for both parties involved (brands and affiliates).

So, if you are considering it, we just recommend you to go through the entire post to ensure it is something for you, and don’t worry, we will answer all your questions and guarantee you’re even able to get started.

So, Really, What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing refers to a person or company that practices or focuses on marketing products through which an affiliate is paid a commission.

An affiliate (the person or company that markets it) simply finds a product they like, promotes it, and gets a share of every sale.

Basically, it is a program that rewards businesses for referring customers to their online store or anything offered by the party interested in finding affiliates.

With the rise of online shopping, however, it is how affiliate marketing has become very popular.

Sometimes affiliates promote the products and services of a company on their digital properties.

They can also include links to the preferred URLs of a company or graphical ads.

It doesn’t matter what format they use; referring hyperlinks provide valuable affiliate marketing data that marketers can use to optimize their programs.

How Does It Work?

You can consider it a way to spread the responsibility of product marketing and creation among parties.

In the process, it also allows you to use the talents of other people for a more effective marketing strategy while giving contributors a share of any profits, but for this to happen, three parties are required:

  • Both the seller and the product creators.
  • Advertiser or affiliate.
  • The consumer.

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To understand everything a bit better, here’s an explanation:

  • The seller. 

It refers to an entrepreneur who sells a product or service, and there aren’t limits when it comes to niches and types of products and services.

The seller, also known as the brand, is not required to actively participate in marketing.

For example, the seller could be an eCommerce merchant that started a dropshipping business and wants to reach a new audience by paying affiliate websites to promote their products. It could also be a SaaS company, which uses affiliates to sell its products software.

  • The publisher or affiliate.

The affiliate, also known as a publisher, is a person or company who markets the seller’s product to potential customers.

The affiliate promotes the product in order to convince consumers it is valuable and beneficial. Affiliates receive a share of any revenue if the consumer purchases the product.

Affiliates usually have a specific audience they market to or focus on. This helps them attract the most potential customers to what they’re offering.

  • The consumer.

If you ask us, this method to make money is driven by the consumer, either if they know it or not.

After all, affiliates share the products on social media, blogs, websites, and other platforms for the consumers to get them.

The affiliate and the seller share the profits when the consumer purchases the product, and sometimes, the one promoting them will be honest about offering the products and disclose that they receive commissions for

each sale.

The affiliate’s share is included in the retail price so consumers can even get the products or services for less money on certain occasions.

How Do You Get Paid?

Affiliate marketing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make money online without having to sell a product. But how is it possible, and how could you get paid with it after the entire process is done?

It can be difficult to know the answer if you have never been involved in this world.

However, we know that you had the concept that affiliates need to encourage people to buy all the time, and they only receive payment whenever a product is sold or someone hires a service.

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Still, in reality, there are three ways in which you could make money if deciding to choose this income method:

  • Pay per sale (PPS).

This is the most common affiliate marketing structure.

It is based on paying the merchant a percentage of the product’s sales price once the customer purchases the product, thanks to the strategies you implement as the affiliate.

This means that the affiliate must convince the visitors or audience to buy the product before receiving compensation.

  • Pay per lead (PPL).

This can be more complex but often more profitable than the previous one.

The pay-per-lead affiliate programs compensate the affiliate based on the conversion of leads.

The affiliate needs to convince the consumer to visit the website and take the desired action, which can vary based on what you include.

It all depends on the goal of the CTA.

  • Pay per click (PPC).

This program encourages affiliates to refer consumers from their marketing platform directly to the brand’s site.

This means that the affiliate must engage consumers to the point where they will go to the merchant’s website from their marketing platform, and they are paid according to the amount of web traffic generated when clicking the link.

Why Choose Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing’s performance-based structure is one of its intrinsic strengths.

It is a cost-effective way for businesses to achieve their goals. This often comes in the form of small commissions on sales or new customers, and the performance-based model can be enhanced by affiliate data analytics.

Businesses can use this data to optimize key aspects of a data-driven affiliate program. These strategies include messaging and compensation plans as well as audience targeting.

They also leverage third-party publishers and platforms as part of the company’s affiliate marketing program.

However, this is about companies in specific, so don’t worry; we will focus on affiliates next.

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Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?

Instead of giving you an extensive explanation, we prefer to rely on a better option: telling you the benefits, so you’re able to understand everything quite perfectly:

  • Passive income.

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money while you sleep, unlike regular jobs that require you to work 8 hours a day or even more.

You will get continuous returns on your investment in a campaign as customers purchase the product over the next days and weeks.

Your work is worth money long after it’s finished. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.

  • No customer support.

Selling products and services to consumers requires that they deal with them and make sure they are happy with the product or service.

Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction.

The sole purpose of an affiliate marketer’s job is to connect the seller and the customer. After receiving your commission, the seller will deal with any complaints from consumers since it isn’t your product or service.

  • You can work from home.

Affiliate marketing is ideal for someone who doesn’t like going to work or needs to stay at home.

It allows you to launch campaigns, collect revenue, and work from your home. You can do this job without even stepping out of your pajamas.

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  • It is convenient and flexible.

You can be a freelancer and set your own goals. You can also redirect your path if you wish.

Besides, you can choose the products you are interested in and your hours, diversify your portfolio, or concentrate on straightforward campaigns.

Additionally, you won’t be subject to company regulations or restrictions as well as any ill-performing employees and bosses.

  • Performance-based rewards.

You could work 80 hours a week with other jobs and still get the same salary.

Affiliate marketing is entirely dependent on your performance. It’s all about what you put into it and how much you’re willing to invest.

Your revenue will increase by improving your writing skills and reviewing. Finally, you’ll get paid for the exceptional work that you do and without much effort later on.

  • Low ongoing costs.

You only need to set the blog post, campaign or make sure your readers and audience can access the link you provided.

After that, there’s no need to spend more money.

  • Low risk.

You aren’t losing anything in the process since even if you just make a dollar, you never paid for anything to have the link or become an affiliate of the specific program.

You might lose time, but you never know until trying.

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How to Get Started as an Affiliate Marketer

We promised you that we would cover this, and here we are, making g sure you are able to start on this.

We will just let you know for now that you can be a bit saturated with information, so if you need some time to process, take a break and come back to take note of the steps.

Are you ready? Here we go.

  1. Choose a platform.

Affiliate marketing can be done on any platform theoretically. Even Instagram works.

However, it is easier to start a blog among all the options available.

You can find many tutorials online to help you get started with a blog in particular. However, you might be wondering why it is the best.

The main reason is that you’ll probably only have to pay a few dollars per month.

But you will indeed have to optimize your website for search engines once it is launched. This will increase your chances of bringing visitors who can make you earn money with the links.

YouTube is the other platform you should consider above others.

Since it allows you to upload content and create it for free, you don’t have to handle initial investment, and you just need to add the links in every description of your video.

You will need to make it clear that affiliate links are included in your content since The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires you to be transparent when receiving income from an endorsement.

You can create a separate page if you are using a blog or add it to the footer of your site and just mention it in your video on YouTube or add it to the description.

  1. Choose your niche.

Let’s face it if you start a blog today, you are facing tons of competition, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible as long as you play it smart, and you will have the best chance of success if you narrow your niche.

Select a topic you are passionate about so you can create quality content that can be optimized and will bring your target audience. Also, this will set the type of affiliate programs you can work with.

Basically, keeping your topics tight can help you build a more focused audience and potentially help you rank higher in search engines.

As you become more familiar with the majority of this topic and increase your traffic, you will be able to expand into other areas. However, remember that inconsistency is a primary reason for many affiliate websites to fail.

If you are passionate about a topic, it will be easier to persevere when things get tough, and if you can keep the rest you add related to the first one you chose, it will be better.

You don’t have to be an expert in it. Just make sure you can come up with great ideas and provide valuable content thanks to your research.

If you’re outsourcing the content, then it’s better to work with seasoned experts in the niche. Experts can help create trustworthy, high-quality work that will lead to more traffic and engaged visitors as well as more sales for your affiliates.

  1. Search for affiliate programs that you can join.

There are three types to choose from when it comes to affiliate programs.

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  • High-paying, low-volume affiliate programs.

These are affiliate programs that offer high payouts for niche products.

ConvertKit’s affiliate program, for example, pays nearly $700 per month for 80 customers. They only sell CRM software to small businesses owners, so there is a limited buyer pool.

Programs with high commissions are more popular, so it can be difficult to find your way with them. However, the bigger problem lies in how hard it can be to bring people interested in the products and services and willing to pay, usually, lots of money for them.

  • Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs.

These affiliate programs are for products that have low payouts but high appeal.

Take, for example, PS4 games. Many people enjoy PS4, but the average game cost is just $50 when they are just released, and they continuously decrease.

Affiliate commissions are often in the single digits. If you are lucky, you might earn between $2-3 per sale.

These types of programs have a redeeming feature: they often offer tons of products for sale. Take Amazon’s affiliate program as an example.

It offers up to 10% commission on nearly everything you sell.

Another benefit is that commissions are often earned on the total purchase value, rather than just the product you recommend, and although it can be hard to make lots of money in one go, you are bound to make it anyway based on volume.

The downside is that you will need a lot of traffic to make these kinds of affiliate programs profitable.

  • High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs.

Of course, you would expect these to be the goal for every marketer, and you are right about it.

These products have the disadvantage of attracting affiliate marketers with a lot of expertise and high-paying clients, and when you’re starting, you can’t compete with spammy tactics.

So we would recommend getting started with the first two and then trying your luck after some time in the business.

  1. Create amazing content.

You must create quality content that your affiliate links will naturally fit into if you want your site to succeed.

When you just write anything and throw the links there, there’s no way people will be willing to even stay in your blog, channel, or any other platform.

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  1. Drive traffic towards your affiliate website.

Great content is part of this since you are giving them value, but next, you need to make it more accessible so that people will click on your affiliate links.

Of course, there are more strategies you can rely on to generate traffic:

  • Paid traffic

This is where you can pay for traffic to your website by using PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google.

Paid traffic has the advantage that you can get traffic as soon as you pay, but every option also comes with disadvantages.

Advertising can reduce your profits, and you could lose money if the visitors don’t click on your affiliate links and you make the sale.

It is important to be realistic when estimating the time it will take to optimize a paid-traffic campaign and how much you want to invest in it.

Besides, remember that traffic will stop coming if you stop paying for the campaign.

Ads are generally a good traffic strategy if your affiliate program is high-paying and you can make the numbers work.

It might not be a good idea if you are new to paid marketing or have a small marketing budget.

  • SEO (search engine optimization).

SEO is the practice of optimizing pages to rank high in search engines like Google and bring organic traffic. Basically, you get the same traffic as paid ads but completely free.

As long as your keywords rank well in search engines, you will get steady and passive traffic.

On the most basic level, SEO is about:

  • Knowing what your target customers want.
  • Create content for the target audience and makes sense with the products and services of your affiliate programs.
  • Taking care of the “technical” stuff to push these pages higher in the search engines (including link building).

Other factors can help you bring more organic traffic, but the essentials are enough for now.

  • Create an email list.

You can communicate with your readers at any time by creating email lists.

These can be used to inform your fans about new content and to keep them coming back to your site for more. This will increase affiliate clicks as well as sales.

Even better, you can send email promotions directly to your affiliate list.

You must convince your readers to sign up for it in order to build one. This means providing something of value or implementing smart call to action buttons on your site and profiles.

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  1. Make people click on your affiliate links.

Many people have the wrong concept that people are bound to click on the links because their content is good—a big mistake.

You need more than just a few words, videos, or voice messages to encourage people to do it, so you better keep in mind those tips for handling this challenge:

  • Know where to place your links.

Clicks will be rare if your affiliate links are located at the bottom of the page, where people almost never scroll down after they have gotten the information they needed from your page.

On the other hand, you can’t abuse your introduction and add links here are there.

You just need to balance the placement and guarantee they are visible but don’t feel pushy.

  • Remember that context matters.

Let’s suppose you were to write an article about the best affiliate programs in 2021.

If you are adding (clearly) links to those programs for you to make the income from them, you can’t use introductions or texts like:

“We will discuss the top affiliate programs and how you can make money with them.” And in this line, you add an entire link. Don’t do that.

The link will look like colossal spam, and people will close your website before you even have the chance to show what you’ve got.

Instead, be more careful with the introduction and don’t add a link right away.

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  • Callouts are important.

Callouts such as buttons, tables, or boxes can be used to grab your readers’ attention, and they also make the post easier to read.

The Wirecutter, for example, uses eye-catching boxes that have product links whenever they share top picks.

  1. Convert clicks into sales.

Two conversions are required in affiliate marketing to make money.

The first one is the click to your website or page where they can find the affiliate links.

This action is entirely yours, and you need to play it smart if you want people coming to your blog, platform, or profile. To increase your chances of getting that click, use the strategies above.

The second is the visitor purchasing the product. It depends more on the quality of the services and products you’re sponsoring and how well the seller or supplier optimizes and improves them.

The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business

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All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?

The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).

Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:

The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.

Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”

You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.

The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.

The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.

To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.

Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.

To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.

By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.

An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor

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You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.

HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.

They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.

If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.

HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.

Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services.  They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).

Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?

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They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.

However, you need to remember two facts:

  1. Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
  2. They don’t generate “natural” leads.

Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.

Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.

What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.

When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.

What Is Local SEO?

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Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.

What does this mean?

Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.

To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.

If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.

Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.

“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.

Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.

Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?

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If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.

Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.

Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.

How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?

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For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.

This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.

I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.

However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.

On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.

You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.

What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?

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Here it goes: you can work from home.

The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.

We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high.  Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.

You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.

Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.

So, let’s summarize this:

  • You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
  • You can bet on passive income.
  •  There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
  • You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.

How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?

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Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.

Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?

You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.

You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.

Learn more about local lead generation below.

Take a sneak peek into our proven strategies to build a passive income by building a local lead generation business from your laptop...