If you have been on the internet long enough, there’s a chance that you came across affiliate marketing as a source of passive income. As for its definition, affiliate marketing is a person earning a commission from a sale by promoting it.
For those who have a limited budget on advertising, affiliate marketing can kickstart your business in no time. You will only need to pay once the product is sold, compared to other online advertising methods that are based on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Cost-Per-Impression (CRM).
How does Affiliate Marketing Work for Your Business?
So, how do you incorporate affiliate marketing into your marketing strategy? This marketing method heavily relies on one’s network and influences, making it trickier to handle compared to other online marketing alternatives. But fear not, this article will show how you can choose the best approach for your business.
The Old Way
Sometime technology might not be the best option. Those who have a little amount of time to learn how software and website works might find this technique useful. Affiliate marketing with the old way usually operates both offline and online (social media).
First of all, the business owner will hire “agents” on the job searching website and social media groups. Unlike a pyramid scheme, you don’t need to pay to become an agent since you won’t need to “buy” inventories.
The only thing agents need to do is advertising the products on their social media, office, or even family reunion, telling them to buy the products from them. After they receive the money, they will later report the sales and transfer the majority of the received cash to the seller.
The agents get to keep the extra cash as commission. And the seller will ship the product from its warehouse directly to the customers’ addresses. This particular method is widely used among those who don’t have an online store and rely on social media and the word of mouth to advertise their products.
Pros of The Old Way
- Suitable for those who have little to no knowledge in the computer
- You have control of everything
Cons of The Old Way
- You will need to do everything yourself
Amazon Associates has been a popular platform for those who want to make some extra money, ever since the rise of affiliation marketing on the internet. As long as you are selling a product on Amazon, your items are eligible for Amazon Associates.
As a merchant, you will generate unique links for your products. Your products will later be listed and chosen by the affiliates or bloggers and website owners. The product link will be embedded on their websites in the form of text links, image links, or enhanced links.
Of course, the affiliates don’t need a website in order to post affiliate links, but a website with proper SEO can increase the conversion rate with traffics from search engines and fans on social media.
Pros of Amazon Associates
- Easy setup with Amazon
- You can use image links and enhanced links instead of plain text links for better visibility and higher conversion rate
- Don’t need to find affiliates on your own since there’s a lot of them on Amazon Associates
- Insight of how your links perform
Cons of Amazon Associates
- Amazon controls the commission rate
- The affiliates are the one choosing which products they want to advertise, not the sellers
Software and Plugins
For those who own an eCommerce site, and you are not a big fan of the old, manual way, affiliate marketing software and plugins are definitely your first choice. And luckily most of them don’t require you to have extensive knowledge in coding and programming.
They usually have features such as affiliate registration, affiliate management, link generating, performance tracking, and, integration with multiple eCommerce platforms and payout services. Thus, making it easier to set up and managing it on your websites.
Pros of Software and Plugins
- You have control of almost everything
- Easy setup and management
- Integrate with multiple platforms
- Affiliate registration
- Performance tracking
Cons of Software and Plugins
- Most of them either free with limitation or paid software and plugins
- You would need decent knowledge in using the software and plugins
- You will need to recruit affiliates yourself
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
In affiliate marketing, you don’t need to pay your agents and affiliates until a transaction is being made. So, no sale equals no cashing out on advertising! This makes it the perfect method for small businesses that don’t own much budget on marketing.
Imagine your products’ affiliate links are posted on popular blogs and websites multiple times. And the blogs and websites happened to be run by experts and professionals in the related fields.
People who are interested in your products will find the endorsement holds more credibility because it gets featured on sites owned by experts with more authority. This ensures your potential customers that the products you sold are of high quality and worth the price.
If your affiliate advertised your products on their website, they will help reach your target audiences even more. Let says that your camera is being advertised on a photography tutorial blog, in which the majority of the traffic is people who interested in photography.
The blogger also endorses the camera by highlighting its features and benefits on related articles. And the visitors who stumble across the article might just happen to need a camera like that.
Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
The commission rate for each product can be varied. But one thing for sure, if you want people to advertise for you, the commission rate won’t be low, especially if you want to get on blogs and websites with crazy amounts of traffic.
To avoid losing money, your only option would be to raise the prices of the products. And this can be a disadvantage if you have competitors that offered the same products but at a lower price.
Affiliates or agents who don’t own a website or social media platform with large networks might try their lucks at spamming people with affiliate links. They post links relentlessly on groups, forums, comment sections, private chats for the slim chances of people buying things via the links.
Spamming links especially links to your website can damage your business reputation and your site authority. People will have a bad impression from all the repeated ads and comments fill with salesy words.
After reading the pros and cons of affiliate marketing, you might be rethinking about implementing it in your marketing plan. The disadvantages can be quite damaging if it’s not handled well. That’s why alternatives are available to minimize the impacts of your traditional online affiliate marketing.
Advertising with Influencers
Rather than having affiliate registration without any restriction, try recruiting affiliates by reaching to those who have influences among your target audiences. They aren’t necessarily Insta-famous with millions of followers, it can be as small as a small website owner as long as it’s within your budget.
This eliminates the concern of having spam and makes your brand more “exclusive”. But at the same time, you might need to pay extra or adjust the referral fee based on the negotiation between you and the influencers. So, there’re chances that you will be paying a lot more than your average affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can be a great addition to your marketing plan if you are just started out. But it’s best to keep an eye on it to make sure people do not take advantage of this passive income source and tarnish your business reputation. And adjust the marketing plan accordingly to your business.