Affiliate marketing is a relatively new way, but already globally popular, to earn passive income with almost no money to risk losing. The low cost of the initial investment is the precise reason why it is increasingly and quite successfully displacing traditional initiatives for acquiring passive income such as:
- Renting out properties
- Purchasing company shares
- Investing in corporate and other types of funds
- Reselling properties and cars
- Investing in risky get-rich-quick schemes (we definitely do not recommend this to anyone)
Nowadays, we can easily free ourselves from the burden of investing and thus freeze all our diligent savings. By focusing on affiliate marketing, you could forever forget about each of the tedious, time-consuming, and investment-intensive endeavors above. Probably, the best advantage of affiliate marketing is that it provides possibilities for completely risk-free entrepreneurship unlike any of the traditional passive income initiatives.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Simply and briefly, affiliate marketing is promoting products or services of companies that are not owned or offered by you, but by a business partner, and receiving a commission for each sale or client that you referred.
When this kind of business takes place on the Internet, affiliates most often have their personally-owned websites or social media channels which they use for trading. There, they present the products or services together with affiliate links, and they usually provide information about a particular problem related to the product.
Is Affiliate Marketing Useful in Practice?
Yes, it definitely is! Affiliate marketing makes passive income businesses more easygoing and effortless than ever before in history.
Perhaps in the 90s, to supplement the family's income, your mother (or grandmother, or aunt, or cousin) was a distributor for a cosmetic company and shared cosmetic catalogs with her relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Then she placed an order and personally delivered the products to each of the customers. If e-commerce affiliate marketing was popular then and any distributor was able to replace the catalog and their visits of clients with a public internet site, they might have saved a lot of time. Also, they would have saved themselves from dealing with a lot of tedious paper orders, bills, accounting notes, and heavy parcels, if they had an affiliate link.
What are Affiliate Links for?
Affiliate links are, in fact, virtual tools replacing the old recommendation letters in the distribution business. On their page, affiliate marketers insert buttons and textual parts with links leading to the website of the company that offers the product or provides the service. These instruments, also used for identification that the customer came from the particular affiliate’s website, are called affiliate links. Sometimes, these affiliate links are called “tracking links”. Regardless of what we call them, they serve the customer in the same way and have the same purpose: either to lead them to a landing page with an offer, or take them to a business partner's website.
Since the website is ours, we can publish absolutely anything we want on it. Thus, we can use several affiliate links of different or similar products (or services) offered by various affiliate partners. Accompanied by appropriate creative text, these links can bring us good or decent monetary returns. In the worst case, we simply won't gain anything if we didn’t succeed to popularize our website, social media, or other channels, but we won't have lost anything either.
How do I Obtain An Affiliate Link?
Usually, companies advertising their products and services through affiliate marketing have special pages where they present their affiliate programs. These pages contain all the information needed:
- Plans of the affiliate program
- All specific contract conditions
- Commission types they offer
- Payout methods they use (or whether they will pay your commissions by bank card or any e-wallet service)
- Contact details
Once you register on such a website and choose your plan, they will generate a unique affiliate link for you, indicating your website’s URL or specific ID number in their affiliate platform. By sharing the affiliate link online, you are driving clients to your affiliate partner’s site. And depending on what the commission is in your deal, you will most likely get a percentage of each deal or a certain amount for each new customer (unless otherwise agreed).
Top 5 Features and Functions of Affiliate Links
Here are the 5 things affiliate links are for:
Action #1: Help you earn money without investments
The most attractive thing about affiliate links is that with them you can earn well without investing any personal funds. In most cases, you have the product ready to sell and you just “resell” it inactively, after having previously applied some promoting skills, e.g. creating a good copy, applying basic SEO practices, and shooting productive marketing messages off. It’s always a winning system for each party - for the customers, for your business partner, and for you!
- Customers benefit from a product or service that they might need and could even get it at a lower price as affiliate links often offer discounts, and their choice is preceded by information about its advantages and disadvantages.
- Your business partners have their products and services sold on a scale they would hardly be able to handle alone, earning the main part of the deal’s profit.
- You collect a smaller percentage of the profit from the sale, but with almost no investment and with little effort! The better your webpage, social media, or email marketing content is, the more your enterprise and revenues grow.
Action #2: Leading potential clients to the offer page
Affiliate links are usually implemented as links in the textual content of a review page, Facebook or Instagram profiles, or marketing emails. On review pages, they are often attached to offer buttons in red, blue, or another noticeable color with typed-in short call-to-action texts like these examples:
- "Order now"
- "Buy with discount"
- “To the products’ page”
- “Check the prices”
- “Click here to purchase”
- “50% discount”
As already mentioned above, when a customer clicks on an affiliate link, they are taken to an offer page, an online store, or a manufacturer's page. There, the potential buyer can choose a specific offer (for example, get 2 for the price of 1).
Action #3: Identifying that the customer came specifically from your website
As soon as they make a purchase, it will automatically be recorded in the partner's system as conducted through your affiliate link. Accordingly, you will receive the calculation of each of the purchases made through your affiliate link when it comes time for transfer payouts.
For the above purpose, businesses that are based on affiliate marketing use software platforms that record every order or new customer that comes through your affiliate link. Yes, this type of business has grown so much that there are even dedicated platforms to serve it, such as Income Access, Post Affiliate Pro, and Everflow. They record the client’s steps in making the purchase and track your identity back through the affiliate link.
Action #4: Helping in your commission’s calculation
In the field of affiliate marketing, affiliate links are the “organic” tools that help in calculating your final revenue. The affiliate partner pays out a commission based on the number of clients or the sales turnover conducted through your personal affiliate link. Usually, the commission that you could receive through an affiliate link is somewhere between 5 and 25%. There are some affiliate programs that require the affiliate link holder to pay a certain subscription fee, but they are exceptions. In most cases, the owner of the affiliate link is entirely in the role of a profiteer.
Your affiliate link can’t be skipped by the affiliate platforms which your business partners use. To prevent the clients from making a purchase or paying for any service directly from their site, but not from the affiliate link holder who took them there, some e-commerce merchants require customers to type a bonus code in, or they make the offers through affiliate links quite more favorable than the original ones on their websites. This can give you an additional guarantee that the income brought by your affiliate link will be calculated on a real basis.
Action #5. Letting you earn money with little or no effort
OK, it is not possible with no effort at all, but it is much easier with an affiliate link than being a catalog cosmetics distributor in the 90s, right? You only have to perform the following three steps that require some effort:
- Register on an affiliate website.
- Make a website or social media channel.
- Create meaningful and attractive content which will sell the merchandise instead of you.
Register. Make. Create. That’s the whole endeavor!
For your business to grow and bring you good income for the future, not just а quick profit in a few days, it is very important to provide your customers with credible and absolutely honest content to which you will apply your affiliate links. Thus, your website will get recognizable, people will trust it, and they could potentially recommend it to other people and come back and make new purchases.
To create quality marketing content, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customers and try your best to satisfy their needs. This is the main marketing rule, actually: imagining that the client is not anyone else but you! The more skillfully you apply it, the more successful your affiliate link will be. And the easier it will be for you to earn money from a passive income without any effort.
How to promote your Affiliate Link?
It is up to you how you will submit the affiliate link to the potential clients. The way you could successfully promote it mostly depends on your skills, interests, and capabilities. Here are the 5 most popular channels to make your affiliate link noticed:
- Blog website
- Review page (a page where you publish a review about the advantages and disadvantages of a product or service).
- Personal e-shop
- Social media channels (such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.)
- E-mail (by e-mail marketing practices)
If you are a social media person, then without a doubt your most successful channels for promoting affiliate links might be Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or TikTok. For this purpose, it would be even better if you have the talent to create short call-to-action texts and the taste for influencing photos.
If writing blogs and articles and taking interviews is your passion - then you could make your webpage a great place with useful content related to the products and services you resell through an affiliation link.
Are you into e-commerce? Then, create a flashy online store and promote your affiliate links on its website.
If you are a specialist in email marketing or just familiar with how to do it properly and productively, then this is your way.
You are already familiar with what an affiliate link is, as well as with its functions and features. And you have the know-how to earn money with minimal effort through it. So, what are you waiting for? There is an ocean of possible affiliate programs out there. Choose your shore and start swimming from there. Think about what your niche would be, sign up to an affiliate website, take your affiliate link and make it do the rest for you! If software products and services are your hobbyhorses, you can try promoting an affiliate link from MissAffiliate.com - the biggest performance network for web hosting services. It’s just in a few clicks!