noun: af·fil·i·ate mar·ket·ing

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals. The idea behind it is that you promote other people’s products, often through an affiliate network, earning a commission if people actually end up buying thanks to your marketing.

That all sounds good and great but affiliate marketing can be brutal.  You would think the companies that your promoting would love you; some do.  But many come to resent paying out commissions and often fail to see you as the contributing partner that you are. In fact, if you do affiliate marketing the way others teach it you’re likely to become disillusioned fast.

How is my approach different, you ask?

1.  Use affiliate marketing as a means of building email lists.  Commissions are not the goal of the smart affiliate – assets are.  Of course, I’m not happy breaking even on the front-end and I even say “the money is NOT in the list”.  This means you can usually expect to double your money, and more, on paid traffic.  And it means we’re not waiting for people on our list to begin buying to make money.  We’re profitable from the start and the list gives us a decided advantage.

2.  The standard affiliate approach means that you’re assuming all of the risk, yet you only get paid when a sale (or other defined action) occurs.  You could send 100 visitors to a vendors site without a sale and no get paid a penny.  20 or 30 of those referrals might join the vendors list and buy something else from the vendor, or a promotional partner of the vendor.  You will likely be paid nothing. 3.  As a serious affiliate marketer this isn’t a hobby.  You must be willing to invest in your business – not a lot, but enough.  ($100 will get you started, including a month of paid traffic).  You’re not going to be successful posting bogus ads on Twitter, or Facebook, or on Craigslist.

Affiliate marketing is . . . In plain English . . .

  1. A friend, knowing you’re spot-on taste in films, asks you if you’ve seen any good movies lately.
  2. You say “yes!” and make your case for Movie X
  3. Your friend goes to the movie and buys a $10 ticket.
  4. The theater pays you $2, or a 20% commission for your referral.

No, movie theaters do not actually do that but it’s an example most people can identify with. That, in essence, is how affiliate marketing works. However there are a number of other affiliate-based models that are detailed below.

What affiliate marketing really is (list building)

Here’s one of the ways the Affiliate Black Book approach differs from other affiliate models.

Most affiliates make the mistake of focusing on commissions, only. My approach instead focuses on list building.

Don’t worry – we actually earn more in commissions than others do and that’s one way the Affiliate Black Book will help you dominate.

Experience shows that follow-up email doubles and even triples sales totals. Even bad follow-up increases conversion rates. Plus now that you have a list you can promote other products and services to the same people. So who has the advantage? The affiliate building a list or the one who isn’t?

Advertiser and Publisher

It can be easy to become confused by jargon and terminology.
You’ll see the term “Advertiser” – this is the merchant/vendor. The Advertiser is the one with the product or service for sale.

The Publisher is the affiliate. It’s typically assumed that an affiliate has a website or a blog (not necessarily) where they publish attractive content.

The Advantages

Easy to get started – In theory you could start affiliate marketing right now, today. You don’t need to create products or offer a service. You don’t need an inventory. You don’t need to setup shopping carts and other highly technical ‘stuff’. You don’t need to handle customer support. It’s probably the easiest method of making money to start that there is.

Easy to grow – There are three ways to grow a business; sell more stuff, to more people, more often. As an affiliate you have an advantage in that you have tens of thousands of products to choose from. That means you have “more stuff” to sell. Compare that with a product creator that may be able to create and sell a product every six months.

No special skills required – You will eventually need and develop skills, however you don’t need a special degree or years of experience. With affiliate marketing you can focus on acquiring the skills of selling and marketing while you work towards earning commissions.

Low Startup costs

If you begin with a bare-bones setup you can get going for about $20 – that a registered domain name and website hosting. You can install WordPress for free, and it’s simple. And you’re ready to begin putting together your first campaign.

No required support

Trust me, this is a huge one unless you love dealing with generally unhappy people that want things fixed that you don’t get paid for. Your job is to influence people and send traffic. That’s it and it makes affiliate marketing a potentially ‘set it and forget it’ business model.

Company of One

You don’t need a staff. You don’t need an office space. You don’t need to take on any of the typical headaches that come along with most businesses. Of course there are affiliates out there who do employ a staff with office space, however most affiliates work on their own from home.

The Disadvantages

 

Someone else’s rules

Someone else makes the rules that you have to play by. Every advertiser is different. Some only care that you send them prospects while others are stringent about what you can and cannot do. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can be and it’s often a pain in the ass.

Usually no back-end

The Affiliate Black Book will teach you how to get in on back-end sales however it’s not always possible.

What’s a back-end sale?

Most affiliate offers run in the range of $7-50. The Advertiser will offer a high commission because they know the real money is in the “back-end”.

It’s works like this – you refer a prospect who purchases a $20 ebook. You receive 50% of the sales price, or $10. The Advertiser then offers the prospect, now customer, an additional product for $100 and you’re paid nothing. In effect the Advertiser made $110 and you made $10.

And that is not a great deal . . . for you.

Assuming all risk

I’ve never met an affiliate who realizes this, but affiliates take almost all of the risk.

For the advertiser they’re receiving free traffic; they only pay you if a sale occurs, meaning they don’t send a dime to you until after they’ve put money in their own pockets.

Merchant keeps customer

In most situations you never know who’s purchased a product and who hasn’t. (There is software like Affiliate Trax that work on specific platforms only).

If you’re not bothering to build a list then this is a non-issue; you wouldn’t keep anyone.

But if you are building a list, and you should be, then you’re losing (or more accurately, sharing) your best subscribers – the ones who buy stuff.

The advertiser can then sell anything they like to that person and in 95% of instances you’ll be paid nothing.

Plus, with each list the person lands on the more pieces of the pie you’ll be sharing.

Not all sales are tracked

In 2006, priced at $197, the Adwords Black Book was released and 521 copies were sold in 3 weeks.

I used a tracking platform, which I shall not name, that tracked about 65% of sales to my affiliates.

But here’s the thing – I began with no list, no advertising, no existing traffic, or following, or anything.

Logically that means nearly 100% of sales came from affiliates. A handful of people did come across the site and purchase before affiliates became active but at least 90% of sales should have been attributed to affiliates.

In my experience 25% of sales generated by affiliates are not credited to them.

This happens for a variety of reasons and therefore methods have been developed to decrease that number in our favor.

Required Knowledge

 

CPA (Cost per action)

CPA is often meant to describe a program that pays a fee when an action is taken, like filling out a form.

More broadly, however, it applies to most merchant/affiliate relationships. A set fee or percentage is paid to the affiliate as a referral commission when a sale occurs.

I managed an affiliate program where we had two CPA offers. The first was on the order of a demo CD that we paid $1 to affiliate for. The second was a 12% commission on a $197 product.

CPL (Cost Per Lead)

Oddly CPL is what most people actually mean when they say ‘CPA’. CPL has become enormously popular because they’re easier to convert.

The caution here to recognize many CPL programs pay-out from $1-5. To earn any significant money you’ll need a lot of traffic and therefore you’ll need a lot of money that you can risk losing.

CPC

Cost per Click is used by ad networks such as Google Adsense. As the name implies the ‘publisher’ is paid each time someone clicks on a link or a banner.

CPM

Cost per Mille, or Cost per Thousand works similarly to CPC except that the advertiser is paid per 1000 ad impressions.

With CPC, if a click is .25 and you receive 0 clicks from 1000 impressions then you’re am paid nothing. With CPM if you display 1000 impressions then you’ll be paid whatever the going rate is – say $5.00.

Does that mean CPM is better? No. You need to watch your numbers. If you generate more than 20 clicks from 1000 impressions then CPC would be better (21 clicks x 0.25=$5.25).

 

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate Tools

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Affiliate Training

The Consumer: The customer or consumer makes the affiliate system go ’round. Without sales, there aren’t any commissions to hand out and no revenue to be shared.

The affiliate will try to market to the consumer on whatever channel they see fit, whether that’s a social networkdigital billboards or through a search engine using content marketing on a blog.

Whether the consumer knows that they are part of an affiliate marketing system or not is mostly up to the affiliate.

Some choose to let their consumers know and more and more affiliates tend to be transparent about their marketing being incentivized financially, but others don’t.

They let the tracking system work in the background, where the customer can follow the purchase process just as usual and the affiliate still ends up being paid a commission.

The consumer will not typically pay a higher price to the affiliate marketer, as the cost of the affiliate network is already included in the retail price.

The Network: Only some consider the network part of the affiliate marketing equation.  But, I believe that an affiliate marketing guide needs to include networks, because, in many cases, a network works as an intermediary between the affiliate and the merchant.

While you could technically promote an online course someone has created and just arrange a direct revenue share with them, letting a network such as ClickBank or Commission Junction handle the payment and product delivery puts a more serious note on your affiliate marketing.

Sometimes, affiliates have to go through an affiliate network to even be able to promote the product.  For example, this happens if the merchant only manages their affiliate program on that network.

The affiliate network then also serves as a database of lots of products, out of which the affiliate marketer can choose which to promote.

A word about cookies

In case you’re wondering, there are a couple of ways these cookies can and will disappear:

  1. If the buyer clears the cookies in their browser, either manually or using a tool such as CCleaner.
  2. If the cookie expires. Most affiliate networks work with a 30-day cookie period as standard. MoreNiche is slightly different as the vast majority of our advertisers offer lifetime cookies. (That’s not the only reason we’re great – keep reading to find out more!)

Advantages for affiliates

The advantages of the affiliate marketing business model for the affiliate are quite obvious to anyone. Having the opportunity to effectively ‘sell stock’ without having any of the costs or responsibilities of manufacturing, buying or storing it is very liberating. In addition to this, when working with a high-paying network like MoreNiche, the profit potential is enormous.

If approached correctly, this can eventually turn into an almost passive income. While it’s likely you’ll always need (and want) to keep your eye on the ball, if you can get the business bringing in a substantial income, you may be able to outsource many of the routine tasks to freelancers in the long term.

Where many people stumble, however, is in believing that success in affiliate marketing is quick and easy. It’s not. It takes many hours of learning, commitment and a willingness to adapt to bring the best out of every changing situation.

Aside from the obvious advantages of running your own business, being able to work online from anywhere at any time, and having the freedom to choose just how hard you work, there are a few other perks. Affiliates with a strong social following (also known as influencers) can expect to receive freebies from advertisers looking to boost their brand awareness.

If an affiliate’s website is generic, such as a health and beauty blog, the possibilities are endless: from beauty creams to entire pampering sets, if you can give a company enough exposure, they will be begging you to trial their products for free!

Advantages for advertisers

Many advertisers are unaware of the potential of the affiliate marketing business model for their own businesses, in fact, most small businesses have never heard of it. But imagine marketing your products only to interested people for no upfront fee. Paying only when you get results is a risk-free way of advertising that requires no marketing budget to get started. As you can imagine, this is great for any start-up business with little funding for marketing their new brand.

Not only this, but what could be better than having hundreds, if not thousands of websites promoting your product? This is the perfect way to get people talking about your products, buying your products and generally just getting your brand ‘out there’.

How much can you earn from affiliate marketing?

This is a ‘How long’s a piece of string?’ question. Your income as a beginner affiliate will depend massively on several factors:

  1. The efficiency and reliability of the affiliate network you work with.
  2. The commission levels and conversion rates of the advertisers you work with.
  3. Your level of commitment.
  4. Your depth of knowledge and willingness to learn everything about your niche in order to succeed.

Networks and commissions vary widely. New affiliates could take over a year to make their first sale, but with the correct training (which MoreNiche provides for free) and persistence, you could earn anything between $5 and $100 per sale from products on our network!

It’s easy to see how this can add up to some pretty impressive earnings. Some of our top affiliates earn in excess of $8000 per week! Who needs to be Walter White when you can earn this much legitimately, online, from anywhere in the world?

Sounds great! Shall I hand my notice in now?

No. Before you get too excited, you must understand one very important thing. Affiliate marketing for beginners can be hard. It is, after all, a business. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and no honest affiliate manager will ever tell you it is. It requires patience, perseverance and heaps of learning. Sometimes it can take years to achieve the results you really want to see, although with the help of our affiliate management team, we hope you would see them much sooner than that!

Affiliate marketing isn’t something you can just walk straight into from your day job. All affiliates we know started off doing it as a sideline, and unless you have huge reserves of money to live on, it’s likely you’ll need to do the same.

Do I need to buy an affiliate marketing for beginners guide?

The simple answer to this is no, not if you’re working with MoreNiche! We can provide you with all the training and advice you’ll need to succeed with our advertisers.

7 reasons why so many people try and fail at affiliate marketing

Too many people start out in affiliate marketing with crazy ambitions such as dreaming they will earn £20,000 in their first year and be able to quit their job after 12 months. While it’s technically possible for this to happen, it’s not typical.

Are you an expert in conversion optimisation, sales funnels, SEO, website building, copywriting and proofreading? If so, you have a better chance than most newcomers. Chances are, if you’ve only just heard about affiliate marketing, you don’t have all or even any of these skills just yet. In this case, settle down for the long haul. This is going to take some time, but you will get there – as long as you don’t give up along the way!

  1. Lack of patience is the number one reason new affiliates fail in their endeavours. Set up your site and build on it. Just an hour each day may be all you can afford to give to begin with, but be patient and give it a chance. All good things come to those who wait.
  1. Lack of quality content is another stumbling block for many new affiliates. Your generic content needs to be both highly relevant and of excellent quality. Want to promote bodybuilding products, but know nothing about bodybuilding? Hire a writer, become an expert or choose a different niche! There is no in-between.
  1. Trying to cut corners with marketing methods is a huge no-no in affiliate marketing. By cutting corners, we’re talking specifically about black hat SEO. Get banned by Google, and you’ll be spending your time building a new site. Don’t learn from your mistakes, learn right now. Blackhat SEO only ever leads to a broken site. Google will hunt you down, and it will punish you!
  1. Not promoting the right products is a common issue with newbie affiliates. Would you purchase the product you are promoting through a website? Think about it. You can advertise a Ford dealership on your website until the cows come home, but will anyone seriously purchase a brand new car via a website without visiting a garage? I don’t think so. Don’t market cars, houses, wedding venues, perfume or dogs online. Do market products people will actually buy from a website without seeing them in the flesh!
  1. Many affiliates struggle to make enough profit from the sales they make to allow them to reinvest that money into more content or marketing. Once you do find a product that people can and will buy online, make sure it offers enough commission per sale to make it worth your while. There’s little sense in promoting light bulbs for 1% profit per sale.
  1. At the same time, go for an advertiser offering a long cookie period. If those light bulbs come with a 24-hour cookie period, you’d be quite lucky to make any sales in your first year!
  1. Too much too soon. Stick to one website to begin with. Don’t get distracted by shiny new niches. This will only dilute your efforts. It’s absolutely not a waste of time to spend hours on end researching the very best niche for you to enter into. The commission, cookies, product and even the advertiser’s website all have to be excellent. The last thing you want to do is invest money in creating your own site only to send visitors to an advertiser’s site that barely converts a single sale. Would you buy from the advertiser’s site? Question everything before you spend a single penny on building your new site.

Reasons affiliates succeed

We’re often asked, what is affiliate marketing all about? Show me someone who’s actually made some money in it! Well, we have several super affiliates on our network. They now earn enough through MoreNiche to work on their affiliate websites full time. And they all have several things in common.

Our top affiliates are:

  • Passionate about their website, its visitors and their brand.
  • Concerned about whether or not their site is genuinely helpful to their audience.
  • Committed to making it work, even if that means sacrificing their free time after they get home from their day job.
  • Willing to learn anything and everything that crops up along the way which challenges their abilities.

Could you be our next top affiliate?

A word about cookies

In case you’re wondering, there are a couple of ways these cookies can and will disappear:

  1. If the buyer clears the cookies in their browser, either manually or using a tool such as CCleaner.
  2. If the cookie expires. Most affiliate networks work with a 30-day cookie period as standard. MoreNiche is slightly different as the vast majority of our advertisers offer lifetime cookies. (That’s not the only reason we’re great – keep reading to find out more!)

Advantages for affiliates

The advantages of the affiliate marketing business model for the affiliate are quite obvious to anyone. Having the opportunity to effectively ‘sell stock’ without having any of the costs or responsibilities of manufacturing, buying or storing it is very liberating. In addition to this, when working with a high-paying network like MoreNiche, the profit potential is enormous.

If approached correctly, this can eventually turn into an almost passive income. While it’s likely you’ll always need (and want) to keep your eye on the ball, if you can get the business bringing in a substantial income, you may be able to outsource many of the routine tasks to freelancers in the long term.

Where many people stumble, however, is in believing that success in affiliate marketing is quick and easy. It’s not. It takes many hours of learning, commitment and a willingness to adapt to bring the best out of every changing situation.

Aside from the obvious advantages of running your own business, being able to work online from anywhere at any time, and having the freedom to choose just how hard you work, there are a few other perks. Affiliates with a strong social following (also known as influencers) can expect to receive freebies from advertisers looking to boost their brand awareness.

If an affiliate’s website is generic, such as a health and beauty blog, the possibilities are endless: from beauty creams to entire pampering sets, if you can give a company enough exposure, they will be begging you to trial their products for free!

Advantages for advertisers

Many advertisers are unaware of the potential of the affiliate marketing business model for their own businesses, in fact, most small businesses have never heard of it. But imagine marketing your products only to interested people for no upfront fee. Paying only when you get results is a risk-free way of advertising that requires no marketing budget to get started. As you can imagine, this is great for any start-up business with little funding for marketing their new brand.

Not only this, but what could be better than having hundreds, if not thousands of websites promoting your product? This is the perfect way to get people talking about your products, buying your products and generally just getting your brand ‘out there’.

How much can you earn from affiliate marketing?

This is a ‘How long’s a piece of string?’ question. Your income as a beginner affiliate will depend massively on several factors:

  1. The efficiency and reliability of the affiliate network you work with.
  2. The commission levels and conversion rates of the advertisers you work with.
  3. Your level of commitment.
  4. Your depth of knowledge and willingness to learn everything about your niche in order to succeed.

Networks and commissions vary widely. New affiliates could take over a year to make their first sale, but with the correct training (which MoreNiche provides for free) and persistence, you could earn anything between $5 and $100 per sale from products on our network!

It’s easy to see how this can add up to some pretty impressive earnings. Some of our top affiliates earn in excess of $8000 per week! Who needs to be Walter White when you can earn this much legitimately, online, from anywhere in the world?

Sounds great! Shall I hand my notice in now?

No. Before you get too excited, you must understand one very important thing. Affiliate marketing for beginners can be hard. It is, after all, a business. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and no honest affiliate manager will ever tell you it is. It requires patience, perseverance and heaps of learning. Sometimes it can take years to achieve the results you really want to see, although with the help of our affiliate management team, we hope you would see them much sooner than that!

Affiliate marketing isn’t something you can just walk straight into from your day job. All affiliates we know started off doing it as a sideline, and unless you have huge reserves of money to live on, it’s likely you’ll need to do the same.

Do I need to buy an affiliate marketing for beginners guide?

The simple answer to this is no, not if you’re working with MoreNiche! We can provide you with all the training and advice you’ll need to succeed with our advertisers.

7 reasons why so many people try and fail at affiliate marketing

Too many people start out in affiliate marketing with crazy ambitions such as dreaming they will earn £20,000 in their first year and be able to quit their job after 12 months. While it’s technically possible for this to happen, it’s not typical.

Are you an expert in conversion optimisation, sales funnels, SEO, website building, copywriting and proofreading? If so, you have a better chance than most newcomers. Chances are, if you’ve only just heard about affiliate marketing, you don’t have all or even any of these skills just yet. In this case, settle down for the long haul. This is going to take some time, but you will get there – as long as you don’t give up along the way!

  1. Lack of patience is the number one reason new affiliates fail in their endeavours. Set up your site and build on it. Just an hour each day may be all you can afford to give to begin with, but be patient and give it a chance. All good things come to those who wait.
  1. Lack of quality content is another stumbling block for many new affiliates. Your generic content needs to be both highly relevant and of excellent quality. Want to promote bodybuilding products, but know nothing about bodybuilding? Hire a writer, become an expert or choose a different niche! There is no in-between.
  1. Trying to cut corners with marketing methods is a huge no-no in affiliate marketing. By cutting corners, we’re talking specifically about black hat SEO. Get banned by Google, and you’ll be spending your time building a new site. Don’t learn from your mistakes, learn right now. Blackhat SEO only ever leads to a broken site. Google will hunt you down, and it will punish you!
  1. Not promoting the right products is a common issue with newbie affiliates. Would you purchase the product you are promoting through a website? Think about it. You can advertise a Ford dealership on your website until the cows come home, but will anyone seriously purchase a brand new car via a website without visiting a garage? I don’t think so. Don’t market cars, houses, wedding venues, perfume or dogs online. Do market products people will actually buy from a website without seeing them in the flesh!
  1. Many affiliates struggle to make enough profit from the sales they make to allow them to reinvest that money into more content or marketing. Once you do find a product that people can and will buy online, make sure it offers enough commission per sale to make it worth your while. There’s little sense in promoting light bulbs for 1% profit per sale.
  1. At the same time, go for an advertiser offering a long cookie period. If those light bulbs come with a 24-hour cookie period, you’d be quite lucky to make any sales in your first year!
  1. Too much too soon. Stick to one website to begin with. Don’t get distracted by shiny new niches. This will only dilute your efforts. It’s absolutely not a waste of time to spend hours on end researching the very best niche for you to enter into. The commission, cookies, product and even the advertiser’s website all have to be excellent. The last thing you want to do is invest money in creating your own site only to send visitors to an advertiser’s site that barely converts a single sale. Would you buy from the advertiser’s site? Question everything before you spend a single penny on building your new site.

Reasons affiliates succeed

We’re often asked, what is affiliate marketing all about? Show me someone who’s actually made some money in it! Well, we have several super affiliates on our network. They now earn enough through MoreNiche to work on their affiliate websites full time. And they all have several things in common.

Our top affiliates are:

  • Passionate about their website, its visitors and their brand.
  • Concerned about whether or not their site is genuinely helpful to their audience.
  • Committed to making it work, even if that means sacrificing their free time after they get home from their day job.
  • Willing to learn anything and everything that crops up along the way which challenges their abilities.

Could you be our next top affiliate?

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