Affiliate Marketing: Is it worth the hassle?

Rana Hassan

Oct 9, 2022

Over the past few years, digital marketing has evolved and flourished like never before. Among this evolution, affiliate marketing came to light and has grown tremendously ever since. Even though affiliate marketing is now considered a crucial and essential part of the success of any business, a lot of misconceptions and confusion circle around this marketing model and people frequently question if it is worth the hassle and the money.



In order to be able to answer this question, one must first understand the concept of the affiliate marketing model. In its simplest sense, affiliate marketing is an advertising process where you as an affiliate earn money for promoting the company’s products or services on your platform. The compensation can be dependent on the number of sales generated by this promotion, the number of individual leads generated, or simply per the number of orders placed. It can be further simplified by the diagram below. 


Now that the affiliate marketing model is understood, it is important to know the aspects that make an affiliate successful. When picking an affiliate, one must consider the need of the brand as well as the target audience one is trying to reach. This is important due to the fact that an affiliate must communicate the right information about the company as well as the product to the right group of people, only then will the company see results and consider this a successful business partnership. In addition to that, the company must research two things, first the affiliate’s platform and second the quality of traffic that exists. If the affiliate is not offering creative content that is authentic and relevant to the target audience then this will greatly affect the success of your affiliate marketing. Moreover, if the quality of traffic present is not what you are looking for as a company then you will not be able to reach your niche. To sum up, there is no doubt that affiliate marketing is essential for your business. However the company must closely research the affiliates pool and pick an affiliate that can well represent the company and its products. If this is well achieved, then affiliate marketing will not only be successful but it might greatly transform your sales and growth. 



Types of Affiliate Marketing



  1. Websites

With the main aim of creating a huge amount of traffic, these websites create and build an audience of millions. They do so by using banners and contextual affiliate links attached to their webpages. This type of affiliate marketing offers brands great exposure and generates conversion, resulting in massive revenue for both the seller and the affiliate. These types of affiliates are also beneficial when it comes to talking about the company and sharing reviews about the products. All that is needed is to share with them a sample of the product and they will find the best method to promote it to your audience. 

  1. Influencers

Influencers tend to hold the power to impact the purchasing decision of a wide number of people. They have an impressive amount of platform followers hence it is easy for them to direct the targeted audience to the seller’s website or products. They do so through their social media platforms, blogs or any other interactions they have built with their followers. Influencers marketing campaigns are usually popular on Instagram where brands collaborate with influencers who are seen as experts or specialists in their specific niches. The paid campaign could include a product review with photos of the product, account takeovers, or even live videos. Due to its popularity, using influencers is the most used affiliate marketing technique nowadays and can be further divided into three types.

  1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing: This advertising model is applied when the affiliate or influencer has no connection to the product or service being promoted. Hence, they have no related skill or experience with the product. 

 

  1. Related Affiliate Marketing: As its name implies, related affiliate marketing is a model used when the affiliate promotes a product or service where they can relate to the product in a certain sense. Usually, the relevance is due to the affiliate's niche (audience) and the product or service being promoted. The affiliate has enough influence and skill to generate traffic, and their level of authority makes them a trusted source to their audience. The affiliate, however, makes no claims about the use of the product or service. 

  2. Involved Affiliate Marketing: This type of marketing is established due to a deeper connection between the affiliate and the product or service they're promoting. They have used or use the product and are confident that their positive experiences can be shared by others. Their experiences are the advertisements, and they serve as trusted sources of information. However, because they're providing recommendations, their reputation may be compromised with any problems arising from the product or service. 

  1. Bloggers

Using bloggers to promote products or services is a great way to rank organically in search engines and accordingly increase conversions. 

 

With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site.

The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales. For example, my article on the best email marketing software includes product reviews and affiliate links throughout. 

  1.   Coupon - Site Programs

Most people nowadays are on the lookout for coupon sites as it is essential for your business. However, these sites can be described as double edged swords with equal advantages and disadvantages. The clear advantage is that it is almost guaranteed to increase traffic to your website hence increasing your overall revenue. On the other hand, the disadvantages of working with a coupon site as an affiliate is that they will capitalize on the organic rankings that are related to your company’s name as well as the word “coupon code”. In conclusion, these sites tend to have a wide established member base that accordingly is very beneficial to your business thus improving your conversion rate as well as revenue stream. Such an advantage makes it important to overlook the disadvantages of working with coupon sites. 

  1.  Review-site Programs

These types of affiliates tend to build websites that will review up to six different advertisements in a particular niche. Most of these sites are used by hosts dealing with dating companies, flower companies, phone companies or any other that requires taking more than 4 advertisers. The affiliate will get their commission when they refer the business to the advertisement. 

  1.  Loyalty Portals 

Loyalty portals are simply companies that have a large membership base and can advertise your offer to their members. In order to induce loyalty and trust within their members, these companies tend to imply a cash back policy to any offer advertised. 

 

  1.  Incentive Programs 

Like any other program, incentive programs have both advantages and disadvantages. With incentive programs your traffic will increase however due to the fact that people are interacting with your advertisement only due to the given points, the quality of leads and sales will drop. 

 

How do I become an Affiliate Marketer?

If you are interested in the previously explained online model,  you are probably wondering right now how one can become an affiliate marketer and where to start. Below we present to you a step by step guide to help you start your journey as an affiliate marketer.

  1. Choose a Niche

Every affiliate marketer has a niche in which they aim to inspire and influence their audience. Don’t try to overextend yourself into too many niches, try to find a niche that you are passionate about and focus on growing in that niche. Accordingly, finding out who you are going to target and promote to is essentially the first step to consider. This may sound simple however if you choose a wrong niche it will be harder to sell and thus your efforts may go to waste. Choosing the right niche makes the process much easier. So how do you find the right niche for you? It starts with a small self assessment. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What am I as a person passionate about?

  • Are people interested in the chosen niche?

  • How is the competition in my niche?

  • Are there existing affiliate programs that work in my chosen niche?

These questions will help guide you into the decision of whether the product or service you choose is one you’d like to promote regularly. 

  1. Evaluate Market Demand 

Once you have chosen your niche, you need to evaluate the market demand for it. By doing so, you are studying your target market’s willingness to pay for certain products. Once you are well aware of their behavior, then you can start promoting products that you are confident will create conversions and hence make you earn commission. But where do you start?

The best known tool to analyze the demand for a product or service is Google Trends. This tool gives you the data that explains the type of topics Google users look for on a 0 - 100 scale. Along with that, it offers you regional breakdown insights and more suggested topics as well. By plugging in the niche products you’re willing to promote, you can easily track if there is consistent demand over the years for it. This test is one of the most consistent ones you need to use to assess which affiliate products to sell. Many products are most likely to have a moderate degree of consistency with spikes around the holiday season. 

  1. Analyze The Competition

The next step after choosing your niche and evaluating the demand for it would be to study the competition in this niche and there are few ways to do so. One easy and simple way to do this is to use keyword research like “Ubersuggest” to see how competitive particular Google searches are. It is also quite simple to use, you plug in the search word and then click “look up” to see your results. Moreover, the website also gives you an indicator showing how strong is the competition relative to your keyword. 

This step is crucial to your success. For instance, a niche with big competition and little demand is definitely one you should avoid getting into. 

 

  1. Research Affiliate Programs 

Now that you’ve chosen your niche and analyzed the market’s demand and competition, it’s time to see which affiliate program can help you promote your products. Affiliate marketing programs act as a mediator between merchants and affiliates to connect them together and create a beneficial relationship between them. 

There is an essential checklist that you as a potential affiliate need to go through when choosing the right affiliate program for you:

  • Which merchants am I willing to work with and their according affiliate program?

  • How much commission will you receive from the affiliate program?

  • Would you like to be associated with the affiliate program and the brands they deal with?

  • How does the affiliate program support me? 

Make sure that you research the available programs well and thoroughly as the program you are associated with can make or break your success as an affiliate marketer. 

 

  1. Pick your affiliate marketing method 

Two of the most popular methods that affiliate marketers use include:

  1. Making websites, Blogs & marketplaces

  2. Running paid ads

Whether you are working with a high or low commission affiliate program, a website can help you tremendously into becoming the successful affiliate you want to be. In addition to that, having your own website helps add to your resume when looking for future job opportunities related to affiliate marketing. So first, let us start with taking you step by step on how you can build your own website. 

When searching for an option to build your website, you will be faced with many similar options. Should you choose a free one like Wix.com or Wordpress.com? Or should you choose to have your own hosting service? While a free website can be a good option, choosing the hosting option is also beneficial as long as it offers you a reliable service and good experience all around. 

Many of the hosting companies you will find will be offering the following services:

  • Reliable hosting

  • A domain name

  • A professional email address

And although the process may be overwhelming, some of these hosting companies actually offer you step by step tutorials to help you start making the process a smooth one. 

When creating a blog for instance, your main concern should be in choosing a template that is user friendly and eye-catching. Now that you have created your website and chosen the right template and theme, all you have to do is make sure that the design is to your liking. You can do so by adding a few stock photos or customizing your own and making sure that the website communicates clearly what you are offering to your audience. From there it’s time to create the content that you want to share with your audience.

6.  Create and Publish High Quality Content

Creating high quality content is not only essential but crucial to your success as an affiliate marketer. The internet is best described as a wide collection of content leading to a lot of noise for any user. In order to break the noise, you must create content that is valuable, different & most importantly eye catching. When thinking about the type of content you’ll need to share as an affiliate marketer, there are three types that are most popular and have shown great success results over time. 

  1. Product Reviews

One of the most effective and successful content strategies is to give reviews on the products and services of your niche. Brands invest greatly in this strategy as it is considered a very profitable approach. By building a credible and trustworthy relationship with your audience, you can guarantee that with every product purchase your audience will pay a visit to your platform increasing your income. 

  1. Blog Posts

Blog posts are known to be another great way to build trust and credibility with your niche audience. To add to that, blog posts can be a successful way to increase sales and hence make you a successful affiliate marketer. Firstly, you need to understand the problems and questions your target audience are raising and make recommendations accordingly. 

In order for blog posts to be successful, consistency is key. You need to be able to post blogs consistently to provide your readers with solutions and recommendations of high value. Hence, if you are struggling with building a reviews website; blog posts are your go to. By posting tips & tricks as well as recommendations you can build a solid audience guaranteeing a source of income over time. 

  1. Guides

The last type of content that you can create as an affiliate marketer is creation of guides. These guides provide informational tips & tricks to your niche’s concern. Similar to blogs and reviews, guides can increase your income greatly if you provide valuable content that makes your audience come back for more information. The more purchases people make through your recommendation and guide, the higher your commission will be. 

 

How Much Money Can I Make?

Now that it is clear that the process of becoming an affiliate marketer isn’t an easy one, you might ask yourself if the commission in return is worth the hassle. As shown in the graph below, average annual affiliate income is $52,750. The lower 10% of affiliate marketers earn $39,000, and the upper 10% earn $73,000. Even though these statistics vary due to experience, the chosen affiliate program and the niche you are targeting, it is clear that affiliate marketing is definitely worth the hassle in relation to the income in return. 

marketing tool for you as a business to be more profitable and increase your sales as well as your awareness. On the other hand, for a marketer, affiliate marketing will create a flow of income that is worth the hassle and time. The most crucial aspect is to pick an affiliate program that supports your niche’s demand and support you as an affiliate through the process of online marketing.