What is affiliate marketing and how does it work? This is a simple guide for complete beginners.
Gosh, where do we start with affiliate marketing?
“The very beginning!” you say.
Ok then, that’s where we’ll start.😊Those who understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works, feel free to skip past this section. We want to explain it so that beginners will understand the ins and outs.
Affiliate Marketing, In A Nutshell, Is A Company Paying You Commission to Promote Their Products.
It works like this:
- You sign up to become an affiliate with a certain company.
- They offer you a (usually) small commission to promote their products, giving you a special link (affiliate link) to share with people.
- Someone clicks on your link and buys said product/s.
- The price to them is what it would ordinarily be (so they aren’t paying more) but the company give a small percentage of the selling price to you.
Why Do Companies Do This And Not Just Promote Their Own Products?
It’s simple really – cost and spread / reach.
Here’s an example. They could spend £1,000 on advertising and reach perhaps 10,000 people. But if they have 20 affiliates and each of those people advertise their links to 1000 people, then the spread is already 20,000. Say the product they’re selling costs £20 and they pay their affiliates a very generous 10% commission. (Most companies pay less than this but some do pay more.) Their cost in this example would be £2 per affiliate, so £2 x 20 = £40. See where we are going with this? Advertising can be notoriously expensive, so using affiliate marketers is a much cheaper option for companies.
This is why big influencers on social media can charge anything up to an incredible £40,000 (!) for an Instagram grid post or series of Instagram stories! Some of the big companies will pay a lot. They are happy to pay that because it’s still cheaper than trying to get their advert out to as big an audience as that of an influencer. Newspaper, magazine and TV advertising costs thousands (in some cases, hundreds of thousands), so it’s easy to see why companies are more and more often going down the affiliate route.
How Do You Get Involved In Affiliate Marketing?
It’s surprisingly simple!
- Sign up to some affiliate sites (we’ll discuss these in more detail later)
- Decide which products you want to advertise
- Advertise said products (on your blog, website or social media)
- Drive traffic to your adverts! (Traffic = people/customers)
That’s it, in a nutshell. It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. And you’re not going to make a fortune overnight. Ignore the people who promise you instant riches. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Speak to most marketers and they will tell you that the hardest part of affiliate marketing is getting enough traffic to their offers.
You can buy traffic (this deserves a post of its own so we’ll cover it another time) but the absolute best way of driving traffic is to build a customer base. If you’re doing this on social media, it can seem hard. You may think you need millions of followers in order to be given freebies to ‘test and promote’, or discount codes (earning you commission in some cases), but you really don’t.
Many really big social media accounts have bought followers, sometimes in huge quantities.* It doesn’t take a genius to take a look through their follower lists and spot all the ‘bots’ or fake accounts. However, there are many people making a good living on social media with much smaller follower numbers. Usually their success comes down to one thing: engagement.
Again, this is something that needs its own post. For information on how to avoid using affiliate links, you can read our article about it here.
We would love you to follow us on our social media accounts so please do come and say hi! Our main business account is EasyPeasySuccess, you can find Nikki here and Gill here. (Gill is also at Perfectly Organised, although it’s currently not being updated – but it will be, soon.)
If You’re Listening, Instagram …
*As an aside, we both wish Instagram would find a way to remove all bought followers! It would certainly show some people up to be the cheats that they are, and would surprise a lot of their real followers! That’s just for starters. We’d also love to see some form of ID required to start an Instagram account. Surely that would weed out the majority of fakes? It’s a daily battle to remove fake followers and it’s so annoying!
The alternative is to make profiles private so followers have to request to follow you, but that doesn’t really help when you’re trying to grow your account.
There are websites out there where you can enter an Instagram user name and find out how genuine their following list actually is. We won’t advertise them here though, nor will we name names – it’s not our place. Do your own due diligence and don’t believe everything you see. We know we don’t need to tell you that, though.😉