What is affiliate marketing?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

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When talking about ways you can make money online, it should be considered almost a sin if someone doesn’t mention affiliate marketing.

In fact, just google affiliate marketing up, and you’ll see more than a handful of people practically swearing by its effectiveness in generating passive income.

And nowadays, affiliate marketing in Malaysia is starting to boom, with companies like Shoppee and Lazada joining in with their own affiliate programs.

But what is affiliate marketing?

Well, I can give you the long winded definition, but no one wants to know that. Simply put, affiliate marketing is simply the practice of getting commission on a sale.

The way it works is simple; you introduce your readers to products and services from companies, and you get a commission for any sale that those customers make.

Here’s an example; let’s say you are a food blogger, and your readers have been asking for you to recommend a great food delivery website.

Here’s an example from the tech reviewing website, TheWireCutter.com. See the words in red? That’s what we call an affiliate link.

So, you recommend a website on your latest post, with an affiliate link that leads to the website, and if anyone clicks on that link and buys from them, you earn a commission.

That’s it! You are now making money through the affiliate link. Easy and simple right?

And the best thing is, if you have a wide enough reach you can post your affiliate links everywhere. Your email list? Sure! Your social media postings? Of course! The possibilities are endless.

And the possibilities are endless in terms of what products you can offer to your readers as well.

You can offer physical products, such as clothing and sporting items, or you can offer softwares, or you can also affiliate yourself with services, such as hosting services.

Hence why it is unthinkable to not mention affiliate marketing if you’re talking about passive income.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

In order to understand affiliate marketing, the first thing we need to identify is the parties involved in affiliate marketing. According to Wikipedia, there are four major players in every affiliate marketing industry.

  • The Merchant  

    Responsible for creating the product that is to be sold. They can be a solo entrepreneur or a massive corporation, but that doesn’t change that their contribution to the affiliate marketing industry is by providing the affiliate marketers with the products/services/tutorials they’re supposed to sell. 
  • The Network   

    The network is the people who handle the offers and the products that the publisher will be promoting with their affiliate links. They are also in charge of the payments for their affiliate marketers, which means different network will have different payment schemes or even payment scales. Prominent examples of an affiliate network includes Amazon Associates, ClickBank, and Rakuten Marketing.
  • The Publisher

      Another integral cog in the affiliate marketing industry is the publisher. Much like the Merchant, the Publisher can also be a massive company or just an individual. But the main difference between them, is that on the end of the Publisher is where the marketing happens.  Now the Publisher can market their products in a multitude of ways. One of the most popular ways to do it is by writing a review of the Merchant’s product on their blog/website.

  • The Customer

    And finally, arguably the driving force behind everything affiliate marketing is.  As it is probably quite clear, the Customer is the one who is the person/organisation responsible to buying the products marketed by the the Publisher. The ultimate goal to affiliate marketing is to convince the Customer to buy the products that are marketed. Everytime the Customer buys a product, the profit from the sales will be shared between the Publisher, the Network and the Merchant, depending on their arrangement.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Part of the reason why affiliate marketing in Malaysia is so enticing to those looking to make passive income is the fact that in the affiliate industry, payment is very straightforward, with no fuss entailed.

However, care must be taken as there are multiple payment schemes that are offered by various affiliate networks. Here are some of them.

Pay Per Sale 

 A pay per sale payment method means exactly what it implies. The Merchant/Network pays the Publisher every sales that their published link generates, according to a prearranged rate. This is by far the most popular payment scheme offered by most Networks.

Pay Per  Click

As opposed to Pay Per Sale, Pay Per Click only requires for the Customer to click on the affiliate link set up by the Publisher for it to start generating income. Although this sounds easier than Pay Per Sale, most of the time it doesn’t pay as much as other payment methods will.

Pay Per Lead

Now here’s where it gets a little complicated. Here, the Merchant/Network will only pay the Publisher  if they can lead the Customer into taking a specific action on the target site. Some of the actions include making a purchase or completing a contact form.

Why Be An Affiliate Marketer?

Now that you know everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, let’s move on to the next important question.

Why should you do affiliate marketing? Well, here are a few major reasons why you should jump on the affiliate marketing bandwagon.

Earn What You Work For

A regular job only pays you the same amount every month, no matter how hard you work. But that’s not the case in affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, the amount you can earn is directly proportional to how hard you work. The more effort you’re willing to put in, the more income you can generate.

Generate Passive Income

Earning money while you sleep. That’s the dream right? With affiliate marketing, that dream is reachable. Once you get to a point where all your campaigns are set up and successful, you will see that your links will be generating a steady flow of money for you. One of the greatest thing about affiliate marketing is that it does not need you to be in front of the computer at all times to continue making money.

Low Cost To Startup

Affiliate marketing costs very little to set up. This is unlike most businesses where you have to worry about the cost of running said business, the overhead, the profit margin, and everything else. With affiliate marketing, you only have to worry about the hosting cost of the website. Most affiliate networks don’t charge any fees to join, which means that the cost of running an affiliate link campaign is minimal at least.

Offers Flexibility And Freedom

With affiliate marketing, you are essentially working as a freelancer. Which means that you are free to work at anytime you want, anywhere you want. This makes it perfect for anyone who hates working in a structured environment such as an office with fixed office hours and such.

No Dealing With Customers

Let’s face it, one of the worse part of doing anything regarding selling is dealing with customers. Customers can be a handful, after all. But that’s the beauty of affiliate marketing. Your job is just to make the customers press the link. Then the customers are the merchant’s to deal with.

How To Set Up Your Own Affiliate Marketing Campaign

So now you’re convinced. You think that affiliate marketing and you is a match made in heaven,  and you want to get in on the action.

Just one problem though, you have no idea how to create start an affiliate marketing campaign.

Don’t worry. Here, we’ll be showing you how you can start your own affiliate campaign in just five simple steps.

Step One : Find Your Niche

One of the biggest mistakes some newbie affiliate marketer does is that they try to promote everything and anything out there under the sun. This is a mistake because it shows two things; one is that you have no specific focus, second is that you have no expertise. 

So, the better alternative is for you to pick a specific niche for you to focus in.

thisiswhyimbroke.com is a great example of a site focusing on a niche. In their case, they focus on novelty items as their niche.

But some caution needs to be exercised as well, as you can’t simply choose anything to be your niche. Here are a few things that you need to to pay special attention to when choosing your niche.

  • Are you passionate about the topic? – It’s always easier to write about something you’re passionate about. This ensures that you will not be running out of content in the future.
  • Is the niche profitable? – It doesn’t matter if you can write pages upon pages of content in that niche, if the niche is not profitable. Check if your niche is profitable enough.
  • Is this niche too crowded? – Sometimes even when you find a profitable niche that you’re passionate about, the niche is already overstuffed with other blogs and sites that cover the same topic. When this happens, try to reflect if you can offer something different.
  • Is there interest in products from your niche? – There are cases where a niche has a number of like minded followers, but none of them are interested in buying products from the niche. Try to avoid situations like this. 
  • Are there affiliate programs for your niche? – Now this is an important factor to consider because if there are no affiliate programs that sells product pertaining to your niche, things will be considerably harder for you. 

Once you chosen your niche, it’s time to go to the second step.

Step Two : Sign Up For Affiliate Programs

Now that you’ve identified your niche and the products that you want to promote on your site, it’s time to sign up for an affiliate program.

Clickbank is one of the biggest affiliate programs out there, and it offers a myriad of products, services, ebooks and more.

But how do you choose the right affiliate program for you? Here are a few things to consider

  • Check the other affiliate/merchants using the program – If you find that there are a lot of sites similar to you using that site, then you the program is probably right for you.
  • How much commission will you get per sale? – This is an important factor to consider as well. Of course, just how much commission is enough is a question for yourself, but remember not to be too greedy.
  • Does the program offer sufficient support? – This is important, especially for a newbie affiliate marketer. Without enough support and help, you’ll quickly find yourself swamped and dazed.

Nowadays, there are tonnes of affiliate program for you to choose from, so just choose whichever that fits your niche the best. If you need recommendations on the easiest affiliate programs for beginners, check this article out.

Step 3 : Set Up Your Site

If the first two steps are all about researching and planning your campaign, step three is where we’re finally putting it into action.

Now when we talk about building a site for affiliate marketing, most people will automatically box themselves in to blogs/websites. But those are not the only options you have.

MKBHD-what-is-affiliate-marketing
Here you can see popular Youtuber, Marques Brownlee using the Video description section to post his affiliate links.

The most important thing for you to remember is that as long as you can post your affiliate links there, then it works as a site. Twitter, Facebook, other social media, email list, website, Youtube channel, or even your Discord server, anything works.

But of course, the most traditional way is to set up your own website/blog. And the best way for newbies to create their own website is undoubtedly by using WordPress.

Then, here are the things you need to do to ensure your website thrives.

Buy A Domain Name – In order for your website to standout and look professional, you need to purchase a domain name. A good domain name is very important, and you want a name that’s catchy and memorable.

Purchase And Set Up Hosting –  To the uninitiated, web hosting services might seem minor in the grand scheme of things. But that’s where they’re mistaken. A good hosting service is imperative to ensure that your website is able to withstand the server load and is accessible at all times. So don’t skimp on getting a good hosting service. If you need tips on choosing hosting services, head over to Best Hosting. Here, you can find tips and reviews to help you find the hosting service most suitable for you.

Install A Content Management Service – Now that your website is set up, install a content management service to help you keep your content manageable. Here, WordPress is recommended again, as it is easy and convenient for everyone to use.

Choose A Theme – A theme is very important because this determines how your website looks. An ugly and cumbersome website will never be able to attract readers, no matter how good your content is.  Mobile responsiveness needs to be considered as well, as mobile browsing is getting bigger and bigger now.

Now your website is ready to go, let’s move on to the next step.

Step 4 : Creating Quality Content

If you want to jump in the affiliate marketing industry, there’s one phase that you need to know.

“Content is King”

Although this sentence is quite tired and overplayed to the point of being a boring cliche now, the truth is it’s still undeniably relevant. 

Hence, in order to ensure your affiliate marketing program thrives, you need to create quality, unique, and engaging content.

Some types of content that you can create includes;

Relevant Blogposts – Here, blogposts doesn’t mean blogposts about your life and anything like that. You should write blogposts that are relevant to your audience and your niche. This can be about issues pertaining your niche, common problems, tricks and tricks, and more.

Product Reviews – This is by far the easiest way to integrate affiliate links. So, if your niche allows you to review products, then you should definitely do it! Remember to keep your reviews fair and unbiased, and never review products you don’t use yourself.

Evergreen Content – Evergreen content basically means content that stays relevant, even throughout the years. Although planning an writing this type of content might be a bit hard, it helps your website tremendously when you manage to come up with one.

Informational Products Giveaway – Most successful affiliate marketers use this tactic. How they do it is they give away a free informational product such as an e-book, a mini course, or an email series in exchange for the reader’s email address.

Step 5 : Gain An Audience

Of course, what’s the use of the best website in the world if you don’t have any audience right? Which is why the next step in creating an affiliate marketing campaign is by gaining an audience for yourself.

Here’s a few ways you can do this;

Social Media Marketing : Social media marketing is one of the easiest ways to promote your website. Just ask your friends to read it and spread the word around. This method might not be that reliable, but it’s free. So it’s better if you do it rather than not.

Write Guest Posts On Popular Blogs : This is where having other websites in your niche comes in handy. Get in touch with them, and ask to write a free guest post for them. Here, you can promote your website and gain an audience as well.

SEO : It’s important for you to SEO your website as well. You should utilize basic SEO techniques so that Google will be able to discover and index your website. Keep your website as organic as possible.

Utilize Paid Advertising : Although it might be a little costly, paid advertising can pay dividends for you and your website. One of the best paid advertising campaigns to start with is Google Adwords.

Now you have your website, you have your audience, it’s time to get with the program, and put in the affiliate links.

But you can’t just put in your links haphazardly, there are proper ways of integrating your affiliate links as well.

Here are some of them;

Banner Ads – The most important thing to remember if you’re utilizing banner ads is to always keep it as non-intrusive as possible. The idea is for it to be visible and eyecatching, but not to the point where it disturbs the user experience on your site.

Email Promotions – Remember when we gave away free informational products for the reader’s email address? Here’s where it pays off. Use the email addresses you got from your readers to promote your affiliate links. Just don’t be sleazy with it or they’ll quickly relegate you to their spam folder.

Integrated Text Links – Probably the most common way to promote affiliate offers, this way relies on you being as smooth and natural as possible. If properly and smoothly integrated in your text, your readers won’t even realize that you’re selling them a product!

Conclusion;

Now that you have taken all those steps, your affiliate marketing campaign is up and running. If you’re looking to make money using affiliate marketing in Malaysia, just repeat the steps mentioned above to keep your campaign successful!

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