Introduction to Affiliate Marketing
The era of internet has seen a massive change in the way business is being done. The effortless reach of the medium has ensured that the business owners can access the customers more easily, across geographical obstacles and distances. No country is too far and no product is out of reach of the customers. Affiliate marketing is one of such trends wherein a massive customer base can be reached without any increase in sales/marketing costs and without any elaborate marketing plans. Brands collaborate with various affiliates to promote products or services. The scale of business and reach is such that the U.S. affiliate marketing spend is due to reach 8.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, up from 5.4 billion recorded in 2017.
What is Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is also known as performance-based marketing. It is a business method wherein a business owner makes sales through affiliates who recommend the products through blogs or through their web pages and earn commission when sales happens. It’s a win win situation for both as the seller does not have to set up an extensive marketing strategy and the affiliates do not necessarily have to create a product of their own and earn passive income in the form of affiliate commission.
Advantages of Affiliate marketing
The affiliate marketing model has a major benefit in that
- The seller does not have to spend more to reach a bigger market
- The marketing costs are reduced
- Significant increase in sales without additional burden of manpower costs
- Better feedback on quality of products
The affiliate enjoys benefits in that
- He does not have to pay to join the affiliate program
- He can sell an established product without upfront investments
- After the initial proactive efforts, the affiliate links generate a regular passive income.
Affiliate marketing strategy
Affiliate marketing has the following players/ network
- The merchant. Could be a firm or an Individual with a product or a dream to sell.
- The Affiliate. Could be an individual or an entire company
- The product. Could be physical like a book to a virtual coaching programme.
- The customer. The main cog in the whole process who makes the affiliate system work.
- Medium. The product has to be advertised and sold for which the medium is to be selected and affiliate marketing strategy worked out. The medium could be social media like instagram or facebook, blogging pages or a dedicated website.
The product has to be selected wisely. The affiliate platforms are aplenty with many a product to sell. The criteria to be kept in mind while selecting the affiliate product is whether the product is aligned with your niche or area of expertise and whether there is a market for it. Niche or area of expertise is basically your passion or the expertise gained by working in the related field for years, gaining knowledge and experience which makes you somewhat of an expert and one who could understand the nuances, the advantages and disadvantages of the product. Somebody in the logistics field will have an advantage in selling a logistics related solution as he would have a better idea of how to market the same. A food blogger trying to sell an engineering product would be like fitting a square peg in a round hole.
The platform too would be important as beauty related products would be well served in instagram or facebook whereas an engineering product could be through a dedicated website or a blog where the product description could be done in detail.
Affiliate marketing as an end result could result in steady passive income or even source of enormous riches but it needs dedication and extensive efforts in the beginning till you make a name for yourself and you are well respected in the market. Your quality of work would speak in a world of cut throat competition. One has to develop trust in the eyes of the user. One wrong move or a short cut would spell disaster.
Further be selective about the products you promote. Limit the number of affiliate products you endorse or advertise those which you have used yourself. A product tutorial explaining about the product and how it works would be a major force multiplier. And, if the video features you using the product, well, that would certainly increase the trust factor in the affiliate product you are endorsing.
Affiliate Marketing Disadvantages
Like any other business, Affiliate marketing suffers from a few disadvantages mainly:
There is no control over the affiliate program. You cannot control it as you do not own the program. The merchant decides the terms and conditions and as competition gets tougher the terms get less attractive. The merchants do tend to give a raw deal once the product is well established.
There is no guaranteed income. It is an opportunity combined with risk. There is no guarantee that you will earn a particular sum or the time it would take for you to achieve desired level of sales. The expected passive income could well turn out to be a business venture needing constant active participation.
Customer Base. Once referred generally the same customer will not buy from you. The need is to generate new leads on a consistent basis. And with growing competition of ever expanding affiliates, it gets more difficult to gain new leads
Some statistics pertaining to affiliate marketing (AM) reveal the following:
- Affiliate marketing spending is bound to grow by 10% in the next few years.
- Worth $12 billion, the AM sector is growing rapidly.
- AM accounts for 15% of all digital media revenue.
- Well-crafted affiliate marketing programs can boost revenue by a staggering 30%.
- That boost amounts to 15%-30% of all sales being generated by AM.
- Together with email marketing, AM is one of the largest sources of online income, accounting for over 16% of all ecommerce orders in the USA and Canada.
(courtesy: hosting tribunal.com)
Affiliate Marketing conclusion
Affiliate marketing is apparently the easiest online business model to start earning passive income online. It’s low-cost, high-profit industry. On the other hand, it also might happen to be a tough one. All the challenges are on you and performance relies on your determination, approach and the affiliate strategy you choose to follow. Affiliate marketing seems to be an easy and exciting way to earn money. The key for the same would be find a top performing affiliate platform.
An introduction to ways to earn online
From the times the internet was a source of fear, then curiosity followed by source of news and entertainment, it has graduated to being a major business tool helping in marketing, logistics and so on, in effect, making business easy and efficient. It also has shown the way to earn money online by sitting in the comfort of your house and working at your convenience earning active and passive income. Some have even left their 9 to 5 jobs to follow their online ventures into full-time internet businesses.
If you are curious to turn your hobbies and passion into profits and full time ventures, then let us look at different ways to earn online, initially as a supplementary and later main source of income. Internet has made the world a smaller place and you can earn online from India or any other country
Earn online by Blogging
How to earn online by Blogging.
A very popular way to make money online is through your own blog. You can earn online blogging your thoughts, ideas, knowledge and views. Blogging initially started off as musings by individuals through their own blogs which later developed into full fledged websites based on content management firms in form of word press blogs. A blog can be on any topic you are passionate about but to make money online a profitable niche market has to be chosen. The mechanics are easy and can be made profitable through online advertising (goggle ad words), affiliate marketing and so on.
Online surveys are one of the easy ways to earn online income. People’s opinions matter. Corporations and research firms are seeking opinion of people on products and services And paid well! Top corporations could pay upto ten or more dollars for the survey. To avoid being scammed, limit yourself to two or three reputable survey firms, understand the system before you expand your avenues. Make it worth your time
Making money online through affiliate marketing.
Another source of online income is making money through affiliate marketing where you get a commission on sale of products of online merchants . No customer support and marketing costs too! You can sell your own products too and eliminate the middleman costs and establish a direct link with the clientele. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to making money online provided you do it meticulously.
One of the best ways of earning online income, though not one of the easiest, is online mentoring. If you have carved a niche for yourself and have gained a name in the market, this is the avenue for you. Too many individuals and firms in stress or otherwise look out for mentors to guide and advice. It could be a personal one on one mentoring on leadership skills, guidance during difficult times, chartering a career path and so on for individuals. For firms, it could be on lagging sales, high manpower turnover industrial disputes and so on.
Make money online through coaching and tutoring.
The present days of COVID have really brought these into focus. While the current crop of teachers are struggling on platforms like teams to take online classes, some enterprising firms like Byjus/ Vedantu etc have already taken the lead. If you are a good teacher, with expertise in your subject, well, this could be an avenue for you for making money online. Particularly, well qualified teachers from the non cosmopolitan cities have found this avenue very profitable way of earning money online
Make Money online through Content writing.
Good writing skills and adeptness/ expertise in various domains could be the best source for online income for you. Writing exhaustively on various niche topics attracts lot of eyeballs and could well pave the way for future advancements into your own websites and blogs. It is a very popular way of earning income. In these avenues you can earn online for free as most of the sites do not charge any fee.
Other Different ways to earn online
Book writing. Ebooks are the latest trends. Just to make sure if there could be an audience for your book, try a pre sale landing page which summarises your book on platforms like Podia. Once you are sure of the audience then go right ahead. Ebooks are the future as print media is looking at a downturn as more and more people are turning to virtual media. Once you make your mark, then there is no looking back.
Sub titling of movies. This is another avenue for making money online. OTT platforms are taking over the movie world. People are preferring binging on movies at home where they have the option to fast forward stop and watch at own convenience without undergoing the exercise of traversing traffic, overcoming crowds, exorbitant rates for eatables and beverages. The quantity and variety available is humungous. Now what is missing is good quality sub titling. Some of the sub titling are really hilarious. These are available for a lot of languages, like English to Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and vice versa. If your command over the language is good, you can try this method. There are firms which offer upto Rs 70 to 100 per video minute. These are basic rates and could go higher as you go international. Abroad, people charge anywhere between 70 to 100 dollars for a video minute.
Free Lancing. A very popular way of earning money online. There are avenues like fiverr.com. upwork.com, freelancer.com which give these options and pay reasonably well. All you need is create your account and bid for projects on these sites based on your skill sets. Once your work is accepted the payment is made. Be aware that quality of work and timely delivery matters. Once you gain good ratings and understand the mode of working and delivery this well could be a very good avenue for making money online
Earn online by Google..
Online advertising is a very economical way of advertising of products to millions of people at a very minimum cost. Adsense is another avenue for making money online. It is a free programme that gives you a share of the ad revenue once users click on the ads displayed on your pages. A well developed web site or page with niche content sought after by online users could attract Adsense, clicks by users and passive regular income
You should be mindful of the platform that you opt for. Beware of the scams and fakes. Also do not expect to earning big amounts in the initial stages. We now have more time on our hands and this could be utilised to explore the virtual media, learn identify your niche and then, the world is your oyster.