A Concise Guide to Affiliate Marketing

You might have noticed that, in among the services at Pea Soup, we offer something called ‘Affiliate Marketing’. Though it has been around
since the early days of ecommerce, affiliate marketing remains one of the
lesser known internet marketing methods. This shouldn’t be the case, though, as
there are some pretty useful benefits to be had if you’re doing it right. What
better way to fill you in on these benefits and give you the lowdown on this revenue-making
channel than one of our (not so) famous “Concise Guides”?

What is Affiliate Marketing?

“Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based
marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor
or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
– Wikipedia.

Basically, if you’re a brand using affiliates you’ll have
other people (affiliates) selling your products for an agreed commission. You
only pay commission when an affiliate gets you a sale.

Affiliate marketing has four roles:

  • Merchant – the brand/retailer
  • Network – the account and payment
  • Publisher – the affiliate
  • Customer – the buyer


If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ll be selling other
people’s products and earning commission for sales.

The idea behind affiliate marketing from a marketer’s stance
is to send targeted customers to the landing pages of brands via links or
banners created by you, or the brand. Sending the right people to the right
place increases your chances of closing a sale and receiving commission.

Commissions vary from 1% to 75%, depending on the retailer
and the industry – more established retailers pay less commission, but
affiliates do get to benefit from brand awareness and more regular sales, so
it’s a win win.

Here’s a good visual example from Commission Factory of how the process works:

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Why do it?

As a merchant, affiliate marketing lets other people promote
your products and services so you don’t have to…as much. Of course, you’ll be
rewarding them with commission for every sale or referral, but – besides the
actually benefit of having a new customer – the audience reach and
cost-effectiveness of targeted customers is typically far greater than any payment made.

If you’re coming at affiliate marketing from the publisher
side, you’ll be rolling in benefits. Not only is there the obvious additional
revenue, there’s the chance to bring big brands to your site, boosting your
reputation in the process.

How do I get started?

This depends on how you want to approach it.

As a merchant the suggested route is to get paired up with a
network. From there you’ll have to set about researching and recruiting
affiliates in your niche to promote your content and send targeted traffic your

The alternative is to set up on your own à la Amazon or
eBay, by running your own script and shopping cart services, establishing a
commission payment structure, creating resources (banners, articles, samples,
etc.) for affiliates and handling recruitment; however, this does involve a lot
of work.

As a publisher, becoming an affiliate is simply a case of
choosing a product you enjoy and an affiliate program that suits. For example,
if you’re interested in computers and tech you might be a good fit for the PC World affiliate
program. Always make sure it’s something you enjoy or you’ll probably find
yourself giving up. Also, be mindful of your reputation when selling other
people’s products – make sure they appeal to the customer.

Anything else I should know?

A couple of things.

Firstly, content plays a huge part in
successful affiliate marketing, regardless of what side you’re on.  People will only visit a website that carries
fresh, relevant and well-written content and publishers will only use merchants
that are able to provide good resources for them to use – i.e. graphic banners,
articles, videos and marketing plans. Everything needs to be search engine-friendly
too, so SEO has to be on point across landing pages and content.

Secondly, affiliate marketing isn’t a get rich quick scheme.
Publishers shouldn’t expect to put up a website, sit back and let the cash roll
in and merchants shouldn’t expect an immediate stream of traffic and sales.
This game takes time and success comes as a result of a lot of hard work.

In Summary

Affiliate marketing is people selling your products or you
selling other people’s products for commission. It’s a great way to boost
awareness, generate traffic and increase revenue and is best done through an
affiliate network.

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