Affiliate Marketing Explained
This post may be a bit long, but I am going to try to explain what affiliate marketing is, what an affiliate marketer should look for, and what one should stay away from. So let the journey begin!
When looking at definitions, I will only be looking at those specifically related to the overall topic. As some words can have multiple definitions, I will break it down to the most relevant for the topic.
“Affiliate” defined: a person who receives compensation (normally monetary) for “referring” or “selling” a product that they do not own. (i.e. I am an affiliate of “Product X”, I receive a percentage commission anytime someone that I refer purchases said product.
“Marketing” defined: the total of activities involved in the transfers of goods or services from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.
“Affiliate Marketer” defined: a person that advertises and sells a product that he or she does not own or produce in return for a “commission” or “percentage” of said products price or value.
Basically if I sell a product that I do not own to somebody, I will receive a commission for that product as an affiliate.
Easy enough so far right? Awesome! Let us continue on.
In today’s world there are literally millions of affiliate products and programs out there. Almost every major business has an affiliate program of some sort, which in turn, means that all of their products are affiliate products. To start we will talk about some confusing things that happen all the time within Affilliatech and ClickTrackProfit.
We get new members quite often and sometimes they will ask us “How do I make money with this site?”. This is a bit of a loaded question and it goes back around 10-15 years or so, maybe even further back. It is all because of a site that I will term “make money site”.
Make Money Sites
These “make money sites” blatantly say from the from that you “can make money with us”. 99.9% of the time, this means that there isn’t really a product within the site, but instead your entire affiliate-ship is brought on by the number of people you can refer to the site. Common sites like this will normally have 50-100% commission on every referral purchase and the majority of purchases are one time sales.
Talking about the “product” within the site. The vast majority of the time, the “product” is a rehashed version of a PLR product. Meaning the owner of the site purchased it for $4.97 (or less), “re-wrote” it and is now selling it as part of the product or product package you receive when you purchase the $1,000 product. Take this as you wish, but it almost always spells: B-A-D N-E-W-S
The second most important piece of these “make money sites” is the commissions or commission structure. This is also one of the biggest red flags you will ever see when you are deciding on a product to promote. This is what I call the “Pay to Play”
Pay to Play
When I say pay to play, what I mean is that you must pay for the product or make a purchase of some sort in order to receive a commission or a higher commission percentage. If I ever see a product that requires a “pay to play”, I will not touch it with a ten foot pole.
This mentality only tells me that the owner doesn’t really believe in their product because people almost immediately get buyers remorse after the purchase. This is the time that the owner and/or community MUST convert that buyer via promises of grandeur in the form of monetary compensation if they just convince “2” people to make the same purchase they did.
I am not saying that you should not purchase a product prior to becoming an affiliate for it. I believe that if you want to succeed as an affiliate, you should know the product inside and out. But IF you are REQUIRED to purchase prior to earning a commission or an increased commission, this is a red flag to me every single day of the week.
What to look for in a product
This is the easy section. As an affiliate we are often at a loss when trying to figure out what we should sell. My opinion and advice is simple. Pick a product that you are either: passionate about OR want to learn.
Using these as your guide to pick a product makes it easy, because you are already interested in the products topic. So it makes it really easy to build a business around this product or line of products.
My second piece of advice is to pick an evergreen product. One time sales are great and amazing, except you have to do the same amount of work for each sale. Instead, I focus on “evergreen”, products that aren’t going to go away and are needed. For example: Internet providers, Amazon (lol), and for us internet business based folks: autoresponders, link tracking, page creation, domains, hosting etc..
With an evergreen product, referring a person often means a commission every single month for years to come. As they say in business it is 3 times easier to retain a member than it is to find a new member. I would rather spend my time focused on building my business, instead of finding a new customer or consumer every single day.
What not to look for in a product
My first piece to not look for is pyramid or ponzi schemes. Aside from them being illegal, they also seem to attract a lot of people, I am not sure why. How do you tell if something is a pyramid vs a multi-level-marketing (MLM). Sometimes it is really easy to tell, sometimes it is not. The easiest is to look for an actual product. If the product is you selling this to your friends, then run away and fast. If the product is a “person” or “team” run away. Starting to catch what I am pitching?
MLMs are tricky in the sense that they may have a product and may be “legal”, but are the scummy? Again, my rule with these is do I have to pay to play? If yes, I ALWAYS step back and go elsewhere. Is there a true product that you are “passionate” about or interested in learning? And if the product is “make money online by referring” RUN AWAY. TrafficWave is the only MLM that I can think of currently that has a legitimate product, an autoresponder. And if you are building a business online, that is a product that you need! (No affiliate links here, just information)
Yes, I co-own CTP with Jon Olson. Yes, we have an affiliate program. Can you make money with CTP? Yes, as an affiliate. In fact we have increasing commissions based on sales. Can you make money with CTP by being in the site? No, not really. We do have a prize wheel that we randomly give away spins to, but you cannot purchase them. And we do have weekly drawings where we give a portion of our earnings back to the community and the members. But none of those will make a significant difference in anyone’s lives.
How to make money as an affiliate
- Step 1: Build your business and your brand and your list and your following by becoming the expert in your niche or field
- Step 2: STOP selling. This took me almost 5 years to learn, I am giving it to you for free right now. The MINUTE I stopped trying to sell and instead focused on becoming the “expert” or the go to person, that is when I actually started selling consistently.
- Step 3: Plant seeds. What I mean is to create content all over the internet for people to see. These seeds will, in time, blossom into wonderful forests of great information
- Step 4: Engage with your community and build relationships.
- Step 5: Do not be scummy. A lot of people online that are “affiliates” come off more like used care salesmen than anything else. If every single one of your seeds is nothing more than a sales pitch wrapped in “I CARE”, you don’t care, you only want to sell.
- Step 6: Give it time. NOTHING happens overnight. You do not go to the gym on day 1 and cancel your membership on day 2 because you haven’t lost weight or gained muscle. You do not plant flowers and come back the next day and rip them up because they didn’t grow fast enough. This stuff takes time.
- Step 7: Repeat from Step 1. Keep repeating. It does work. I am proof.
Okay, I think that is everything. This has taken me almost all day to write. Let me know if I missed something. Let me hear your comments and as always “Buy our Stuff!” LOL….