Getting started and making money in affiliate marketing

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What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where you can earn a commission for marketing someone else’s product. Revenue driven through the affiliate marketing channel has grown 10 per cent annually since 2015. More and more brands are recognising its value as a low-cost performance marketing strategy. But what exactly does it entail?

#1 – First, a brand needs to create an affiliate programme. This will typically be done through a network. Networks allow the brand to create trackable affiliate links and approve third-party websites (aka affiliates, publishers, partners, associates) to promote their company.

#2 – The approved affiliates use the link on their own platform and create content that encourages their audience to shop through their platform. When a customer clicks on their link to the brand and makes a purchase, the affiliate receives a commission.

Creating an affiliate site can be an easy way to earn some extra cash on the side, but it also has the potential to blossom into your full-time business.

I’m sold – how do I create an affiliate site?

Before beginning your journey as an affiliate marketer, you need to determine how your site will promote brands effectively.

What will make my site suitable for affiliate marketing?

If you’re already familiar with the concept of affiliates, you may only be familiar with a certain type of affiliate. However, the diversity of the affiliate space has expanded as the channel has grown, with each partner type playing an important role in a brand’s performance.

Examples of affiliate types

Here are some examples of affiliate types. This list is not exhaustive. There’s an opportunity to get really creative here, especially if you want your site to stand out.

  • Cashback: these sites promote brands on their site and divert either all or some of their commission back to customers. Many have their own unique audience and offer brands additional opportunities to reach this customer base in exchange for fixed fees. TopCashback and Quidco are two of the UK’s largest cashback publishers
  • Comparison: these sites use brands’ product feeds to offer customers a platform to compare products based on price, reviews, and other criteria. Broadband Genie has been an active comparison site for over 15 years, providing customers with a platform to compare broadband deals and offers exclusive deals and vouchers with each purchase
  • Editorial/content: these typically come in the form of blogs, online magazines or social media influencers. Editors of these sites will usually need to have a certain level of expertise or interest in a particular vertical, so they can create relevant and valuable content for brands
  • Communities and user-generated content: a group of online shoppers, with discussion forums sharing advice and information alongside discounts and deals