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You are probably reading this and have two questions on your mind. What is affiliate marketing? And what has it got to do with being an entertainer?
I’ll answer the second question first. This website is dedicated to helping creatives in all aspects of their art and business. Thus, helping you develop multiple income streams is one of our goals. Affiliate marketing is one such passive income stream that you can explore and set in place for yourself.
With that, I can answer the second question:
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. (Source – Wikipedia)
Affiliate Marketing is one of the true online passive income streams developed in the Internet era. It is one of the pillars of Internet marketers or individuals/ companies looking to monetize their website or blog.
In its basic form, there are three parties in an affiliate marketing arrangement – the merchant, publisher and customer.
- Merchant (also known as ‘advertiser’, ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’)
- Affiliate (also known as ‘publisher’)
The merchant (advertiser, retailer or brand) can be a company selling products like cameras, clothing or books; services like insurance policies, customer service training or entertainment shows as well as information products like ebooks, courses and audio guides. The merchant is the provider of the product or service ready to pay other people to help sell and promote the business.
An affiliate (that’s you!) is an individual or company that promotes a merchant’s product or service on his/ her website or blog in exchange for earning a commission.
The consumer is the one who actually clicks on the link provided by the affiliate that takes them to the merchant’s website to complete a sale.
How it Works
The most straightforward way to explain affiliate marketing is that it is a way of making money online where an affiliate (publisher) earns a commission when a customer follows a link on his/ her website or blog to the merchant’s site and completes a sale, also known as a conversion.
In some affiliate programs, instead of a sale, you may also earn a (smaller) commission for just referring a visitor to complete some kind of action such as subscribing to a newsletter, completing a survey or downloading free content. The completion of this action is also considered a conversion if this is what the merchant wants.
Commissions are often a percentage of a sale but can also be a fixed amount per sale/ conversion.
Special affiliate software programs or affiliate networks are put in place to support this affiliate marketing system. When you sign up as an affiliate, the software program will assign you a dedicated code (ID) that you add to the end of a link you create in your website or blog. This code allows the merchant to track where the referrals and sales come from.
How to Become an Affiliate?
Becoming an affiliate is relatively easy. You can look for merchants that have their own affiliate program and follow the instructions on their affiliate program page. You will need to apply to be an affiliate and this includes filling up basic information (name, address, payment method) and information on your site (URL, name, and description of content).
You will also have you agree to a service agreement. Most affiliate programs are completely free for affiliates.
In the case of Backstage Business Academy, we have our own merchant affiliate program that covers all the book “The Showbiz Master Plan” which is currently sold through our online store www.illusionbookstore.com.
It is a simple matter to follow the four steps at http://illusionbookstore.com/affiliate/ to become an affiliate and start to earn commissions from referred sales made. You can track all referrals and sales from your referrals via the Stats menu of your affiliate dashboard.
Different businesses’ will have different affiliate programs (commission and payment structure) but they are all fundamentally the same.
An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online merchants) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network. (Source – Wikipedia)
In the case of an affiliate network, you do not need to sign up with the individual merchants in the network; you just need to sign up with the network. If the affiliate network approves your application, you can begin choosing affiliate programs from different merchants that interest you. Once you have chosen the affiliate programs, the merchants running these programs will review your website or blog. If they approve you, the affiliate network will walk you through the process of posting the appropriate links, which come directly from the network’s site. They will also establish payment arrangements with you.
The widely acknowledged top 5 affiliate networks are:
- Commission Junkie – Deals with brands with physical products as well as services.
- Click Bank – Deals with information products and software
- Amazon – Deals with all products sold on Amazon
- Linkshare – Deals with products sold on Japanese marketplace, Rakuten
- E-Junkie – Deals with information products
If you are really serious about earning passive income as an affiliate marketer, check out the Super Affiliate Handbook by Rosalind Gardner. This is a comprehensive course on how to monetize your website and blog as an affiliate marketer and is highly recommended.