Affiliate marketing was actually invented many years before the internet was born. It is simply referral-based marketing adapted for the online world. The way that it works, is if you refer someone to a product and that person buys the product based on your recommendation, you will receive a commission for the sale.
Affiliate marketing is great because you can sell products you love and have had a positive experience with, without having to handle the physical products or worry about shipping and fulfilment…
In the online world, an affiliate tracking system is what allows for greater scalability and accuracy than the (non-web based) referral marketing systems of yesteryear. A tracking URL (a unique link given to you by an affiliate network or advertiser) is used to keep track of all the traffic and sales you make via your blog or website.
How is affiliate marketing relevant to you and your own blog?
Say you recently read a hugely inspirational autobiography, and wanted to share just how great it was with the readers of your blog. You write a glowing review about the book and publish it to your blog, including an Amazon affiliate link showing people where they can go to buy the book. For anyone who clicks the link and buys the book, you automatically receive a 6% slice of the purchase price (and as an added bonus, not only will you receive commissions on the purchase price for that specific book, but also any other goods they purchase from Amazon within the same session!).
When you look at it this way, affiliate marketing is a really neat opportunity to generate passive income, wouldn’t you agree!
How does the Affiliate Marketing technology work?
Ever noticed how that new pair of black Nike sneakers in Size 9 that you really shouldn’t buy keeps following you around on other websites? That is appearing because you’ve been ‘cookied’.
Affiliate marketing relies on a piece of technology known as a ‘cookie’. A cookie is a small file which resides within a user’s web browser (such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer) and stores information such as login information, shopping cart contents or the pages you have previously visited. In affiliate marketing, a cookie is generated and stored in the user’s web browser whenever they clicks on an affiliate link. Affiliate networks are then able to track whether the click results in a sale at a later date, and if so, pay you a commission for your contribution to securing the sale.
The way it works, is that when a user visits a blog which contains affiliate links (just like thefreedomchaser.com) and clicks on one of these links, the user’s browser then receives the affiliate network’s tracking cookie that identifies the advertiser, the blog, the specific link and commission amount. When they eventually purchase the product (or potentially even another product altogether from the advertiser’s website), KACHING(!!), the cash register sounds and you receive your commission.
What is an ‘Affiliate Network’?
An affiliate network is a third party which acts an intermediary between a publisher (the ‘affiliate’) and a company (the ‘advertiser’), to allow publishers to find and join affiliate programs.
There are many affiliate networks that exist, and each has been developed to allow bloggers and website owners to participate in affiliate programs and generate a passive income. From an advertiser’s point of view (also known as the merchant), the key benefit of offering an affiliate program is to reach a larger audience, by having their products or services promoted to the wide network of bloggers and websites who are members of the affiliate network.
Who are the major global Affiliate Networks?
There are hundreds of Affiliate Networks available online. Some focus on specific niches, such as ecommerce stores, or ebooks, and others take the broader brush approach and cover a wide variety of products and industries. While there may be some niche networks that may be well suited to your blog, here are seven Affiliate Networks I would strongly suggest any new-comer looking to generate an income from affiliate marketing should consider.
You’ll probably notice a couple of familiar names in this list, most notably Amazon and Ebay. While these are not widely known to the public as affiliate networks, the enormous range of sellers and products that each of these sites offers for sale at any given time, means that they cover a larger product range than some of the major networks! For this reason, Amazon and Ebay can provide huge affiliate revenue opportunities for bloggers.
This article is an extract from my eBook Blog Life: The Ultimate Guide to Making a Living From Blogging. To read the full chapter about affiliate marketing, and to find out plenty more of my secrets to earning a full-time income from your blog download the eBook here.