Platform Overview

Affiliate Links: An Explainer

Apple, Amazon, Target, Lawpath… what do all these companies have in common? They all use affiliate links to market their products and services to some extent. For the affiliates, this presents an opportunity to accumulate money through a passive income stream. But how exactly do they work? Read here to find out more.

What are affiliate links?

Affiliate links exist when an individual becomes “affiliated” with a company brand such that they act as a link between the brand and new customers.

For general information on affiliate marketing, as well as the advantages and disadvantages, read this article. Please also note this article focuses on the perspective of the “affiliate”, so if you would like further information on how to conduct business as the larger social media company take a look here.

Step 1. Pick a platform

There are different platforms that affiliates utilise in order to produce their passive income. These are a few that you could choose from:

1. Influencers

As a social media influencer, individuals can for example post links as a swipe-up link on their Instagram story or in the description of their YouTube video. When a customer clicks on the link, the brand will track the sale and attribute a proportion of the income back to the influencer.

To learn about what legal implications exist for influencer marketing, check this article out.

2. Blogs

Though less common nowadays, there are individuals who upkeep a blog as opposed to only blogging on the popular social media platforms. The blogger can attach links as described above as hyperlinks on their site. Future sales made from customers clicking on the link will be attributed to the blogger.

3. Microsites

Depending on a customer’s search, they will view specially tailored ads in a “microsite”embedded within a larger company’s site. As opposed to relying upon your own audience of followers as an influencer or blogger would do, you can carefully develop a microsite targeting customers and benefitting from their engagement.

4. Email Lists

On this platform, an affiliate uses a list of email contacts which they use to advertise the brand’s services. To learn more about why growing your email list is so important, this article explains more.

Step 2. Identify your area of expertise

After picking one or more platforms to use your affiliate links, you should consider your area of expertise or the target background of your audience. For example, if you are a fashion influencer, then you would want affiliate links that promote trendy clothes. On the other hand, if you are a software developer then you may want affiliate links which sell computer software.

However, these examples could be too broad so make sure to narrow down what exactly you and your customers want, whether it be a specific style of clothes like streetwear or a particular price range of software. By having a “niche”, influencers can benefit from a higher conversation rate and ultimately better compensation.

If you are looking to be a business affiliate, you may want to check out this article for more specific details.

Step 3. Find a suitable affiliate program

Once you have identified your focus area, take a look at the many available affiliate programs from which you can source your marketing material. You should choose one that suits your your audience and expertise so that you can effectively leverage them to increase sales. There are 3 main kinds of affiliate programs.

1. High volume, high pay

There are programs available that are both popular and pay well. Though hard to find, one example that exists is for credit cards.

2. High volume, low pay

The popular company brands are the ones that usually fall under this category. While there are a large potential volume of customers, the proportion of compensation is relatively low. Established affiliate programs include Amazon, Apple iTunes and Target.

3. Low volume, high pay

There is the potential for high compensation as an affiliate for very niche brand services, though there are reduced opportunities due to factors such as extreme competition with highly skilled marketers involved.

How are people paid from affiliate links?

1. Pay per click

This is perhaps the easiest level of affiliate marketing. By motivating your audience to simply click on the link and therefore visit and engage with the brand’s website, you will be compensated according to the increased web traffic.

2. Pay per lead

Pay per lead refers to you causing the customer to perform a desired action for the brand, for example starting a newsletter subscription, or signing up to a free product trial.

3. Pay per sale

This is the most popular level of affiliate link compensation scheme. When a customer buys items from the brand, a proportion of the sale will be given to you as credit to your marketing skills.

What’s next?

So if you’re considering the introduction of a passive source of income into your life, and you have an audience base you can leverage or build, affiliate marketing could be for you! By following this simple three-step process of identifying your platform, area of expertise and affiliate program, you could be well on your way to earning compensation for the sales of your customers, by simply advertising affiliate links.

To apply to join Lawpath’s own affiliate program, check this out.

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