How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? // June 27, 2016

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Affiliate Marketing refers to using partners and referral sites in order to generate leads for commercial return. A multi billion pound business, common examples of affiliate marketing can be found on financial and insurance comparison sites, gambling websites and blogs.

This form of marketing is a popular way for content creators, also known as publishers, to generate revenue for their websites. The idea is that by promoting someone else’s product, they can receive an affiliate commission if the sale goes through.

For some big affiliate programmes like on Amazon, there is a tiered structure so you start at a 0.5% commission for every sale you make, but this can increase to different thresholds when you generate a certain number of sales each month.

Good examples of affiliate marketing

MoneySavingExpert regularly mentions different financial products in his articles and guides and if the link has a little star next to it, it means that he will receive a commission if you click and make the transaction.

Money.co.uk is a leading financial comparison website which simply compares different loans, credit cards and other products in a simple comparison table. If you click through to the deal of your choice and your sale goes through, they will receive a commission.

Oddschecker.co.uk offers live betting odds for all different sporting events. Comparing the odds from several different bookies, by clicking on the odds, you will be taken directly to the betting company’s website and if you are a new customer, sign up or make a bet, they will receive a commission.

How to get set up with affiliate marketing

To start making money through affiliate marketing, you need to find companies that you can promote and these are known as ‘publishers.’ If you have a website with a lot of traffic, you can approach websites directly and ask if they have an affiliate programme. An affiliate manager will get back in touch with you and provide you with specific affiliate links, banners or an iframe that you can put on your site – and they should be able to give you a login for an affiliate portal where you can track your performance in real-time.

Another option is to join an affiliate network like Rakuten, AffiliateNetwork or Webgains where you can access several different affiliate programmes at once. If your website is approved, you can pick which companies you want to promote and select winner banners or promotions too.

For businesses looking to generate leads, the same methods apply. You can reach out to potential sites and ask them to be affiliates or check out the affiliate networks to see how could be a good match to promote your products.

Tips for getting the best results

Get traffic – Not everyone is going onto your website to click on an affiliate link, especially if you a football or fashion blogger. You need to consider that maybe only 1-5% of people will click on your links to buy this product and then only a few percent will actually convert into customers. So the more natural traffic you can get through Google and social media, the better. A good example of this is the Daily Mail that has a huge readership and then they can promote different products within their articles and generate revenue from the small number of successful sales.

Know your account manager – If you are introduced to your account manager, get to know. Make them your best friend, speak to them regularly, buy you dinner, whatever it takes! They can give you good feedback and always give you better commission as an incentive.

Think volume – Some programmes don’t pay out until you have generated a minimum of £25 or £100 which can be tough. So think how you can generate more interest to your site. SEO organic search traffic is usually the best, but also consider PPC, Facebook advertising and email marketing.

Check your links – You don’t want to lose out on commission. Check your links regularly to see that they are working and double check with your account manager so you don’t miss out!