Starting an Affiliate Business
Last Modified: March 14, 2023
Starting a business within the Affiliate realm is not something easily done. To think of the Affiliate business as a place to make money is the wrong way to look at it anyways. Think of the Affiliate Marketing effort as a Partnership effort, in getting your business attached to brands and companies that align well with you!
So, what is Affiliate Marketing?
History shows that Affiliate Marketing has been around since the commerce world has started. Sure, it’s entirely different today, but the gist of it remains.
Let’s say Caveman A brings a Tasty Treat to his tribe and Caveman B is impressed by the quality of the treat. If Caveman B goes and successfully hunts for the Tasty Treat, Caveman A should have been rewarded for finding the Treat, to begin with.
Of course, Cavemen didn’t always share, but if there were a reward behind it, that would necessarily be a commission or compensation for showing the way to get to the Tasty Treat. Affiliate Marketing works very similarly.
Successful Affiliate Marketers have a solid plan and business model that attracts users and visitors to recommended products and services.
Did you know: massive websites like Nerdwallet, The Penny Hoarder, Krazy Coupon Lady, and CNN.com all use Affiliate links?
What are Affiliate Commissions?
There have been many breakthroughs in the affiliate world, but one major thing remains. Using your approved Affiliate links are the guts of what you need to make money. When you are accepted by an Affiliate Program, you’ll be able to extract these Links (aka Tracking Affiliate Links).
When you share these links with your readers, and they end up clicking them, Cookies will then show the clicker’s ID so that everyone knows who’s coming into the site. Should a reader buy through the link, you’ll be rewarded with a commission.
What does this mean? You need to share affiliate links with your readers to make money. Bloggers do this strategically through:
• Creative Content
• Social Media (Pinterest is approved for it)
• Hundreds of other creative ways!!
Speaking of Affiliate Technology and Referring Products
As a society, we’ve always been referring people to goods and services for as recorded history began. Whether it’s trendy clothing, food, or cleaning services that act of compensating the person that can connect the dots is what is somewhat new. And now, because the internet is all about connecting through links and social media, we can measure affiliate marketing and referrals down to the T. Thus the growth of the Affiliate Marketing world.
Affiliate tracking itself has been around for nearly 20+ years now by utilizing powerful networks, to standalone software. Things haven’t changed much though so the guts remain the same since Affiliate Marketing’s inception.
Here’s how things work in general…
1. The Affiliate Program has the technology capable of tracking commission
2. Blogger / Influencer gets approved for Affiliate Program links (like the ones we have!)
3. When a potential customer clicks these sorts of links, a tracking cookie is dropped
4. Should the reader end up buying – Blogger / Influencer gets a commission
About cookies: Nothing other than the IP address is typically tracked, so no need to worry about personal information like Credit Cards and such.
There are about 5 major Affiliate Networks that provide tracking technology within the USA and dozens more internationally. So one of the major pain points of becoming an Affiliate Marketer is finding the right programs that fit your following because there are so many darn networks!
• Rakuten Advertising
• many more, but the best ones are listed here
Here are just a few Affiliate based models that have worked in the past that may be of interest to you:
We’ve showed how you can start a cashback site within our other post, but essentially what this means is you’ll be promoting and tracking multiple offers on your website and if a user ends up purchasing through your site, you give back a portion of the commission to your user.
Probably the most saturated model is the content maker concept. You’ll find endless amounts of blogs that want to take over content or Affiliate traction within a specific niche, i.e. Fishing. Just do a simple search on “best fishing rods” and you’ll find a bunch of Amazon links, and then a few blogs that promote several rods, all of which are likely linking out to Affiliate offers.
Blogging is more about SEO than anything else, but with the way ChatGPT is changing things, I just find blogging to be a harder play if you want success, but that’s not undermining how incredible blogging can be for your business either.
Influencing is pretty much the same thing as blogging, probably a bit more modern though as the influencer has geared their video/imagery/other content towards a specific group of people.
Some have had success here, but what this means is you’ll be paying for ads to attract people to your business model, including Affiliate links within them. Probably the least sustainable model, and I say this because only a few have done this correctly and the chances of someone new, like you, working this model to success is extremely small. Those that have had success utilize search and display networks to post highly engaging work, so that when a user does click or proceed within an article, they are very likely to buy something. This is a tough model for sure.
I think of sub networks as a similar comparison to cashback websites, in that these business models promote Affiliate offers and instead of giving a cut of commission back to the end user, the commission goes to another blogger or Affiliate website…adding an additional layer of commission.
1. - Sub Network promotes Macy’s
2. - Affiliate within Sub Network promotes the Macy’s offer (found within the subnetwork)
3. - Affiliate gets a sale
4.- Subnetwork gets money, as does Affiliate (end user does not get commission)
The major downfall of a subnetwork is of course, not actually owning the offer, as that belongs to the Affiliate Program/Network, so there’s possibility the Affiliate catches on and wants to promote directly through the program.
Just get started
By getting hosting you’ll have your own Email Address, Website Domain Name, and a way to store your website. This is the clear first step!
A domain is essentially your brand name. For example:
You’ll find that there are many hosting solutions that are essentially the same. Just pick the one that gets you started the quickest and with the best available speed so that your users see the business as fast as possible (nobody wants to see a slow website!)
no real way to determine cost unless you budget out properly and have a clear
model you want to move forward with.
This is absolutely the key in getting a successful Affiliate business!