Episode 73 - Affiliate Marketing Basics

In this episode, Jeff and Kristin discuss the basics of affiliate marketing and how to get started if you wish to add affiliate income to your revenue sources.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between an online business and a website owner, that pays a commission to a website owner for traffic or sales referrals. The website owner can place links or ads on their website, social media, and in emails (depending on the terms and conditions with the online business). In simple terms as an affiliate, you promote other business's products and receive money from those businesses for doing so. 

Affiliate marketing is not just for bloggers anymore. Many businesses with an online presence are using it to supplement their income with products and services they do not provide or wish to provide to a larger audience. Affiliate marketing does not require you to place ads on your website. Many people just use links to the products in content, on resources pages, on social media, or in emails. Make sure you read the terms and conditions with each affiliate program to see how you can use your affiliate links. For example, Amazon's terms state that you cannot place affiliate links in emails because they are considered offline content. 

Who can participate?

Many states have passed affiliate tax laws aimed at large online retailers, like Amazon, which could limit some of the programs you can participate in. Currently, residents from Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont are not eligible for Amazon's affiliate program because Amazon does not have a physical presence in those states. You may find that you will not be able to join other affiliate programs for the same reason. 

UPDATE: On April 1, 2017, Amazon announced it would begin collecting sales tax in every state with one. Therefore, the Amazon affiliate program is open to people in all over the country now. If you live in a state which was previously banned, check again!

All affiliate programs have different requirements for acceptance. Some programs accept most applicants. Some are more selective, wanting to know your current website or social media traffic stats. Others will ask you questions about how you plan to promote their products. 

Which companies should you work with?

When you use affiliate links, you are recommending products and services to your audience and customers. Just like any recommendations you make, you must be able to stand behind them. If you refer products you do not believe in, you are risking your reputation. 

Typically, we only refer products we use. In our business, we often look for affiliate programs after we have worked with a company and we have already determined that we will be recommending it to our audience and customers. 

How can you find out if a company has an affiliate program?

Most businesses use an affiliate network to host their affiliate program. An affiliate network is a website that allows you to apply for multiple affiliate programs within one site. You are also paid for all affiliate sales hosted by that network in one payment. Some popular networks are:

Amazon hosts its own affiliate program.

The best way to figure out if a brand has an affiliate program is to search for the name of the company and "affiliate program". This will help you find out if the company has a program and how to apply. 

Questions about affiliate marketing? Head over to the Facebook Group.

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