Affiliate Marketing in 2021

Affiliate Marketing in 2021

Trapica Content Team

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 28, 2021

Affiliate marketing is still around, and it still remains to be a successful earning strategy for many. Whether you are a business trying to generate sales or an individual with a talent for creating websites and marketing products, affiliate marketing is an attractive proposition (yes, even in 2021!).

What’s Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing describes the idea of somebody advertising and selling a product on behalf of another party. Though not directly working for the company, an individual advertises the products and receives a percentage of all generated sales as commission. Normally, the affiliate marketer encourages consumers to buy through a specific link that is tied to their commission program.

Why not just work for a company as a salesperson? Well, there’s an opportunity to hit the holy grail of passive income by working as an affiliate. Another benefit is that you aren’t restricted to selling just one company’s products - there’s no reason why you can’t create hundreds of websites all with links to unique products.

With affiliate marketing, everybody wins:

  • The company generates sales as the marketer advertises on their behalf
  • The affiliate marketer receives a commission for each sale
  • The customer gets the product they need

Example of Affiliate Marketing

Let’s say that you want to be an affiliate marketer and strike up a relationship with a company selling shorts. Summer is around the corner, so this is your time to shine. To advertise to customers, most affiliate marketers choose to create a website as a hub for all activity. On the website, you write articles about why everybody needs shorts this summer, add the affiliate link to all content and display products on the website. This will create a place for visitors to click through and purchase.

For every purchase, you receive a pre-agreed percentage as a commission from the merchant. If thousands of visitors check out your website per day, you could earn a good amount just from this website alone. Naturally, savvy affiliate marketers then move onto the next website.

The most successful affiliate marketers tend to have a portfolio of websites containing affiliate links and generating passive income with very little maintenance.

In terms of the technical minutiae, an affiliate cookie stores on the device of those who click on affiliate links. From this, the merchant knows that the sale was generated by an affiliate. Even if the customer doesn’t purchase immediately after clicking, the cookies remain active for a certain amount of time.

The Two Sides of Affiliate Marketing

The reason why affiliate marketing is so successful is because it benefits both sides. As pointed out earlier, businesses generate sales they otherwise wouldn’t have, and marketers get to keep a cut of all sales. Depending on your situation, you can enter the system as either a merchant or an affiliate marketer. We’re focusing on the latter in this guide, but we do have some advice for merchants attempting to enter this field:

  • Choose a pre-existing product or design a new product with affiliate marketing in mind.
  • Find some affiliate marketers either directly or through an affiliate program partner or agency. With an affiliate program partner, you may find people with a ready-made audience rather than the marketer having to build one from scratch.
  • Create an attractive commission system where affiliate marketers are rewarded for their hard work.

Can You Make Money from Affiliate Marketing?

Yes…but only if you’re willing to work hard and understand that it won’t happen overnight. If you search for affiliate marketing online you’ll be inundated with stories of people making millions and taking early retirement. However, you need to understand that these stories are rare and people shed blood, sweat, and tears to reach this point.

If you’re looking for overnight success, it isn’t guaranteed with affiliate marketing (despite what you might hear!). If you’re committed, continue reading because we have some effective advice.

Step 1 - Choose Your Platform and Niche

Look back one decade to where the affiliate marketing niche was a very different place - it was all about websites. Now, you can build an audience on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and various other channels. If you prefer the traditional approach, blogging still leads the way.

As you may know, the cost of starting a website/blog is relatively small. The largest investment you’ll make in the early days is your own time (more on this in a moment!).

We decided to include both the platform and niche in the same step because they depend on each other. Often, the best platform for affiliate marketing depends on the niche. If you have a product for older generations, you probably don’t want to waste your time on Instagram.

How do you choose a niche? With millions of bloggers online, this is an interesting question and one you need to take seriously. Here are some tips for picking a niche:

  • Assess the popularity of specific niches and decide whether you have a genuine chance to attract interest or not. This may mean looking at data and comparing various niches.
  • Don’t go too broad - rather than ‘food’ as a topic, go for ‘BBQ food’ or food of a particular style or from a particular nation. It’s important to find the balance between interest and competition. You don’t want too much competition, but you still need consumers to have some interest in the topic.
  • Choose something you enjoy writing about because you’ll need to generate interesting content for SEO purposes and to engage readers. When you have knowledge of a particular topic, it’s much easier to create engaging content.
  • If you don’t have knowledge of your niche, document your journey rather than positioning yourself as an expert. Also, consider outsourcing to external writers who do have the required knowledge.

Step 2 - Join an Affiliate Program

Once you have a topic in mind, the next step is choosing an affiliate program. There are three main options:

  • Low pay, high volume
  • High pay, low volume
  • High pay, high volume

To choose the right one, think about the niche you chose in the first step. If you have a B2B niche, choose a high pay, low volume program because this includes web hosting, software, and other digital solutions. Meanwhile, the low pay, high volume is designed for selling to customers and the high pay, high volume programs are services like credit cards where the stakes and rewards are high.

Step 3 - Create Content and Generate an Email List

You have a niche, an affiliate program, and a platform - now, you need to create fantastic content. By ‘fantastic’, we mean interesting, engaging, and unique from the competitors. Of course, you’ll also need to focus on keywords and SEO to get your pages to the top of search results.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an affiliate marketer is not testing the product or service that you’re selling. The more you know about the produce/service, the easier it is to engage with customers, answer their questions, and generate sales.

While creating content, encourage people to join your mailing list too (oh, you should have one of these too because email marketing is incredibly effective for affiliate marketers!). With a list of email addresses, you send frequent emails and get a consistent stream of sales (especially if the product lends itself to regular sales).

Step 4 - Encourage Traffic to Your Platform

This might sound like a vague statement, but the truth is that there are many different ways to achieve this goal in 2021. Previously, some of these techniques didn’t exist or weren’t as prominent. This includes the following:

  • Live webinars
  • Live video
  • Paid advertising
  • Email lists
  • SEO
  • Product reviews and tutorials
  • eBooks, podcasts, and audiobooks

Step 5 - Get Clicks and Convert

With all this valuable content, the only thing stopping you from succeeding with affiliate marketing is the link itself. Here are some best practices for getting clicks:

  • Pay attention to context and include the link in natural content (while not deliberately deceiving the reader).
  • Be careful with link placement - you don’t want the link at the bottom of the page where very few people see it.
  • Take advantage of boxes, buttons, tables, and other callouts to draw attention to the product and link.

Remember, getting people to click on your link is only the first step. Choose affiliate programs and merchants with high conversion rates. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste on the product page. Speak with the merchants directly, ask questions, check public reports, and speak to others for advice.

Affiliate marketing is alive and kicking in 2021, and now you’re armed with everything you need to know to get started!

Marketing Guides
4 min read
April 28, 2021