A savvy entrepreneur is always looking for alternative sources of revenue and affiliate marketing can be a powerful way of generating income while cutting through a lot of the time consuming legwork of manufacturing, branding, and developing marketing strategies. At its core, affiliate marketing involves bringing a particular product to the attention of your consumers and sharing the revenue generated from the sale of that product through you, with whoever supplied the product.
Affiliate Marketing in Real Time
As an example, in order to provide context, imagine that Happy X is a supplier of natural supplements. GrowNatural is a health food store that deals with naturally sourced products. Happy X is trying to promote its launch of a brand new supplement designed to help people get more essential vitamins and nutrients. All sales are done online and delivered by Happy X’s supply system through their warehouse in order to keep shipments centralized and all revenue streams traveling through Happy X. Happy X has a strong history of delivering a great product but are looking to expand their reach, so they approach GrowNatural in hopes that they will help sell their product as an affiliate. GrowNatural also has a strong base of loyal customers, some of who may not be familiar with Happy X. Should GrowNatural make any sales through their clientele of Happy X’s product, they then share the profit.
Responsibilities of, and Benefits to, the Supplier
As the manufacturer of the product, Happy X’s responsibilities to GrowNatural is to provide them with all the materials required to sell the product. Happy X provides GrowNatural with all the necessary copy and links that they can post on their website with all the revenue sharing streams and stat tracking in place. In the short term, although Happy X loses money to GrowNatural in direct sales, Happy X regards any sales through GrowNatural as sales that would not have otherwise been made. In the long term, although the return on investment may be less than through a direct sale, Happy X now has the attention of the customer and has widened the base of its clientele.
Responsibilities of, and Benefits to, the Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is really the lazy man’s approach to making sales. Ultimately, the more effort an affiliate makes to push a particular product the more sales they can expect to make. It is the affiliate’s responsibility to make their customer base aware of a particular product and then back that product with their seal of approval. Any new product opens up a new revenue stream for the affiliate. In this case, Happy X has done all the work in developing the product and making it available to the consumer. GrowNatural, as the affiliate, is tasked with merely making their following aware that this product is available. How they go about this is completely up to them, but can involve any marketing strategy under the sun. It can be as simple as a banner on their website or as an involved as an email blast to everyone on their list. Affiliates that communicate regularly and are in tune with their audience tend to be the most successful.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
There are some very salesy people out in the world who generate their entire income through affiliate marketing. There are even websites and hubs where you can sign on as an affiliate to sell just about anything. However, it’s usually preferable to find a niche and stick with it. If you have a particular talent for something, or consider yourself an expert in any subject, it is advisable to market products that are closely related to that subject so that you can justify being an authority on things related to the product.
Don’t ever market a product you don’t actually believe in. Although it can be tempting to strike out and begin to market anything that can make you money, remember that anyone who purchases through is considered part of your following. They go through you because they trust you and suddenly providing them with an inferior product can result in losing their trust and the income that they generate.