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What is affiliate marketing? And should you use it?

Martin Castilla            No comments            Mar, 21

You may have heard of ‘affiliate marketing’ many times over the past few years but did you know it was actually established way back in in 1996? The idea of affiliate marketing has been around for ages but Amazon was the first company to make a programme that was available to the general public over a decade ago! Since then, the popularity of affiliate marketing has increased massively. What is affiliate marketing? Refused Car Finance are here to explore the concept of affiliate marketing for your business, the benefits of adding it to your marketing strategy and whether it’s right for you.

What is it?

The concept is pretty simple. Through affiliate marketing, you can earn commission by promoting products on your website. When you promote a product and people buy it, you then make a profit on each sale you make. It’s a great way for bloggers or companies to make additional money! There are two sides to the process where you are either the affiliate or the advertiser. The ‘affiliate’ is the person who owns the website which is promoting a product or service. The ‘advertiser’ (or merchant) is the person who owns and sells the product that is being promoted. The ‘affiliate network’ is where a tracking cookie within the network is added to the buyer’s browser which helps to prove that the affiliate link was used to purchase the advertiser’s product. As a consumer, you may or may not know you are using an affiliate link or website. Some websites choose to be upfront with consumers and disclose that they are using an affiliate link and others leave them completely oblivious. One thing to note about the affiliate process is that it does take time and effort. It isn’t as simple as advertising a product and getting money!

What are the benefits?

For an affiliate, the main benefit is the potential profit you can earn. As an affiliate, what you put in is what you get out. So, having a performance based goal is a great way to get motivated and strive for the commission you’re after! It’s also a really cost-effective marketing channel as you are only getting paid for when a specific sale or action takes place. Once you’re all set up, affiliate marketing looks after itself and requires little maintenance. If you do it properly, profits from affiliate marketing can be constantly rolling into your bank account! The flexibility of affiliate marketing means you can run it alongside your marketing efforts with ease or set it up from the comfort of your own home for additional income!

As an advertiser, you only pay for the leads that have resulted in customers so it’s really cost effective on both sides. Affiliate links drive customers to your website which increases traffic and also helps search engine rankings as more links are directing to your website. This in return also increases your brand visibility! It’s also a great way to better understand your customers and the buying journey, through tracked links you can identify where your customers are coming from.

Are there any drawbacks?

As mentioned, one of the drawbacks of affiliate marketing is that it does take time and effort and for advertisers, it does take a while to get established. It’s not a quick fix but more of a long-term business strategy so if you don’t have the time to put into it, you may not get much out of it. Before you sign up to any affiliate partnerships, it’s crucial that you do your research. There are some ‘bad’ affiliate partnerships out there who don’t pay the correct commission or sometimes don’t pay at all! You should also be wary of link hijackers which is where hackers override the link and take the commission. If you have a very competitive niche, it can be a lot of hard work and there are thousands of new blogs and websites being created every day.

Affiliate marketing can be really beneficial and still remains one of the best ways to make money online. If you’re wondering whether affiliate marketing is right for you, you should firstly review your competitors to see if they are running one.  You should also do your research on the different types of affiliate websites and platforms before deciding which one is right for you, this can depend on your blog/website niche and amount of traffic you get. Also, if you are using an affiliate network, they tend to take a cut of your sales fee so you should factor this into your budget.

About the author: Refused Car Finance are a bad credit car finance specialist based in the North East of England. They specialise in helping people with bad credit gain car finance and strive to make car finance approvals more accessible for everyone! They also provide many thought leadership piece across the web on all things automotive, finance and marketing related.