What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is an outreach and marketing tool used by many companies to further promote a product or brand. In essence, an affiliate program “recruits recruiters” that then go out and market the product at large.
Let’s say Ezoic wants to promote their Ad Tester tool, and has found approaching people one by one is effective, but arduous. How do they reach a larger group of people, with a minimal amount of resources? The answer: an affiliate program.
The hope of an affiliate program is for a company to grow their brand even more. They provide the framework that the affiliates then use to “recruit”. However, the company itself essentially outsources a portion of its marketing to the affiliates. It’s a symbiotic relationship that maximizes the profits and resources for both parties!
What is an affiliate?
I’m sure that many of you may have heard about affiliates, but there’s probably still some confusion as to what affiliates are and what they do. It actually isn’t too complicated, and it can make you a lot of money!
Affiliates essentially become recruiters for the product or brand that they are promoting. For each “conversion” (a potential consumer-turned-customer), they are compensated in some way. Some affiliate program provide lump-sum bonuses. For example, for every 5 conversions they receive $100. Other programs offer affiliates a percentage of the sale- say 5%. Either way, the affiliates are financially incentivized to reach the largest audience possible and grow the product’s scope.
Many affiliates are SEO experts or internet gurus who already have a large following of committed users. Effectively, they recruit using their pre-established user base. The hope is that their words will then influence the users enough to start using or buying a product. If someone “converts”, then the affiliate is paid their dues.
The most popular affiliate programs not only compensate their affiliates fairly, but also build a community for them to help each other, provide ideas, and share their thoughts. This contributes to the progress of the brand, but also builds a team-like atmosphere. Success for the product means success for the affiliates too. Keep in mind that many affiliates are able to make enough money to be a full-time affiliate. If done right, being an affiliate can be extremely profitable and equally rewarding.
What makes a good affiliate?
Passion for the product
Choosing the right affiliate program can be hard. The best advice is to choose something that you are already knowledgeable and passionate about. It will make the promotion both easy and fun for you.
People like hearing from experts (or at least people that seem to know what they’re talking about). Being an affiliate also means you’re a brand ambassador. You should know what you’re talking about and promote things correctly and with expertise.
Don’t fail to promote the product properly just because they are offering good commission or payouts. If you know nothing, the potential customers will be able to tell. You wouldn’t want to buy a car from someone who knows nothing about cars, right? The same goes for affiliates!
Even more so, some people may be risk-averse, and the product you could be promoting might have some inherent risks. Don’t assume that everyone will want to buy it, just because you did. You were probably in their shoes not too long ago. What made you finally purchase it? This is an important question to keep in mind. What made you passionate for the product? The more you know and can offer, the more you can help your potential clients.
It is the affiliate’s job to get the publisher to want to use the product. You can simply provide your promotion, and hope for the best. However, that is not the best way to reach customers. Unless you provide some kind of incentive to people, any potential user will most likely become disinterested. Once you lose their interest, any chance of “converting” them falls practically to 0.
For that reason, it’s important to add value to a brand or product that you are promoting. Don’t just tweet your ‘referral link’ and assume that will be enough to convert someone. It’s important to add value with each referral. For example, something like “Ezoic increases ad revenue by 50-250%. Learn more here: [link]” is more effective than simply, “[link]”. You’d be surprised how many affiliates assume that the product will speak for itself. That is not always the case!
It’s up to you to provide background, insider information, and tips that someone couldn’t learn from just going to a company’s website. For example, you could provide the specifications and the size of a specific product, but wouldn’t it be better to elaborate? If the product doesn’t fit in your purse, let the potential customers know! This is the kind of information people are really looking for.
You will need to put some effort into it and do your best to convince people that it’s worth using. Many may be scared or stand-offish at first. You will not only need to reassure them, but also provide them with the resources to learn more and make their own decision!
There’s no one good way to be a successful affiliate. However, those that think outside of the box are the ones that typically find success!
It might take you some time (and some testing) before you find what works and what doesn’t. The key is to not get discouraged. It can take a while to build a network where affiliate offers come to you. In the beginning, you will have to put yourself out there and take some risks!
Unfortunately, your words may not be enough. You will need to add visuals and make things pop on the page in order to get the attention of potential converts. Eyecatching creatives can do what your words cannot. You can make infographics too! Remember that everyone is different; some people are more visual than others.
It’s ultimately up to you how you want to go about being an affiliate. Your expert opinion is the most important. At the end of the day, it’s important to provide the true and necessary information. However, there are potentially hundreds of affiliates out there that can promote a product in a similar way. So what separates you from the rest? How will your contribution to an affiliate program be greater than someone else’s? Who you reach and how you reach them can give you a leg up on your fellow affiliates!
Learn more here: https://www.ezoic.com/affiliate-program.php
Shelby Kang is the producer and co-host of, The Publisher Lab, a popular digital publishing industry podcast. She serves as a key member of the Ezoic marketing team and is the event coordinator for Pubtelligence, a series of large digital publishing events hosted at Google offices. She holds a marketing degree from SDSU and is an avid rock climber.