Affiliate marketing is awesome! There is no other industry or business where you can simply get on a computer and start making money overnight. There is no need to work directly with customers, process billing, hold any inventory or even the need to hire employees of have a physical location!
In addition to affiliate marketing being a huge multi-billion dollar industry, it’s also one of the best ways for anyone to get started without having to put up a lot of money in the process as well.
Whether you are an affiliate marketing expert or just getting started, this ‘Visual Guide to Affiliate Marketing” post is going to provide you with an awesome walk through of what affiliate marketing is, how it got to where it is today and also give you some helpful tips on how to use it to grow your existing blog brand or business.
Affiliate Marketing Guide: History, Concept & Profitability
To walk you through the awesome journey of what affiliate marketing is, where it came from and how it’s making online marketers millionaires everyday… I’ve hand selected some of the best infographics in the industry to give you a visual storyline of how to master this amazing industry.
#1 Understand What Affiliate Marketing Is
Before jumping into the world of affiliate marketing, you first need to know not only “what it is”, but also the many different components of it and how it works. Affiliate marketing is made up of three different players, which are the publishers (affiliates), the advertisers and also the consumers. This “Affiliate Marketing 101” infographic from Pepperjam Exchange does an excellent job on breaking down how, why and where affiliate marketing works. (view full infographic)
#2 Know the Difference Between Affiliate & Referral Marketing
Before getting out there and trying to promote everything under the sun so you can start making money, you should also understand the differences between “affiliate marketing” and “referral marketing”. Though they sound the same, the two are quite different. In affiliate marketing, the advocate doesn’t know the customer, product or brand personally, but is getting paid a compensation for their recommendation. In referral marketing, the advocate is recommending a brand, service or product based off their strong opinion and feelings for a service. This infographic from Ambassador does a great job on breaking down the many similarities and differences between the two.
#3 Understand Why Google Loves and Hates Affiliate Marketers
In the world of online marketing, Google gets to play God a lot. In addition to playing God, their love and hate relationship with affiliate marketing continues to keep everyone on their toes and always ready for any new algorithmic changes they might deem necessary.
For example, back in the day you could run affiliate offers through Google Adwords all day — this is no longer the case. Google also owns Google Adsense, which is the largest affiliate network in the world — which Google also banned 30,000 affiliates from in 2009 without any warning or justification.
Be sure to check out the full “Google’s Love / Hate Relationship with Affiliates” infographic from SEOBook for many more examples of each. (view full infographic)
#4 Appreciating the Past to Prepare for the Future
In order to find success in the future, you must learn from the past. With affiliate marketing having two decades of history and growth in the online marketing world, knowing what’s worked in the past and planning ahead for the future is key.
In 1979 Michael Aldrich invested online shopping. For affiliate marketing, it all started back in 1994 when CDNow launched their own affiliate program, which was followed up by Amazon’s associate program in 1996. Amazon.com was already the king of online shopping, but through the use of their affiliate program, they not only expanded their reach… they also sealed their fate as the number one shopping site online for the next two decades.
Continue to follow the growth of affiliate marketing in online business and ecommerce through the infographic below.
#5 Treating Affiliate Marketing Like a Real Business
Just because affiliate marketing doesn’t require inventory, staff, further education or even a lot of money to get started — you still need to treat it like a real business. This means you need to put in the time and effort to create a strategy that works and adapts with your environment.
The infographic below covers everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, while also covering what it takes to build out a successful and profitable affiliate site over your own. It all started with creating unique content that caters to your audience, building a brand that stands out from the crowd, figuring out the best ways to monetize your site and traffic without jeopardizing their experience and ultimately figuring out a way to make money with your site without requiring visitors coming back to your site. (view full infographic)
#6 Expanding Beyond Just an Affiliate Marketer
Once you’ve found success in the world of affiliate marketing, you may want to step up your game. For many in the industry, this meant going from just an “affiliate” to becoming their own “affiliate network”. While this may seem like a fun way to scale and grow your business, it’s the actual work, risk and continued management that makes it quite the mission in itself. The same holds true for any existing brand or product that wants to launch an affiliate program of their own. Over the past 20 years we’ve seen a lot of startup affiliate networks come and go — do you have what it takes to start your own affiliate network?
Find out in this 51 point checklist that walks you through the process of how to start an affiliate program of your own. The process of running a success affiliate program comes out to a lot more than just setting it up and waiting for people to promote your site. With more competition than ever before, you need to plan out your affiliate program, how you will promote it, how much you can pay and how you will contact others to potentially promote your affiliate program online. All of this and more in this 51 point checklist.
#7 Affiliate Marketing is a Region
Affiliate marketing is not a hobby, side project or something to take lightly. Just like a religion… you need to live, sleep and breathe. Affiliate marketing is not for the weak, and those who do put in the work and effort will be rewarded heavily.
In this 10 Commandments of Affiliate Marketing infographic, discover the traits and skill set of every successful affiliate marketer and entrepreneur in the game today. Some of the most notable commandments are knowing your audience, being trustworthy, creating timeless content, staying relevant and being patient.
Guide Yourself Through Affiliate Marketing and Make It What You Want it To Be
Affiliate marketing and blogging has completely changed my life for the better. When I first started making money online back in the mid 90s, it was affiliate marketing that allowed me to take my game and business to a whole new level.
While most people will find affiliate marketing as a viable business model, only a few will actually succeed. It comes down to the focus, efforts and time they put into making it work.
As seen through the infographics above, affiliate marketing works extremely well and is one of the major contributors to the success of many online brands, especially Amazon.com.
Take the time to understand, master and appreciate affiliate marketing… and you will also find success!