What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing awards people who promote a product or service, in exchange for payment.

Some say affiliate marketing was pioneered by Amazon in the mid-1990s when they launched their “Associates Program”. Essentially, Amazon created an army of online sales consultants who directed traffic to the website, rewarding them with sales commissions from the resulting purchases.

Fast forward to the present day, and affiliate marketing continues to provide substantial win-win scenarios for brands and their affiliate partners.

These days brands worldwide have extended affiliate marketing programs that include individual influencers, website owners, and even other businesses. That’s because affiliate marketing provides an excellent opportunity for anyone to promote a product or service in exchange for payment.

However, affiliate marketing is most effective when brands strive for authentic affiliate partners. Working with loyal influencers is often the most successful technique for driving traffic to your desired landing page, whereas collaborating with financially driven affiliates can potentially harm your brand if spamming is their only method of promotion.

Methods of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing allows brands like yours to distribute promotional links or codes to your affiliate partners. These commission-driven links to a range of potential affiliates, including;

  • Brand ambassadors
  • Influencers and content creators
  • Bloggers
  • Industry experts
  • Existing customers
  • Your employees

There are also several affiliate marketing payment structures, such as;

  • A flat rate, one-off fee per individual customer
  • Commission for the purchase lifespan of every customer
  • Minimum traffic quotas – traffic volume needed before an affiliate earns payment
  • Sliding scale commission – improved percentages for each tier of additional traffic volume

How do brands benefit from affiliate marketing?

Brands benefit most from affiliate marketing as you can have thousands of affiliate partners driving traffic to your branded app or online store. Not only does this enhance your brand awareness to a new and existing customer base, but affiliate links also mean customers are only one click from a purchase.

In addition, affiliate marketing also provides incredible traffic metrics, including which affiliates generate the most leads, clicks, registrations, and purchases.

Affiliate marketing benefits brand partners too!

Affiliates also benefit from affiliate marketing primarily as a source of passive income. Commission payments can generate a few dollars a month for minor brand associates and up to tens of millions for enterprise-level affiliate marketing partners.