This is the first in a series of educational post about getting started as an affiliate marketer. Whether you’re new to the industry or have some experience under your belt, you should get more tips and strategies to enhance and improve your campaigns.
What’s Affiliate Marketing and CPA Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a channel or method where advertisers (also known as merchants or product owners) recruit partners to help them:
- Generate prospective customers OR
- Pre-sell them on the idea of buying the product OR
- Getting involved in the sales process themselves
Depending on the advertiser you’re working with, you might be known as an affiliate/affiliate marketer/partner/associate/reseller.
You might be paid on:
- The number of prospects generated (lead generation) OR
- The value of products bought (revenue share/pay-per-sale) OR
- On an ongoing basis receiving regular payments as long as the customer continues the product/service. (continuity/rebilling/subscription)
CPA marketing or Cost-Per-Action marketing is primarily focused on the lead generation aspect of the business. You might receive a $30 payout on a $4.95 trial by the customer. The advertiser is able to recoup their commission payout to you by selling a premium product on the backend (as a product upgrade), or enrol the customer in a monthly subscription.
Hence, for many new affiliates, the CPA route might be easier to get started.
Payouts are typically related to the amount of effort needed to get the lead/prospect to take an action.
For submitting their email address or zip code, it might be $0.50 – $2. For activities requiring more effort, such as filling in a request form, or purchasing a trial pack or product, it could be upwards of $100.
Evaluating Affiliate Networks
The majority of affiliate networks use DirectTrack, a software developed by Digital River. One issue with Direct Track (DT) is that some spyware detection/protection software identifies DT cookies as spyware and hence removes it. Because your commissions are tracked by the cookies embedded in a user’s browser, having the cookie removed means the action/sale can’t be tracked to you, and you won’t receive credit for the sale.
There’re currently more than 350 affiliate networks (about 5-10 major networks and about 300+ small outfits) in the industry.
There’re also a number of merchants (large and small) who offer their own in-house affiliate programs (such as Amazon and the eBay Partner Network), so affiliates will sign up directly with them.
For a list of affiliate networks I work with and recommend, you can check out the Affiliate Network Review resource page.
Getting Started As An Affiliate
Here’s the major problem for most new affiliates – getting too bogged down buying educational courses, reading blogs and forums and going to tradeshows, seminars, meetups – without ever actually making much progress in starting or putting enough time into their own campaigns.
Here’s a tip: Get started today.
If you’re new to the industry, you might try setting up a personal blog and apply to affiliate programs which are easier to get into (the Amazon Associates affiliate program is a pretty easy starting point – note: they have recently discontinued some forms of promotion, so be sure to read their terms and coniditions carefully).
Another tip: Sign up via an existing affiliate’s link then drop them an email
If the affiliate knows you, they can put in a word to their affiliate manager and this might increase your chances of getting accepted into the affiliate network (note: it may not always work).
If you’re like to go with this strategy, you can check out the Affiliate Network Review page and drop me a note via the Contact form, including your full name, email address used in the application, plus some information about yourself and your experience.
Credibility is a very important element if you want to go along this route, so it’s important to promote quality programs on the reference site you might be using. Including things like ponzi schemes or poor quality/scammy offers on your site will be a surefire way to get your application denied.
You can also follow up with a phone call to the affiliate network via their phone number which helps a great deal.
One great way to get started as an affiliate, especially if you’re based in Singapore is to participate in the WhoIsAndrewWee.com affiliate challenge (sponsored by Market Leverage), which is specifically focused on Singapore-based affiliates.
In the next Affiliate Marketing Tips: Researching niches and evaluating affiliate offers