Affiliate marketing has been around for over twenty one years now on the Internet. During this time it has changed and grown significantly, and continues to evolve. One of the first programs was Amazon Associates, back in 1996, it was easier to sell items then because there wasn’t as much competition, but difficult also because people were nervous about shopping online and in those days not everyone used the Internet.
Fast forward to the present day and there is a lot more competition amongst affiliates now that people understand how profitable affiliate marketing can generate substantial incomes. In addition, ecommerce has now been accepted widely as a mainstream method of making purchases and is trusted by the vast majority of people.
New technologies have also caused affiliate marketing to grow by leaps and bounds. Those who make the most of these new opportunities can become the top affiliates and highest earners in their niche.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is selling products and services on behalf of a company in exchange for a commission. For example, if you join the Amazon Associates program, you can create links to the products and services they sell. Each time a person clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a percentage of the value of that product. Amazon commissions are quite small, ranging from 5% to 10%.
However, Amazon is also the most popular shopping site in the world, with more than $1 trillion in revenue in 2016 alone. This being the case, there is much less resistance to shopping on Amazon as compared to shopping at a website people are less familiar with.
As more and more companies realized the value of affiliate marketing, marketplaces started to form, in which affiliates could sign up for multiple affiliate programs and get paid with one check at the end of each month.
The main affiliate marketplaces where you can sell tangible (physical) goods, are:
- Affiliates (cj.com)
In terms of digital products, the most common market places to use are:
- Warrior Forum
These marketplaces make it simple for any new affiliate with zero experience to start selling well online. They just need to fill in an application form, and start creating specially coded links. They can then post the links on their site, and at places like their social media. Each time a person buys through that link, the affiliate earns commission. The commission is usually paid out each month, and the marketplaces all have excellent reporting to help keep track of all sales.
The Benefits of a Marketplace
An affiliate marketplace makes it easy to get paid, and gives affiliates access to new products, special offers and deals, and more. Some of the best companies also give free content to affiliates in order to help them sell well. This content will usually be useful items such as articles, blog posts, banners, and more.
Other Important Changes
Technology has improved, enabling mobile marketing. This means people can shop easily from any device, leading to greater sales.
Social media marketing means people are talking about products and services all the time. In fact, studies have shown that people trust word-of-mouth recommendations by their peers more than any promotional material issued by a company.
As more and more companies discover how useful it is to have a commissioned sales force creating thousands of links pointing to their products, new businesses are joining the marketplaces all the time. Some also offer higher commissions, and host contests for valuable prizes in order to boost their affiliates’ incentive to sell well.
Affiliate marketing is more competitive, but it is also growing. This being the case, pay attention to the main marketplaces and all of the free items you are given access to, and you should soon be able to sell well as an affiliate.