An introduction to Affiliate Marketing

Luke Branley

When I tell people that I work in Affiliate Marketing they often say “Oh right…” and then make a funny face at me, as if almost apologising for not really understanding what I do. In fact, my Mum still does it – even though I’ve tried to explain it to her multiple times (not quite to the point of sitting her down and going through an Affiliate 101 as of yet, but that’s the next step). I think she tells people that I ‘make adverts’.

So, what actually is Affiliate Marketing?

The truth of it is that Affiliate Marketing isn’t some kind of black magic, or complex Ponzi scheme where people are being ripped off – it’s a very simple concept that, when implemented and managed correctly, delivers great cost efficiencies and high ROIs. That’s why it’s used by some of the biggest companies in the world and also some of the smallest.

I don’t want to talk myself out of a job, but the theory behind Affiliate Marketing is quite basic – at its core it’s a referral marketing process where you’re putting links on publisher sites, they’re driving traffic through to a merchant landing page, and then you’re rewarding them when you get a desired outcome (usually when a sale is made).

OK, so how can I benefit from Affiliate Marketing?

In your everyday lives you’re likely involved in utilising Affiliates without even realising it; Money Saving Expert, Vouchercodes.co.uk, Skyscanner, Broadband Choices, and uSwitch are all examples of Affiliate sites hiding in plain sight. Even bloggers, who might just seem like they’re writing for the sheer joy of it, or unconditional love of holidaying and makeup, are probably monetising their links through an Affiliate relationship – if you have a website then you could be doing that too, and you’d be surprised at the variety of Affiliate programmes on offer, from Home Improvements, to Fashion, to Gambling and Casinos, to Mobile and Electricals. I once worked with a chap who made several hundred pounds a month running a goose-down-duvet comparison website.

Of course, if you’re not popular enough to have a blog that people actually read, then having an Affiliate website isn’t the only way you can benefit from the beautiful world of Affiliate Marketing. If you’re not already doing it then you should be a member of a cashback website – I would suggest Quidco – these types of site pass the commission they earn straight back to you, the consumer, as long as you go through the tracking links they provide. And whilst you’re at it, why not pay for the products using a reward based Credit Card so you’re doubling your bonus?

In conclusion, remember that Affiliate Marketing is not a dirty word. It is a very lucrative marketing option that is utilised by both big and small businesses at varying degrees. In fact, anyone can make money from Affiliate Marketing, and so on that note, I’m off to pick up my cheque from Quidco for all the new customers I’ve just sent their way…