Affiliate marketing has become the new norm of doing online business . It is the engine that propels e-commerce for most enterprises. More than half of companies trading online have some form of affiliate marketing. This has created immense opportunities for those who are passionate about expanding their income streams. You too can take a bite of this multi-billion-dollar cake. In this article, we are going to show you how to make a bite of this already baked cake.

Affiliate marketing has many different channels, funnels, and platforms. Sometimes you can seem to be trapped in a mace if you do not get the right direction. Knowing the fundamentals is the surest way to get started.

The fundamentals of affiliate marketing:

Like any other engagement, with affiliate marketing, you choose how you want to participate. There are different ways you can become an affiliate marketer – full-time, part-time or passive.

A full-time marketer dedicates his earning time fully to affiliate marketing. This becomes the primary means of tapping his income flow.

A part-time marketer is one who dedicates a regular and significant portion of his time to affiliate marketing. This could be half-day, two hours a day, etc.

A passive affiliate marketer is one who dedicates neither full-time nor part-time. This is not his professional engagement but simply a hobby or free-time activity that earns some income. Thus, the focus is not primarily to earn a living through affiliate marketing but simply to enjoy something extra gained from utilizing free time.

To become a successful affiliate marketer, you need a proven affiliate network. An affiliate network is a platform that links product merchants and affiliate marketers.

They provide affiliate links to products you would like to market. Their platform provides metrics of your activities and computes revenue due to you from your affiliate marketing endeavor.

Popular affiliate networks:

The following are the top 5 affiliate marketing program that you can choose from as a starting point as you continue to evaluate each based on the kind of niche you are focused on;

  • Commission junction – this is by far the most popular affiliate-marketing platform. It covers almost all kinds of merchants.
  • Clickbank – Clickbank focuses mainly on downloadable products such as eBooks, software, videos, etc.
  • ShareASale – This is based on sales made. The affiliate network and affiliate marketer share the commission on sales made on a percentage basis.
  • Linkshare – Operates the same way as ShareASale. Currently known as Rakuten Marketing
  •  Amazon Associates – Unlike others, Amazon Associates focuses only on products sold on Amazon marketplace. Thus, it is more of a merchant-driven affiliate platform. It is the most preferred affiliate platform if you are marketing products already on Amazon platform. However, if you are not marketing products already on Amazon platform, then, you will have to consider the first four platforms.

Every marketer knows that the ultimate determinant of one’s success is being able to understand and predict the market. It is consumer demand that drives sales. 

Consumer demand is driven by customers wants. However, it is not always that they will preach to you what they want; it is up to you to find out.

What do customers want?

To have an in-depth understanding of what customers want requires a combination of science, art, and intuition. You have to find a way of blending the three.

This requires science in the sense that you have to carry out experiments, test different products and analyze responses. It is an art because you have to be creative and appealing. It is intuition because you have to use your sixth sense (reading consumer psychology) to be able to predict customers’ likely behavior.

Finding out needs & satisfying solutions

A consumer’s want is based on a specific need. A consumer buys a product to satisfy a certain need.

With information about what a consumer wants, you can easily identify the need and thus provide a need-satisfying solution. A want is basically a signal to a need but not a need itself. By understanding a want, you can discover the need. Knowing the need gives the flexibility to advance alternative need-satisfying solutions.

The following are some of the tools, which you can use to gather market intelligence:

  • Vouchers – A voucher would link to alternative products. For example, a travel voucher would allow a customer to choose preferred travel package. A package chosen by most customers would that which matches the market need.
  • Coupons – coupons work the same way as vouchers except that they are tools for granting special discount or waivers.
  • Surveys – surveys are important in accessing much detailed feedback from customers