According to Wikipedia, affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity, resulting in the emergence of a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialised third party vendors.

Internet marketing ideally consists of some conventional marketing methods and affiliate marketing is a method that is non-conventional and has recently come on the block. Ideally, organic search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search engine optimisation, pay per click, e-mail marketing; content marketing and paid display marketing.

Affiliate marketing and referral marketing use third parties in order to drive traffic and sales on their website. However, both have a very discrete form of marketing as affiliate marketing counts on the financial motivation to derive sales and traffic, whereas referral marketing requires a personal level of trust and understanding- with or without the inclusion of finances.

Affiliate Marketing Explained In Layman Terms

The affiliate marketing works in a cycle of 4 steps, with three different parties involved. Let’s take an example of an online shopping website, which as a matter of fact is a huge and growing market today!

Online Shopper – Affiliate Website – Merchant Site versus Online Shopper –Affiliate Website – Merchant Site – Online

Ideally, this is an everyday situation for most of us involved in, pertaining to the highly succumbing desire of shopping online to beat multiple psychological shortcomings. That, however, is a different topic to discuss.

This is also an ideal situation for affiliate marketing. The first step is that the online shopper makes a decision to buy an item online. This search online leads him to the affiliate website. The affiliate website then redirects the online customer to the merchant website. Finally the shopper makes an online purchase, which then results to the merchant rewarding the affiliate website for the effort of redirecting traffic to the merchant website.

As new as this method of marketing is, so are the increased number of chances of mistakes made by Affiliate marketers. Here is a list of 7 common mistakes made by Affiliate Marketers:

Selling Rather Than Helping

The task of an affiliate marketing website is to try to drive traffic to the merchant site, and not to try to sell the products. In the term affiliate marketing- affiliate is of the essence, and marketing is only to add to the understanding of the entire chain process.

The point is that people want to hear from other people what is good and what is not? This is exactly the reason why the reviews on the merchant websites are of importance.

Joining Too Many Programs

It is advisable to invest in appropriate programs which suit the particular affiliate marketing objectives. Joining too many programs can only cause more clutter and less driving of traffic!

To Not Test

When trying to figure the appropriate affiliate marketing, make sure you do not cater to merchants who might blow up the index of the customers!

Not Tracking

One of the biggest steps while performing affiliate marketing is to create a unique tracking affiliate link on each page during the process. For example, if your merchant site is Amazon, follow the simple process on the website to create a unique tracking affiliate link. This will help you understand which pages are converting to the growth and sales of the products.

No Comparison

Most online shoppers are susceptible to visiting the merchant website and making a sale if there is a comparison made of the main product with the other products. Affiliate marketing comes handy when you try to help them with the comparison of the products, this drives sales for them.

Smart Affiliate Marketing Strategies

There are many ways in which we can compete as an affiliate marketer in the world of online marketing, there are some smart ways to be applied to succeed:

  • Only recommend the products as an affiliate marketer which you are well aware of, preferably the products that you might have used before. This is a safer way of promoting the product and not hurting the trust of the online shoppers.
  • Never make a direct recommendation for the product, because no-one actually wants to hear what you like or what you think is good for them. Rather make it a comparison and help the online shoppers will feel intelligent to make their own choice, yet they will subtly will fall under the affiliate marketing technique.
  • If you are a mobile app development company, then there is no way your client ought to be convinced it via indirect marketing.
  • Creating highly competitive content is the key to succeeding in the world of online marketing. If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing the key component of your strategy is to create highly competitive content.
  • One should also learn to add value to the website which can bring about better value to the consumer insights
  • Every successful business has the one way to success – repeat business. Create a recurring affiliative revenue bond with the merchants, and also with the online clients.
  • Make sure to rely on more than one traffic source – it’s always good to have a backup.
  • Mobile is the upcoming trend in terms of affiliative marketing – hence make sure you are up to date with this trend!

[The author of this post – Bhavik Sarkhedi is the Founder of ‘Write Right‘, Author of The Weak Point Dealer & ‘Will You Walk A Mile?’]

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

Important Announcement For Startup Founders
Get your voice heard through Inc42's 'State Of The Indian Startup Ecosystem Survey'. More than 409 founders have voiced their opinion already. You should too.