What is an affiliate program?
Affiliate marketing is, first and foremost, about relationships. It relies on a relationship between a merchant (ie. Retailer) and you, the affiliate/publisher, as well as a relationship between you and consumers.
When you promote the merchant's product or service offerings (on your blog, website, social media feed, etc.) and a consumer purchases a product/service from the brand based on your promotion, the merchant pays you a revenue share of the sale that you helped generate.
Compensation can include join incentives; special discounts or one-time offers to help you become more familiar with the merchant's brand; product giveaways; blog post bonuses; and, of course, commissions.
Affiliates can be individual bloggers, publishers and influencers as well as companies. Examples include:
Coupon sites (i.e. RetailMeNot)
Deal sites (i.e. Slickdeals)
Loyalty/reward sites (i.e. Ebates)
How do affiliates get paid?
Affiliates can get compensated in a variety of ways, which are determined by the merchant.
The three most common are pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead and pay-per-click.
Affiliates only get paid when their promotional efforts actually result in a transaction.
Most often, all payments earned by affiliates are paid out through the third-party network the program is hosted on.
Is there a cost associated with signing up for an affiliate program?
There is no cost for signing up as a partner to promote a brand through their affiliate program.
You can sign up for as many programs as you would like across any affiliate network at no cost to you.
Can I become an affiliate if I'm outside of the United States?
Yes. We accept affiliates from anywhere in the world, as long as the network and program accept publishers in your specific region.
Here are a few things to keep in mind: all commission payments are currently made in U.S. dollars
and a majority of our clients only ship to the US and Canada.
What is a commission rate?
Typically, commission rates are based on a percentage of the total sale (e.g. 10%),
and in some cases it can also be a flat fee for a transaction. Your commission rate is set by the merchant.
In affiliate marketing, programs are run on affiliate networks.
Networks help affiliates register and apply to individual programs and act as the trusted intermediary between affiliates and merchants.
For example, networks host the merchants' creative (banners, links, etc.), handle all tracking and reporting,
and automatically pay out commissions to affiliates based on the rules set by the merchant.
through the merchant's shopping cart. The network then automatically pays out commissions to affiliates based on the rules set by the merchant.
A few of the most common affiliate networks are ShareASale, Commission Junction and ImpactRadius.
Do affiliates need a certification to be an affiliate?
There is no certification needed. However, we do recommend that you learn as much as possible about what it
means to be an affiliate. Fortunately, there is a lot of information out there to help educate new affiliates, including podcasts, blogs, webinars, research reports and much more.
Although you do not need training, merchants do have the power to approve or reject affiliate applications.
Some are looking for specific qualities in their affiliates and are more selective about who they choose to accept into their program.
Often, merchants will not approve sites that are sexually explicit, violent, violate international property laws, advocate discrimination,
promote radical religious or political views, or advocate or promote any illegal activities.
Do affiliates need to have an established website to get started?
Not necessarily. While it is possible to register a site that is not live, it's important to understand that most merchants look to partner with affiliates who have an established blog/website with a good network of readers/visitors.
They also want to work with affiliates who have a track record of providing high-quality content to a targeted, loyal audience that's relevant to their vertical.
For example, if the merchant sells women's jewelry and your blog/site is mainly targeted at men who love grilling, then that affiliate program might not be a good fit.
Therefore, we strongly recommend having an established blog/website that's receiving good traffic before you apply to a program. Alternatively, if you don't have an established site, but do have an established social media following,
most programs will accept and allow you to post affiliate links on social media pages you own or operate.