Affiliate marketing is one of the popular ways of making money online. In this post you will learn about affiliate marketing and how to make money with affiliate marketing.
There are two types of affiliate marketing: – CPS and CPA. CPS affiliate marketing is commonly mentioned as just affiliate marketing without the CPS. When someone is talking about affiliate marketing, he is most likely talking about CPS affiliate marketing as it is more popular among the two. In this guide too you would sometimes see affiliate marketing being used instead of CPS affiliate marketing. In this guide we will cover both CPS and CPA affiliate marketing.
Let us first look at CPS affiliate marketing.
CPS affiliate marketing
What is CPS affiliate marketing?
CPS stands for cost per sale. CPS affiliate marketing is also called as PPS affiliate marketing. PPS stands for pay per sale.
Affiliate marketing is the process in which a person promotes products or services of other people and companies online, and receives commission on every sale of the product or service by him. The person promoting the products or services is called as affiliate marketer or just affiliate and the people and companies whose products or services he promotes are called as merchants. Affiliate marketer can be a individual or a company.
Any person can become an affiliate and start promoting products and services to earn commission if the merchant has affiliate program whose products and services he wants to promote and if the merchant approves him as an affiliate. The merchants decide the rate of commission on the product or service, which is a certain percentage of the price of product or service or a fixed amount per sale.
How affiliate marketing works:-
A person decides to become affiliate of a merchant to promote its products or services. He then finds out if the merchant has affiliate program. If yes, he applies to become an affiliate of that merchant.
If the merchant approves his application, he becomes the affiliate of that merchant.
The affiliate marketer then gets his affiliate links of the products or services from the merchant. Affiliate links are used to promote the products or services of the merchant on internet. Every product or service has its own affiliate link and the merchant assigns every affiliate marketer a different unique affiliate link for every product or service. Affiliate links have tracking mechanism which help the merchants know which affiliate marketer’s link was used by the customer to buy the product or service. This way the right affiliate marketer gets credited for the sale.
The affiliate marketer then takes the affiliate link of the product or service, which he wants to promote and places it on various places on internet such as his blog, YouTube channel’s video descriptions, social media sites, forums, etc.
When someone clicks on the affiliate link placed by him, he is taken to the sales page of the merchant company’s product or service. If the person clicking on the affiliate link buys the product or service, the affiliate marketer earns commission for that sale. Like this every time someone clicks on his affiliate link and buys the product or service, he earns commission. This is how CPS affiliate marketing works.
Why CPS affiliate marketing?
You should consider CPS affiliate marketing for following reasons:-
(1) You get passive income. Once you place your affiliate links in the right places on internet, you do not need to do anything. People will click your affiliate links, purchase the products or services and you will get commission. You just need to keep promoting your affiliate links and bring more traffic to them.
(2) You do not need any product or service of yours. You make money by promoting other’s products and services. So no need to create any product or trade in any product. You can earn money just by promoting or marketing other peoples and companies products and services.
(3) You do not need to deal with the customers. You do not need to provide any customer service or handle customer issues. In fact, you never come in contact with the customers. Customers deal with the merchants directly. Your job is just to connect the customers and merchants.
(4) You do not need any investment to do affiliate marketing. You do not need to pay anything to the merchants to join their affiliate programs. They are free to join.
(5) You do not need a site or blog to do affiliate marketing but nowadays many merchants require you to have a blog or site otherwise they do not approve affiliate applications. Therefore, it is better to have it. Having a blog also helps in promoting affiliate links.
(6) You can promote products and services of multiple merchants even within the same niche or industry. Once you sign up as affiliate marketer of a merchant, it does not mean that you cannot promote products and services of other similar merchants. You can promote products and services of other merchants and that too in the same niche or industry simultaneously.
(7) You can start doing affiliate marketing easily and quickly. You just need to sign up with the merchants as an affiliate, get the affiliate links after their approval and start promoting them.
How affiliate marketing benefits merchants selling products and services:-
Affiliate marketing not only benefits the affiliate marketers but also the merchants whose products and services the affiliate marketers promote.
The major benefit is that the merchants need to spend less amount of money on advertising. In advertising they have to spend money in advance without knowing whether the advertising would result in sales or not and if yes then how many sales. Therefore, it is like an investment for them without any guarantee of return i.e. sales. However, in affiliate marketing, the merchants only spend money i.e. commission when the actual sale takes place and that too from the sale price of the product or service instead of their own pockets.
Just imagine thousands of affiliate marketers working for a merchant promoting its products and services and bringing customers without the merchant paying them any fixed salary or spending anything upfront.
How you can make money with affiliate marketing:-
You can make money with affiliate marketing by simply recommending the products and services of merchants, which you like to other people. If people buy the products and services recommended by you, you earn commission. For this people need to use your affiliate links to buy those products and services. You get commission for every sale of product and service through your affiliate link.
Some merchants pay a certain percentage of the sales price of the product or service as commission for e.g. 30% of the sales price and some pay a fixed amount per sale for e.g. 20$ per sale. Higher the price of the product or service, higher the commission you would earn per sale.
The amount of money, which you can earn from affiliate marketing, depends on how many products and services you promote, price and commission rate of those products and services and most importantly how many people buy those products and services using your affiliate links.
Two types of products, which you can promote:-
There are two types of products which you can promote in CPS affiliate marketing:-
(1) Digital products: –
Digital products are intangible products, which people can download on their computers such as E-books, E-courses, software, etc., or services, which people can use online without downloading such as web hosting, keyword research tool, etc. Digital products generally have higher rate of commission than physical products.
However, the conversion rate of digital products is lower than physical products which means less number of people would buy a digital product from the total number of people clicking on the affiliate link of a digital product.
The refund rate of digital products is also higher than physical products, which means more number of people would ask for refund from the total number of people buying a digital product. As digital products are generally easier to make, there are many digital products of poor quality, which do not satisfy the expectations of the customers, which leads to refunds. There is also no question of returning digital products to get refund unlike physical products, which customers have to return.
(2) Physical products: –
Physical products are tangible products, which can be shipped to the people such as laptops, mobiles, camera, TV, bags, clothes, etc. Physical products generally have lower rate of commission than digital products. Therefore, you need to sell highly priced expensive physical products to earn good amount of commission per sale.
However, the conversion rate of physical products is higher than digital products this is because people can actually see and know what they are going to get and many of the physical products are from well-known and reputed brands.
The refund rate of physical products is also lesser than digital products as people exactly get what they see on sales page and there is also some hassle involved in returning physical products.
You can promote both digital and physical products or only digital products or only physical products. It is up to you. The important thing is promoting good quality products which people may find useful whether they are digital or physical.
Ways of joining CPS Affiliate programs:-
There are four ways by which you can join CPS affiliate programs:-
(1) You can sign up individually with different merchants selling products and services you want to promote. It generally works only for digital products. Go to the website of the merchant whose product or service you want to promote and look for the link with words “affiliates” or “referral program” on their site and click on it. It is mostly on the footer of the site or sometimes on the menu bar. You can then join the affiliate program by filling the form on their site. Many merchants list their affiliate programs with the affiliate marketing networks and you have to sign up to that affiliate marketing network where they have listed their affiliate program.
If you do not find the affiliate program on the merchant’s site, you can search in Google with merchant name or product name + affiliates. For e.g. namecheap affiliates. You will see the link to affiliate program in the search results. You can click on it to go directly to the affiliate program page of the merchant’s website. If the merchant has listed its affiliate program with an affiliate network, you can see the link to its affiliate program in that affiliate network’s site in the search results. You have to sign up with the affiliate network where the merchant has listed its affiliate program in order to promote its product or service. If the merchant does not have an affiliate program, you will not find the link to affiliate program in search results.
If you want to find out the affiliate products and services available in your niche, you can search for them in Google search. You have to type niche + affiliate programs in search for e.g. travel affiliate programs, health and fitness affiliate programs, etc.
Merchants pay the commission amount earned by you when it reaches the minimum payout amount set by them, which is different for every merchant.
(2) You can sign up with CPS affiliate marketing networks. CPS affiliate marketing networks are platforms, which bring together merchants selling products and services and affiliate marketers who want to earn commission by promoting products and services. Affiliate marketing network sites are mostly for digital products but some of them also have physical products to promote. The advantage with affiliate network sites is that you will find many products to promote which you would have not found otherwise just by searching in Google. You are generally assigned an affiliate manager when you sign up with an affiliate network.
The affiliate networks pay you when the total commission earned by you by selling different products and services reaches the minimum payout amount set by them, which is different for every affiliate marketing network. Most affiliate networks take some percentage of your commission as their commission. Nowadays most CPS affiliate marketing networks require you to have a site or blog in order to be accepted in their network.
Following are some of the popular CPS affiliate marketing network sites:-
(3) You can sign up with in-text affiliate networks, which provide a different way of doing affiliate marketing. These networks convert the normal outbound links on your blog into affiliate links. It mostly works for physical products and some digital products and services too but it requires you to have a blog. Here you do not choose the products or services you want to promote specifically. You have to insert their code on your blog and the normal outgoing links on your blog are automatically converted into affiliate links if those normal links point to the products and services, which have affiliate programs. You do not have to put affiliate links of the products and services yourself anywhere on the blog. You just need to mention a product or service and link to its page as you would normally do. If someone clicks on the link, it becomes an affiliate link provided the product or service has affiliate program. If the person buys the product or service, you earn commission.
In this method, you do not need to sign up with merchants individually or affiliate marketing networks to get the affiliate links of products and services which you want to promote. You just need to write articles on your blog as you normally do and link to the relevant products and services, which you mention in the article. This works mostly for blogs using product keywords such as technology and fashion blogs.
Following are some of the popular in-text affiliate networks:-
(4) If you are interested in promoting physical products, then the best option is Amazon’s affiliate program. You can sign up with amazon as an affiliate and promote the products, which you want. Amazon is well-known and reputed site. You would have ordered many products from amazon yourself. Because of this reputation of Amazon, the conversion rate is high as people trust Amazon and for the same reason the commission rates on products are low as it is easier to sell Amazon products because of the trust people have on Amazon. There are tons of products on Amazon in different categories. You can promote the products according to your niche. There are many sites on internet created by affiliate marketers, which only promote Amazon products in a particular niche.
Promote good products and services:-
You should only promote good quality products and services which people may find useful preferably, those products and services should be the ones, which you use personally, or have used before and know they are good. Even if you have not used a product yourself, you can still promote it provided you are convinced that the product is of good quality after doing your own research and feel that it can be beneficial to others. If possible, purchase the affiliate products yourself and use them. You will then know if they are worth promoting to other people or not.
In case of digital products, you can even ask for review copies of the products from the merchants instead of purchasing them. Some merchants may provide review copies to you if you ask them. Do not promote bad, poor quality and useless products just because you are getting good amount of commission on them. You will lose trust if you promote poor products and it will hurt your reputation.
You can promote your affiliate links in the following different ways:-
(1) If you have a blog, you can promote your affiliate links on your blog. This is the most common way of promoting affiliate links. There are various ways of doing this.
You can put the relevant affiliate links in the blog articles. For e.g. You can write a review or tutorial of a product or service and insert its affiliate link in the post, you can write some article on your blog in which you mention a product or service with its affiliate link.
You can create a page on your blog and list all the resources or tools which you use such as software, services, physical products, etc. along with their affiliate links.
You can put affiliate banners in the sidebar of your blog just like the banner ads or even on the header and footer or in actual content of the blog.
If your affiliate products and services have discount coupons, you can provide discount coupon codes of those products and services on your blog. When people buy the products and services using your discount codes, you earn commission and they get discount.
(2) If you have a YouTube channel, you can create review or tutorial videos about the affiliate products and services and put the affiliate links in the video descriptions.
If you mention some product or service in one of your videos, you can put its affiliate link in the description of that video.
(3) You can promote your affiliate links on Quora. Quora is a question and answer site where people ask questions and give answers to questions asked by others on various topics. You can answer questions, which are related to your blog’s niche and post link to the relevant articles on your blog containing affiliate links. You cannot directly put affiliate links in answers. They would be deleted as spam. You should give genuine answers to the questions, which would help the persons asking the questions. Do not answer the questions just to put your blog links. Also, do not overdo it. Do not put blog links in each answer.
(4) You can create a free E-book or E-course and put your affiliate links where relevant in the E-book or E-course and give it to people. Similarly you can put affiliate links in your paid E-books and E-courses which you sell. Amazon’s affiliate program does not allow you to put affiliate links in the E-books or E-courses. You need to check Amazon affiliate program’s terms and conditions for latest updates.
(5) You can put your affiliate links on social media sites such as on Facebook profile or business/website page, your own Facebook group, Facebook group of others if it is allowed by the group admin, Instagram bio, Instagram stories, Twitter bio, Twitter tweets, Pinterest pins, LinkedIn profile, etc.
(6) Have e-mail subscription plugin on your blog so that people can subscribe to your blog. Once subscribed, send automated e-mails to them using the plugin notifying them after each new post is published. This way your subscribers can read the latest post and may even purchase products or services clicking the affiliate links in the post.
You can send your e-mail subscribers deals and discount coupon codes of the affiliate products and services from time to time but do not do this frequently. It will annoy your subscribers and they would unsubscribe.
(7) You can visit the discussion forums related to the affiliate products and services, which you are promoting and take part in the discussions. Put the affiliate links where relevant in the discussions. Read the rules of the forums first to see if it is allowed or not and do not overdo it.
Whenever you promote affiliate products or services by placing the affiliate links, you need to disclose this fact to the people. If you have a blog, you need to create a separate page on your blog for affiliate disclosure and place its link somewhere on the blog where people can see it such as menu or in the footer. In the affiliate disclosure, you should clearly mention that some of the links on the blog are affiliate links and you will earn money if the visitors click on those links and buy something. You can also mention that it would not cost anything extra to the visitors if they buy using the affiliate links.
Cookie duration is important thing to know in affiliate marketing. When a customer clicks on the affiliate link and lands on the merchant’s site, the site creates and stores cookie on the customer’s browser. The cookie has a set duration or period such as 15 days, 30 days, 60 days, etc. according to the merchant’s policy. After that set duration is over, the cookie expires. Suppose a merchant has 30-day cookie period and a customer lands on the merchant’s site after clicking on your affiliate link but does not buy anything immediately. He buys a product later after few days but within the next 30 days. You would still receive the commission for that sale. There is no need for the customer to buy the product immediately or on the same day for you to receive commission. Many times customers buy the product later after some time or days and not immediately after landing on the product page. So longer the cookie duration period, better it is for the affiliate marketers.
Two important things to note are first, the customer should use the same device and browser to purchase the product, which he used to click on the affiliate link and land on product page of merchant. If he uses a different device or another browser to buy the product, you will not receive commission. Second, the merchant site’s cookie should still be present in the customer’s browser. It is because of this cookie the merchant can track and credit the sale to the affiliate marketer. If the customer uses the same device and browser but clears or deletes the cookies from his browser, you will not receive commission for the sale even if the customer purchases the product within cookie duration period.
Purchase of other products and services:-
Suppose a merchant sells multiple products and services but you are promoting only a specific product or service of the merchant. If a person clicks the affiliate link of that specific product or service which you are promoting and then buys some other product or service on the merchant’s site instead of the product or service you are promoting, you would still get credited for that sale and earn commission on it. Most of the merchants pay the affiliate marketers for sale of their other products and services than the ones promoted by them if the buyer uses the affiliate link of one of the products promoted by them to land on the merchant’s site.
Most of the affiliate links are long and contain random characters such as letters, numbers and symbols, which makes them look ugly and spammy. Some of the affiliate links also show the affiliate ID assigned to the affiliate marketer by the merchants. You can cloak the affiliate links to make them short and better looking. You can also add your brand name such as your blog’s name in the link URL to make it look branded. Link cloaking hides the original affiliate link URL and shows the cloaked link URL. When people click on the cloaked link, they are redirected to the original affiliate link of the product or service page. People are more likely to click on the good-looking, short URL than the ugly looking, long URL. So cloaking will increase your click through rate.
For e.g. this is your original affiliate link
After cloaking, it would look like this
If you are using WordPress for your blog, then you can use plugins such as thirsty affiliates or pretty links to cloak affiliate links. If you do not use WordPress or do not have a blog at all then you need to use URL shortening sites such as adf.ly, shorte.st, bc.vc, etc. to shorten the affiliate links.
Some tips for CPS affiliate marketing:-
Do not buy products and services for yourself using your own affiliate links. Most merchants would not pay any commission to you for that and some may even ban you for doing this.
Read the terms and conditions carefully before joining any affiliate program. So that you know things such as their payment methods, minimum payout amount, when they pay after reaching minimum payout, commission approval time, commission rate, promotion methods allowed ,etc.
If you do affiliate marketing of a product or service which has recurring price of any duration such as monthly, yearly, etc., most merchants will pay you recurring commission as long as the person who you refer continues to remain the customer of the merchant. Therefore, you can earn recurring commission from such products and services instead of a one-time commission.
If you are promoting affiliate links on your blog, then do not clutter the blog with affiliate links everywhere. Write quality content on the blog, which would help the visitors and then put the affiliate links where relevant.
CPA affiliate marketing
What is CPA affiliate marketing?
CPA stands for cost per action. CPA affiliate marketing is also called as PPL or PPA marketing. PPL stands for pay per lead and PPA stands for pay per action.
In CPA affiliate marketing, an affiliate marketer gets people to take or perform certain actions required by the merchants and earns commission when people take or perform those actions. The actions maybe filling up some form, submitting e-mail address, submitting zip code, completing a survey, downloading some software, signing up for some free trial, getting an estimate or quote, etc. People performing the required actions become the leads or prospects of the merchant. Affiliate marketer earns small amount of commission for every action taken by the lead or prospect. The amount of commission depends on the type of action. Some actions pay more than the others.
People do not need to purchase any product or service to earn commission for the affiliate marketer in CPA affiliate marketing though some merchants also pay commission if the lead buys the product or avails the service but its not an requirement.
CPS vs CPA affiliate marketing: –
Following are some of the differences between CPS and CPA affiliate marketing:-
In CPS affiliate marketing, you get commission when people buy products and services using your affiliate links.
In CPA affiliate marketing, you get commission when people take some action required by the merchant using your affiliate links.
You earn less money i.e. commission in CPA affiliate marketing than CPS affiliate marketing as you are not selling any products or services but just getting leads for the merchants. Converting the leads into sales is the job of the merchant. You get paid for the lead even if the merchant is not able to get the sale.
Doing CPA affiliate marketing is easier than doing CPS affiliate marketing because it is easier to get people to perform some free action than getting them to buy something. Therefore, even if the amount of commission is less in CPA affiliate marketing, it is easier to earn that commission.
You can do CPS affiliate marketing by individually registering with merchants selling products and services but for doing CPA affiliate marketing, you generally have to join a CPA affiliate marketing network.
Many CPA offers only apply to people residing in certain geographic areas i.e. only people residing in specified country or countries need to perform the required action for you to earn commission for that action. This is not the case in CPS affiliate marketing where the customers can be from any country where the merchant sells.
Many CPA offers only allow or disallow specific promotion methods to promote the offer. You can promote the offer only using the allowed promotion methods. If you use any disallowed method to promote the offer, you will not get commission for it. This is generally not the case in CPS affiliate marketing as you can use any promotion method to get the sales.
Many times CPA offers are taken down or removed by the merchants without any notice so you need to regularly check if the CPA offer, which you are promoting, is still available. The products or services in CPS affiliate marketing are not taken down or removed within a short period. They are generally available for long period as long as the merchant is still selling that product or service or does not close down its business.
It is difficult to get accepted in CPA affiliate marketing networks as compared to CPS affiliate marketing networks especially if you are new in affiliate marketing field.
How to get accepted in CPA affiliate marketing networks: –
CPA affiliate marketing networks generally prefer experienced affiliate marketers but you can still get accepted by them even if you are a newbie if you do the following: –
Fill the application form completely. Do not leave any field empty. Try to fill the optional fields too. Do not enter any wrong or false information in application form. Give your real information such as name, address, phone number, etc.
In CPS affiliate marketing you may or may not receive phone call from the merchants or the affiliate networks but in CPA affiliate marketing, you would most probably receive a phone call from the affiliate networks before they approve your application. In the phone call, they would ask you some questions. It would be like a short interview. Instead of waiting for their call, you can call them yourself after filling application form if they have listed their contact number on the site. It will show them that you are serious about CPA affiliate marketing.
Have a self-hosted blog or site. CPA affiliate marketing networks prefer affiliates who have their own self-hosted blog or site. So if you do not have a blog or site, first create it, post some valuable content on it, and then apply. Do not apply with a blog or site created on free platforms.
Give your site’s or blog’s email address i.e. domain specific e-mail address such as email@example.com in the application form instead of giving email address of free e-mail service providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoomail, etc. It would look professional if you use domain specific e-mail address to apply.
The CPA affiliate marketing networks would ask you various questions either in the application form or on the phone such as:-
Where did you hear about us or how did you find us?
Tell them how you found their network for e.g. google search, some blog article, etc.
How will you promote the CPA offers?
Tell them how you plan to promote the CPA offers e.g. SEO, Google AdWords, social media, banners on your site or blog, etc.
Do you have any affiliate marketing experience?
If you have some previous experience in either CPS or CPA affiliate marketing then say yes, otherwise say no. Do not lie.
Do you work for any other CPA affiliate marketing network?
If you have joined some other CPA affiliate marketing network, then tell them which ones you have joined.
How much do you spend on advertising?
If you are getting lot of traffic to your site or blog organically through SEO, then say that you do not need to spend much on advertising. If you spend money on advertising, then tell them the monthly figure. If you do not spend any money on advertising currently and have less traffic, then tell them that you are willing to spend on advertising in future around 500$ and above per month.
What kind of CPA offers you are interested in?
Tell them the niches, in which you are interested to promote offers such as health, gaming, etc. This would also depend on your blog’s niche.
Do you offer incentives?
Incentive is like a reward, which is used to lure people to complete CPA offers such as giving them discounts, free e-book, unlocking content on site, etc. It is better to say no to this question.
CPA affiliate marketing networks: –
Following are some of the popular CPA affiliate marketing networks where you can apply to promote CPA offers of merchants: –
Searching CPA offers: –
You can search for CPA offers related to your niche and more CPA affiliate marketing networks by using these three sites: –
If you like an offer, you can join the CPA network in which the offer is listed.
Some tips for CPA affiliate marketing:-
Do not try to fool the CPA networks by completing the CPA offers yourself, which you are promoting. CPA networks would find it out and you would get banned soon.
In CPA affiliate marketing there are many fraudulent or scam offers. Many of these offers pay high commission for taking small action. Before promoting any offer, do proper research and make sure that the offer is genuine. By using your common sense, you can judge which offers are genuine and which are fraud. Do not promote bad offers just because you are getting commission on them.
If you are promoting CPA offers on your site or blog, then try to blend or integrate CPA offers on your site or blog in such a way that they look part of the site or blog and its content and not obvious advertisements. For this, you need to choose CPA offers, which are related to your site or blog’s niche.