1. Introduction

The online world has tremendously affected our everyday lives that sometimes it might even seem impossible to imagine our lives without technology and online communication. This trend naturally transferred to the business world, where the new technologies opened up so many exciting opportunities. The businesses out there were no longer confined by location or restricted by infrastructure. Once everyone hurled to the big cities because these have been places enabling your business to grow. Businesses needed more qualified employees, they wanted exposure to more customers and opportunities to network and create partnerships. All of these required your business having headquarters in a big city, but this is no longer needed. All you need is a computer and the internet connection, and you are ready to take your business anywhere you want.

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Speaking of the business world, this term has so long been used in relation to big corporations and management teams, but nowadays, we see more and more one-man businesses that grow and expand their reach globally. There is a significant number of businesses completely set up and run by a single person. Or they start as such, only to expand as their influence online begins to increase. Entrepreneurship has become a popular business model which helped so many wonderful business ideas come to life.

The possibilities on the market are numerous, especially if we have in mind the online market. There are so many different ways and strategies to set up and grow a business, depending on the niche, resources, knowledge, etc. What is safe to say is that these opportunities are a part of the online world, and new opportunities keep popping up. One of those is affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing

While every business starting out nowadays will first create a website, optimize it and then head to social media to establish a presence there, not everyone will consider affiliate marketing as an opportunity at first. The goal of this ebook will be to show you the real potential of affiliate marketing and how developing a strategy of your own can help your profits soar and your business grow.

For starters, you will need to understand the difference between being a merchant and an affiliate because these require two completely different strategies. In fact, these can develop your business in different ways, so you can either focus on one or choose to be both, a merchant and an affiliate, which, although less frequent, is still doable. You will also learn about business models that are available in affiliate marketing. Affiliate programs and tools will be essential parts of your strategy, which is why you need to learn about those as well. Your goal will be to learn as much as possible about affiliate marketing opportunities and about different affiliate programs and tools that enable you to form your own custom strategy, an approach and a plan which will be oriented towards one idea – improve your business through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a part of online marketing, which means it is connected and related to all of the segments of online marketing. This is why there will be a chapter about this connection, and how using affiliate marketing requires at least basic knowledge of online marketing in general.

Affiliate marketing statistics

Before defining the term and analyzing this concept of affiliate marketing, it is helpful to have in mind a couple of statistics that illustrate the state of affiliate marketing in the business world at this moment.

  • Approximately 15% of the digital media industry’s revenue now comes from affiliate marketing. (BusinessInsider)
  • Over 50% of top affiliate programs fall into 4 categories: Fashion, Sports, Health & Beauty, Travel (AMNavigator)
  • Top factors for choosing an affiliate program are product or service relevancy (18.15%), affiliate program reputation (15.97%) and affiliate network or tracking platform (11.58%). (AffStat)
  • The most common places to find new affiliate programs include information on the merchant’s website, searches on Google and affiliate network websites. (AffStat)
  • Affiliate marketing will affect 14% of all e-commerce purchases in the United States. (DigitalCommerce360)
  • With the power of social media, content publishers, and a plethora of digital media readily available at their fingertips, today’s consumers are more educated and shopper-savvy than ever before. (Rakuten)
  • When it comes to purchasing decision, price point had the most influence on a Millennial (62%), outweighing recommendations from a friend (55%), brand reputation (47%), and product quality (35%). (Rakuten)
  • Mobile devices were crucial for Millennial mothers to search for the best possible price of a product (79.4%), read reviews (68.9%), and download coupons (67.1%). Even in-store shopping was greatly influenced by Millennial mobile users, with over half (52%) comparing prices to other retailers. (Rakuten)
  • More than 30% of affiliate-generated sales originate from a mobile device. (Awin)
  • Nearly 50% of affiliate-referred traffic originates from a mobile device. (Awin)
  • 40% of marketing professionals quote affiliate marketing as the most desired digital skill. (AMNavigator)

What we can conclude about affiliate marketing is the following:

  • Affiliate marketing has (and will continue to have) an important role in e-commerce.
  • Affiliate marketing is an amazing opportunity to increase sales (and revenue) for both merchants and affiliates.
  • Content is the best way to promote affiliate links.
  • Working on authenticity and reputation is the best way to earn credibility online and thus increase the profitability of affiliate marketing.
  • Mobile is affecting affiliate marketing as well, which means mobile user experience is something merchants and affiliates need to focus on.