Many people define affiliate marketing purely by the book, without looking into what the real aspects of the business are, miss out on the whole picture. In this post I’ll show you not just the traditional definition, but also what it means for you and how you can use it to improve your personal financial situation.
The Traditional Affiliate Marketing Definition
Affiliate marketing, as an industry, is based on very simple logic:
- Consumers want trustworthy, unbiased information about potential products,
- Brands are willing to pay for more customers.
Affiliate marketing provides the link between the two…quite literally.
Affiliate marketing is the process of a web-publisher (such as a blogger or other website owner) receiving a commission for referring a sale to a brand. When a user clicks a specific link on the blogger’s website and then buys a product, that transaction is tracked and the blogger can receive an affiliate payment.
It really is that simple.
The Stereotype Definition
Unfortunately, many people have huge misconceptions about what affiliate marketers do, and that has led to something of a bad rap about the industry as a whole.
Basically, the negative thoughts usually take some variation of claiming that affiliates are worthless middlemen trying to squeeze out “an easy buck” from brands, and dupe consumers into purchasing products.
While a small percentage of the industry does include “black-hat” marketers, a term used to refer to marketers who use dubious and morally questionable tactics to increase their sales, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of affiliates are providing an extremely valuable role in the internet ecosystem.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is Good for Everyone
In case you haven’t noticed, the internet is pretty big. Not only that, but it’s growing exponentially.
That means that it’s impossible for brands to reach out to their entire prospective customer base individually. No matter how big their marketing budgets, they’re going to need help. Additionally, there are many types of internet users (people searching for product reviews, to give one example) that don’t want to see a brand-sponsored result in their search results.
Would you trust a Samsung Galaxy review written by a marketing executive at Samsung? Neither would I.
The overwhelming majority of affiliate marketers only make money when they can legitimately help the consumer make a purchase decision. Sure, we’d all love it if every visitor to our websites bought a recommended product, but that’s never going to happen.
The better long term valuable is to provide a real service, and it will enable sustainable income over time.