Nowadays, the general public is actively looking for alternative sources of income instead of regular office work. Modern-day commerce is constantly coming up with new ways to make this happen. One such option is affiliate marketing which lets you earn money anywhere, anytime.

What is affiliate marketing? 

It is the process through which an individual (aka affiliate) earns a sales commission for promoting a brand’s products or services to their network. Imagine if an up-and-coming brand such as Dot & Key allows you to market their products. You make a commission on each product that gets sold. That would be pretty neat, right? That is the premise of affiliate marketing. It is essentially a sales framework wherein brands partner with individuals or smaller players (aka affiliates) to generate leads that result in product sales.

One can sign up on the Dot & Key affiliate program portal and earn an incredible 10% commission for every successful referral purchase made. Upon sign up, the company provides you with your affiliate code or link to promote to your network via social media/blog. Once your network applies this code while purchasing a product on the company website or clicks on the unique link to get redirected to the purchase point, that 10% commission is yours! Many startups such as Oyo Rooms, Mama Earth, Zoomcar have opted for this model for its simplicity and effectiveness.

Why you should consider affiliate marketing

In 2020, the global affiliate marketing industry was worth a whopping $15 billion. Of this, India accounted for nearly $96 million. This model has excellent growth potential. Currently, It is estimated that over 80% of brands have an affiliate program.

It is a win-win situation for all the involved parties. Waking up early, getting ready, and traveling to work every day can be a tedious task for many. If done consistently and well, affiliate marketing can prove to be a steady income source. To make this happen, affiliates need to put in some effort to build their platform and a good audience base. They also need to be consistent in terms of posting content to remain relevant to their audience. They then need to search for brands whose products they believe in and enjoy. They can then sign up for affiliate programs of these brands and earn a commission on each sale that they achieve. Brands track the sales through unique affiliate links, which help them monitor performance. 

It is a low-cost – high-profit opportunity for affiliates since they simply have to ‘market’ the ready-made product. They do not have to incur any cost on R&D, manufacture, packaging, logistics, and distribution. There is flexibility in terms of work, and once done right, you even earn while you sleep! It involves an element of effective word-of-mouth marketing on the affiliate’s behalf. You can do this through blog, social media profiles or a website. The commission earned can range from 5% to as high as 50% of the sale value, depending on the volume you end up supporting.  This is how many beauty bloggers earn a steady cash flow by partnering with brands like Nykaa, Sugar cosmetics, The Body Shop, Colorbar etc.

What’s in it for brands

Brands also tend to prefer this model as a supplement to, and sometimes as an alternative to, traditional marketing. This is because conventional marketing involves paid advertising, outdoor campaigns, and promotional schemes, which require large budgets. This framework helps the brands to control expenses and get actual results in end sales and potential customer leads. It also allows them to create a data bank of customers who can then be targeted for re-purchase. For example, Flipkart Affiliates has a robust program in place which gives you access to tools and reports to help you improve.

To earn money through affiliate marketing, one can follow the given steps:

  1. Create your blog or website and build your niche. For example, you could be interested in skincare products and demonstrate a specialization through the content you post on your blog or website. One needs to put in consistent efforts to build a platform that the audience can trust and rely on. 
  2. After identifying your niche, join an affiliate program such as  Amazon Associates. Love pizza? Why not sign up for Domino’s program and earn while you eat? In addition to the Dominos program, Cuelinks also has many more such programs. You can also join the affiliate networks VCommission or Optimise, which partner with brands like Myntra, SnapDeal, AJIO, Flipkart, Samsung, PayTM, etc. Travel buffs can sign up on Yatra’s affiliate program or the one by MakeMyTrip.  
  3. Next, create helpful content suited to your niche so that it reaches more and more of your targeted audience. It helps the brands to discover new products that you are marketing and will be helpful to them. Building a bond with your audience and keeping them engaged goes a long way in ensuring success. An engaged audience is crucial to this model’s success. Have patience, and over time with consistent efforts, your base should grow. 
  4. To achieve success in your affiliate marketing partnership, weave the affiliated products into the content you are marketing and leave affiliate links which the reader can click on and make a purchase. This will help you in tracking the leads generated by you and improve your efficiency.
  5. Keep in mind that the affiliated product mentions you include in your content should be relevant to your theme and not a force fit. This is to ensure that the reader finds your content useful and comes back for more recommendations. 
  6. As a good practice, it makes sense to get a basic understanding of SEO and practice it by posting regular and relevant content to improve your page rankings. This is important to increase your blog or website’s visibility to your target audience so that they regularly visit your page, go through your content and complete the purchase journey.

It is recommended to create your marketing style by using new creative themes or videos, or listicles. One need not stick to a tried-and-tested formula used by other affiliate marketers. Bringing fresh content to the table will undoubtedly be an edge as this will help drive traffic to your platform. After all, getting higher user traffic who can relate to the content and products you are marketing will be the driving force to help you succeed in affiliate marketing.


An avid football fan and a Fintech enthusiast.

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