In this exercise we will define what Affiliate Marketing is, get our feet wet by becoming an Ebates affiliate and launch our own campaign in under five minutes.
The longest part will be reading this post.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a business relationship in which you become an associate (i.e. an affiliate) of a company. In this relationship you agree to promote their product or service in exchange for a financial reward.
You do this by referring people to a site or product through an assigned hyperlink.
This hyperlink will contain a unique tracking code that allows the affiliate program you are a member of to track the referrals you send and determine if they complete the required action that gets you paid. If so, money is transferred into your affiliate account.
Affiliate Marketing Sumary
- You sign up for an affiliate program
- You promote product or service through links using your unique tracking code
- User’s click link and perform required action
- Referral commission is deposited into your account
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that the links you post on the internet are available even while you sleep and have the potential to generate a nice passive income.
Also, there are no assigned work hours or bosses asking you if you can work the weekend. An added plus for sure!
Becoming an Ebates Affiliate
For this exercise we are going to setup an Ebates account. Though there are virtually thousands of affiliate programs to sign up for, I chose Ebates as a starting point because:
- It’s a really cool free service
- New users receive up to $10 sign-up bonus
- Every member is automatically an affiliate (thus the barrier for entry is low)
- It shows you a creative implementation of affiliate marketing (more on this later)
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a free service that pays you cash back for purchases you make at over 1,200+ online stores.
Why do they do this? Because they are affiliates to these 1,200+ stores themselves. That is, they get paid for every lead they generate that results in a sale.
So basically their goal is to get between you and the store you were going to purchase from anyway. If they can do that, they get paid.
Now in order to encourage you to go through them first, they cleverly decided that they would create this free service and provide its users with a monetary incentive – a portion of what they earn – if users go through them. This was the creative implementation I was talking about earlier.
Now keep in mind, by going through an affiliate you don’t end up paying more for an item. The item will cost you the same. The only difference is that the company will give a bit of their profits to their affiliate as a reward to encourage them to continue sending paying customers their way.
How to Sign Up
- Go to ebates.com (That is my affiliate link by the way).
- Select a bonus card (which they will give you once you purchase $25 through them).
- Enter your email address
Getting Your Affiliate On
Ok, so now you have your ebates account. As stated previously if you got there through my affiliate link I got credit for referring you. I did not earn money however.
The Ebates affiliate tracking system just noted that you got there and became a member because of me. For me to earn the referral bonus you have to make a purchase of $25 or more. (I’m not asking you to do this by the way. Just stating how it works).
That wasn’t hard? So do you have a website or blog where you can promote ebates? Some friends on Facebook? Twitter followers?
Getting Your Affiliate Link
1) Click the Tell-A-Friend link
2) Look for the Tell Friends Now section on this page and grab your personal affiliate tracking link located in the Post your own link section.
Getting The Word Out
Armed with your affiliate link you can post it in your blog, email it to friends, share it on Twitter or Facebook, take out a Google Ad, etc.
How you go about sharing your link is up to you. Just be mindful that you are compliant with Ebates terms and conditions. A copy of which can be found at the bottom of the Tell-A-Friend page.
And remember, affiliate marketing is totally performance based. That is, you only get paid if your links generate referrals that convert. Do nothing, make nothing.
Now get to work and put this into action!