What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting a companies products/services while earning a commission on sales/leads generated as a result of marketing efforts.

The Major Factors in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketer/Publisher – This is the person that promotes products through various methods which is typically through a website or blog.

Merchant/Advertiser – Person or companies who sells products or services typically through an ecommerce website.

Affiliate Program – This is the software or platform a publisher joins in order to gain access to trackable banners and links that can be used on an affiliate marketers website.

Affiliate Network – Is a platform which provides an aggregate of affiliate programs across several industries or niches. Affiliate marketers can apply multiple affiliate programs and receive payment from the affiliate network.

History of Affiliate Marketing

William J. Tobin is credited as the pioneer of affiliate marketing. In 1989, he launched an affiliate program for his flower company. He created the first framework which has since evolved into the multi-billion dollar industry we know today.

In 1996, Amazon adopted the concept and introduced the Amazon Associates Program which today is the largest affiliate program on the internet. Amazon has made affiliate marketing a model for millions of online businesses to follow. It has been reported that 40% of Amazon’s traffic is due to their affiliate program.

The invention of cookies changed the world of affiliate marketing. Cookies are a pieces of data that are stored on your computer which track user behaviour and conversions.

What do you need to be an affiliate marketer?

Anyone can become an affiliate marketer however having an understanding of internet marketing, SEO, web design and being able to write good copy can certainly make you a strong affiliate.

Early in my affiliate career I was able to establish several affiliate websites since I was already a web developer and utilized by SEO skills to get my websites ranking for target keywords.

One of my first products that took off was an exercise belt that paid out $65 commission for every sale generated as a result of my website. I was earning roughly $500-$1000 per day and one day I remember making $4K while I was at my parents cottage. Passive income really is a beautiful thing.

Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.

– Bo Bennett

Unfortunately I’m not a millionaire but it has certainly turned into a nice passive income.

My experience as an affiliate marketer

Ten years ago I launched my first affiliate website. It was the literal embodiment of the saying ‘throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks’. I

It was populated with products across multiple categories in a catalogue. Content was ‘frankenstein-ed’ from different sources and the site was optimized through a combination of social media and SEO.

The result, in just 3 short months I was making more than my full time job.

For 5 good years the site created a cushy living as I eventually quit my jog, had no boss, no schedule and almost no stress. Life was good.

Then two of Googles’ algorithms hit the affiliate world like a wrecking ball as multi-million dollar affiliate sites suddenly became irrelevant. The game changed.

One thing I noticed was many affiliate marketers started to go back to full-time jobs as their sites were no longer earning sustainable incomes. It was truly sad times that even I found myself getting a regular job having given up hope.

I was wrong in giving up. The strategy that I had been employing was no longer effective. By focusing more on creating quality content (not my strong suit) had become more important.

I jumped back into the game with a new website and within 6 months I was earning $5-10K which I eventually sold. I’m now focused on growing 5 new affiliates sites while running NexToronto.

To be honest, affiliate marketing is extremely difficult and not for everyone. I’m eventually going to provide seminars on becoming an affiliate marketer. Not to sway people with false promises on how they can become rich like many do, but to teach them the tools and strategies that have worked for me.