Many people have been wondering what is an affiliate network so I decided to do a bit of explaining.
It’s a good question and I can see why it would be confusing for some people.
There are dozens of similar words starting with “affiliate something” and they all have a different meaning.
What is an affiliate marketing network then?
Affiliate marketing network is an intermediary platform that connects publishers (affiliate marketers) and merchants (product creators) together in a way that benefits all parties.
- Publishers get to earn commissions by promoting products from a large selection.
- Merchants get more exposure and sales for their products thanks to the publishers.
- The affiliate network company earns by taking a fee from merchants for listing their products and providing management tools. They also take a cut from every sale.
There’s obviously more to this than I can fit above and I’ll go through the details in this post.
In the rest of the post I will go through the following:
- Who should join an affiliate network
- Pros and cons of affiliate networks (for both publishers and merchants)
- How to join an affiliate network
- Where to get proper training for affiliate marketing
Let’s get started.
Before Anything: What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Before I even touch the affiliate networks, you have to know the meaning of these two:
- Affiliate marketing
- Affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is a fun business model where you can promote products made by other people and earn affiliate commissions from every successful sale.
You are given unique affiliate links that lead to the product sales page and if someone buys through your link, you’ll earn part of the “final sale”.
It’s a cheap online business for anyone to start and at the end of this post, I’ll show you where to get some training for free if you want to get started.
Companies create affiliate programs so they can get more exposure and sales for their products.
Then aspiring affiliates like you can join the program to grab the unique affiliate links and start promoting and earning.
The program also shows different details of your performance like how many sales you have made and when you’ll get paid etc.
Affiliate programs are always free to join so you can try this online business without risking losing money.
What Is An Affiliate Network? (& Who It Benefits)
Now that you have a small hunch about affiliate marketing and affiliate programs, let’s finally talk about the affiliate marketing networks.
In a nutshell, an affiliate network is a large collection of affiliate programs from different companies under one platform.
For affiliates, this eliminates the hassle of registering for multiple affiliate programs when all the programs, payments, and tracking happens under one big platform.
In contrast, the companies get access to a huge crowd of affiliates (like you) who are ready to promote their products and they can also leverage the tracking and payment technologies of the platform without needing to invest loads of money for developing the software themselves.
There are other benefits as well which I will go through soon.
Who Should Join An Affiliate Network?
There are two types of people who benefit from affiliate networks the most:
- Publishers (affiliate marketers)
- Merchants (product creators)
Publishers as in typical affiliate marketers with websites will benefit greatly from joining affiliate networks.
You will find almost every category imaginable full of products from different companies that you can start promoting immediately upon joining.
The platform makes it easy to see what other affiliates are promoting and what is currently selling well. Since there are so many different products, you’ll definitely find new companies to promote and work with.
Affiliate networks are a very powerful tool for every affiliate marketer and there is no risk in joining one since they are free to join.
Merchants with their own products should also consider joining affiliate networks at some point so they can get their products in front of larger audiences and to boost their sales.
I’m not an expert on this since I don’t have my own products (yet) but I believe it is much cheaper to manage your affiliate program in the affiliate network rather than paying or developing one yourself.
All the necessary tools and managers for affiliates are already provided by the affiliate network so you will save a big penny by using their services.
Pros And Cons Of Affiliate Networks
Let’s talk about the good and bad sides of affiliate networks.
I have divided the pros and cons of both publishers and merchants to make it less confusing.
- Free to join
- Thousands of products from different categories to promote
- No need to register for every affiliate program individually
- Information about the best selling items and what others are promoting
- Discover new products to promote and new companies to work with
- Payments and tracking happens all in one platform
- Gain exposure for your product and brand
- Get feedback for your product from reviews written by affiliates
- Ultimately make more sales
- Essential management tools for your affiliate program
- Cheaper than managing your own affiliate program
- Hard to get a raise on your commission rates
- Some networks have large amounts of low-quality products
- Typically there is a fee for getting your product listed
- Affiliate network takes a cut from every sale
- It’s harder to work with individual affiliates
How To Join An Affiliate Network?
Step #1 – Choosing The Network
Joining an affiliate network is often a very easy task since they are free to join but depending on the network, some require you to apply and then you need to wait for the approval.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use ClickBank as an example to illustrate the process. It’s one of the more popular affiliate networks out there.
Some other affiliate networks worth considering are:
- Commission Junction
- Amazon Associates (Not a typical network but worth mentioning)
Step #2 – Signing Up
The first step is to create an account so you can start familiarizing yourself with the dashboard inside.
This can be easily done by clicking “create account” on the main page.
The next step is to fill all your information and even though the next section says banking information, you are not required to enter your bank account number to continue.
After that is done, all you need to do is to choose an account name that’s appropriate because the account name will show up on the order page if a customer decides to buy through your affiliate link.
You don’t want your account name to be something that could turn the customer away.
Step #3 – Finding The Offers
Now you are logged in and can see your dashboard that is full of zeros since no sales are made yet, but with a little guidance and work, you will be able to change that.
If you are an affiliate, you can click the marketplace button on the top to view all the products that are available for you to promote.
As you can see there are categories for almost everything imaginable. There’s definitely something suitable for everyone.
Just a quick note, since this is ClickBank, you will only see digital products because that’s what this network concentrates on.
Now that you have access to your unique affiliate links and deals, where do you actually promote your links to make some cash?
Let’s find out.
Where to Promote Your Affiliate Links?
There are dozens of different methods to promote your affiliate links and some possible examples include; your website, social media, email lists, PPC campaigns, eBooks.
The most important and probably the most efficient way is to do it on your own website.
These days anyone can create a website in under a minute without any coding skills, everything is pretty much automated on that part.
One way, for example, is to write a review about the product you are promoting and then share the affiliate link at the end of the review so people can purchase the product.
If the customer buys the product, you’ll get compensated with an affiliate commission for providing an educated purchase decision for the customer.
Writing reviews like that require a bit of guidance & practice but I got your back covered on that.
How To Get Properly Started With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great online business that can provide you full-time income and even more if you do the work.
I didn’t know anything about online businesses when I started so I’m confident you can learn the same skill set that I have now.
The training course I used to learn all the ropes is free to get started and you will have your website running on the first day already.
You will also get my personal help when you join so don’t be afraid to ask questions if you get stuck.
Thanks again for reading my post and hopefully you now know what an affiliate marketing network is.