How to Make More Money With Affiliate Marketing As a Digital Seller

April 7, 2024

If you’re a digital seller looking to make more money with your products, affiliate marketing can help.

Starting an affiliate marketing program is a proven way to increase sales and expand your reach to make money online. With the right tools, setting one up is easy.

🔎 In this article, I’ll cover:

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a powerful method for digital sellers to increase their revenue streams. By leveraging the power of affiliate partnerships, digital sellers can tap into new customer bases and drive sales growth.

Affiliate marketing is organized word-of-mouth advertising. You recruit like-minded people and existing happy customers—called affiliates—to share your products with others.

The page to join an affiliate marketing program.

These affiliates promote your website or digital products via banners or links on their websites, blog posts, social media, email marketing campaigns, etc. If the visitors referred to your site make a purchase, you pay your affiliate a commission for that referral.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Understanding how affiliate marketing business works helps you understand how to make money from it. Let’s look at the step-by-step process.

How affiliate marketing works for digital sellers

First, you:

  • Conduct keyword research and establish an affiliate marketing strategy.
  • Recruit people as your affiliates by setting up an affiliate landing page with a registration form that explains the benefits/how much they’ll get paid. Check out ours for an example.
  • Get notified anytime a potential affiliate completes the registration form and then decide whether they can join your affiliate network.

Once approved, the affiliate partner then:

  • Logs into their affiliate area on your site to get a special link used to track their referrals (via a referral link that automatically tracks everything).
  • Shares the referral banners or links through their website, emails, social media, etc.
  • Gets paid a commission for each time a customer visits your online store via their referral and completes a purchase.

This process just keeps repeating itself! They make affiliate income by continuing to promote your site and products. In turn, you get more sales, your website gets more visible, and you build trust with more and more people.

Why Use Affiliate Marketing for Digital Products

If you have or are about to start an online business, affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to promote your digital products and generate passive income.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective and cheapest of marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of starting an affiliate program and using digital downloads as affiliate products.

Increased Site Visibility & Traffic

Affiliates promote your store through content marketing (website, blog posts, email marketing, social media, and more). The possibilities are almost endless!

They share your product with new content in a way that’s helpful to their audience. Meanwhile you barely even have to lift a finger.

When your affiliates are constantly sharing content about your product/s it improves your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), making your site more visible and driving traffic to your site.

Cost-Effective & Low-Risk

Affiliate marketing is sometimes called performance-driven or performance-based marketing. Smart entrepreneurs know that paying based on performance is always good.

Adding an affiliate program to your digital marketing mix is low-risk and cost-effective. You have nothing to lose because you only pay affiliates after you get paid by your customers.

With other marketing campaigns like Google ads, YouTube ads, digital ad banners, or ads on social media platforms cost money no matter what (collectively, these are often called PPC, or pay-per-click). You pay even when not successful.

But with affiliate marketing, you only pay an affiliate when they refer a completed sale.

Our affiliate program brought in over $200,000 within just two years after starting in. In some quarters, affiliate sales were responsible for one-fifth (20%) of our total income!

Data-Driven Insights

Affiliate marketing can help you pinpoint where your traffic is coming from so you can better optimize your eCommerce site.

By viewing referral links and coupon codes in Google Analytics (or other analytics software) you can track your affiliates’ efforts. See where customers are coming from and which affiliates are effective.

For instance, how many referred visitors does it take to get a sale (conversion rate)? These metrics help you optimize your site for conversions. You’ll understand more about what ‘works’.

Boosted Engagement

When you recruit affiliates who believe in your product or service, and who are in your target audience, they will reach people who are likely to actually care about your product. In turn, this helps boost click-through rates (CTRs).

Good affiliates have their own loyal followers and reputation. They’ll mostly share with like-minded people who are likely to be interested. These potential customers are more likely to successfully convert into new paying customers.

More targeted visitors, brought to your site by your affiliates means more sales and more money for you.

Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing

If you’re using WordPress to power your online store, setting up an affiliate program is relatively painless.

Edd (our masctot)

Don’t have a digital store yet?

Use Easy Digital Downloads (EDD). EDD turns your WordPress site into a full featured store purpose-built for selling digital products like PDFs, graphics, eBooks, online courses, apps, or software.

Then, add the EDD-integrated AffiliateWP plugin to easily start driving traffic (and sales) with affiliate marketing.

Run your entire business from your WordPress dashboard! Skip ahead to get started.

Installing Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugin

If you haven’t already the first step is to download, install, and activate your affiliate plugin.

An affiliate marketing WordPress plugin allows you to easily set up an affiliate program and manage it directly from your WordPress dashboard. There are a handful of quality affiliate plugins to choose from.

I recommend AffiliateWP:

The AffiliateWP WordPress plugin website.

AffiliateWP is a powerful affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress that integrates seamlessly with Easy Digital Downloads and other eCommerce plugins. We even use it for our own affiliate program!

AffiliateWP makes it easy to set up and manage a powerful affiliate program right on your own website. You don’t need any coding skills or special know-how to add this functionality.

With it, you can:

  • Recruit affiliates with customizable registration forms & emails
  • Allow affiliates to manage their account on a customizable affiliate area or the Affiliate Portal
  • Provide an easy link generator, reports, & unlimited creatives (banners, graphics)
  • Track affiliate-referral visits, referrals, & earnings
  • Easily pay affiliate commissions with the integrated Payouts Service

The first step is to install and activate AffiliateWP on your site and the EDD AffiliateWP addon.

Why Use AffiliateWP vs Other Affiliate Networks

When you use AffiliateWP you are effectively building your own affiliate network. There are other existing affiliate networks or affiliate marketing services out there.

While the advantages of these networks include possibly having access to existing affiliate marketers and a fast and easy setup, the disadvantages include big startup costs and high fees on every referral.

The more money you make, the more money they’ll take.

For example, the popular network Share-A-Sale has a one-time joining fee of $625 to activate your account on the network. You’ll also need to make a minimum deposit of $125 which goes towards affiliate commission payouts and transaction fees.

Share-A-Sale charges a 20% transaction payout fee on every successful affiliate sale as well as a monthly platform fee.

This pricing model can be complicated and overly expensive, particularly if you’re a beginner.

With AffiliateWP you set the rules because you’re setting up your own program on your own website.

Configuring Affiliate Program

Next, it’s time to enable affiliate marketing on your EDD site and integrate your digital products.

After you activate the AffiliateWP plugin, go to AffiliateWP » Settings and select Launch Setup Wizard:

The AffiliateWP setup wizard.

Then you can follow the setup prompts to enter your license key and complete the initial steps.

This includes:

Choosing the commission structure (fixed rate or percentage of order value) & the referral amount:

Setting up the commission structure for affiliate program for digital products in AffiliateWP

Customizing your affiliate area and creating your affiliate registration form:

Customizing an affiliate marketing program registration form in Easy Digital Downloads.

Enabling the Affiliate Portal:

Enabling the Affiliate Portal in WordPress.

Adding affiliate marketing materials:

Settings up your payout service:

Configuring affiliate payout structure in WordPress.

I won’t go into the details of these processes in this post. However, you can find step-by-step guidance following these guides:

Affiliate Marketing Tips for Digital Sellers

Once you decide to set up an affiliate program for your digital products, there are a handful of tips to keep in mind to help ensure it’s a success.

1. Choose the right affiliate partners

One of the keys to success in affiliate marketing is selecting the right partners. Look for affiliates with a strong online presence and a target audience that aligns with your products or services.

Research potential partners to ensure they have a good reputation and a track record of driving sales for their partners.

This is more easily said than done. But it often pays to be selective. On your registration form, ask questions that help you get to know your potential affiliates. It’s a partnership. They reflect on your product and brand.

2. Offer competitive commissions

To attract top-performing affiliates, be sure to offer competitive commissions. A generous commission structure can incentivize affiliates to prioritize your products over others.

Consider offering tiered commission rates based on performance to motivate affiliates to drive even more sales.

3. Provide High-Quality Affiliate Marketing Materials

Make it as easy as possible for your affiliates to market your products by providing them with high-quality marketing materials. This can include eye-catching banners, persuasive copy, and engaging social media content. The easier you make it for affiliates to promote your products, the more likely they are to do so effectively.

Here are some ideas:

  • Provide creatives (graphics, banners) and sample text to help ensure you end up with quality content on affiliate websites.
  • Suggest creative ways and places for affiliates to share about your products like product reviews, review sites, quora, and forums.
  • Remind affiliates to link to product pages
  • Suggest to your affiliate to use multiple methods like tutorials, webinars, Instagram Stories, and TikTok videos.

4. Leverage Data & Analytics

Track the performance of your affiliate marketing efforts using data and analytics.

By understanding which affiliates are driving the most sales and which marketing techniques are most effective, you can optimize your strategy to maximize your earnings.

Use this information to make data-driven decisions about where to allocate resources and which partners to prioritize.

5. Build Strong Relationships with Affiliates

Develop strong, collaborative relationships with your affiliates. Communication is key to a successful affiliate marketing program, so be sure to provide regular updates, support, and feedback to your partners.

Building a community of engaged affiliates can lead to long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

6. Diversify Your Affiliate Channels

Explore a variety of affiliate marketing channels to reach a broader audience. This can include partnering with influencers, bloggers, content creators, and niche websites. Diversifying your affiliate partnerships can lead to increased exposure and ultimately more sales.

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to stay updated on industry trends and best practices. By remaining informed about new marketing techniques and emerging channels, you can adapt your affiliate strategy to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your earning potential.

FAQs: Affiliate Marketing for Digital Sellers

Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing strategy where you promote another company’s products and earn a commission for each sale you drive. It’s a great way to monetize your website without creating your own products.

What’s the easiest way to start an affiliate program in WordPress?

The easiest way to start an affiliate program in WordPress is with a plugin like AffiliateWP. It helps you manage affiliates, track clicks and sales, and send payouts.

How can affiliate marketing help digital sellers?

Affiliate marketing is a proven strategy for digital sellers to boost revenue. It helps expand reach, exposing your brand to new potential customers. By leveraging affiliate networks, you can tap into a wider market and drive more sales. It’s also cost-effective marketing because you only pay affiliates when they generate sales, minimizing upfront marketing costs.

What’s the difference between affiliate marketing and influence marketing?

Affiliate marketing focuses on sales conversions. Affiliates promote products with unique trackable links and earn commissions for each sale they generate.

Influencer marketing prioritizes brand awareness and establishing trust. Influencers are paid to feature products they like, but the focus isn’t necessarily on immediate sales. Both strategies can be valuable tools, but they target different stages of the customer journey.

Make More Money WIth EDD + AffiliateWP

Building strong relationships with affiliates, providing valuable marketing materials, and leveraging data insights are just a few ways to make more money with affiliate marketing as a digital seller. By continually refining your approach and staying attuned to industry trends, you can maximize your earning potential as a digital seller.

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