Types of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online.
If you’re an individual or a business that wants to monetize your website or blog, there are three different types of affiliate marketing you can participate in:
- Unattached affiliate marketing
- Related affiliate marketing
- Involved affiliate marketing
The type of affiliate marketing you choose depends on the type of products or services you choose to promote and the promotional strategy you employ.
In this article, we take an in-depth look into these three types of affiliate marketing. We also review their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision before starting your business.
- The three main types of affiliate marketing are Unattached, Related, and Involved affiliate marketing.
- Unattached affiliate marketing involves promoting products that are not related to your own business, website, or blog.
- Related affiliate marketing is where you promote products directly related to your business or website.
- In involved affiliate marketing, you may have used the product in the past or currently using the product and can confidently recommend it to your audience.
- To start affiliate marketing, choose your type and niche, define your target audience, and choose the right program under which to work.
- Involved affiliate marketing is the most profitable though it takes time to engage customers and build trust.
A Quick Overview of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing where an affiliate promotes products and services on behalf of a company (the merchant) through special links and earns a commission. The affiliate earns a commission based on the number of customers they bring in and how much they spend.
For instance, if you’re an affiliate marketer for an online store that sells t-shirts, you create content on your website that encourages people to click through to the store and make purchases. For every T-shirt purchased by someone who clicks the link on your website, you earn a percentage of the t-shirt price.
Most people believe it’s expensive to start an affiliate marketing business or that you need a lot of traffic to be successful. But that’s not the case.
With an elaborate strategy and some commitment, you can start the business with as little money and as low traffic as you currently have.
Read more about affiliate marketing here: What is Affiliate Marketing?
Types of Affiliate Marketing
As mentioned, there are three main types of affiliate marketing: Unattached, Related, and Involved affiliate marketing.
Unattached Affiliate Marketing
Unattached affiliate marketing involves promoting products that are not related to your own business, website, or blog. Though you are the affiliate, you have no related knowledge and skills and cannot act as an authority to recommend or advise on the products.
As the affiliate, you promote products through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads and earn commissions through the pay-per-click model.
This type of marketing can be difficult because it requires a lot of research to find the right products that match your audience’s interests and needs.
It also takes time to build up an audience who will trust you enough to purchase the products. However, this type of affiliate marketing has the potential for big payouts if done correctly.
Pros of Unattached Affiliate Marketing
- No presence or authority is needed to promote a product or a service
- Affiliate is not actively involved in promoting the product
- It can yield huge returns once you build trust
- It takes time to build trust with prospects
- Affiliates can’t customize the approach
- Affiliate has no authority to advise or recommend products
- You can’t build relationships with the end user
- Making sales is a huge gamble
Example of Unattached Affiliate Marketing:
If you have a website that offers web design services, you could become an unattached affiliate of a hosting company and promote their web hosting services. You could do this by posting banners or links on your website.
You don’t need any specific hosting knowledge to promote it. Instead, you just need to provide potential customers with information about the services offered by the hosting company.
Related Affiliate Marketing
With related affiliate marketing, you are promoting products directly related to your own business or website. As the affiliate, you have an online presence (blog, website, or social media) on a niche related to the products you promote.
You also have some personal connection with the products—like your own products or a company you have worked with in the past. You may or may not be using the products yourself.
Related affiliate marketing makes work easier for you because you already have an established audience who knows about your business. They trust your recommendations and can easily purchase products through your affiliate links.
Pros of Related Affiliate Marketing
- It’s easy to sell since prospects already trust you
- You have the authority and expertise to recommend products
- Involves more collaboration between the affiliate and the merchant
- Requires more work upfront to establish trust
- Fewer opportunities for high payouts since products may already be popular with your audience.
- You run the risk of losing trust if you promote the wrong product
Example of Related Affiliate Marketing:
If you have a blog that talks about gardening, you could become a related affiliate of a gardening supply store and promote their products on your blog through banners or links.
In this case, the products you’re promoting are directly related to your content, so it makes sense for your blog readers to purchase gardening supplies from the mentioned store through your affiliate links.
Involved Affiliate Marketing
In this type of affiliate marketing, there is a deeper connection between the affiliate and the products they promote.
As the affiliate, you may have used the product in the past or currently use it and can confidently recommend it to your audience. You recommend the product within your content as part of your life, not in a banner ad. You are, therefore, an expert acting as a trusted informant to your audience.
Involved affiliate marketing takes related affiliate marketing one step further by actively involving you in the promotion process. Here, you don’t just promote the product passively but participate in activities like webinars, conferences, and speaking engagements that create greater awareness of the product.
Pros of Involved Affiliate Marketing
- Affiliates are more active in promoting the product (you talk directly to the customers)
- You work with an audience that already trusts you
- You promote products you’ve tested and believe in
- You make honest and helpful recommendations
- There are higher chances of making sales
- Affiliates must have an intimate knowledge of the product
- Any problem arising from the product may tarnish the affiliate’s reputation
- Requires more work upfront— Affiliates must actively seek opportunities to engage customers.
Examples of Involved Affiliate Marketing:
If you have a blog about photography, you could create tutorials around the use of cameras and other photography equipment from your preferred brand— such as Canon— instead of promoting any camera brands in general. You can then post the tutorials on your blog and include affiliate links pointing back to Canon’s official website. From there, viewers can get more information about Canon products and make purchases, from which you’ll earn a commission.
To start generating income through affiliate marketing, you must pick the model that works best for you.
The best way to do that is to understand your customer base and evaluate which model would suit your needs depending on the type of products and services you want to promote.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing
Once you know the type of affiliate marketing you’d like to do, you’re good to go!
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start your affiliate marketing journey and gear it up for success:
1. Choose your niche and type
The first step in affiliate marketing is choosing a niche you are passionate about. This is the industry or line of products you’d like to promote.
It should be an area you know enough about to enable you to market products effectively. Pick something you have experience with so it will be easy to create content that appeals to your target audience.
You should also decide on the type of affiliate marketing you want to do: Whether it’s unattached, related, or involved affiliate marketing.
2. Define your target audience
Once you have a niche, define your target audience in terms of age, gender, geographical location, economic status, and profession, among other factors.
Also, understand their likes, dislikes, interests, and preferences, so it will be easier to promote your products to them.
Social media is the best place to start learning about your target audience. According to the latest affiliate statistics, 74% of buyers rely on social media to influence their purchase decisions.
3. Choose the right products to promote
Once you know your target audience, identify the products and services you want to promote. They should be products that appeal to your target audience and which can help meet their deepest needs.
On the other hand, you should select products with reasonable commissions that can bring you higher conversions. Always prioritize quality products and work with companies that have a good reputation.
4. Find the right affiliate program
Next, research potential partners who offer products or services related to your niche. Also, find the perfect affiliate platform or network through which you can sell your preferred products and services. There are several options available, e.g., Amazon Associates and ShareASale.
Before choosing the most suitable one, look at their commission rates, terms & conditions, reviews, payment methods, and affiliate support services.
Once you choose one, register as an affiliate and create your account. You’ll receive your affiliate links from your accounts.
If you have a website, you can decide to use either text links in between content or embed banners and ads somewhere in the website (sidebars are always the best).
5. Set SMART goals
Before you start marketing your chosen products, set clear and realistic goals. These will help you stay focused and maximize your marketing efforts.
Ensure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).
6. Promote products/services effectively
After setting your goals, you can start promoting your products to your target audience.
The most effective way is to create content around your products or services to help prospects make an informed decision before buying. You can promote through:
- Website/blog articles
- Social media posts
- YouTube videos
- Email campaigns
- Paid adverts
7. Track progress and optimize Strategies
Once you start promoting products, keep track of how effective those strategies are performing by measuring metrics like click rates, number of sales made, and number of website visitors. Tracking software like Google Analytics can help you track progress, so you know what’s working well and what you need to optimize.
Are you ready to start your affiliate marketing business? Take the first step by creating your affiliate marketing website and start earning passive income today.
Learn more about how to start affiliate marketing
To be successful at affiliate marketing, you must know and choose your type to lay down an effective strategy.
With unattached affiliate marketing, affiliates promote products that are entirely unrelated to their brands. In related affiliate marketing, also known as influencer marketing, you need to have a certain degree of trust with the audience and connection with the brand before promoting their products. Involved affiliating is more direct and requires developing meaningful long-term relationships with your audience.
When determining which type of affiliate marketing to go with, consider the level of commitment you can make and what will be most beneficial to your consumers. Generally, involved affiliate marketing is the most profitable though it takes time to engage customers and build trust.
Start your affiliate journey today by signing up with an established affiliate marketing program and partnering with reputable brands in the market.
Next Steps: What Now?
Now that you’re ready to start your affiliate marketing journey, here are some practical steps you can take from this article:
- Find the Best Web Hosting for your affiliate website
- Find the best website builders of 2023to help you build your website
- Use our web hosting advisor to find the best hosting for your website
- How To Build An Affiliate Marketing Website in 8 Steps
Further Reading – Useful Resources
Here are more valuable resources you can read to learn more about affiliate marketing: