Who can use affiliate programs, again, depends entirely on the affiliate program itself. Like we discussed above, some affiliate programs are very difficult to sign up to and require certain prerequisites to be met whilst others are easy to sign up to and anyone can join. It entirely depends on the affiliate program itself.
Here are some examples of who can use affiliate programs:
- Influencers: Influencers often use affiliate programs to earn commissions, and brands almost exclusively create affiliate programs for influencers to use. Affiliate income can be the main source of revenue for influencers, so it’s important to sustain their business model.
- Non-Influencers: Some affiliate programs can be used by non-influencers, meaning people who don’t have a substantial following or people who just want to share a product or a brand with a few of their friends. Some brands offer perks to non-influencers for sharing their products with people they know, and this can be considered an affiliate program as well.
- Businesses: Businesses can use affiliate programs to create an actual store and revenue stream. A great example of a brand who has used an affiliate program to create a business is Canopy. They curate the best products on Amazon in their store and earn affiliate commissions when their customers click through the links and purchase products from Amazon. If you’re interested in starting your own affiliate ecommerce store, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Creating an Affiliate Ecommerce Store article.
- Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs can also use affiliate programs to generate a source of revenue for their businesses, without making it their entire businesses. Many entrepreneurs will recommend great products they use to their audience and in turn, use an affiliate link for taking the time and effort to make the recommendation.
- Consumers: Consumers can also sometimes earn affiliate revenue or perks, just from simply making a purchase from a brand. Some brands offer customers money off their next order or other bonuses for sharing a discount code with their friends, and there’s no need for the consumer to sign up for the affiliate program or meet any certain requirements.
How to Get Started With Affiliate Programs
How you get started with affiliate programs depends entirely on your goals in terms of earning affiliate revenue, who your audience is and how large it is as well as what kinds of brands you want to be promoting. What it comes down to is whether you can or should sign up to affiliate programs on an individual, case-by-case basis, or whether you should sign up to an entire affiliate network.
The points below will give you greater insight into what may be a better fit for you.
- What Your Affiliate Revenue-Earning Goals Are: If your affiliate revenue goals are to make a few dollars here and there just from recommending a product you really love, then signing up for affiliate programs on an individual basis might be the best option for you. If you want to run an entire business based on affiliate revenue, or you’re an influencer, you may want to consider signing up with an affiliate network.
- Who Your Audience Is & How Large It Is: If you don’t have a large social media following, you’ll likely want to sign up for affiliate programs on an individual basis as they’re likely to be less rigorous to sign up for and maintain. Affiliate networks generally have greater requirements than affiliate programs, however, so if you can meet those requirements (which generally include the size of your social following) then affiliate networks might be the best option for you.
- What Brands You Want to Promote: Some brands that you may want to promote only offer an affiliate program through an affiliate network, so your only option would be to sign up for that affiliate network. This can be tricky, though, because most affiliate networks require certain prerequisites to be met in order to be approved to the network.
In general, most affiliate programs will require some sort of sign-up process, whether it’s an individual program run by a brand, or an affiliate network running affiliate programs for multiple brands. The sign-up process will vary greatly from program to program or network to network, so it’s up to you to check out each one and identify their sign-up processes and requirements.