Internet Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing – The Difference & What You Need to Know
Internet marketing and affiliate marketing are two very different things. Internet marketing is a very broad term while affiliate marketing is much more narrow and refers to a more specific type of marketing.
In this comparison of Internet marketing vs affiliate marketing I'll be giving you a high level overview of the difference and will be diving into each in additional detail so you see how they fit together.
As mentioned, Internet marketing is a very broad term, and is the same thing as online marketing. The definition according to Webopedia is as follows...
- "Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from websites or emails."
It makes perfect sense really… Internet marketing is anything that has to do with marketing on the Internet.
Affiliate marketing is actually a type of marketing that is included inside the realm of Internet marketing.
In short, affiliate marketing is a type of Internet marketing, just one of many.
*Note: Affiliate marketing isn't always done online and therefore isn't always under the umbrella of internet marketing. More on this.
Types of Internet Marketing
There are many different things that could fall into the category of Internet marketing, including the following…
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing includes advertising and promotional efforts on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This could include efforts such as something simple like posting about an offer on a Facebook page or something a little more intense like analyzing particular audiences within Facebook to determine who is the best target audience to promote to... And everything in between.
2. Email Marketing
You guessed it… Email marketing includes advertising and promotional efforts via email.
I'm sure we've all been frustrated before with promotional emails that end up cluttering our inbox. You know, the ones that say things like "15% off today only", "limited time offer", "don't miss out" and so on. The ones that you probably delete without even opening half the time.
Of course there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes, but all that the consumer sees is the end result, which is an email in their inbox marketing some product or service.
Unless you have been involved in Internet marketing for some time, you probably do not know what SEO is. SEO stands for "search engine optimization" and this term includes marketing efforts at optimizing websites for search traffic.
Basically this is the conscious effort to get more free traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
4. Youtube Marketing
This one is pretty straightforward… YouTube marketing is marketing on YouTube. This could include something as simple as a product link placed below a video or something that takes a bit more effort such as getting a particular video ranked high in the search is so that it gets viewed more, the structure of the video itself and so on.
PPC, or "pay per click", is a form of paid advertising where one… Uhhm… Pays per click. This form of advertising could be used to generate leads, get more people to sign up for some free trial, sell a product, etc.
Different platforms for using PPC include Facebook ads, Bing ads, advertising on twitter, etc.
6. Affiliate Marketing
I told you that affiliate marketing falls under the broad term of Internet marketing, and here it is. I'm going to be diving much more in detail here, but basically this form of marketing is when companies pay individuals a commission for helping sell products.
Affiliate Marketing Explained
If you've looked into making money online for even the smallest amount of time then you have probably come across people talking about affiliate marketing.
You have probably heard things like…
- You can make money without your own product
- It's easy to get started
- There is little to no cost involved
... and other aspects that make it sound pretty awesome (those listed above are true).
As mentioned, affiliate marketing is when companies pay commissions to people that help sell their products. The reason for doing this is obvious. It is a win/win situation, the company gets more sales and the individual earns commissions by promoting products they never even have to see or touch.
In a nutshell you are selling other people's stuff and getting paid for it.
The basics of affiliate marketing online are:
- Affiliate promotes a product via an affiliate link
- Someone clicks on their link and is directed to the seller's website
- They purchase the product
- The affiliate gets paid a commission for helping make the sale
There are a number of different ways to go about doing this, but as a quick example…
Example: You have a dog that you love more than the world, so you decide to promote an awesome dog toy. You do so by sharing a link on your Facebook page with all of your other dog loving friends. One of them clicks on the link and is directed to Amazon to purchase the dog toy. They purchase it and Amazon then pays you a commission of the sale.
Different Ways to Go About Doing It:
Affiliate marketing can be combined with some of the other forms of Internet marketing that I discussed above, as well as gone about in an entirely different approach. Below I'll go over some of the different ways you can have for promoting affiliate links and earning commissions (including my favorite)...
1. Social Media - Social media marketing can easily be combined with affiliate marketing. The example I gave above would fall into this category... Posting affiliate links on your social media account, posting in Facebook groups, etc.
However, this method of affiliate marketing wouldn't be all that effective for the majority of people out there. While we all might be able to make a sale or 2 from this, that is probably about as far as 95% of us will get.
Unless you have some massive social media following, using social media to go about affiliate marketing is not going to be a reliable way to bring in income.
2. Youtube - You see affiliate marketing and Youtube marketing in conjunction all the time.
Have you ever watched a video where the person tells you to click the link below to purchase some product they had in their video? Yeah, that is more than likely an affiliate link in which they will earn a commission from if you purchase the product.
If you are a YouTuber that gets good traffic to your videos then this could definitely lead to a good source of income. However, most of us are not Youtubers and might not have what it takes to be in front of the camera and build a large base of hungry subscribers, which makes this method of going about affiliate marketing not the best choice.
3. Forums - This is a very easy way to go about affiliate marketing, just by posting affiliate links on forums. However, most forums have policies against promoting affiliate links and this is an easy way to get banned or to simply have your post get deleted.
I don't think I've ever came across anyone who actually makes good money affiliate marketing on forums like this.
4. Website - Then there is affiliate marketing with your own website, which is what I recommend for the majority of people out there and what I have found to be very effective.
What you what do here is create your own little website (which isn't hard to do) and build your own brand around whatever it is you are interested in.
You will be able to get free traffic from the search engines like Google and by creating content and getting ranked.
A basic overview of the process in which you can make money like this is as follows…
Some of The Many Pros to Having Your Own Website:
- Can promote anything - You are not limited by any means. It is your website and you choose what you want to promote.
- Don't have to worry about getting banned/blocked, etc. - There is no one that is going to ban you or block you, unless you for some reason would want to do that to yourself. Again, you own your website.
- Many affiliate programs require that you have a website - Having your own website is a requirement to join many of the affiliate programs out there anyhow. So this is a must in some cases.
- Opens up other possible revenue streams - Once you have traffic coming into your website you will also be able to monetize it in other ways, other than just affiliate marketing.
A lot of the benefits to having your own website come down to the fact that you are in total control. You are not at the mercy of advertising policies set by some other company or anything like that. You can do what you want.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is So Attractive to Newbies
It seems that the majority of people who get involved in Internet marketing start out with affiliate marketing. But why is this?
Is it just because there is a lot of information out there on it? Is it because there are lots of training courses that focus on it? Is it just easier for beginners?
There are several reasons I'll go over why I believe this to be the case... But basically, ya, it is a pretty easy choice for newbies overall.
1. You don't need your own products
Being able to make money online by promoting other people's products certainly makes things easier. Most people looking for an online income have nothing to sell.
With affiliate marketing you can promote and sell just about anything. You can pick a product that is already proven to sell and earn commissions promoting it.
2. Very low startup cost
Doing business online in general is something that is very affordable when compared to traditional brick and mortar businesses. And affiliate marketing is on the lower cost side of things even when compared to other online business models.
- A domain costs about $14/yr
- You can get website hosting for as low as $4/mo
- Joining affiliate programs and promoting products is free
Those are just very general numbers but you get the point. It is very inexpensive to start affiliate marketing.
You might also want to pay for some training on how to do it, but all in all it is very affordable.
3. Lots of options
Another reason this business model might be so enticing is the fact that you can promote darn near anything you can think of.
Take Amazon for example, which is the largest ecommerce store in the world. If you were to join their affiliate program you would have access to well over 100 million products to promote.
And that is just one of the many affiliate programs out there.
4. High earning potential
And of course there is good potential to earn a lot of money. If you could only earn a few dollars here and there then nobody would want to get involved in something like this.
I've been involved in affiliate marketing since 2015 and make a living doing it. So I know from experience that there is plenty of income potential out there.
Not only is it a good way for beginners to get started making money online, but is also a good way to continue making money online for years to come due to the high earning potential it has.
Note: Results vary greatly, as do commissions. Some products might only pay you a measly couple dollars in commissions while high ticket while a high ticket affiliate program could pay you over $1,000 in commissions.
How to Get Started
As mentioned, there are a variety of different ways to go about affiliate marketing. But most of the ways to do so aren't very practical for long term success and/or won't be practical for the majority of people out there.
Affiliate marketing with your own website is something that anyone can do and based on my experience and what I know, will give you the best chances of success. And if this is something you want to get involved with then this would be the process...
Step 1: Choose Your Area of Interest
The first thing that you want to do is decide what you want your website to be about. What types of products do you want to promote?
- Do you love dogs? Maybe you could create a website about dog food.
- Do you love riding bikes? You would create a website about that.
- Do you like gadgets? Then why not choose this interest.
There are lots of possibilities and the first thing you want to do is decide what direction you want to go with your future site.
Step 2: Create a Website
The next step would be to create your site.
The first part of this will be for you to buy a domain name. There are a lot of options you have to do this... GoDaddy, Namecheap, Wix and others. Some of these services, such as GoDaddy, will give you a discount on the first year. As mentioned earlier, it normally costs around $14/yr for a domain registration, but you can get one for as little as $0.99 for the first year.
Next up you will need to host your website. All three of the examples I gave above for buying a domain also provide hosting. So you can buy your domain and host it with the same company. This streamlines the process.
Website hosting can be as cheap as $4/mo.
After you have that all set up you will need to install the initial framework on your site. I personally use WordPress and would suggest taking this route. For the simple type of site you will be creating this is all you need... and this is FREE!
Step 3: Create Content
Now that you're website is up it is time to start pumping out the content.
What does this mean? It means you WILL BE WRITING.
The goal here is to create content that is related to your website so that you can attract targeted visitors and promote relevant products.
Example: If you create a site about riding bicycles, you can write a post about the best mountain bikes for under $300.... Just as one example.
You can write about anything relevant. And it's important that you put out good content.
The ultimate goal is making money promoting products but before you can do that you need people coming to your website. If you create good content and target good keywords you can get free traffic from the search engines, such as Google.
The good thing: This traffic is 100% free and unlimited.
The bad thing: It takes a while to get going and to gain Google's trust.
But we aren't looking for short term success here. We are focused on the long run. Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business model that has been around forever and will stay around, so lets focus on doing things the right way and creating a reliable income.
Step 4: Incorporate Affiliate Links
As a role of thumb, you don't want to put affiliate links on your website right away. You want to give some time for Google to start to trust it. It might come off as too spammy if there are links everywhere right from the get go.
So get some good content on there beforehand.
Then you will want to search out affiliate programs that have products relevant to your website topic. You can find some by simply searching in Google.
Amazon sells everything so this is one that probably everyone can sign up for, although they don't pay very good commissions.
Once you are approved for an affiliate program and have your own unique affiliate links you are going to want to incorporate into the content naturally.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 3 & 4
There are many different ways to go about this process. Some people create a website with a handful of content and let it sit there, "marinating", without doing much of any additional work.
However, when most people create sites like this they put in continuous work. It can be an enjoyable never-ending hobby for some and a one-and-done project for others.
More than likely you are going to want to repeat steps 3 and 4, creating more content and naturally adding more affiliate links.
Internet Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing - Which Is The Winner?
So obviously, as you know by now, there is no comparison between the 2 terms. Affiliate marketing is simply a type of marketing that falls under the umbrella of Internet marketing 99% of the time.
Internet marketing includes all things related to marketing that happen on the Internet, whereas affiliate marketing refers specifically to the type of marketing (mostly done online) with companies paying people commissions to promote their products and help make sales.
BUT... Affiliate marketing is not always a form of Internet marketing, although most people think that it has to be.
In reality affiliate marketing can be done off-line just as it is done online, but of course there will not be any links to click on or things like this.
Affiliate marketing is simply a business model where a vendor rewards affiliates in the form of commissions for helping bring in sales, which could even include something like going out and getting a new customer to get their car's oil changed at Joe's Oil Change Service.
But like I said, 99% of the time (maybe even more like 99.9% of the time) this is done online.
Internet Marketing Is a Great Choice and Affiliate Marketing Is Too
With every business out there moving into the online space as a way to stay in the game and not fall behind, there is so much opportunity in the Internet marketing world, no matter which particular area of Internet marketing you want to get involved with.
Affiliate marketing is just one of the choices you have at hand and happens to be one of the choices that is good for beginners in particular, which is the reason you see so many people getting started in this area of Internet marketing.
If you want to get on the fast route to success as an affiliate marketer, or maybe I should say the faster route because it still isn't really "fast", then the Wealthy Affiliate training program is a great choice. This is the same training program I went through when I got started, so I know works based on my experience. They also have a free membership for beginners which is great.
I hope I provided some helpful information so you can see how these 2 terms match up and how they differ. If you have any comments or questions about anything related, just leave them below in the comment section and I will gladly get back to you as soon as I can 🙂