What is Affiliate Marketing? – Ultimate Guide For Malaysian Beginners in 2020

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With the rise of Influencers & Content Creators in Malaysia and countries in Southeast Asia, Affiliate Marketing has become a popular way to make money from an online audience.
You’ve seen it before, YouTubers or bloggers doing unboxing and product reviews. They earn a sales commission through Affiliate Marketing. Some make enough to replace their full-time income or run a business around it. This is Affiliate Marketing in action.
If you are an Influencer or aspiring to be one, and want a slice of the Affiliate Marketing action, you need first to understand what Affiliate Marketing is & how it works.
This comprehensive yet easy to understand article will walk you through:
1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
2. How does Affiliate Marketing Work?
3. Real-life examples from Malaysian Influencers using Affiliate Marketing to earn money.
4. How can you start making money through Affiliate Marketing?
Let’s get you up to speed:

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Being an Affiliate Marketer means you promote someone else’s product or service online. If someone clicks on your link and ends up buying the product or service you’re recommending, you’ll earn a commission.

Image source: Freepik

In other words, you’re an online sales agent, and your performance is tracked by Affiliate links unique to you (we’ll cover the link later).

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

There are a minimum of 3 groups to make Affiliate Marketing work;
1. The brand (Advertiser) with a product or service to sell online.
2. The Affiliate Marketer (Publisher), someone with an online audience or followers.
3. The buyer (online consumer).
The relationship between these 3 can be visualized in the simplified graphic below:

To understand who each of these entities is and their examples that can be relatable to Malaysians, let’s look at the table below for more detail:

TerminologyWho Are TheyExampleHow Affiliate Marketing Can Help
Affiliate AdvertiserThe seller – a person or a brand that has products or services to sell online.Lazada, Zalora, Mr. DIY, Sports Direct, Hotels.comThey need help from other people to promote their products or services.
Affiliate PublisherThe promoter (Publishers) – Anyone with an audience that promotes their Affiliate link. Usually a person or a company that has an audience (or followers): News sites, coupon websites, bloggers & YouTube ReviewersThey want to make money from their content and audience.
ConsumerThe buyer – People online, that ends up buying the recommended products or service.People who are searching for a solution or simply browsing online on Google, YouTube, and social media.They need a trustable solution recommendation to their specific problem.
The following is the 6 step process on how a successful Publisher approaches Affiliate Marketing and how their sales are tracked:
1. The Publisher decides on a product or service that they want to promote to their audience (i.e., the latest Samsung S20).
2. The Publisher finds an Advertiser that is selling the Samsung S20 online and has an Affiliate Marketing program (i.e., Lazada).
3. The Publisher registers as an Affiliate Publisher with Lazada and creates a unique Affiliate link for the Samsung S20.
4. The Publisher creates content around the product (i.e., an article or video review) and includes their Affiliate link somewhere in their content (i.e.: ‘Click here to purchase from Lazada’).
5. The Publisher promotes its content to their audience and encourages them to click on the Affiliate link.
6. If any of the audience members click on the Affiliate link and make the purchase at Lazada, the Publisher will earn a commission from the sale. All tracked from the unique link.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone:
  • The Advertiser gets to sell more of their products online.
  • The buyer receives a relevant product recommendation.
  • The Affiliate Publisher made a sale commission.

How Can Affiliate Marketers Make Money?

Now that you understand the basics of Affiliate Marketing, there are 3 different ways you can make money through the Affiliate Marketing business model:
1. Pay Per Sale (PPS)
You’ll only make a commission for a successful sale. This is the most common way most Publishers like you to make money through Affiliate Marketing.
You’ll promote your Affiliate link to your audience, and you’ll earn a commission if someone purchased through your Affiliate link, with no refunds or cancellation.
Pay Per Sale (PPS) is sometimes called Cost Per Sale (CPS).
2. Pay Per Lead (PPL)
You’ll get paid for bringing in quality leads to the Advertiser. The PPL is common for products or services people typically don’t purchase right away. For example, purchasing insurance, or expensive software.
You’ll only make a commission if your audience clicks on your link and performs the action required by the Advertiser (i.e., fill out a form, subscribe to their email, or download an app).
Pay Per Lead (PPL) is sometimes also called Cost Per Lead (CPL).
3. Pay Per Click (PPC)
You’ll get paid for sending traffic to the Advertiser’s website. You’ll promote the link enough to your audience to click on it and leave your website, and you’ll get paid for each click. Pay Per Click (PPC) is sometimes called Cost Per Click (CPC).
Beginner tip: If you’re starting with Affiliate Marketing, chances are you’ll be promoting the most common business model, Pay Per Sale (PPS). Which we’ll give an example of next:

Publisher Example: Tech Review Website

All right, let’s show you a real-life example of a Malaysian Affiliate Publisher in the Malaysian tech review space: www.Amanz.my.
Amanz is a tech reviewing digital Publisher that made his name from reviewing tech gadgets on YouTube and his website.
Below is what his website looks like, and we’ll use an example of one of his blog articles to see Affiliate Marketing in action. Take a look at the content highlighted in the red box:

Amanz.my home page – A Malaysian Tech Reviewer

He picked the Poco X3 phone specifically to promote and made a blog article reviewing this particular phone.
In his article, he gives out useful information about the phone. At the end of the article review, he has a button that says: ‘Click to buy the Poco X3 at Shopee’. This is where he puts his Affiliate link. See below:

If any of his readers find his article engaging enough to read to the end, clicks on his Affiliate link, and purchases the phone at Shopee, Amanz will earn a commission for that sale from Shopee.
Pretty straightforward, right? But what if you don’t have a website? Can you still do Affiliate Marketing?
Of course! In the next section, I will explain how you can promote your Affiliate links using your social media profile:

Publisher Example: Social Media Influencer

I will use an example for Malaysia’s top personal finance blogger, Suraya, from Ringgit of Ringgit.
She owns a blog and also promotes Affiliate links on her Facebook page. For this example, we’ll focus on her Facebook page:

Ringgit oh Ringgit Facebook Page

In one of her Facebook posts, she promotes Mr. DIY’s face mask to her audience. You can see her persuading them to click on her Affiliate link:

Example of Affiliate Link in Ringgit oh Ringgit’s Facebook post

If any of her audience clicks on this link and buys the facemask at Mr. DIY, Suraya will earn a commission from this sale.
This is an example to show you how you can earn Affiliate Income using your social media profiles, without a website.

Who is Affiliate Marketing For?

Regardless if you have a website or just a social media profile, we have established that you can still earn Affiliate Income. All you need is an audience (or followers).
Affiliate Marketing is perfect for people who:
  • Have online followers or sometimes called ‘an audience.’
  • People who are actively creating online content.
  • Want to make passive online income from their online content.
  • Don’t have their own product to sell.
  • Don’t want to deal with creating a product.
  • Don’t want to deal with customer service.
  • Don’t want to put random ads on their website to earn money from their audience.
  • Great at SEO or making unique, engaging content.
If you’ve made it this far, I’d assume you’re interested to make an online income through Affiliate Marketing. Luckily for you, we’ll share with you exactly that:

6 Steps To Affiliate Marketing Success for Malaysian Beginners

Whether you’re starting a new website, YouTube channel, or social media page, the formula to Affiliate Marketing success is similar. Here’s an overview:
1.Pick a niche and build a genuine online audience.
2. Pick a relevant product or service to promote and
3. Join an Affiliate network.
4. Create content around that product or service & include Affiliate links.
5. Promote your Affiliate content.
6. Get paid for commissions & optimize to earn more.
Pretty straightforward right? Let’s dive in a little deeper for each section:
STEP 1: Pick a Niche & Build a Genuine Online Audience
I follow and have watched dozens of YouTube interviews of people who have achieved a full-time income from Affiliate Marketing.
The recurring advice they all give for someone starting is building a genuine audience before you even start thinking about making money online.
There are 2 ways you can build an online audience:
1. Pick a niche and stick with it. Pick a topic that interests you. Experiment with different subtopics, but don’t stray too far off course. You want to be known as the guy, or gal specialized in a specific topic. It makes it easier for brands to work with you later on in your Affiliate Marketing career.
2. Only create entertaining or useful content. The world is full of mediocre content. The only way for you to stand out in a sea of noise is to be useful or entertaining.
STEP 2: Pick a Product or Service That is Relevant to Your Niche
When you’ve built up a steady audience that likes your content and follows you, you can start to consider monetizing your audience by recommending them products relevant to your niche.
For example, if you’re a fashion Influencer, it makes perfect sense to promote fashion products, but not something unrelated to your niche, like car insurance.
Here are some examples of relevancy:

Publisher NicheRelevant Products to Promote
Fashion bloggerShoes, make up, dresses.
YouTube car reviewerCar insurance and accessories.
Personal finance InfluencerCredit Card application, insurance and financial management courses.
Tech reviewerCamera gear, phones and computers.

STEP 3: Join an Affiliate Network
Now that you have an audience and identified a relevant product to promote to them, the next step is to generate an Affiliate link for the product.
PROBLEM: Let’s say that you’re a fashion blogger and you’re reviewing a particular shoe from Zalora and want to promote several items together in your content:
1. Promote your audience to buy the shoe (i.e., from Zalora).
2. Promote your audience to buy a shoe organizer (i.e., from Shopee).
3. Promote your audience to buy a shoe repair kit (i.e., from Mr. DIY).
It would be very tedious to apply for separate Affiliate programs for different brands (one Affiliate program for Zalora and one for Shopee) and generate separate Affiliate links.

SOLUTION: It would make much sense for someone starting out to apply with an Affiliate network instead.

What is an Affiliate Network?
An Affiliate Marketing network, such as Involve acts as an intermediary entity between Advertisers and Publishers.
Affiliate networks make it easier for Publishers like you to find all the different brands to promote under one convenient platform.
The relationship between Advertisers, Publishers (you) and the Affiliate network is illustrated below:

In the example of the previous fashion blogger, you can generate Affiliate links for Shopee, Zalora, and Mr. DIY all in Involve’s convenient dashboard.
Below is an example of how you can generate an Affiliate link through Involve’s Affiliate link generator:

1. Select the Advertiser
2. Find the URL of the product you want to promote from the Advertiser’s website
3. Create your Affiliate link.
4. Promote your Affiliate link
STEP 4: Create Content Around Your Affiliate Link
Now that you have generated your Affiliate link for the product that you want to promote, the next thing to do is to get people to click on your link.
This sounds easy enough, but in reality, people won’t click on your Affiliate links for no reason.
You need to create useful content around your Affiliate link.
A common way to this is to create a quality review of the product and persuade your audience to click on your Affiliate link.
STEP 5: Promote Your Affiliate Content
You need all the help you can get to get people to consume your content and ultimately click your Affiliate links, especially if you’re starting out.
  • Common ways to expose your content to as many people as possible:
  • Organic traffic (SEO).
  • YouTube traffic.
  • Social media traffic.
  • Backlinks from other websites.
  • Paid advertisements: Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
STEP 6: Get Paid For Commissions & Optimize to Earn More
As in any business, Affiliate Marketing is a numbers game. The more people are exposed to your Affiliate content, the more likely someone will click on your Affiliate link and make the purchase.
As a rule of thumb, the more useful content you publish and promote at a regular pace, the more you’ll earn through Affiliate Marketing.
Involve makes it easy for you as a Publisher to promote different Advertisers under one platform.
Take a look at an example of a fellow Malaysian blogger promoting multiple Advertisers through Involve:

Sample of the performance report for a Malaysian blogger on Involve

Pretty powerful stuff. Involve consolidates all of your performance in one convenient dashboard.
You’ll be able to see which Advertiser and which type of your content converts the best, giving you invaluable insights to focus on what works.

Wrapping It Up

Affiliate Marketing is growing massive popularity in the digital landscape. It was popularized by the USA with Affiliate programs from Amazon and Ebay.
But if your audience is from Southeast Asia, nobody from this part of the world will buy anything from Amazon US and ship it back to Asia.
As an Affiliate Marketer based in Southeast Asia, it would be vital for you to join an Affiliate network that offers Affiliate programs from multiple Advertisers that your audience will buy from (Lazada Malaysia, Shopee Thailand).
I hope this guide has helped you start your Affiliate marketing career and make additional online income.
Click below to register as a Publisher with Involve:
Register As Publisher
If you need help with a step-by-step guide on registering as a Publisher, click on our article here to walk you through the entire process.