There’s a lot of talk on social media about side-hustles and especially about making money with affiliate marketing. But what is affiliate marketing and does it really work well in South Africa? Who can do it, and how does it work? Let’s explore all these questions and more in this post on affiliate marketing in South Africa.
So, what is affiliate marketing?
In essence, affiliate marketing is really just the ability to sell something an earn a commission.
Affiliate marketing is predominantly done online whereby a company will create a unique link that you can use on your social media, blog or even WhatsApp, to advertise a product or brand. When someone clicks on the link, any sales or paid-for events will be attributed to you, and you will be paid.
Most affiliate marketing relies on a sale to be made in order for you to be paid. But, some brands are happy to pay for other events such as quotes been requested, the sign up of a trial version, or simply just a sign up and confirmed email.
Here is an example of an affiliate link.
In this case I would get paid if someone actually signs up for insurance, and remains a client for 3 months. I have no control of whether people sign up and I have no dealings with the insurance company other than recommending someone.
So, if you actually sign up with them, and remain with them for at least 3 months, I’d get a small commission.
Hence, the more people I can share this with, and the more people sign up, the more I would make. Get it?
Does affiliate marketing work in South Africa?
Yes! But, it’s not as easy as people say it is.
Suppose for a moment that you can make R100 commission off the sale of an eBook. That sounds great and it seems rather easy to sell 10 books in a month, or even 100. But how many contacts do you really have?
You can send it to all your WhatsApp contacts, how many do you think would buy it?
You can tweet it or post it on social media, what do you think the response will be?
Also, once you have shared it with all your followers, how do you find new folk to share it with?
Affiliate marketing in South Africa can work really well provided that you have a fairly large following or have the means to share your unique links with thousands of people.
How does affiliate marketing pay?
There are so many different ways that companies offer affiliate marketing, and many ways that one gets paid.
Some companies offer internal credits that accumulate in your account. These can then be used to offset any of your account fees for the partcular company. It’s useful but not really great, especially when you have earned more credits than what you realistically can spend.
There are some subscription-based services that will offer you a free month per sign-up form your link. This is more useful as you could potentially end up using your favorite software for free.
And then there is the cash payment. Either in Rands to your South African bank account, or as Dollars to your PayPal account. Everyone does this differently.
How much can you make with affiliate marketing?
How long is a piece of string? lol
If host a popular blog or are an influencer with thousands of followers, you can make a few thousand rand per month. It all depends on how many people click and interact with your unique link.
There is a lot of hype about how easy it is and how much money you can make, so try it out, but be realistic!
From my own experience I can say that making money online in South Africa is not that easy. American-based bloggers and influences talk of $100’s of dollars being made in the first month. In South Africa though, we just don’t have as many active internet users.
Two quick searches on Google show that there are almost 300 million active internet users in the United States compared to the 38 million active internet users in South Africa. Thus, when you read posts about making money online, remember that we have only a 10th of the internet traffic compared to the US.
Where to find affiliate links to share
Here are some local brands that I use that offer referral links to all their customers. You can find the link in the app or online. You can often find it called “Share” or “Invite a friend”.
Many other companies offer referral fees, also know as finders fees, and sometimes you just need to ask about it.
If you use Gumroad and like something that you have bought on there, you can contact the creator and ask them for an affiliate link. Most creators (myself included) would be more than happy to set something up.
Finally, there are companies that specialise in collating and creating affiliate links from various brands. You can apply to join such a scheme and then use the links provided. These are often from a broad range of products, website and brands. Things that you may not even have heard of. It can be useful to join such a site and see what there is. (I’ll list some of these soon)
I personally only focus on a few products or brands that I personally use and that I trust. I would hate to recommend something to someone that turns out to be an awful product. Ones reputation is on the line when recommending things.