Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, and in some sense display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing fake reviews of products or services offered by a partner.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.
Affiliate marketing is frequently overlooked by advertisers.While search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies.
Affiliate Marketer Guide Lines.
The Affiliate Marketer Guide is a guide to helping webmasters create profitable websites. You will find tips on choosing the best Affiliate programs for your business, how to create the website, and ways to promote your site.
There are several business models you can choose from when you are deciding on the design of your website. These include, creating an affiliate website for a single product, creating an affiliate website to show a number of affiliate products and adding selected affiliate programs to an existing website that relates to a product. Each of these require somewhat different steps to implement, but will benefit from the same marketing techniques.
Regardless of the business model and site design you choose, promoting the site will require search engine optimization or “SEO”. SEO consists of making sure that the pages of your site are all visible to the search engines and are on a topic bring the right traffic from the search engines (preferably in large quantities) and getting sufficient links pointing to your site so that the search engines view your site as an authority on the subject. While this may sound easy, likely you will spend much more time and money accomplishing this that it took to create the site.
Using Affiliate Programs on your existing site.
One advantage to adding Affiliate programs to an existing website is that the new program and the existing site will both benefit from the exchange of traffic. Websites need to continually grow and increase in fresh original content in order to reach their full potential in the search engine “SERPs” (Search Engine Result Pages). Adding affiliate programs to your site may be an ideal way to add this additional content, while also giving you an additional way to profit from your site.
Likewise your affiliate marketing endeavor will benefit from the age and traffic of your existing site. Newly registered domain names take time to gain trust by the search engines, and so, take time before they will rank well in the SERPs. By using an existing site you bypass this search engine restriction allowing you to start gaining traffic quickly.
Using a single product for your Affiliate Website.
Choosing to use only a single product or line of product from one affiliate program give the benefit of being able to devote more resources to one highly profitable affiliate program. For larger or more expensive products this is often the best choice. By keeping to one product you are able to concentrate the keywords, keeping your site devoted to one idea. This often produces better traffic than having multiple themes to your site.
If possible, try to buy or use an existing domain name. It may take 9 months to a year for the search engines to start to trust a new domain. Using a domain that was registered longer than that will help.
Using Multiple Affiliate Programs for your website.
When considering smaller, less expensive affiliate programs and products it is often more cost effective to have many programs on one site. The cost of the domain name, and hosting are cheap, but the cost of promoting the site, both in time and in monetary cost can be quite high. By having many products on your web site, you increase the chance of making a sale.
The downside to this type of Affiliate site is that you are likely to dilute your keywords, this can mean less traffic that what a web site with a smaller number of main keywords might produce. In this case it is often better to try to keep all of your affiliate programs related to a single subject.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Knowing what ads to place and what revenue your Web site generates isn’t magic. Once you join an affiliate program you then are able to choose the products or banners you want to include on your Web site, and then receive the code you will need to insert on specific Web page or throughout your Web site. This changes, however, when you select an ad revenue partnership, such as Google AdSense, for example where you have little or no control over the advertisement displayed. In joining the affiliate program, you will agree to their terms of service, called an affiliate agreement, which will tell you what requirements you must meet and how the click-through, lead generation or sales are tracked.
For the most part, affiliate programs work by using a combination of a unique user ID and cookies to track your leads and subsequent revenues. Most will offer a private affiliate section on their Web site where you can get your HTML code and also check your affiliate account status and information. Through the use of browser cookies, any person who uses your link to make the desired action within a set amount of time contributes to your affiliate revenue.
For example if a user follows your link and looks through an online software store they are tracked as “your referral” by the browser cookie. If the person makes the purchase before the cookie expires, you get the referral commission. So even if a user sits with items in their shopping cart but doesn’t go back and make the purchase for two weeks, you can still get the commission, provided the cookie is still active.
For the Webmaster, one of the the hardest things about using an affiliate program to earn money is finding a good one that will actually produce results for you. To better your chances of earning revenue from affiliate marketing here are some tips to get you started;
- Always read the fine print. Make sure you understand how the payouts are structured, if you need to earn a minimum dollar amount before a payout, and, of course, compare commissions between similar affiliate programs.
- Once you have narrowed down your options to a handful of possibilities, take a look at the merchant or marketers’ Web site rankings and traffic. If, for example, you have your choice narrowed down to three computer software e-tailers, you can use Google and Alexa rankings to help you determine which may have a better volume of traffic. While their Web site traffic won’t directly help you promote their products, this may tell you which company has a larger customer-base (more traffic). A well-known name that your Web site visitors may be familiar with might encourage them to click the advertising links on your own site.
- Choose affiliate programs that complement your Web site content. If your site is all about sports, then chances are you’ll want to skip on setting up a co-branded Web store for cartoon themed car accessories, for example. Also, if affiliate programs offer customizable banners, buttons or splash pages that can be edited to reflect elements of your own site design, be sure to take advantage of those options.
Don’t be afraid to play the field and try a couple affiliate programs, or opt out of one and choose another if you’re not seeing any results after time. Results are going to be based on how much traffic your own Web site gets. If your site serves only a couple visitors a day, you can’t expect high click-through numbers.
Hope it helps You!