The word affiliate marketing is a one that is very common in internet marketing. It is a very powerful marketing strategy that has turned many people into millionaires. An internet marketer who knows the tips and tricks of affiliate marketing will find it very lucrative, but people who entered the industry in blunder and ignorance usually suffer losses upon losses. In this article, we are going to consider many important aspects of affiliate marketing, but before that, what really is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy whereby a company or business rewards internet marketers for every customer they bring to them. The internet marketer involves in this is called the affiliate while the company or business is called the affiliate merchant or simply the merchant.
The affiliate gains commission for every customer they direct to the company. This is a win-win situation because the merchant pays his affiliates only when the customer makes a purchase or take any other desired action.
The affiliate marketing industry has 4 core players and they are:
- The Merchant
- The Affiliate Network
- The Affiliate and
- The Customer
In some affiliate marketing programs, the people referred by the affiliate do not need to buy anything. If they just sign up, fill out a form, request a free report or download software for trial, the affiliate gets paid. This type of program is called Cost Per Action (CPA).
The affiliate network serves as the broker between the merchants and the affiliates. If you want to make money online as an affiliate, you have to register with some affiliate networks where you can find a lot of products to promote. Affiliate networks give you the opportunity to promote as many products as possible. That’s not the only advantage, another one is that the network will pay you a single commission check which is your total earning from all the affiliate marketing programs you joined through the network. Therefore, by making a few dollars here and there you can quickly reach the pay-out amount than when the merchants have to pay you individually.
You can join most affiliate networks free of charge. Once a member, you can browse through the categories of products and choose the ones that interest you. Some examples of affiliate networks are:
- Commission Junction (www.cj.com)
- LinkShare (www.linkshare.com)
- Affiliate Window (www.affiliatewindow.com)
- Amazon (www.amazon.com)
- Shareasale (www.shareasale.com) and
- LinkConnector (www.linkconnector.com)
If you register with any of these affiliate networks you’ll be provided with an affiliate tracking link for each affiliate product you want to promote. And you’ll gain commission if any click on your affiliate tracking link result to a sell or any other desired action.
Affiliate marketing is very advantageous because it relieves you of a lot of work – There are no products to create, no employees to manage, no customer support to worry about, no inventory stock and so on. The affiliate merchant will carter for all these. But you still have some work to do on your own and I must let you know this, that affiliate marketing requires your time and effort.
Many people have tried affiliate marketing and came out disappointed. To succeed in affiliate marketing you have to get familiar with things like finding niche markets, keyword research, traffic generation techniques, list building e.t.c. If you need a step-by-step guide that will teach you how to make money with affiliate marketing, try this One Week Marketing Guide. This guide teaches you step-by-step all you need to know to start making money with affiliate marketing without spending a dim.
Two Methods of Promoting Affiliate Products
There are basically two methods you can use while promoting affiliate products and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
The first method is the Non-Subscriber Based method where you send all the traffic directly to the merchant’s sales page. This method is very easy and it doesn’t demand too much input from you. This method is limited by the following disadvantages:
- Most visitors don’t buy on the first visit to the sales page. Some will not even buy if you don’t constantly remind them of the benefits of the product.
- You can‘t make repeat sales to your customers since you don’t have their email addresses. Repeat sales can make you more money than the initial sale. This is because once a person buys what you recommended, trust has been created and as a result that person will likely buy other supplementary products you recommend.
- You can hardly survive in a competitive market without having your customers email addresses.
- You can not promote your products in article directories, forums and social networking sites that ban affiliate links.
The second method is the best, it’s called the Subscriber-Based method. Here, you will have your own sales page and/or website that review the product you are promoting. In the sales page, you’ll have an opt-in form where your readers will opt-in (i.e. give you there name and email address) in exchange for one freebie or the other. The freebies might be e-books, software or more free info. This method requires some hard work and it is the most rewarding method. This method allows you to collect the names and email addresses of potential customers before redirecting them to the merchant’s sales page.
The purpose of trapping the email addresses of potential customers is to follow them up and to be able to make repeat sales. By educating these potential customers about the product/service, you entice them to buy and if they buy, you can also proffer them with other supplementary affiliate products that you promote. This second method generates the most income.