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Affiliate Marketing
Page 2 of Affiliate Marketing
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In eCommerce, the goal of marketing is to bring visitors and their wallets to a company’s website. This online marketing is achieved in many ways including search engine optimization, paid searches, banners, advertisements and many other methods. While these marketing methods are generally successful for companies, many have opted to increase their marketing efforts by pushing the chore off onto others. This is the basis of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing Overview

An affiliate is an individual or company associated, or affiliated, with a particular company. The affiliate agrees to promote the products of services of the company in exchange for a commission of some kind when a search or sale is successful.

The affiliates use the same methods as the primary company in bringing visitors, or traffic, to a website. But with a host of affiliates also promoting a product line or service, the advertising company can reach a far greater number of potential buyers. This additional advertising is almost always completely commission based so there is little or no risk to the company.

Affiliate marketing is a large source of income for many webmasters. These marketers build websites promoting the advertising company or use their banners and ads on a related website. Every time a visitor goes through the marketer’s site to the advertising company and makes a sale or submits certain information, the marketer receives a set fee or percentage of the sale. Incentive methods and the exact service they reward vary by company.

There is a great deal of profit to be made by successful affiliate marketing. As in any commission based sales, the better a salesman’s marketing skills, the more successful he will be. Many marketers work with a slew of companies and run many sites bringing in a collection of smaller revenue streams, while others run larger sites that bring in a single or a few larger income streams from particularly lucrative fields. Regardless of an individual webmaster’s strategy; knowledge, skill and patience combine to make affiliate marketing successful and lucrative.

The Affiliate Marketing Process

The process of affiliate marketing is simple at the topmost level. A company wishes to capture a larger market share and increase publicity. That company begins an affiliate program in hopes of snagging successful marketers who will bring in new visitors. The company makes the offer attractive financially to ensure this.

A webmaster finds the new affiliate program and signs up with the company. He can do this directly with a producer or through a third party website which organizes advertisers and publishers, or affiliates. The most popular of these sites include CommissionJunction.com or Clickbank.com. Once signed up and approved, the affiliate is able to use banners and ads prepared by the company ahead of time on his sites.

In some cases, after sign-up and approval, the webmaster is an agent of the company and can create and run a site exclusively dedicated to the offering. For example, affiliates of DIRECTV create a website based on a template offered by the company. These sites then compete directly with the main website of DIRECTV as well as find other traffic sources.

For some advertising companies, a website must already be existing and relatively successful for the webmaster to be approved as a new affiliate. This is to protect the reputation and interests of the company. Most companies well respected in an industry prefer to work with well developed sites that have shown success with visitors and strategies in the past. They don’t want to be affiliated with sites lacking polish or developed for reasons other than return visits from quality traffic.

The webmaster then develops a new site devoted to the advertising company or places the logos and banners on his site. Once the advertisements are in place, he begins marketing.

There are many ways to promote a website. Effective promotion of a website ensures that the site is located easily and visitors search through the site and click on a particular advertisement. Once the visitor clicks on an advertisement, he is taken to the advertising company’s website where he is invited to make a purchase or register for a service.

If the visitor registers or makes a purchase, the affiliate is credited with the sale. This is made possible through coding on each of the advertisements made available through the webmaster’s site. Each ad is coded with the account of the webmaster, so the advertising company is able to keep track of where each sale originated and credit them appropriately.

When the publisher of the ads, or webmaster, has completed enough sales or sign-ups, he will be paid. Most affiliate companies have a minimum threshold for payment and pay on a net 10 or net 20. This simply means they pay ten or twenty days following the end of the promoting or payment period – usually each month.

As the webmaster gains in skill and knowledge within his niche or industry, his website should continue to grow in popularity. At the very least, it should maintain a steady traffic source. If all aspects of effective marketing are in place, once the publisher finds success, he should continue to have success with the advertising company. It is then time to maintain and grow the site in question and move on to the next affiliate program and revenue stream.

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