What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a performance-based method of marketing in which businesses and affiliates work together to sell products and services and to create profit. Sometimes a business will refer to their affiliate programs as Referral Partner Programs or Partnership Programs.

With this method, and depending on the details of the affiliate program, an affiliate is rewarded with money for every customer or visitor that is brought in by their marketing efforts. Many people view the affiliates in this relationship as online commission-based salespeople.

For Businesses: Affiliate Marketing is an excellent way to generate sales and increase your revenue. Because it is performance-based, affiliates will work hard to promote your product, and then you reward your affiliates for each click, lead, or sale.

As one of many marketing options available to you, affiliate marketing is a very powerful and cost-effective channel; you only have to pay when a successful transaction happens. It’s quite possible for your business to grow more quickly than you anticipated because as you acquire new customers you are also building a good base of affiliates.

For Affiliates: Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money on your website by joining one of many affiliate programs. These businesses offer affiliate programs to generate traffic to their websites and will offer a range of commission levels from 3% to 50% and pay according to the sales that are generated by your marketing efforts.

The sales are tracked via the affiliate link you are provided from the business. Also, you’re not limited to promoting only one product or business. Your niche could have numerous businesses offering products and services that you can promote to your target market.

Affiliate Marketing really is the fastest growing industry on the internet with numerous networks that include Commission Junction, Amazon, and ClickBank are just a few that are running top affiliate networks, and they are making a huge amount of money from affiliate programs.

As a network, they charge the business or product creator a fee for handling the affiliate payouts. In addition to networks, there are retailers most people are very familiar with that are now offering affiliate programs.

In this case, it’s a simple matter of visiting the website of your favorite retailer and looking to see if they offer an affiliate program.

Affiliate Marketing is Based on Four Roles

  1. The merchant, who is also known as the retailer or major brand.
  2. The network consists of the offers from which the affiliate chooses, and this is also where payments are made.
  3. The affiliate, who is also known as the publisher, is the one who does the marketing work.
  4. The customer purchases the product or service, and that profit is shared by the merchant and the affiliate.

Affiliates who want to make more than just a few dollars a month will use a variety of internet marketing and advertising methods to bring customers to the merchant, and they are rewarded for their efforts. These advertising methods can include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Paid search engine marketing
  • Paid social media ads
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Reviews
  • Display advertisements

Whether you have a blog, a full website devoted to an industry, or are very active on social media, you can be an affiliate that recommends products or services. Post a link and when someone clicks on it they are directed to the merchant.

If they purchase while on the site, you get paid. It’s good for the merchant because they get more visitors to their site and sell more products. It’s good for the affiliate because they are rewarded for their advertising efforts.


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