Affiliate programs have become a standard component of most online businesses. With thousands of companies and dozens of networks offering affiliate programs, it can be hard to know where to begin. Understanding the basics will help you make good decisions as you begin affiliate marketing on your website.
There are three types of affiliate marketers:
The amount of time required to implement an affiliate program is minimal as these programs will most commonly be placed on your existing website(s), and most programs provide ad copy, images and tracking links. Of course, the most compelling reason to begin affiliate marketing is income generation. So regardless of your type of online business you should at least consider some form of affiliate marketing.
You work hard to create traffic for your site – you build a busy street. Now, if you create some billboards on this busy street, you’ll make more money. Of course, with affiliate programs you receive payment for creating an action, not just for displaying an ad, but if you can create more revenue from the same amount of traffic – well that just makes good business sense.
Some popular affiliate networks are:
As you begin planning, there are some decisions to be made:
Initially, it’s often best to choose one, and then expand once you learn what works and what is profitable.
Many sites have an "Affiliate Page" on their site, and it’s a great way to choose your favorite vendor and promote them on your site. Because each program has to be setup individually, this can take some time if you need more than a few. With a network, you can apply for many programs at the click of a mouse.
You’ll need a very busy street to realize any profits from click programs. Of course, it doesn’t cost anything to try, but many webmasters learn that transaction based affiliate programs produce better than pay-per-click programs.
If you run an online travel agency, for example, you could also promote travel insurance, luggage, pre-paid calling cards, and other travel related products. Because your affiliate products directly relate to your clients interests, you are more likely to have success, than if you have Google text links, promoting weight loss or home repair services.
Some ad networks ask for a location on your site, and they decide the content. Sometimes it relates to your site, sometimes it’s totally unrelated. Others allow you to choose the specific content, the graphics and message.
Some ad campaigns promote services of questionable quality, or even of questionable legality / morality. Your visitors will hold you accountable, so it’s wise to visit the site of a prospective affiliate and see what they offer, if they have a guarantee, etc.
Too see if they are a reputable company run this simple test. Of course, even the best company will get complaints, but notice the volume of complaints. Simply Google the name of the company with the term "complaint" or "sucks" after it. For example: "ABC Company sucks." Don’t forget the quotation marks, and please excuse the choice of words. To see what people are saying, you need to Google with the words they use.
Not all programs are the same, but many will require:
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