What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has many definitions, yet all have the same meaning. Affiliate marketing is huge business on the Internet. It is a co-operative effort between merchants and an affiliate’s website.

For many years now, affiliate marketing has proved to be a cost-efficient, measurable, method of delivering long-term results. It is a useful way to make extra income on any website. People continually attempt affiliate marketing with an intention to make money out of it. But, in many cases, these new affiliates do not fully understand the affiliate world and make costly mistakes. In other words, affiliate marketing has often been misunderstood.

One of the common misconceptions concerning affiliate marketing is it’s about ‘selling’. Though selling is an important activity of affiliate marketing and the central function of a business operation, it’s not the key. Another, is that affiliate marketing is about ‘advertising’. While the importance of advertising in marketing a certain product is not to be underestimated, the fact of the matter is advertising, like selling, is merely one of the many aspects of marketing.

In affiliate marketing, an affiliate is compensated for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer provided through his efforts. This compensation is generally based on a percentage of the value of the goods or services purchased by each visitor. The most attractive aspect of affiliate marketing, from the merchant’s viewpoint is that no payment is due to an affiliate until results are generated.

Affiliate marketing is often promoted through affiliate networks offering multiple affiliate programs. These affiliate networks provide services to both merchants and affiliates. Each has their specific role when it comes to affiliate marketing. The affiliate network acts as a third party, between the merchants and their affiliates. The network provides the technology to deliver the merchant’s campaigns and offers. The affiliate network may also collect the commission fees from the merchant and pay them to the appropriate affiliate.

The merchant is any website owner that wants to take advantage of performance based marketing. The benefits to the merchant are many. The affiliate networks provide a source of instant affiliates which saves the merchant time, money and effort in recruiting their own. The merchant has access to new markets and customers without incurring the expense of finding them. The ads. which affiliates place on their websites are specific to their visitors needs. Consequently, they generate greater interest for the product or service being promoted and drive the consumer to the merchants’ website. It is also the merchant who decides how much he is willing to pay for each sale that results from a visitor sent by an affiliate.

The affiliate or affiliate marketer, as they are known, also gains a lot of benefits. Top amongst these is that the affiliate does not need to buy or hold stock. The affiliate is a website owner that promotes one or more merchants and their affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing can generate a full-time income for the affiliate. But, this is not an easy ride. The affiliate needs to know what types of product and service their visitors would be most interested in. For example, if the site serves the needs of stay-at-home mothers, then on-line job openings such as surveys would be a good match for them. This group would also appreciate direct links to children’s products and informational sites. Merchants often provide targeted, best-seller items, sales promotions and personal support to their affiliates. However, the affiliate needs to understand the commission structure, payment method and time involved in the contract. It is also important to make sure the merchant is trustworthy and consideration is given to traffic generation and making your offer different to all the others.  

Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for both merchants and affiliates. If they are a good fit, they will be of considerable benefit to each other. It is easy and inexpensive to start affiliate marketing – you can be up and running within a few days.