What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?

Computer affiliate handshakeThe internet is now responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in sales every year, and it is growing larger each and every day. Many people have wondered how they too could make money with internet marketing.

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All of the large companies have websites where you can purchase their goods or services. But this is not an option if you do not own a large company yourself. This is why many people are taking a close look at affiliate marketing.

There are many advantages to using this strategy including to get started you only need an inexpensive website or blog. A few of the other advantages are that you do not have to have any physical inventory, there are no shipping costs, there is no need to have a lot of employees, or even any employees at all.

There really are people who make a very good living doing this, and even more making a nice side income, but you do have to put some time and effort into it, and there is a learning curve. In other words it is not a get rich quick scheme.

The Basics Of Affiliate Marketing

Perhaps the simplest way to explain affiliate marketing is that it is a way of making money online whereby you ( the publisher) are rewarded for helping a business (the advertiser) by promoting their product, their goods, or their services.

Simply put if someone follows a link on your site to the businesses website and makes a purchase you will receive a commission for sending them there. By using ‘cookies’ (more on that later), you will still get credit even if they come back at another time.

You have nothing to do with the transaction itself, that is all handled on the other end, which is why you do not have to worry about inventory, shipping, billing, etc.

Another variation on this is Pay-per-lead programs where you earn a commission when someone submits their contact information via a form. For example they may sign up to get more information, take a survey, get a free trial or sample, etc.

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Advertisers And Publishers

Advertisers use affiliate programs for lead generation, and of course, sales. Advertisers often prefer affiliate marketing as a way to promote their products because they know they’ll only need to pay for the advertising when there’s a conversion.

An advertiser can be a company selling a product like electronics, airline tickets, clothing, car parts, or an advertiser could also be an insurance company selling policies. There are affiliate program for just about anything you can think of.

They may earn less for each sale, but by having a network of affiliates promoting their products for them they will save on advertising costs while increasing overall sales levels, and thus make more money.

A publisher is an individual that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. This is done by putting an advertiser’s links on their own websites.

Advertisers generally provide a publisher with various tools (creatives) to help them in the form of links, banner or text ads, and other things that can be incorporated into a website.

How Will I Know I Have Made A Sale?

Most affiliate programs work by using a link with a code embedded into it. The code is unique and will only be used by you. It enables the advertiser to track where conversions come from  by using a unique user ID and cookies to track your sales.

Cookies are widely used everywhere, and this technology works with web browsers to store information like user preferences, log in or registration information, and shopping cart contents. There are many different types of web cookies and uses.

Have you ever opted-in to have a website “remember” your password and username for one of your online accounts? That’s a cookie. In affiliate marketing, one task that cookies manage is to remember the link or ad the visitor to a website clicks on.

The visitor’s browser receives the  tracking cookie that identifies the advertiser, the publisher, the specific creative and commission amount and even the date and time of the click. .

Money flying out of a computer screen.Through the use of browser cookies, any person who uses your link to make the desired action within a set amount of time is tracked as “your referral” by the browser cookie. If the person makes a purchase  you get the referral commission.

Even if a user sits with items in their shopping cart but doesn’t go back and make the purchase for two weeks, you can still get the commission, provided the cookie is still active.

Always take a close look at what the advertiser is offering in terms of tracking and reporting tools for affiliates. Remember to find out how long a tracking cookie lasts, the longer the better.

A good program will provide you with a way to access detailed automated statistics to view the number of hits from your links,  the number of sales and the total commissions you have earned, along with other important information.

Choosing an Affiliate Program

Because there are such a large number of affiliate programs to choose from and many are structured differently, here are some tips to keep in mind while looking for a good match.

First, you need to be sure you are comfortable with the product you’re promoting or selling and you have confidence in the advertiser you are linking to.

Check the pages on the advertiser’s Web site. If it’s something you yourself would never consider purchasing, or it possibly looks a bit unreliable, then chances are your visitors won’t be interested in it either.

Next make sure you understand the affiliate agreement and that you can comply with it. Take the time to check out the advertisers tracking and reporting tools before joining.

For new people it is generally best to start with a website on something you like, or know a little about. If you already have a website a good rule of thumb is to pick affiliate programs that offer something that’s relevant to your site.

For example if  your site is about kids clothes, then chances are you’ll want to concentrate on child related items. An ad for online gambling would receive little attention and could even hurt your other sales. Choose wisely.

How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

While affiliate marketing is very popular and can be incredibly lucrative it is important to know that affiliate marketing is not easy money scam, you have to work at it.

On the plus side once you set things up properly it will work for you 24/7. That is everyone’s dream to make money while they are sleeping.

After you decide on something you would like to promote  then there are many other considerations, like how many people are actually looking for it online and how strong is the competition, etc.

Getting this information is beyond the scope of this article but there is a recommendation below on where to learn everything you need to know like:

  • Where to find quality products with affiliate programs.
  • How to discover relevant keywords.
  • Building a website that gets a lot of traffic.
  • Attracting people who are interested buying instead of ‘just looking’.
  • Writing good sales copy that converts.

There is a learning curve, but if you are considering trying this there is a real learning shortcut. To find out everything you need to know to become successful in affiliate marketing, click on the link below this video now.

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