Affiliate Marketing – what exactly is it?

Put simply, it is process where you as the affiliate sell or promote someone else’s product or service and you receive a commission for your efforts. Affiliate Marketing is usually considered to be the lowest cost business model when starting an Online Business, and as such is the most popular method with many newcomers to Internet Marketing. The owners or licence holders of the product you promote can be called authors, publishers, merchants or other different terms, depending on whether it is a physical or an information product that you are promoting and how the commission payments are organised.

This business model can take many different forms but are commonly called Affiliate Programs. You join the affiliate program a merchant is using to sell a particular product you are interested in promoting. The most common types of programs are as follows:

  1. Pay per click – each visitor you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  2. Pay per lead – each lead you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  3. Pay per sale – commission will be paid by publishers for each sale made at his website or on sites such as clickbank or paydotcom.

Each one of the above methods returns a certain payment for delivering the click, lead, or sale. By far the largest number of businesses utilizing this model work on a Pay per Sale system. There are hundreds of affiliate networks that you can join where the owners of the site have numerous publishers registered so you can choose products & promote them without have to join up to all the separate affiliate programs. Examples of such sites are Commission Junction, Clix Galore, Clickbank, PayDotCom and Click2sell.

Many Internet Marketers will guide the beginner into Affiliate Marketing because it is considered to be the cheapest and simplest business model to get started and develop, especially when all the marketing tools such as a web sales page, promotional emails, articles, press releases etc are provided by the publisher.

Your main costs will be in the promotion of the product or service. All costs associated with the product, sales page, delivery, after sales services, as well as merchant services set up and costs, will be paid by the merchant providing the product.

When starting your Internet Business through affiliate marketing there are five steps to follow:

  1. Find your niche market which shows enough demand as well as a reasonable supply, as well as one that would support future business growth.
  2. Find out what the market is searching for in terms of solutions to problems, or a product/service for which there is a shortage of supply or even a deficiency.
  3. Research the available affiliate products and services for something that will fill the deficiency or fix the problem.
  4. Promote the product by every means available to you.
  5. Although this is not necessarily essential, owning your own website can increase your methods of promotion, but more importantly it allows you to pre-sell the product before redirecting them to the merchant’s sales page.

The final item regarding your own website needs serious consideration as it will be the best way towards developing and growing your business and to start creating an opt-in list of targeted potential customers.

Creating a trust between yourself and your customers, as well as your partners, is of prime importance to your business. This trust will serve you well as your customers will gradually consider you to be their expert in this niche and they will take your recommendations and buy.

To help build this relationship of trust, give value to potential customers by offering something useful to them for free. The more value you give them, the more they will be inclined to make purchases from you at a later date. Do not think for one minute that without it you will be able to succeed in affiliate marketing or any other type of business if you do not build a relationship of trust with a list of potential customers.

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Patricia Findlay, EzineArticles Platinum Author
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