Is Affiliate Marketing for You?
For Businesses that Sell Products and Services - Affiliate Marketing can produce results with low risk. You only pay commissions.
For Good Internet Marketers and Website Publishers - Affiliate Marketing can be a good way to monetize your web traffic and earn additional profits.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Internet Affiliate Marketing is a performance-based approach to marketing. A Merchant is the actual seller of the product. An Affiliate (also know as a Publisher) sells the merchant's product or service via various internet marketing channels by way of their own websites (i.e. websites that they publish).
Commissions are paid out by Merchants based on specific actions. These actions include a completed sale or a lead with specific information that can be followed up with later. Since all costs for advertising are assumed by the Affiliate, this can be a very effective and low risk marketing channel for merchants. On the flipside, Affiliates who are good at internet marketing can be rewarded very profitably for their expertise. It's generally a win-win arrangement between independent businesses.
An Affiliate Network is the middle man. They attract affiliates to sell merchant products and they attract merchants whose products affiliates can market. A merchant's affiliate program can also be kept in-house and managed independently of any affiliate networks.
Affiliate Marketing for Merchants
If you have a business that sells products or services, using affiliates to sell your products may be a good approach. However, you should already have an established website that successfully sells your product. In other words, you should generally have a good cut at the Core Fundamentals of Internet Marketing in place.
- Do you already have established traffic to your website?
- Do you already have a good conversion rate of sales and leads?
- Are you tracking your on-line performance?
For appropriate companies with products or services to sell (i.e. Merchants), advantages of Affiliate Marketing are:
- You get a sales force through Affiliate Publishers (Affiliates)
- Your products have visibility on various web-sites to various audiences
- The Affiliate Network handles payments and reporting of all transactions
- You only pay a commission per lead or sale
Setting up an affiliate program for your business can be confusing and time consuming. Here are some common questions you need to address:
- Which affiliate network should I use?
- What should the commission be?
- What kind of landing page on my website should I use?
- How do I attract good affiliates?
- Who's going to set this up and get it going?
Making use of a good consulting service can go a long way to answering your questions and to get an affiliate program underway. A general Internet Marketing company like Piaf, Inc., can help you get set up to work with an Affiliate Network. Choosing the right network for your products and business, putting the right incentives in place to attract good affiliates, and making sure your website is set up for affiliate marketing, are all part of the job.
As with all forms of marketing, you can't expect overnight success. Sometimes it happens, but generally it takes good effort, knowledge, and time to develop what really works for you. Starting small, and sooner rather than later, can help open up affiliate marketing as another part of your internet marketing mix.
There are Outsourced Program Management (OPM) Services that help Merchants start and run their own Affiliate Programs, without using affiliate networks, or when expanding with higher volume of sales across multiple affiliate networks. It is considered outsourced, so your company doesn't need to hire their own staff. These are great options for larger affiliate marketing efforts.
Affiliate Marketing for Publishers (i.e. Affiliates)
If you have a published website with good traffic, you could increase your income by representing affiliate merchants on your website. There are thousands of merchants representing almost every kind of product you would find anywhere. By affiliating with the right merchants via reputable Affiliate Networks, you can promote products and services that are relevant to the visitors of your websites.
For the Affiliate (Publisher), three big advantages of Affiliate Marketing are:
- You do not need to keep an inventory of the products
- You do not need to do fulfillment (i.e. order processing and shipping).
- Payments are accepted and reported through the Affiliate Networks
Alternatively, with good knowledge of internet marketing, Affiliates may create dedicated websites for specific types of merchant offers, and build traffic specifically to create a revenue stream based on commissions. These Affiliate websites generally make use of the Core Internet Marketing Fundamentals, along with other on-line techniques. Good affiliates are experts in their field, since they generally operate under thinner profit margins.