A Guide to Affiliate Marketing


Simply put, affiliate marketing is a business model in which a merchant pays a third party, known as "the affiliate", a commission for each customer that they referred to the merchant. This is a business model, which is very common amongst companies offering products or services on the Internet. Many of these companies do run an affiliate program of some sort.

Types of Payouts

Traditionally, affiliate marketing meant getting paid a commission based on a percentage of the sale that was generated. While this model is still common, there are many other types of payouts available to affiliates. For subscription type services, many companies now opt to pay a fixed amount every time a new customer is acquired, regardless of how long the customer will keep their subscription or for how much revenue they generate.

Keep in mind that affiliate marketing does not necessarily mean sales either. Some merchants, notably automobile finance companies, mortgage brokers and insurance firms pay affiliates for every qualified lead that is generated, regardless of whether that person actually becomes a customer or buys a product.

Some other merchants pay a small amount (typically a few dollars) when the user completes an action, such as: creating a profile on a dating site, downloading a browser toolbar, signing up for a contest, etc. The user does not need to give their credit card information or make any purchase in order for you to get paid.

How to Become an Affiliate

In order to become an affiliate marketer, all you normally have to do is sign up for an affiliate program. While some larger businesses run their own affiliate programs, most deal with affiliate networks. Those are companies which specialize in Internet marketing and act as a middleman between affiliates and merchants. Upon joining, the affiliate gets access to promote many different offers and products from different merchants.

Ways to Advertise Affiliate Offers

There are multiple ways you can promote offers from affiliate programs online and start earning commissions. Here are the most common ones:

  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising - This consists of putting text ads on search engines, next to the search results for a particular keyword related to the offer you are running. You pay every time someone clicks your ad.
  • Media Buying - This simply means buying advertising space on websites, in order to put banner ads, pop-ups or text ads.
  • Email marketing - You can promote affiliate offers in emails that you sent to people who have opted-in to receive promotional material from you. Note that not all affiliate networks and merchants accept this type of promotional method, so it is best to check with them first.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money on the Internet. However, just like when starting any other business, you need to put in time and effort to get success. You should also do as much research as possible on the various affiliate programs, as well as methods used to generate visitors to view your offers.

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