There are many ways to describe affiliate marketing; however most have much the same meaning. People who market on the Internet as an affiliate marketer, have caused it to become a legitimate business. In a nutshell affiliate marketing is a cooperative effort between the product creator (also termed merchant) and the affiliate.
From the standpoint of a merchant, affiliate marketers are gold, since they do most of the advertising; they are able to easily broaden their reach without significant capital expenditure. By marketing their products, whether tangible or digital, the merchant is, in effect increasing their sales force without the associated costs. This is extremely attractive, since this allows their wide distribution, while only paying the affiliate, when a sale is made.
The Internet continues to grow exponentially, and every day more and more people are seeking ways to make money from home; affiliate marketing is at or near the top of that list. However many people go about affiliate marketing the wrong way, making beginner mistakes, then deciding Internet marketing doesn’t work. There are intricacies to affiliate marketing, and without the proper mentor, or experience, most new affiliate marketers are left without understanding what is involved in the task.
Over several years I’ve been fortunate to work with many affiliate marketers, and when I work with someone new to the concept, one of the key points I always explain, is the difference between advertising and marketing.
Statistically speaking, most beginners think purely in terms of advertising, without understanding the marketing part of the equation. Many times these affiliates will not last in what has become a very competitive arena. On the other side of the coin are those extremely knowledgeable, and ready to turn this competitive arena into a true cash cow. Those who thrive and conversely make a good living understand they must market their website in addition to the affiliate product they are promoting. While selling and advertising are strong components of marketing, they must be combined in a strategic way, in order to become profitable affiliate marketers.
In this model, the affiliate marketer is compensated for every visitor they send to a merchant site, who in turn purchases the product or service being offered. The commission varies greatly, and anyone looking into affiliate marketing, should be certain they understand the commission structure before beginning their marketing efforts.
Besides product owners, there is affiliate networks designed to cater to those interested in affiliate marketing. These networks operate as a third-party between the merchant and affiliate, acting as a trusted third party who will ensure compliance, both from the merchant/product owner and the affiliate. There is a great deal of technology involved with these networks, however this all operates behind the scenes track sales and statistics. These networks remain profitable by collecting a commission from the merchant, keeping their percentage, and then paying the affiliate their commission, normally once every 30 days.
While there are downsides to becoming an affiliate marketer (most namely understanding how to market), there are also benefits which allow the affiliate to quickly change from product “A” to product “B” should they find that more lucrative. Depending on the person and their commitment, affiliate marketing can generate an excellent part-time or full-time income. This is not to say that there isn’t work involved, this should be thought of as a business, not a hobby, and to be successful it will take work and persistence.
From a business standpoint, affiliate marketers have low start-up and overhead costs; however the challenge isn’t in putting a website online, rather in getting targeted traffic (visitors) to look at the affiliate offer.
Deciding to become an affiliate marketer, shouldn’t be taken lightly, however it can be an excellent first step in your online career.