Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as 'retailer' or 'brand'), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as 'the affiliate'), and the customer.

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A Guide On How To Start an Affiliate Marketing Business
There are two ways to approach affiliate marketing: You can offer an affiliate program to others or you can sign up to be another business's affiliate. As the business driving an affiliate program, you'll pay your affiliates a commission fee for every lead or sale they drive to your website. Your main goal should be to find affiliates who'll reach untapped markets. For example, a company with an e-zine may make a good affiliate because its subscribers are hungry for resources. So introducing your offer through a "trusted" company can grab the attention of prospects you might not have otherwise reached.
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.
Once you've protected your prospecting pool, maximize your affiliate program by working with the best and leaving the rest. As the old 80/20 adage implies, most of your revenue will come from a very small percentage of your affiliates. Because it can be time-consuming to manage a larger affiliate network, consider selecting only a few companies initially, and interview them before signing them on. Affiliates are an extension of your sales force and represent your online brand, so choose partners carefully.
And what about joining another company's affiliate program? It's all about extra revenue. Think about your customers' needs: What other products or services would interest your site visitors? Join those affiliate programs. Affiliate programs can increase your sales with no upfront cost to you. It just takes a little time to plan your strategy and select the partners that will have the greatest impact on your business
Affiliate programs are a tool for enhancing the quality of your marketing without paying anything up front. A good affiliate program can increase your business 10-25%, and you only have to pay based on sales, if an affiliate doesn't bring in the bacon, they don't get paid. An affiliate program works by tracking links from your affiliates' site and recording what sales came from their traffic. You then give a portion of these sales back to the affiliate, and everybody benefits. The system works solely on pay for performance.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that the link itself is what tracks customers, so your affiliates can put their link wherever they want, in an email newsletter, on their homepage, even on google ads. And because you aren't spending any of your money or time on this advertising, its all free until it starts working. Commission is important for this, because it determines what sort of affiliates you are going to get. A commission of 10-20% is normal, but your commission greatly depends on what you are selling, and how much it costs. If you have a physical product, obviously you have a certain level of overhead you have to make back, and if you have a digital product, you need to make a certain amount off of every sale to stay in business. If your products are cheap, a higher percentage is a good choice, and if your products are expensive, a lower percentage will still reap these advertisers a decent payment. So go with what works, and if you're having trouble gaining or retaining advertisers, up your rate.
Recruiting new affiliates and keeping your best ones is essential to keeping your affiliate program going. You can use affiliate networks for your marketing, and you can contact sites that are in your same field, to see if they are interested in hosting your ads. Don't forget to stay in touch with your affiliates and advise them on the best advertising methods you can come up with. Keeping in touch with your affiliates and making sure they are happy is essential to retention.
Using a recruitment based two tier affiliate program is another way to grow your affiliate network, and it provides your current affiliates incentive to recruit well qualified advertisers. By giving them a portion of each successful sale, you can easily grow your affiliates without doing anything yourself. You should be careful what affiliate program you eventually choose to handle your traffic, because you need an all in one solution that will require as little of your time as possible. You should also be sure it has fraud protection, because fraudulent orders are a major problem with affiliate programs. You should also ensure that your advertisers aren't including ads for your products in emails that qualify as spam, as you could be liable for any violations of the law.
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