For many small and medium businesses, the concept of affiliate marketing may sound incredibly complicated, but its actually remarkably simple to understand.
What is affiliate marketing?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a partnership between a merchant or retailer and an outside agent, this outside agent is known as a media outlet. The media outlet agrees to display a merchants advertisement on its site in return for a percentage of the sale generated by the affiliate.
Its important to note that this partnership is done online. As the advertiser will typically pay his affiliate through paypal or similar payment facilitators, and no physical products are shipped, the shipping cost is taken care of by the media outlet.
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
As an affiliate, you only have to worry about driving traffic to your merchant(s)’s web pages, and earning a commission from the sale they generate. Being an affiliate is an incredibly low risk business model in that you never have to worry about fulfilling orders, paying suppliers or shipping products to customers, nor do you have to worry about dealing with customer service issues. This is all handled by your merchant.
Other than that, the merchant is responsible for everything else, from customer support to product shipping and receiving. This low risk aspect is what makes affiliate marketing so appealing to newbies and non-tech savvy people. For them, it’s a very easy way of stepping into the lucrative world of online business.
What do I need to be an affiliate?
To be accepted as a media outlet for affiliate programs, you must meet certain requirements. You must be 18 years of age or older, you must have a valid email address and you must be keen to learn about internet marketing.
If you meet the above criteria, you can then apply to become an affiliate for different companies via their affiliate pages. This is a simple, painless process and will not affect your affiliate earning per se, but you will have to sign in to your account a certain number of times a month, to show your acceptance.
How to sign up to be an affiliate?
This is a very easy process and you can sign up to be an affiliate directly from your affiliate network account page ( Awin is a great example). Once signed up, you will see a list of companies with whom you can choose to become an affiliate.
So you can become an affiliate for many companies at once, like clockwork, and they will then give you links to their websites, where you can display your affiliate links. The links will be coded with your affiliate id and the link will be coded with your display id. So when someone clicks on one, it will be seen as coming from you, and when they click on the one you have selected, it will be seen as coming from the company you have been an affiliate for. So when an interested buyer clicks on one of your links, it will be taken to the company website and when they purchase the product from that company, you will get paid.
Now this may seem very confusing, and yes it can be a bit daunting. There are methods though, that you can use that will make it more logical and easier for you to master internet marketing, and that is to first learn the basics of search engine optimization and affiliate marketing, then select a company that you think you would be good for and then sign up for that company. This will make it easier for you to master the basics of affiliate marketing and SEO, and then when you have a product to sell in an appropriate niche, then sign up for that company, and display your affiliate links.
You will find that more and more companies will let you sign up for their programs, so do not be afraid to sign up for programs that are relevant to you and that you may have a flair for it.
There are many, many companies online that you can be an affiliate for. Now do not expect to receive large checks for each sale, and this is not their goal. Their goal is to have you sign up and then to receive a smaller amount from each sale, so this is why it is important that you know what you are doing before you sign up.
You will find however that there will be companies that offer much more than what you can expect from each sale. Sometimes they offer discounts that can make the sale amount higher. When this happens, be sure to check the terms and conditions for any limitations on the company and also be sure to not sell anything that you would not buy yourself.
Most importantly though, be sure to do your research when choosing your affiliate programs and be sure to always be honest in your reviews and when promoting the products. A customer may purchase one of your products thinking it is excellent, but when they find out the product is not as great as they thought, they may never purchase from that company again. This is a very important rule to follow.
So once again, do not expect to receive large checks, but rather smaller ones.
Be sure to always be honest and report the facts about each company. This is vital to your future as an affiliate.
Finally, do not assume that they are all reputable or that they will always pay you. Be careful and do your research, but most importantly, be cautious in your sales tactics and always promote the products you would buy yourself.
These are only a few of the affiliate marketing tips, but they are the most important. Be careful, and do not be afraid to take a risk, because if you know how to take a risk, then there is nothing that can stop you.
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