Basic Steps To Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate Marketing

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the practice in which a merchant enrolls other people (aka affiliates) to sell/promote its products online in return for a commission. This is a common technique of generating income for site owners, in particular, those that run blogs.  It can have many benefits for both the merchant and the affiliate.

Benefits for the Merchant:

  1. Merchants’ reach for its products will expand that much more by using affiliates
  2. Little marketing needed to be done if the merchant chooses to sell its product(s) through the use of Affiliate Networking sites
  3. By incorporating affiliates into their marketing efforts, they can spend less time on “selling” and spend more  time on creating and developing their products

Benefits for the Affiliate:

  • There is no to little risk involved
  • There is no need to deal with inventory, order processing, shipping or customer support
  • The commissions can be very lucrative
  • No need to venture into product development

There are two common ways to search for affiliate programs:

  1. One method is to look at sites related to your industry and see if they offer affiliate programs where you can apply directly.  You will usually see a link in the menu bar that reads “Affiliates”, “Partner with Us” or something along those line.
  2. Another very common and effective way is to visit affiliate networking sites such as clickbank.com, e-junkie.com , commissionjunction.com and T3 Leads. These are some of the top Affiliate Networking sites that’s’ sole focus it to service those businesses/individuals interested in either selling or promoting affiliate products.

The process is quite simple. Once you’ve applied and have been accepted as an affiliate, you will be given a unique URL that you can use to promote the product.  This URL will allow the merchant to track the sales generated by the affiliate to ensure payment of commissions.

Many merchants as well will attach a cookie into the visitor’s browsers.  This way if the prospective lead does not purchase on the first visit, but rather on at a later time, the affiliate can still receive credit for that sale.

There are various ways in which an affiliate can incorporate their affiliate link.  Here are several common inclusions:

  • In a side bar widget or banner
  • In their email marketing
  • In product review posts
  • In their ‘Resources’ section of their website

Here are some tips if you choose to go down the path of Affiliate Marketing:

Test before you recommend. Although it is not mandatory to test a product out before you recommend it, it is advisable. Why? Think about it this way, your reputation and credibility is on the line.

Let’s say for instance you have a blog and over the course of time has generated a substantial readership and subscriber list. You officially have a following of people who know and TRUST you.

In your hurry to begin monetizing your site via affiliate marketing, you forgo the opportunity to test the product.  You soon begin receiving emails from your subscribers notifying you of the poor quality of the product and slowly start to lose subscribers and most of all their trust.

So it’s in your best interest to test the products you are promoting and give it two thumbs up before you recommend it. At the very least, if testing the product yourself is not feasible, I would at least ensure that the product is from a reliable source YOU know and trust.

Choose products and services relevant to your industry. If you are in the photography industry and your site discusses all things photography, it would not be relevant and appropriate to promote products to your list that involve home and garden related products.

Decide if you want to target CPS (Cost Per Sale) or CPA (Cost Per Action) programs:

CPS involves the affiliate receiving a commission ONLY after the sale is complete. It is a much more common method of affiliate marketing and relatively easy to apply for.

CPA involves receiving a commission based on an action that the merchant has stipulated.  This can be as simple as the prospect opting into a newsletter or downloading a free trial of a product.  This is a much less common method, thus makes it more difficult to venture into.

Note: As an affiliate, you are required by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to disclose to your prospects that you will receive a commission via the use of the affiliate link.  For more information of the FTC’ Guidelines, please visit their site here.

Overall, affiliate marketing can be a very beneficial technique and a great source of income for a site owner.  Measures do need to be taken to ensure quality control, but if you choose a product that you truly believe in, it will make the process that much more effortlessly to promote and sell… and your followers will thank you for it.

Have you’ve considered affiliate marketing?

Post by Michele Welch ~NewBizBlogger

Michele Welch is an Online Business Advisor and Coach who shares online business tips with those looking to start their own websites. To get FREE access to her 7-Day Action Plan on Starting an Online Business and weekly business tips, please sign up for her newsletter at http://www.newbizblogger.com.

What is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is the practice in which a merchant enrolls other people (aka affiliates) to sell/promote its products online in return for a commission. This is a common technique of generating income for site owners, in particular, those that run blogs.

Affiliate marketing can have many benefits for both the merchant and the affiliate.

Benefits for the Merchant:

1. Merchants’ reach for its products will expand that much more by using affiliates

2. Little marketing needed to be done if the merchant chooses to sell its product(s) via an Affiliate Networking site

3. By incorporating affiliates into their marketing efforts, they can spend less time on “selling” and spend more time on creating and developing their products

Benefits for the Affiliate:

1. There is no to little risk involved

2. There is no need to deal with inventory, order processing, shipping or customer support

3. The commissions can be very lucrative

4. No need to venture into product development

There are two common ways to search for affiliate programs:

1. One method is to look at sites related to your industry and see if they offer affiliate programs where you can apply directly. You will usually see a link in the menu bar that reads “Affiliates”, “Partner with Us” or something along those line.

2. Another very common and effective way is to visit affiliate networking sites such as clickbank.com, e-junkie.com , commissionjunction.com and pepperjam.com. These are some of the top Affiliate Networking sites that’s’ sole focus it to service those businesses/individuals interested in either selling or promoting affiliate products.

The process is quite simple. Once you’ve applied and have been accepted as an affiliate, you will be given a unique URL that you can use to promote the product. This URL will allow the merchant to track the sales generated by the affiliate to ensure payment of commissions.

Many merchants as well will attach a cookie into the visitor’s browsers. This way if the prospective lead does not purchase on the first visit, but rather on at a later time, the affiliate can still receive credit for that sale.

There are various ways in which an affiliate can incorporate their affiliate link. Here are several common inclusions:

In a side bar widget or banner

In their email marketing

In product review posts

In their ‘Resources’ section of their website

Here are some tips if you choose to go down the path of Affiliate Marketing:

1. Test before you recommend. Although it is not mandatory to test a product out before you recommend it, it is advisable. Why? Think about it this way, your reputation and credibility is on the line.

Let’s say for instance you have a blog and over the course of time has generated a substantial readership and subscriber list. You officially have a following of people who know and TRUST you.

In your hurry to begin monetizing your site via affiliate marketing, you forgo the opportunity to test the product. You soon begin receiving emails from your subscribers notifying you of the poor quality of the product and slowly start to lose subscribers and most of all their trust.

So it’s in your best interest to test the products you are promoting and give it two thumbs up before you recommend it. At the very least, if testing the product yourself is not feasible, I would at least ensure that the product is from a reliable source YOU know and trust.

2. Choose products and services relevant to your industry. If you are in the photography industry and your site discusses all things photography, it would not be relevant and appropriate to promote products to your list that involve home and garden related products.

3. Decide if you want to target CPS (Cost Per Sale) or CPA (Cost Per Action) programs:

CPS involves the affiliate receiving a commission ONLY after the sale is complete. It is a much more common method of affiliate marketing and relatively easy to apply for.

CPA involves receiving a commission based on an action that the merchant has stipulated. This can be as simple as the prospect opting into a newsletter or downloading a free trial of a product. This is a much less common method, thus makes it more difficult to venture into.

Overall, affiliate marketing can be a very beneficial technique and a great source of income for a site owner. Measures do need to be taken to ensure quality control, but if you choose a product that you truly believe in, it will make the process that much more effortlessly to promote and sell… and your followers will thank you for it.

Have you’ve considered affiliate marketing?

Post by Michele Welch | NewBizBlogger

Michele Welch is an Online Business Advisor and Coach who shares online business tips with those looking to start their own websites. To get FREE access to her 7-Day Action Plan on Starting an Online Business and weekly business tips, please sign up for her newsletter at http://www.newbizblogger.com.

Article by Michele Welch

Michele has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Property Marbella September 22, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Hi Michele,
    One extra rule before you starts; control how good the Affiliate Networking companies is, do they pay in time to you, how do they handling reclamations, ect. Search on Google, forum and blogs about them before you decide who you going to work with.

  • newbizblogger September 22, 2010, 1:10 pm

    That’s a great rule to add! Absolutely something to look into and I’m bummed that I forgot to mention so. 😉 Thank you for pointing it out!

    One of the benefits of utilizing sites such clickbank is that they are know to do a good job with this type of control, in particular making sure affiliates are paid in a timely manner.

    But, YES, I agree…do your research.

  • Alex Dumitru September 22, 2010, 1:36 pm

    This is an excellent post for beginners. You’ve explained really good.

    • newbizblogger September 22, 2010, 2:09 pm

      Thanks Alex…I’m glad you enjoyed it! This is just a basic explanation, but I think those first starting off with AM will get a good general understanding of how it works.

  • Phnoy Tv September 23, 2010, 12:57 am

    Thank you for sharing the information!

  • Affordable Office Space September 23, 2010, 1:12 am

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  • UK Webmaster forum September 23, 2010, 4:31 am

    Nice enlightenment on affiliate marketing, it is one of online business with little or no risk, and it is easy to start as much as you have a good rated website in place.

    • newbizblogger September 23, 2010, 6:48 am

      Yup, I agree! That’s the beauty of it. Thanks for your input!

  • Local SEO Company September 23, 2010, 6:59 am

    That’s a great rule to add! Nice enlightenment on affiliate marketing,

  • Cool Web Developer September 23, 2010, 9:11 am

    Very well written post on affiliate marketing , easy to understand for newbies

    • newbizblogger September 23, 2010, 10:11 am

      @Local SEO Company @Cool Web Developer – Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • Cheap Voip Calls September 23, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Michele,

    After reading this I am thinking of adding some of affiliate products on blog too. Lets see How CJ performs on my blogs.

  • Logo Designs September 23, 2010, 5:18 pm

    The best affiliate programs are related to the websites content. You may have to hunt to find good ones.

  • newbizblogger September 23, 2010, 7:38 pm

    @Cheap Voip Calls – Good luck with that! I wish you much success!!

    @Logo Designs – Absolutely keeping it relevant is important, especially if you intend to promote affiliate products via email marketing. Thanks for your input!

  • buy p90x September 23, 2010, 7:39 pm

    I enjoyed reading the post Michele, some really great info on affiliate marketing. This is a great article for new affiliate marketers to read to get a good idea of what to do to have success.

  • smart metering September 25, 2010, 3:02 am

    Its all about promoting or selling products online and the steps are really very handy for those who indeed want to do something in affiliate marketing.

  • newbizblogger September 25, 2010, 8:21 am

    @buy p90x @smart metering – Happy to know you found the article useful! Thanks for the comment and good luck on your online ventures. =)

    • buy p90x October 1, 2010, 1:34 am

      Hi Michele, Just wanted to say thanks and also tell you how much I, and I’m sure many other people, appreciate that you take the time to comment on each one of our posts. It really means a lot. I wish you the best on your online ventures as well.

      • newbizblogger October 1, 2010, 6:18 am

        Thank you and it’s my pleasure…really! If people take the time out of their day to comment than the least I can do is acknowledge and thank them for it. The power of reciprocity. =)

  • Affiliate Marketing Newbie September 25, 2010, 11:07 am

    I think would get a lot of learning materials on Affiliate Marketing from this blog, thanks for the info

  • Pablo Edwards September 25, 2010, 3:01 pm

    Great intro article to affiliate marketing. This should be able to get anyone at least into AM.

  • Indrajit September 25, 2010, 8:45 pm

    I have very a good affiliate program and I am searching for publishers related to my market, is there any place where I can find them or those searching to earn money through there site can find my affiliate program?

    yes, for now I don’t want to take help of CJ, clickbank, ….

    plz give me any reference URL if u guys written something about it previously.

    Thanks.

  • newbizblogger September 26, 2010, 6:40 am

    @Affiliate Marketing Newbie @Pablo Edwards – thank you! Glad you found it useful. =)

    @Indrajit Hi, I’m assuming you are talking about a site that you can advertise your program and not have to pay finders fees. Maybe someone here can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know of a site such as that.

    Whether you are offering a commission to affiliates via your own website or through one of these sites, makes little difference. The benefit of these sites is that you are already appealing to a targeted market of publishers.

    If you really don’t want to go that route, than may want to consider one of these other options.
    -JV partners advertising your program – http://adswapfinder.com/
    -PPC – create an ad driving potential affiliates to your site (although this can may be more expensive than using a service).
    -email your list of subscribers and ask them if they want the opportunity to earn some $$$$ =)
    Good luck!

  • Indrajit September 26, 2010, 8:29 am

    @newbizblogger thanks for ur suggestions,

    I am ready to pay the finders fee 🙂

    but I want all the commission go directly to the publisher(not any third party in between)

    my main concern is:-
    There are communities for bloggers, photographers, Internet marketing, and one can communicate with them freely. Is there any place where everyone is talking about their new site and they are interested to became an affiliate or I can go and have a talk with them about benefits, features of my affiliate program(it may be public, private)

  • newbizblogger September 26, 2010, 9:32 am

    Give the warrior forum a shot – http://www.warriorforum.com/

    I think you may have some luck there. You may have to pay to advertise (like a membership fee) but the forum itself is free to use and you probably can get lots of help as well as get people on board with promoting your product.

    • Indrajit September 26, 2010, 10:59 am

      Thanks a lot again.

      Keep posting the Tips. 🙂

  • Benin September 26, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Hi Michele,

    This is a great explanation of affiliate marketing. Trying the products out is also very practical. I’d be curious to learn what type of success have you had as far as using email for affiliate marketing. Thanks!

    • newbizblogger September 27, 2010, 12:00 pm

      Great question Benin and one that’s going to warrant a more thorough response than what I can give here. Maybe that will be the follow up article to this one. =)

      But to answer your question briefly, although not prepared to give you stats, I will say this, I personally have not used email marketing for AM as much as other methods, such as affiliate banners, on-site product reviews and sharing my links with clients. Although it’s strategic on my part, since I am in the process of finalizing my own product that I WILL market via email (as well as other methods) to my list.

      My method usually involves writing a post that contains my affiliate link and directing my list to my post. This way they are getting value but at the same time I am promoting a product. I’ve had a fair amount of success with click throughs this way and as a result some success with sales. Although this technique is very much dependent on traffic.

      My conversion rate up until now using the above method has been ~1% which is pretty standard. Although I think if I were to concentrate more on copy techniques for conversion, it would have the capability of being higher.

      I do understand that many AM’s may not have a central hub such as I and rely heavily on email and article marketing to drive traffic to sales pages.

      Like I said this will need to be another, more thorough topic to cover at a later time. =)

      I hope I answered your question. =)

  • Ipod Touch 4 October 1, 2010, 10:37 am

    nice article about Affiliate marketing Michelle . Joining affiliate networks like clickbank and CJ are good idea than joining untrusted 3rd party affiliates who never pay your dues …

  • Ipod Touch 4 October 1, 2010, 10:39 am

    one such affiliate is Paydotcom who never paid my dues , Grrrr …$%#$%#$%@

    • newbizblogger October 1, 2010, 10:50 am

      That’s a bummer to hear. Mike Filsaime (owner) is a leader in this industry …I wonder if he’s aware of these issues.

      Anyway, hope you have better luck with CB and CJ!

      • Ipod Touch 4G October 1, 2010, 11:17 am

        i will be mailing them for the third time today . lets see if i get any response

  • Ipod Touch 4G October 1, 2010, 10:41 am

    on the other hand Adsense makes things easy for me , since it is based on cpc and not cpa . so even if the user dont buy stuff , i get paid for teh click … . This way i can make money even if the user makes a purchase and then ask for refund . But in affiliates you dont get payment for sales with refunds

  • newbizblogger October 1, 2010, 4:55 pm

    Adsense is a great option too however it relies very heavily on traffic. And for cents on the dollar you wouldn’t get the return AM would offer you unless you are pulling THOUSANDS of visitors each month. If you are, great! Go for it!

    Also, if you are selling your own product online, adsense can potentially take business away from you. As oppose to AM, where you can promote a product that compliments your product as oppose to conflicts with it.

    Hey, why don’t you create your own product and let others sell for you? Just a thought =)

    • Ipod 4 Touch October 5, 2010, 3:30 pm

      good idea . Maybe an ebook or something for cheap . im completely new to this setting up a shopping cart on my wp site …

      • newbizblogger October 5, 2010, 4:37 pm

        If you are just starting with one ebook, I wouldn’t suggest a shopping cart. keep it simple. Just create a sales page on your site with a paypal ‘buy now’ link.

        As you create more products than you can invest the time and money into a shopping cart.

        • Sourish @ iTouch 4 October 18, 2010, 6:51 am

          Thanks for the suggestion , i will implement it very soon ..

          Sourish

  • Property October 18, 2010, 6:40 am

    Good post to remember while doing affiliate marketing.Thanks for sharing!

  • weight loss August 24, 2011, 12:56 am

    Very basic but very important steps. We usually tend to forget the basic steps while marketing a product or building a website. Sticking to only basic steps can do wonders.