What is Affiliate Marketing?
An Internet affiliate is a company, organization, or individual that markets another company’s products through their website. In exchange for marketing their products, companies pay affiliates a commission for each sale they generate.
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-magazine 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.
Affiliate programs exist for many different industries, such as travel, clothing, technology, and online services. This allows web publishers to promote specific products or services related to the content of their websites. For example, the webmaster of a fashion website may publish affiliate banners for a clothing store. The owner of a software review website may include affiliate links to different software programs.
How to Become an Affiliate
Marketers become affiliates in a number of ways that include:
- Registering to become affiliate on retail or e-commerce sites. Shopify, for example, has an affiliate program that lets marketers earn commissions on new Shopify customers.
- Surveying existing customers to learn their favorite products or services and then contacting those companies to inquire about an affiliate program. For example, a small business-marketing consultant might become an affiliate of an email list management and distribution service.
- Searching online for products that are relevant to the marketer’s site and will appeal to the target audience. Most companies that offer affiliate programs indicate that with an “Affiliates” or “Partners” link at the bottom of their site home page.
- Looking for potential affiliate products at affiliate program managers that include Commission Junction, Clickbank, and ShareASale.
Affiliates are most successful when the products they promote match the interests of their followers and subscribers. In addition, many successful affiliate marketers advise recommending and promoting only products that the affiliate is personally familiar with. That’s because familiarity with the product, program, or service helps build trust between the affiliate and end-user.