An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing

So what exactly is affiliate marketing? You are probably familiar with salesclerks who promote products from other businesses and earn a commission on total sales. Affiliate marketing is an online version of that, but quite different. In affiliate marketing, you make money by just recommending some items to people so that they can purchase them. Affiliate marketing has four key players; the merchant, the affiliate, the network and the customer. A person making the promotion efforts is called the affiliate or the publisher. The merchant is the brand or the retailer who hires the promotional services of the affiliate(s). The network is a medium that avails offers to the affiliate to pick from and settles all the payments. The customer is the person who gets the promotional message and responds by purchasing the items. Since affiliate marketing has become sophisticated with time, other secondary players such as super affiliates, specific third party vendors and affiliate management agencies are now considered to be part it. For instance, affiliate management agencies come in the middle of a merchant and the affiliate to advice and protect the welfare of an affiliate while a super affiliate is an affiliate who can produce results worth several smaller affiliates. Although some small companies can rely on just one affiliate for marketing, many companies tend to have several affiliates.

It is quite hard to tell apart affiliate marketing and other internet marketing methods because they both use regular advertising methods such as e-mail marketing (where you broadcast campaigns to your clients using the email list) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization, where you do marketing by influencing the visibility of your page on search engine results) and display advertisement (ads in the form of images and videos).

Payment varies depending on the merchant. PC world, for instance, hands out a 5% commission for every purchase made by a visitor to the affiliate behind the transaction. This appears small, but affiliates stand to benefit from the PC Worlds brand awareness. As a result, more sales can be made on a regular basis thus significantly helping the affiliate. Established retailers tend to pay the least commission, at least 1% but with greater brand awareness benefits to the affiliate. Recommendation involving digital products earns the most commission, right up to 75%. Beauty and health products earn the average commission of around 30%.

It is easy to become an affiliate since no pre-requisites are required. You can get suitable merchants to promote by just searching them using a search engine.

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