The concept of affiliate marketing may be new to many people, but it's something anyone who is serious about selling online should explore. I am actively seeking vendors who have affiliate programs to which I can link.
If you have a website, or are considering one, you've probably asked yourself, "How will my customers find my site?" This, above all others, is the biggest stumbling block of online marketing.
I'm really thinking about an existing business who wants to widen its market by building a website, or engaging someone to build a website for them. To promote their online presence many business buy adverts, like Google Adwords, those clickable adverts you see on websites and Sponsored Links next to Google Searches. These are great, I've used them myself to promote my San Diego Bees removal service. The way these work is that every time a visitor clicks on them, they're directed to the advertiser's website, and Google charges them a fee, perhaps only a matter of a few cents depending on how much competition there is, some of which goes to the website owner. This is often known as "Pay Per Click" (PPC) advertising.
While this works wonderfully to drive traffic to your site, there's no guarantee that the visitor is actually looking for whatever you're selling, nor is there any guarantee that they'll make a purchase when they get to your site.
Affiliate marketing works in a different way. The visitor reads about a product or service, decides they want to make a purchase or just find out more about it and they click on a link to your website. They land on your sales page, an interested eager prospect, already warm. If while they're there, they make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter, or whatever is your "Most Wanted Response" (MWR). The transaction is recorded by Affiliate Marketing Software, and you pay a commission to the website from which they came.
The beauty of this system, which incidentally is used by such giants as Dell, Sears and eBay too
, is that there is no cost until a sale is made. If you have 1,000 lookey-lous, but no sales, they cost you nothing. Any commissions paid are for sales which you almost certainly would never have made. For more information about the affiliate tracking software go to iDevAffiliate.
Of course there is a certain amount of effort and expense in setting up the program initially. The software to track the transactions has to be purchased and installed. However once the program is set up, many websites can be linked at no extra cost. The website owner applies for the program, if the application is approved, a link is provided which can be included in text or a banner advert on the affiliate's website. Usually a threshold is required before a commission payment is sent, perhaps $100, to avoid the unnecessary administration of sending out very small checks to affiliates.
I believe that once a vendor implements an affiliate program they should identify all websites which are linked to them and contact the best sites, those either with plenty of traffic, or at least strong potential. I'm certain that these sites should be the first members of an affiliate program, having already given the site a vote of approval by linking to it.
If you've read this far and are still confused, either watch some of the videos on the SBI TV below, or click here to go to Start-Affiliate-Marketing-Now.com