Affiliate marketing is a simple process of using associates to advertise your product or services for you. When a sale or lead is generated the associate or “affiliate” is paid a commission or percentage for placing the advertising that developed a contact or inspired a sale.


Ads placed on a Web site or in an e-mail are the best methods to promote business on the Internet. These postings are known as “impressions” The affiliate marketer or advertiser is not paid for every time the ad is seen, only when a call to action occurs resulting in a concrete lead or sale. This can be as simple as filling out a form that provides an opt-in e-mail address or an inquiry about the product or service. Often there is follow up to do, but the initial contact with the customer is very valuable and turning prospects into customers is very feasible with good additional marketing efforts.


Placing these ads and variations of them with an affiliate network can also be a way of testing how effective each ad is. By network, I mean a number of affiliate partners. You might consider 10 or 20 good contacts. No need to form partnerships with 100 people that might not all be worthwhile and will require additional time and work on your part. Changing headlines, phrasing and descriptive text attracts customers in varying degrees. Some will be more enticing than others. Always use a different code for each ad to determine which are most effective. This is also a good measure of not only the ad itself, but also the affiliate partner and how much business each of them generates. By testing the ads and analyzing which ones attract the most customers and garner the best results, you can then determine which to use and may even venture off to paid advertising with big companies like Google and Yahoo.


Affiliate marketing is designed to let partners do some of the work for you. An example might be; if you have a product selling for $97 and you pay the affiliate marketer $30 you have paid out a substantial part of your profits. The benefits though, with established affiliates is that they reach many more people than you could on your own. Choosing a set of associates, or forming your “network” should not be a random process. Always research the company first to see how many subscribers or clients they have and if they represent the target market best suited for your product or service. It won’t pay to establish a relationship with someone advertising to people that won’t be interested in what you are offering even if the number of impressions, or visibility of the ad is higher. Only those that might actually purchase from you are worthwhile prospects and contacts.


Payments to your associates will vary. Some smaller companies may agree to only 5 or 10% of total sales, while other more reputable and established firms may require 30 to 50%. It may seem more cost effective to work with the company requesting a lower commission but this is not always true. The larger established companies usually have a broader client base and will yield more overall total sales resulting in more profit and return on investment (ROI).


Although Affiliate marketing is a form of Internet marketing, always think like a “marketer.” Don’t limit yourself to the Internet practices and norms when developing a plan of action or proceeding with a marketing effort. Lastly, when creating your network of affiliates, always think of your target or niche market — the customers you specifically want to attract.