What Are Affiliate Programs?



Simply put, Affiliate Programs are a means of expanding your sales force while paying only for commissions on sales. Or in other words, you pay others to sell your product, but only if they actually sell it.

There are many variations on this Affiliate theme. There are programs that will pay you for leads, and some that will pay for just a click. Some affiliates pay you a one time commission, while others will pay residual commissions.

If you can think of it, there are probably programs available that will pay you to promote it. Do you have an item in mind, but don't know if there is an Affiliate Program available?

Click here to see some Programs that offer thousands of items. Who knew that you could get paid to promote other peoples' products? Still not sure how it works?

How Do Affiliate Programs Work?

When Affiliate Programs are utilized via the internet, there is some sort of "tracking software" which is used. This software tracks the source of the lead (i.e. your website). Most softwares download a "cookie" which helps with their tracking, and lasts for a specified period of time (depending on Merchant).

When a visitor is directed to the Merchant Company, and becomes a lead, or purchasing customer, that "transaction" is recorded, and the source of the lead (Affiliate) gets paid.

Still confused...

The next sections will clarify any confusion that you may have. We first must explain the two main players in any Affiliate Program - Advertisers/Publishers and Merchants.

Advertisers, or Publishers

An Affiliate Advertiser, or Affiliate Publisher is the "new sales force". If you wish to promote and sell goods from another company, then you are the Advertiser, Publisher, or Affiliate. We will refer to this term as "Affiliate".

To become an Affiliate, you apply with the Merchant - either directly, or through an Affiliate Management firm.

Once approved, you are assigned a unique id, and will receive access to a variety of resources to help you promote your new Merchant's product/service. Internet promotion resources usually are comprised of HTML links, or Banners.

You can paste this HTML link code, or Banner code directly into your website. It will either appear as a contextual link, or banner - depending on what you want. Banners look like:

Buy Starbucks Here!

Contextual links look like:
Like coffee? Use CFL Coupon Code at checkout to get 5% off your Coffee Order!

There are many other ways that you can promote your Affiliate Partnership, such as PPC, email campaigns, etc. Be sure to read your Terms of Agreement before advertising, as some Merchants restrict methods of marketing their products.

So you're also looking for a way to boost the sales of your own product...

Merchant Affiliates

If you would like to create a virtual sales force to promote your product or service, Affiliate Programs offer an amazing opportunity to you.

First you'll need to decide if you want to manage your Affiliate Program through an Affiliate Management firm or if you want to manage it yourself using an Affiliate Tracking Software.

Secondly, you need to consider if using a Management Firm, if you want to use one exclusively, or use multiple. We'll leave this one up to you.

Third, you need to minimally create HTML Text links to the landing pages on your website, that you wish to promote. Banner ads are a nice complement, but can be put off until later, if you want to get started right away.

Lastly, you want to define your commission structure, Terms of Agreement, etc. Select an Affiliate Management firm, and search for products similar to yours to get an idea of what the marketplace is paying in commissions for your product/service.



Look at some of the Affiliate Management Firms that offer thousands of products for your promotion


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