Sunday, September 4, 2011

Affiliate Marketing - What It Is? --- By Carmen Matthews

What is affiliate marketing? To describe it in simple terms, it is a way to make money online where a person, as an online publisher, receives benefits for helping other businesses promote their website, products, and services. This can be done by providing links to the business being promoted through an affiliate's own blogs or website.
According to a recent survey made in a popular blog site, 29% of bloggers and blog readers regularly engage in affiliate marketing activities while 24% say they sometimes do it. On the other hand, 27% said that they have never done it or used their blogs for that purpose. 6% said that they used to engage in the activity but have stopped for various reasons; while 14% have no idea on what it is.
There are many ways of promoting a business, the most common of which is to provide links to the business on the affiliate's website or blog posts in exchange for commissions when the referrals actually make a purchase. Other programs pay for referrals who act positively on calls for action made through your website such as subscribing for a newsletter or participating in an online survey, where they leave their email address or other contact information.
Normally, the fees for referrals come in the form of commissions which are usually a percentage of a consummated sale, but may also be a fixed amount paid for each conversion. In affiliate marketing, conversions are usually monitored using a link with an embedded code known only to the advertiser who then tracks the source of the conversions, often through cookies. In some other cases, the advertiser may give the publisher coupon codes for use by their readers. The coupon codes are then used in tracking conversions.
A lot of advertisers prefer to use affiliate marketing to promote their products and services primarily because of two reasons:
  1. With this marketing method, advertisers do not have to worry about unnecessarily paying for promotional expenses because they only have to pay whenever there is a conversion. This means that they get a lot of advertising mileage from their network of affiliates that help boost overall sales, while making minimal spending for overhead expenses by paying the affiliate marketers only for the actual sales they make.
  2. Advertisers are likewise aware that a lot of web publishers prefer to be affiliate marketers simply because products that are relevant to their own websites can help boost their earnings way beyond what other advertising schemes such as cost per click or cost per impression, can do.
Affiliate marketing works best when trust is established between the publisher and its audience or followers. This is why such programs are very profitable for bloggers who have a huge following as they can easily recommend products or services to their readers. However, this can also work against the blogger as he risks breaking his readers' trust by promoting the wrong products. A blogger therefore must be careful in selecting an affiliate marketing program to join, and which products to promote.
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