Affiliate marketing is a term used to describe an advertising agreement between a website owner, a.k.a. an affiliate, and a merchant. A strategic affiliate marketing agreement can be a very profitable online venture for both parties. The affiliate earns a commission for generating leads, clicks, and/or sales for the merchants website, and the merchant enjoys a healthy profit without having to do a great deal of work.
As you can imagine, strategic affiliate marketing is a win-win situation. Merchants get to advertise their products for free in different markets, which inevitably increases sales. The more affiliates merchants have, the better their chances of making money. This is because they can cover a larger piece of the market and do not have to rely on their website alone. Instead, they can use the websites that belong to everyone who is part of their strategic affiliate marketing program.
Affiliates also benefit because they can begin a business for free. Most affiliate marketing programs cost nothing to join, but for each purchase that is made, the affiliate makes a commission. In some cases, the commission is a flat rate, and in others, it is a percentage of the sale. The best part is that no previous experience is required. Almost anyone can be an affiliate marketer.
To become an affiliate, you must have a website that can be used to display links to merchant websites. Though the website can be simple, it should look professional. The better your website looks, the more comfortable people will feel when clicking links and taking your recommendations to purchase products from a merchant's website.
You can create almost any type of website you want. However, your web content should have something to do with the merchant's site for strategic affiliate marketing to work well. For example, you wouldn't want to advertise resume writing services on a website devoted to pet care. It simply wouldn't make sense.
If you are an affiliate marketing newbie interested in entering the business of strategic affiliate marketing, here are three simple steps to help get you started.
The first step in developing a strategic affiliate marketing campaign is to find a niche. Niche markets provide a product or service for a specific group of customers who have very specific needs. Niches are preferable to big markets because there is less competition. Your best bet will be to find a niche subject that you are interested in or passionate about. Having a fair bit of knowledge on the subject won't hurt either.
The second step to getting started in affiliate marketing, and possibly the most important one, involves finding merchants whose products you would like to promote. You will want to find high-paying merchants and high converting products.
Before making a final decision, you will also want to consider the merchant's stance on strategic affiliate marketing. For example, do they offer affiliate support? What about marketing materials? The more support offered, the better. Support often translates into easy sales. Keep in mind, you will also want to find affiliate marketing programs that relate to your site in some way, shape, or form.
The final step to developing a strategic affiliate marketing campaign is promotion. For some, this is the hardest part. However, if done correctly, it is possible to earn large sums of money in the affiliate marketing business.
To learn the best ways to promote your website, you must do your research and be willing to take chances on one or two marketing methods. Read everything you can on strategic affiliate marketing, advertising techniques, and website promotion. Knowledge is the key to unlocking your success as an affiliate marketer.
Cliff Posey, owner of CRP Marketing, owns and operates http://webbusinesstoolsonline.com. Cliff Posey has also operated several other successful web businesses including Love Song Cards and Radio Career Consultants. The content in this article was developed from his experience in these businesses.