Copyright 2005 Mal Keenan
We have previously discussed affiliate programs in passing. But in this article, we're going to get an overview of this subfield of Internet marketing and how it could help bring about some stable and generous earnings for you.
It has been said that affiliate programs are the easiest ways to online riches. There is a lot of truth in that statement, though it must be remembered that affiliate marketing is still a job, albeit one which you could do in the comforts of your own home, hence, you cannot make the most out of it without exerting some effort.
Even if you are not familiar with affiliate programs, I'm sure you have encountered some in your years on the Internet. For certain, you have visited a site that was suggesting a book from www.amazon.com to supplement the information its pages revealed. That site's webmaster, my friend, is an affiliate. And if you decided to purchase the book he recommended, he would have earned a commission from the merchant site.
Amazon, indeed, is the first business model for affiliate programs. There are more, of course, usually asking the affiliate partner to sell web hosting, domain names, and tangible products. But it's the affiliate programs which offer information products that often give the highest commissions.
But first, let's discuss how affiliate programs work. There are three parties in affiliate programs:
* The affiliate merchant
* The affiliate
* The buyer
The affiliate merchant is the one who has products to sell. He would establish an affiliate program to invite affiliates to pre-sell his products. Once the affiliate finds a buyer, he would recommend the same to the affiliate merchant. The affiliate merchant would then sell his products to the buyer. If the buyer buys, the affiliate merchant would give the affiliate his corresponding commission.
Selling and pre-selling are two different things. Pre-selling usually involves referrals and an earnest attempt to convince the buyer to try the products being endorsed. When an affiliate enrolls in an affiliate program, he is given a code which is called an affiliate link. This affiliate link has his designation embedded on it, so whenever a sale is consummated by virtue of the said link, the affiliate program's system would be able to determine that the commission due shall accrue for the affiliate.
Selling, on the other hand, is primarily the task of the affiliate merchant. This includes payment processing, delivery and shipment if applicable, and post-sales support.
Easy isn't it? All you have to do is to enroll in an affiliate program, market the products with your affiliate link, and you could earn wonderful commissions! Plus, you have the option of automating everything through your site, or through some creative strategies that have worked for many people.
But this shouldn't be taken to mean that affiliate marketing can only be carried out through your website. The fact of the matter is, you could be a very successful affiliate even without the benefit of having a website!
These matters we will reserve for another day, so again, I plead, bookmark this site and I promise that you will not regret it.
Affiliate programs can be fertile sources of plentiful earnings. All you have to do is to choose the right one. Here are some points to consider in deciding on an affiliate program:
* Quality of the products
* Salability of the products
* Commission rate dependent of salability of the products (a highly sellable product with an equally high commission is ideal, but a highly sellable product with modest commission is also good, as finding buyers would be easy)
* Credibility of affiliate merchant
* Support from affiliate merchant
Additionally, you could enroll in as many affiliate programs you want. But since you could only have 24 hours in a day to do the marketing, there are risks in diversifying. So proceed with prudence before engaging in many affiliate agreements.
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