Affiliate marketing is currently big business for those looking to earn an income through the internet. There are lots of reasons why affiliate marketing has become an attractive proposition, but just what exactly is it all about? Read on to go the low-down on this money-spinning strategy.
What is affiliate marketing and how did it all begin?
Affiliate marketing is basically where someone (the affiliate) promotes another person's (the merchant's) goods or services via their website or blog. If the affiliate makes a sale as a result of their promoting efforts, they receive a commission from the merchant.
So, how did affiliate marketing come about? It was thought that affiliate marketing was first started (and patented) by entrepreneur William J Tobin, in 1989. He owned a company called PC Flowers & Gifts, which he launched on the internet in 1994.
Amazon was one of the biggest affiliate online programmes to be launched in 1996. Today, it still paves the way for successful affiliate marketing and innovation in this arena.
Why is affiliate marketing so popular?
Affiliate marketing has gone from strength to strength because of the perceived benefits it brings both the affiliate and the merchant. The affiliate can use links and adverts to promote the merchant's products, without actually having to handle any goods, deal with customer service issues, payment and distribution or storage. It makes it an attractive set-up for those who work from home, are looking for flexible work around other commitments such as family, or part-time income. Because the affiliate doesn't need any capital or investment to set up the business, it means affiliate marketing is an accessible option for many people. You don't necessarily need to have wide product knowledge of business acumen, just sufficient time and commitment to set your website or blog up, and keep it updated.
For the merchant, having a large number of affiliates to promote its goods or services means that it gains a widespread audience reach, which it might not have done otherwise. Affiliates can drive traffic to the merchant's website, and increase sales for them.
How to get involved
If affiliate marketing sounds appealing, then your first step is to sign up to an affiliate network. This is a website that details scores of products in varying niches. Pick a product that you would like to promote, and then sign up to promote it. The network will give you a unique ID and an affiliate link.
You'll need to set up your own website or blog. On your site, you then put your affiliate link up, so that visitors to your site who click on the link, will then be directed to the product's homepage. If they buy the product, then you get your commission.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but in actual fact, there are lots of things you need to consider to become successful at creating an income. It can take a while to start generating money from affiliate marketing, and you need to put the time and effort into it to get it off the ground.
For starters, you'll need to make sure you are generating visitors to your website or blog, so writing engaging content, and keeping it updated is vital.
Many first-time affiliates get involved with affiliate networks, which can help manage the affiliate/merchant relationship, as well as provide codes of ethics, monitoring, reporting and ensure you are dealing with a reputable programme.
There are lots of networks and affiliate programmes to choose from. Do an internet search to get some background information and research. Many people opt for big name programmes such as those provided by Amazon or Clickbank, where product options for promoting are huge.
About Author: This affiliating marketing article was written by the marketing team at Clicksure