Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing — What You Need To Know

June 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Affiliate Marketing Tips

Ask 10 Internet users what they know about affiliate marketing, and you’ll likely get 10 wildly different answers. Getting a handle on the nuts and bolts of affiliate marketing can be a challenge, to say the least. This article will help you understand the basics of affiliate marketing, and point you in the right direction. Before long you’ll be on your way to building a successful revenue stream as an affiliate marketer.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

So what does it mean to be an affiliate marketer? At its core, an affiliate helps to promote a business, product or service online. The affiliate makes referrals to the business, and receives payment for any sales resulting from those referrals. Sales are driven from the affiliate’s site to the business through the use of “creatives” (banners, copy and/or product feeds provided by the company).

This type of revenue sharing has become extremely popular with online vendors; so much so that it’s spawned an entirely new industry. One of the reasons for this huge popularity is the low risk to the affiliate; typically it doesn’t cost anything to become an affiliate, and the partnering company will supply the materials and support to get you going. All you need is a website.

What Makes A Good Program?

With the huge number of programs out there, many new affiliate marketers are overwhelmed trying to sort out the good programs from the less-than-stellar. Make sure that any program you’re considering offers the following:

1. Look for a program that offers a strong product and decent commissions. If nobody wants the product, you’ll be spinning your wheels. And even the best product won’t net you much revenue if the commissions are tiny.

2. Be sure that the program you’re considering has all the tools you need to effectively promote their product/service. Is there a dedicated program manager that will work with you? Do they offer banner ads, copy blocks, and other promotional tools to help you create a winning campaign?

3. You also want to be sure that the affiliate program gives its partners updated information on the latest promotions and takes the time to educate people on the program itself and the industry it’s in. You have to know what you’re selling, so look for a program with a strong training and support component.

4. You also want to take a look at the affiliate management team with any program you use to make sure that they are easy to reach and able to offer you creative tips and suggestions on increasing sales, SEO, PPC, website design and overall strategy. A good affiliate manager is part of your team and will be happy to build a good working partnership with you.

How To Find Affiliate Programs

There are many places to look for good affiliate programs. You can always check the networks such as CJ, Shareasale, and Linkshare to find strong programs. They can give you metrics and specific information that will help you make a more informed decision as to what programs to choose.

Another great source for good affiliate programs are the affiliate forums. Sites like ABestWeb, and the AffiliateManager forums are great places to look. You’ll be able to look at many programs and read affiliates’ thoughts on them based on their experiences selling their products and services. Make sure you look for programs that will complement your existing website if you already have one.

Once you’ve found a potential program, do a little research on it. Don’t be afraid to ask the program’s affiliate management questions. Find out how often they pay commissions. Make sure any program you are considering has a strong tracking and reporting system. Check in at the affiliate forums to get a feel for what other affiliate marketers think of specific programs. As with anything, though, don’t take one person’s experience as the gospel truth. Try to get an overall feel for the program and how successful affiliates have been with it.

Finally, make sure the company fits in with your own goals and interests. Try to market something that doesn’t fit in with your world view just won’t work. Good affiliate marketing results come from consistent efforts, and it’s important that you enjoy working with the company, and appreciate their products and services.

So do a little research, and get started on your new affiliate marketing career today!

Bruce Sturgell is the Affiliate Program Manager at Article Marketer, a wildly popular article distribution service. Earn 50% commissions as an Article Marketer affiliate. Sign up here to be an Article Marketer affiliate!

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