Affiliate Marketing Unmasked

If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet in the past few years, you’ve probably seen the words affiliate marketing.  But unless you are already involved in some form of online marketing, the words probably don’t mean a whole lot to you.

In its simplest terms, affiliate marketing is using one website to drive traffic to another website.  More precisely, it is usually meant to drive sales to another website.  However, that depends on the type of arrangement the affiliates or publishers have with their merchant partners…we will get into later.  To make it perhaps even more simple, it is like a commission.  If one person ends up purchasing something on a website because it was mentioned on another website, the website that sent them there will get a portion of the sale.  Of course only if there is a pre-existing agreement between the two parties.

For example, if you blog about how great a particular book is and you provide a link to Amazon.com using your own affiliate code or ID and someone clicks on the link and buys the book, you get a commission.

Although affiliate marketing is growing exponentially, it is still definitely one of the lesser known and lesser used forms of online marketing.  Search engine optimization (SEO) pay per click (PPC) and Google Adsense are almost household terms these days.  But affiliate marketing is still in its infancy and hasn’t grown to the same levels as these other methods of online marketing.

One of the reasons for this is that although you can certainly make a great deal of money through affiliate marketing, it isn’t always easy and depends on a number of factors.  First of all, you need to have trusting readers who are willing to accept your suggestions.  Also, you need lots of them.  The more traffic to your site, the better your affiliate marketing program will fare.  You also need to push quality products.  If word gets out that you are backing a lesser product, in no time at all your referrals will diminish.

Who Can Use Affiliate Marketing?

One of the major niche markets of affiliate marketing is in the blogging industry.  Since successful affiliate marketing depends on having a trusting client-base, a blog can be the perfect spot.  If you regularly read a weekly blog about new cars and the writer happens to mention a new product, you might be more inclined to check it out since you already value their judgement.

Theoretically anyone with a website and the software to run an affiliate program can benefit from it.  But simply setting up a website and crossing your fingers isn’t going to do the trick.  You need to make connections with other like-minded service providers and create arrangements to link back to one another.