Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell

- December 20, 2007

You have a great idea for a new product or service that you are sure people will want. You put countless hours into developing your idea and it’s finally ready! You determine that the best way to sell your idea to the largest amount of people is through the web. So you go back to work and put together a beautiful website to sell your wonderful product. The site is up and running and you are ready for your first sale. Then you realize, “How are people going to find my website?”

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website. You can optimize to achieve high organic rankings in search engines. You can also market on the search engines through cost per click (cpc) programs. There are other methods as well such as mobile marketing, word of mouth marketing, email marketing, and the more traditional methods such as print and television. But what if you could have an army of sales people working for you? And what if you only had to pay them if they generate a sale or cultivate a lead?

It sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. That’s the power of Affiliate Marketing. In its simplest form, affiliate marketing is an interactive marketing experience that allows a business to pay their “affiliates” solely based upon the number of sales or leads they generate. The payout could be either a set commission or a percentage of the sale. It is a win-win situation for your business. You only pay if they sell!

The concept of affiliate marketing may seem simple, however there is quite a bit of work to be done in order to have a successful result. That includes continuously managing and recruiting new affiliates. The more affiliates you have, the bigger potential for earnings. Running an affiliate program, or any type of marketing campaign is difficult. However, with the right people running your program, the potential is unlimited.

A rising trend in the affiliate industry is to hire a firm which will manage your Affiliate program for you. These firms specialize in running affiliate campaigns and have the expertise to properly setup and manage your campaign. This allows you to focus more of your time on other aspects of your business. Make sure to do your research before hiring one of these companies, as not all of them have the knowledge and experience you are looking for.

In the 2007 report released by MarketingSherpa, the majority of merchants and e-tailers reported that their affiliate programs accounted for 10% to 20% of their revenue. Another poll showed that over 50% said that their affiliate marketing programs grew by over 10% last year. When asked about what they predict for their companies in 2008, 60% of them said that they expect more than 60% growth next year.

Affiliate Marketing is BIG and only getting BIGGER. If you have not already started your affiliate program, make sure that is on your 2008 to-do list.

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