Firstly, for those who aren’t affiliate savvy, affiliate marketing is a way for those with websites – affiliates - to advertise retailers who have goods and services to offer online – merchants – and to earn commission on the sales they may thereby generate. So far so simple.
Almost all large online
retailers (merchants) now run affiliate programs, usually in conjunction with
one of the affiliate marketing ‘middle men’ such as Affiliate Window, Linkshare and Trade Doubler who offer
management services between the affiliate and the merchant, running the
programs, creating reports and handling payments.
It’s easy to decide
whether or not to become an affiliate, as it’s an obvious way to make money from
advertising and selling other people’s goods. It’s harder, as a merchant,
particularly if you’re small to medium sized, to decide that affiliate marketing
will work for you. Which affiliate management provider should you go to? How
much will it cost you? Those are simple questions (just ask me).
Whether or not affiliate marketing is right for you is an entirely
different matter and it’s hard to get answers from the management providers who
are trying to tempt you to sign up. Affiliate marketing does not work for
everyone, and there are risks involved (and great benefits if you get it
Here are a few things to consider
Do you have a broad enough range online?
website well designed and are your products well photographed?
happy with your conversion rate (or thereabouts)?
Are you fully aware of
your customer profile to ensure you sign up to the right affiliates.
you fully analysed the costs and risk implied if you don’t make any sales this
Do you have the manpower to handle any of the work in-house if you
can’t afford to fully utilise the services of an affiliate management
Do you understand about text ad and banner creation, and what
is likely to make people click through from another’s website to
By far the best way to get involved in affiliate marketing is
to talk to several of the affiliate program managers and create a schedule of
your likely outlay including commission percentages. Contact me (see below) if
you would like a broader list of who to consider.
If you decide to set up
and run your own affiliate program be aware it will put some time-short
potential affiliates off, as it is very easy to work with merchants via just a
few service providers and can be a nuisance to try and work with individual
And Note – If you do sign up to one of the
affiliate management providers make sure that you retain control of who is
allowed to sign up to you. Always. If you value your brand image.
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