Affiliate Marketing: Online marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing ?
The Online Marketing Blueprint

If you have done research on marketing on the internet, the chances are that you have come across the term ‘affiliate marketing' at least once. You may not have explored the term or understood what it is, but you must at least have heard a mention of it. If not, don’t worry.

The following paragraphs and chapters will help you gain a good understanding of this term. Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based advertising that pays for performance in advertising. In this type of advertising or marketing, the purchaser pays the advertiser only when the results of the advertising are measurable. This type of advertising is becoming more prominent with the spread of the internet since tools such as Google Analytics and many other apps make it possible for a company to know the user response to its advertisements. In affiliate marketing, the company hires one or more affiliates.

These affiliates do the marketing for the company on the net. Based on the number of visitors or customers they bring in through their marketing efforts, the affiliates are paid by the company.

Put simply; you can make money online when you are rewarded by a business for promoting their service, product or website. From the perspective of a company, you can hire someone else to market whatever it is that you are selling and pay them based on the results,

i.e. the number of customers they are able to attract through their marketing. Affiliate marketing works through four players – the merchant who is also known as the brand or the retailer, the network that contains the offers an affiliate can select from and that also takes care of the payments to the affiliate, the affiliates themselves who are also known as the publishers and, of course, the customers. As it has expanded, affiliate marketing has become more and more complex with another tier of players, such as super-affiliates and affiliate management agencies, coming in.

Many people often confuse affiliate marketing with referral marketing. It is a common enough mistake to make, especially when you consider that both types of marketing use third parties to attract visitors and customers for the retailers.

However, the key difference between the two is that; in affiliate marketing sales are driven purely by financial motivations.
In referral marketing, on the other hand, personal relationships and the trust therein are used to drive sales. At the moment, compared to other marketing strategies, affiliate marketing still holds a relatively low profile.

Advertisers frequently overlook this marketing strategy, their attention captured by other strategies such as search engine optimization and website syndication. However, many e-retailers still consider affiliate marketing a major part of their marketing strategies.

History of Affiliate Marketing
Origin Revenue sharing or paying commissions for a business that has been referred is not a new concept. In fact, this concept came into being way before the advent of the internet and affiliate marketing.

The transition of revenue share principles to the mainstream e-commerce began in November 1994, approximately four years after the implementation of the world wide web. The concept of affiliate marketing on the internet was conceived by, implemented and patented by a man named William J.

Tobin, the man who created PC Flowers and Gifts. PC Flowers and Gifts was launched in 1989 on the Prodigy Network and operated in that service for seven years until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts had generated a sales amount that exceeded $6 million per year on the service of Prodigy Network. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts created a business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network. In conjunction with IBM, because it owned half of Prodigy, Tobin ventured on to the internet with a PC Flowers and Gifts beta version in 1994. Within a year, a commercial version of the PC Flowers and Gifts website had been launched.

The company also had 2600 affiliate marketing partners on the internet. Realizing the value of the business model he had started, Tobin sent in an application for patents on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin took it even further to receive a Japanese Patent (number 4021941) in 2007 and U.S. Patent 7,505,913 in 2009 for his part in affiliate marketing and tracking. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts carried out a merger with Fingerhut along with Federated Department Stores. One of the first innovators in the field of affiliate marketing was cyber erotica, which had a cost per click program. The innovation continued with CDNOW which started the BuyWeb program in November 1994.

The idea came to CDNOW that websites that had to do with music could list or
review albums that they felt that the visitors to the website might be interested in buying. What the websites could do was offer a link that would take prospective buyers to the CDNOW web site where they could make their purchases.

This whole idea first came into being thanks to conversations with Geffen Records,
a music label. What Geffen wanted was to be able to sell their artists' music directly on their website. However, they did not want to have to create this feature themselves. Instead, they talked to CDNOW about a program which would let CDNOW take care of the orders. They discovered that CDNOW had the capability to link from the artist on its own website to Geffen’s official website. This would bypass the homepage for CDNOW and go straight to the music page of the artist.

In July 1996, Amazon, via, started an associate program which allowed the associates to place text links or banners for individual books on their site.

The program also allowed them to link directly to the Amazon home page. When people who visited the associate’s site clicked through to Amazon and bought a book, Amazon gave a commission to the associate. Amazon was by no means the first company to offer such incentive in the form of the affiliate program. However, its program was the first to really catch on and eventually served as a business model for other such programs. February 2000 saw Amazon making the announcement that a patent had been granted to the company on certain parts of an affiliate program. The application had been submitted in June 1997.

This was before most affiliate programs came into being but not before certain programs such as PC Flowers & which submitted its application
in October 1994, which did the same in October 1995, in January 1996, EPage in April 1996 and quite a few others. Historic Development Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. At the beginning of the internet era, e-commerce web sites were looked at more as a fun marketing toy, but soon played a prominent role in businesses overall marketing plans, and for some business savvy professionals, it grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business.

One report indicated that affiliate networks generated a total sales amount of £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom in 2006. In 2005, the sales estimates had hovered around the £1.35 billion mark. The research team at MarketingSherpa came up with the estimate that around the world, in 2006, the earnings of affiliates came to around US$6.5 billion in commissions and bounty.

The sources ranged from retail to gambling to telecom to education to travel and also methods of lead generation apart from the contextual advertising programs. Affiliate marketing was most popular in sectors such as gambling, file sharing services, retail industries and adult entertainment in 2006. The three divisions that were expected to experience the highest level of growth were the cellular phone, financial, and the travel sectors. Following behind these sectors were the entertainment/gaming sector and service sectors that were internet-related (ISPs).

At this time, several of the affiliate solution providers anticipated receivingan increased interest from marketers related to business and advertisers wanting to use affiliate marketing as a part of their marketing mix. Web 2.0 Websites and/or services that were based on Web 2.0 concepts, such as blogging and interactive communities, have had a huge impact on the affiliate marketing world as well.

These platforms allowed improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Affiliate marketing channels have also been opened to writers, independent website owners, and bloggers, thanks to Web 2.0 platforms. Publishers who don't have very high levels of web traffic use contextual ads to place affiliate ads on websites. The way ads are presented to visitors by brands, ad networks, and companies has also changed because of the advent of new types of media.

Let's take YouTube for example. Video makers on YouTube are permitted to embed ads through the affiliate network that Google has.
Unscrupulous affiliates have begun to find it more difficult to make money thanks to new advancements. These advancements can detect fraudulent affiliates who are just starting out and identify them to the affiliate marketing community faster and more efficiently.

How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business You can earn commissions through affiliate marketing by selling services or products that are on offer from other companies. Affiliate marketing has become an efficient way to earn more money while sitting at home. In addition, becoming an affiliate for well-known companies is quite easy. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Sell What You Know When you’re starting out it is best to stick to marketing services and products that you know and understand. This is known as “picking your niche” in the online marketing community. Look for a niche that is either about what you do or about what you’re interested in – in other words, look for something related either to your job or to your hobbies and interests. For instance, if you’re a blogger you’re better off selling books than fishing gear (unless, of course, you blog about fishing). Your marketing efforts are more likely to bear fruit if you focus on selling what you’re familiar with.

2.  Start a Website Relevant to Your Niche When you decide to start out as an affiliate, the first thing that the companies you approach will want to know is what website you intend to sell their stuff on.

This is because the companies need to make sure that their image and reputation isn’t damaged by what the website publishes. Starting a website is no longer a job just for the professionals. Plenty of sites such as WordPress can help you set up your own website. Ensure that there is content on your website that isn’t sales-oriented. The whole point here is that your site should leave the impression that you know what you’re talking about.

3. Research Affiliate Programs Don’t just go for the first affiliate program that you find. Look for one that is related to your niche and offers those types of services and products. One program you can try is Amazon. Since it’s a marketplace, just about anything is available there, which makes it more likely that products from your niche will be available there. The program is a popular one and a great place to begin your foray into affiliate marketing. Another option you can consider is Clickbank. It is quite popular among affiliate marketers.

4. Join an Affiliate Program Joining an affiliate program is almost always free of charge. You should probably be wary if a program wants your credit card information just to make you an affiliate. The chances are that it is a scam. The reputable companies don't charge anything for allowing you to become an affiliate with their affiliate programs. Companies will ask you for your PayPal or bank account information. Don't be alarmed. This is simple so that they can pay your commissions, not so that they can take your money. 

5. Add Affiliate Links in Your Content A great way to earn a commission without earning a reputation for just being a “sales” site is to incorporate the affiliate links into your content. This makes people more inclined to click on the links and, of course, if they buy something you get a commission. 

For example, say you're writing a review about a book you recently read and liked. Make the name of the book a link to Amazon's site that shows your visitors the prices for the hardcover, soft cover and kindle versions of that book. Your readers can then determine what suits them most and buy it.

The good news here is that it is very easy to get links to the sites of these companies. How you get the links will differ, of course, but finding the links to the products you want to sell isn’t difficult at all. 

6.  In Your Sidebar, Be Sure to Include Visual Ads Most websites have a sidebar; yours probably does too. The sidebar can be a great spot to place visual ads for the products that your site discusses. Again, you’ll see that companies that have affiliate programs make it simple for you to get the links and images that will make your visitors go to their sites. Most of the time, all you have to do is copy and paste code into the sidebar. 7. Continue Producing Content Relevant to Your Niche If you want to continue earning commissions, you'll need to ensure that people keep visiting your site. In order to do this, you'll need to ensure that you keep updating your site frequently and regularly with relevant content. 

Digital marketers call this "content marketing." Just any old content won’t do. Your content has to be good if you want them to keep coming back and, more importantly, click on the affiliate links that you have and buy stuff. 

8. Use Analytics to Measure Your Success

The Online Marketing Blueprint for Internet Marketing By: Keith Fugate

Many changed has mad to this article, to ensure the Copyright: Please Read the Full Book on Amazon

Knowing and not doing same as not Knowing.
KhD Business.


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