What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing sounds extremely complicated, but it really is quite simple. It is somewhat similar to referral marketing, but it is financially based, rather than relationship based. The question still remains, though: What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing, simply put, is a method of earning money by using your website or blog to direct traffic to another website. When those people purchase goods from the other website, it rewards you for sending them. When you see advertisements on another person’s website or blog, what you are most likely looking at is affiliate marketing in practice.
What is affiliate marketing all about? It came about in the late Eighties and early Nineties. It was an idea that William J. Tobin came up with. Tobin was the creator of the early website “PC Flowers & Gifts.” He put his idea to use on the Prodigy Network and earned millions of dollars in the process. Tobin’s company became so successful that it merged with two well known stores in 1998, Fingerhut and the Federated Department Stores.
Tobin patented the idea for affiliate marketing back in 1996, the same year that Amazon began to take advantage of the marketing strategy. Amazon became one of the leaders of affiliate marketing. They developed the program even further, and many others began to follow their lead and use their methods.
As of today, affiliate marketing has earned millions of dollars for its users across the globe. Almost every online industry uses the technique. When blogging became an even larger part of the World Wide Web, individual users became more likely to get involved with the marketing system. Now advertisements are not just found alongside the text of blogs, but also embedded within the writing, using a type of affiliate marketing called contextual ads.
How do you get involved? In order to become an affiliate marketer, you first need to set up your own website or blog. There are many free sites available to do so, although some of these may ask for a small monthly fee in order to allow you to edit your blog however you desire. Once you have your website ready, you will need to find advertisers.
These advertisers are actually merchants who sell products or services. Placing an advertisement from their company on your page will allow your viewers to click on the ad, taking them to the merchant’s page. When a viewer purchases something, the merchant rewards you with a small commission.
Most merchants will not send you the commission right away, and you probably would not like it if they did. No one wants to receive checks for pennies on the dollar. The merchants will likely provide an account, which you can view, that allows your earnings to build up to a certain amount before they send them to you via your determined method of payment.
What is affiliate marketing good for? It tends to work best for people who already post new content on their websites regularly. Earning money through affiliate marketing requires that there be visitors to the website where the advertisements exist. Without visitors, there would be no one to click the ads.
Regular content is just one way to draw in customers. The content also needs to be something people want to see. Interesting and fresh ideas are needed in order to draw in the most visitors. Writing similar posts every day would cause your audience to grow bored, and you would quickly lose income.
Why should anyone choose to use affiliate marketing? The methods used are astonishingly simple. If a person already has a website with a high traffic load, they are wasting earning potential by choosing to neglect this powerful tool.
If a person does not have a website, they can still capitalize on the benefits of affiliate marketing. Everyone has ideas, beliefs, and opinions on the world around them. Starting a simple blog to share your ideas with the world is an easy way to start out, and adding in affiliates can assist with any costs you may incur.
A person who is concerned about sharing their personal opinions on a blog can write about other things. Some popular blogs are just mundane notations about their daily activities. Others involve the reviews of the products that their affiliate merchant sells.
When a blog or website gains enough traffic, their affiliate merchant may even contact them with other marketing ideas. Merchants will sometimes supply products to blogs to test, review, and raffle off in order to gain visibility and interest.
As long as the internet sticks around, blogs, exist, and products are ready to be sold, affiliate marketing will probably be around. The ideas surrounding the method continue to grow and change, but the simplicity of its use remain the same. Affiliate marketers can use this unique and simple system to gain some spending money while doing what they love most – sharing their views with others.