Affiliate marketing is an online sales tactic that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing others targeting the same audience – “affiliates” – to earn a commission by recommending the product to others. Products exist in your target market right now (that people are probably already buying) and if you can become the resource that recommends those products, you can generate a commission as a result. Therefore, affiliate marketing can be seen as the process of spreading product creation and product marketing across different parties, where each party receives a share of the revenue according to their contribution.

Now how do you make use of the affiliate marketing technique to promote your website or products/services?

The basic premise is that you let other people market your products and send you website traffic. In return, you pay them a percentage of any sales that are made that originate from their efforts. This is done usually by giving them special hyperlinks that they can post on their website. These hyperlinks usually contain an ID code which helps to track their efforts.

The main reason why you would want to sell through affiliates is that it gives you a route in to other people’s customers. People who are already doing well at selling other things and have established relationships with their own contacts will, if your product fits in with their own business and they are happy with the commission structure you’re offering, be happy to push your product to audiences you would otherwise be unable to tap.

It also gives you a chance to leverage other people’s skills. Many top affiliate marketers make their money by having a very good understanding of search engine optimization and bringing high volumes of traffic in to their websites. If your products are advertised on these high volume sites you are bound to convert some business (assuming the sites are relevant and your products are good). By paying commission to an affiliate rather than buying ad space to get your products marketed on sites like this, you are only paying on sales made, so it is a pretty safe way to promote yourself.

Include a link to your affiliate marketing program on your website. By this you increase the chance that more people will notice your offer and sign up for it. Send them personalized offers, ask them to promote your affiliate marketing program. Visit websites that you think best complements your service or product and send them email to encourage them to join your program.

Create a page with most important facts about your program. Do not forget to include these main points:

  • commissions (how much $ affiliates get from the sale of a certain product)
  • length of cookies (days, months)
  • who gets the commision (the first, last or both referring affiliates)
  • payment (when, how)

Be generous and offer high motivating commission for your affiliates. Avoid offering low commision as 5-10% unless your products are very costly, try to get your commission as close as you can to 25-30%. Offering just high commission is not enough, you need to own a great product/service which actually attracts a lot of customers and mainly appear interesting to your affiliates.