If you have started a business that requires you to generate online sales, then it won’t be long before you need an introduction to affiliate marketing. It’s one of those marketing channels that you simply can’t afford to ignore. It doesn’t require any upfront investment on your part, and you need zero manpower to reach a huge new section of customers. So exactly how does this work?
How Does an Affiliate Program Work?
It’s very simple. You’re a merchant, and you set up an affiliate program (more on this below) that allows publishers to promote your products/services to their own online visitors. They can send you traffic, and you pay them only a percentage of any sales that result from this traffic.
So if a particular affiliate does not generate any sales, then you have not spent any time or money on that affiliate. On the other hand, successful affiliates who send a lot of traffic that results in a lot of conversions and sales for you will earn a handsome commission for their efforts.
Obviously, the more affiliates you have, the wider your reach as a merchant. So the idea here is to get as many affiliates to sign up for your program as you can.
Introduction to Affiliate Marketing Networks
Strictly speaking, affiliate networks are not essential components of this channel, but no introduction to affiliate marketing would be complete without explaining how these networks make it ridiculously easy for merchants to start and run affiliate programs.
Instead of setting up an affiliate management system and handling everything from affiliate memberships to signups and payments, you can simply make use of an affiliate network and let them do all the hard work. All you have to do as a merchant is list your program. Affiliates in the network who like your program will sign up and start promoting your products/services. The network will manage the signups, tracking links, ads and other aspects.
Many also handle payments and verification of both merchants and affiliates, in order to maintain the quality of the network. It’s secure and easy for both parties to the transaction, and the small commission you pay the network is well worth the price.
That’s about all there is to know, as far as an introduction to affiliate networks is concerned. The next step, obviously, is to figure out how to maximize the potential of your program by adding more and more affiliates and watching your sales grow exponentially.