Basics of affiliates – How affiliate marketing works

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Affiliate marketing can act as an additional sales channel with the potential to open up your website to a whole new audience and customer base.

Affiliates essentially forward targeted traffic to your site and if one of these leads makes a purchase, the affiliate is rewarded – usually with predetermined commission on purchases or on a per-lead reward basis. Consider affiliates as your modern day sales force generating leads for you.

A well run affiliate programme needs a suitable and relevant range of affiliates in order to ensure that your brand identity is not compromised. Affiliates attract visitors by offering savings for consumers, interesting and informative content or they can run PPC campaigns bidding on relevant keywords to send traffic to your site. The affiliate mix that will work best for you will depend on your brand and online objectives. Not all affiliate types will fit in with every merchant, so you can tailor your programme to work with just the affiliates that work well for you.

Most affiliate programme are run via an affiliate network such as Affiliate Window, Affiliate Future or Webgains. These are third party independent organisations which offer technical support which is so vital to the successful implementation of an affiliate programme. Some of the larger retailers such as Amazon run their programmes directly without the need for a network.

As you set the commission criteria for affiliates it is very easy to ensure your affiliate programme produces an ROI that fits with your objectives, and is an effective and profitable sales channel.