Of all the marketing tools I mention, I rarely take the time to discuss affiliate marketing. It’s often known to be a win-win situation, which is probably true so long as both parties are performing up to expectations. If you’re new to this term, affiliate marketing is an agreement made between a merchant and an affiliate (usually a blog owner or affiliate professional) in which the affiliate posts links or ads for the merchant’s products and receives a commission from the sales. Below, I will take you through the basic steps of an affiliate marketing agreement. This should help you to understand whether this could a good option for you.
1. Affiliate and merchant enter into an agreement- No matter what side you’re on, be sure to research the background of the company/website you’ll be dealing with. If you’re the merchant, make sure the affiliate site is popular enough to drive sales. It should also be relevant to what you offer. Lipstick sales will be more effective from a make-up blog than a foodie website. On the affiliate side, make sure the merchant has a good product with sales potential. Once you find your match, set up the terms of commission, payment period and goals.
2. Affiliate links to merchant’s website or product- Again, lipstick belongs on a makeup blog, cake mixers belong on a foodie site. Affiliates should write articles that link to the product, so relevancy is key. Reviews are always a great way to promote a purchase.
3. Someone clicks to the merchants site and makes a sale- Success! The merchant tracks users who enter the site through the affiliate and takes note of each sale made by these users.
4. Affiliate is paid at the end of an agreed upon payment period- If all goes well, the affiliate and merchant get the results they hoped for. If not, it’s important to review the data from the time period and make some changes, even if that means one side moving on. Fortunately, affiliate marketing becomes more affective as you gain experience.