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When I was a child, my school would have fundraisers that involved us going door-to-door to sell magazine subscriptions (magazines were glossy, soft-cover publications that would be mailed to a subscriber’s house on a weekly or monthly basis). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was right in the middle of an affiliate marketing scheme. The magazine companies had products they wanted to sell. Schools had the ability to sell these products. And for every subscription sold, the magazine companies gave a slice of the proceeds to the school. (In this example, there’s actually a secondary later of affiliate marketing; the schools effectively outsource the actual selling to the students, in exchange for prizes that come with meeting certain sales figures.)
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
On the other hand, many affiliate marketers choose a small niche topic and become the “authority” website for that specific niche. For example, you might not want to start a website about “cars” because that’s too broad. But starting a website and becoming the “authority” for the 1992 Saturn SL probably won’t attract enough interest, even though there is virtually no competition. But what about starting a website and becoming the authority for the “muscle car” niche like MuscleVehicles.com did?
When you decide to promote, or point traffic to, eBay.com, you’ll use an affiliate link. An affiliate link includes a unique ID given to you by the merchant – at EPN, we call this a Campaign ID. Then, when someone clicks on your affiliate link, the affiliate ID gets stored on that person’s browser within a text file known as a cookie. The EPN cookie contains several pieces of information, called “parameters”, including Campaign ID, to help us track the eBay shopping activity of users after they click on your link to ensure you get paid a commission.affiliate-tracking
When you provide enough value for people, making money is easy. No really, it is! Once you are seen as someone who provides helpful information or services, you will gain a following. You can do this through a blog, a series of YouTube videos, a website, using online radio, running popular social media pages, writing ebooks, or a number of other ways. I talk about all of the personal ways I promote my affiliate marketing business in my course, How To Become An Affiliate Marketer.
For sites looking to monetize their existing traffic through affiliate marketing, a major determinant of success is picking the right offers to run. The difference in earnings from a bad offer and a good one can be enormous. Unfortunately, finding the “right” offer isn’t exactly easy; if you’re using an affiliate marketing network such as Commission Junction (now part of Conversant), SharesASale, or LinkShare, you will have literally thousands of affiliate offers available to you.
ShareASale is another tool you can use to find affiliates – it’s the one I use for my store. You’ll need to pay a one time fee of $650 to have access to the network, which can be steep for new store owners. You’ll also need to pay a 20% transactional fee and at least $25 each month. However, all your affiliates are prescreened. And you only pay the 20% fee if the traffic they send converts. It’s a great way to find high performance affiliates.
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Does affiliate marketing still work, as Google doesn’t allow affiliate links or the promotion of affiliate links. So I can’t create an ad directing to an affiliate link, and I can’t create a landing page (and promoting the landing page), with a single purpose of sending users to the affiliate link. Except RTB platforms and Blog based SEO that takes years to build, how can I do affiliate marketing ?
According to HowStuffWorks, “Affiliate programs, also called associate programs, are arrangements in which an online merchant website pays affiliate websites a commission to send it traffic. These affiliate websites post links to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement. This agreement is usually based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant's site or the number of people they send who buy something or perform some other action.
It’s like building, it’s like an ATM machine. I want to create some money. I put a dollar in advertising in, I get two dollars back out. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen immediately, at point of sale. It might happen over 3 days, or 7 days or 10 days, but find out what’s your breakeven point. Now I know, hey I’m going to put a dollar in on Monday, by Friday I’ll have my dollar back and then everything I make Saturday, Sunday, Monday and the rest of my life, pure profit. That’s affiliate funnels. That’s what I showed those guys. Pretty cool right?
In time I would like to branch out into multiple niches, but am unsure whether I can do this using one company name. If I am effectively emailing various lists (who have bought different niche products and are categorised into separate email lists), would it be best to use different email addresses and company names for each niche? I am unsure what to do, as I do not wish to appear to deceive anyone, but do not want to be protrayed as an expert in every area.