Affiliate Programs and Advertising Choices

Advertising via affiliates

Based on all the promotion, notoriety and success of affiliate marketing programs, most Internet users who might be interested in becoming an affiliate marketer are proably already aware of the fact that there are plenty of these programs to choose from; and those who aspire to an affiliate marketing career need only do a little research about programs they’re interested in joining. This way they will have a good understanding of the kind of software system, product type and company management that will either help them to achieve affiliate marketing success or help them fail at it.

Affiliate marketing is really about the promotion of products and/or services (‘products’ for the purpose of this post) with an online company, or multiple online companies. Such companies are known as affiliate merchants, with which affiliates will sign up and, in effect, take on the role of advertisers or marketing arms of these merchants, the result of which relationship buying customers and potential customers – or referrals – will be provided to the merchants through affiliates’ efforts.

If traditional advertising can be described as the means by which a great number of consumers are made aware of certain products, then advertising via a crew of affiliates may well be described as “the means by which a great number of consumers re made aware of certain products” without the upfront monetary commitment.

The affiliate’s efforts

Furthermore, affiliates promote products on their own websites, which gets exposure at the affiliates’ expense, so such advertising will be both attractive and appealing to the merchant’s customers and potential consumers, since they will have been originated from a site which provided compelling content that holds relevance to their interests.

Most affiliate programs are absolutely free to join, so it makes little sense for up and coming affiliates to pay for joining an affiliate program especially since the affiliate absorbs all the costs of his/her business in order to earn commission checks that are payable only when the affiliate makes a sale. In other words, any affiliate whose objective is to succeed must utilize powerful, effective and smart advertising methods in order to consistently make sales and remain competitive; and the merchant derive direct benefits from this affiliate’s efforts, including the type of advertising described above.

Successful affiliates also expend time, energy and money to recruit sub-affiliates which allow them to leverage the capacities of others to bring more visitors to their website, thereby providing more referrals and buying customers to the merchants with which they’re affiliated; and the only thing those merchants need to do – aside from maintaining great product quality – is issue the commission checks to affiliates when they make sales. Of course, merchants do not automatically issue checks at the time sales are made, but according to a schedule.

Affiliates’ earnings

Commission payment schedules differ from merchant to merchant, as some merchants issue their checks once per month while others issue every quarter; and many affiliate programs set a minimum commission an affiliate must meet or exceed before checks to be issued; but this is usually not a concern for top affiliates. More of a concern would likely be the economics involved of making an affiliate marketing program beneficial, like when a visitor completes a form on the affiliate’s website. How much is it worth in terms of affiliate earning? And how many such forms can s/he expect in a single day?

Keep in mind that in order for an affiliate marketer to have a significant income, s/he must be able to effectively search for profitable sites, link with companies that are generous with their leads locate rising and progressive online companies after which s/he can recruit affiliates to enhance productivity and grow the affiliate marketing business. Affiliates must also be willing and able to track their own promotional and referral activities, as well as those of their sub-affiliates.

But how exactly are referrals and buying customers from an affiliate’s site tracked? And how long do referrals remain in the system since they didn’t buy on the initial visit? First of all, an affiliate would have to be confident enough that the program will track those people s/he refers to the merchant’s site, because adequate tracking is the only way s/he can credit for any sale.

Choosing an affiliate program

The period of time referrals remain in the system is also important since those referrals who did not buy initially may want to return later to make the purchase. The affiliates must know the length of time from the initial referral visit to when s/he’s entitled to get paid.

So if you are an aspiring affiliate, your choice of an affiliate program should be one that is capable of offering detailed stats which should be accessible online anytime you decide to check them out. Constantly checking your individual stats is important to know how many impressions, hits and sales are already generated from your site. Impressions are the number of times the banner or text link was viewed by a visitor of your site. A hit is the one clicking on the banner or text links.

You should also find out if the affiliate program also pays for hits and impressions in addition to commissions for sales made; and if impressions and hits are also paid this extra payment will add to the earnings you get from the sales commission. This is especially important if the program you are in offers a low sales volume-to-hit ratio. If such a ratio exists it is doubly important that you know the products they are selling and the average volume they are achieving.

An understanding of affiliate marketing

The more you know about the retailer offering your affiliate program, the easier it will be for you to understand if that program is really for you as it relates to your website’s theme.

The most important thing you’ll need to know isastly, what is the amount of commission paid. Is it 5% or 20% per sale? And does the company pay commission for impressions? If it does you’ll find that the per impression amount is not much (.01% – .05%) per hit; but when added to the per sale commission, it could add up if your website is very active and attracts large numbers of visitors. As you can see from the figures, you now have a better understand why the average sales amount and hit-to-sale ratio is important.

These are just some of the questions that needed answering about affiliate programs and advertising choices before you enter into an affiliate program. You should be familiar with the many important aspects that your chosen program should have before incorporating them into your website; and since you’re absorbing the costs of advertising and your own website maintenance, as well as protecting your own reputation, try to ask these questions about your affiliate program choices. They can help you select the right program for you site from among the many available online.