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Susan, thanks for the comment, particularly helping clarify some confusing misimpressions I may have created in the post. I did say, and do mean (at least for B2B) that marketing is repsonisble to support sales–meaning both the sales function and revenue generation in general, but I didn’t mean that was it’s only responsibility of marketing. There are many other function that marketing is responsible for, that could include product marketing and other functions. Having made that disclaimer, you raise several other interesting points, I’ll kind of react randomly.
Though the glory days may be behind us, affiliate marketing remains a multi-billion dollar industry and a primary source of income for thousands of successful online entrepreneurs. As the number of merchants embracing affiliate marketing strategies has increased, new opportunities have been created for Web publishers able to build an audience and effectively promote affiliate offers.
However, with all of these so-called modern conveniences to life, where technology's ever-pervading presence has improved even the most basic tasks for us such as hailing a ride or ordering food or conducting any sort of commerce instantly and efficiently, many are left in the dark. While all of us have become self-professed experts at consuming content and utilizing a variety of tools freely available to search and seek out information, we're effectively drowning in a sea of digital overload.
If you’re using URLs in an email program that tracks clicks, an additional code is appended to your URLs, which might override your affiliate ID. In addition, when you use shorteners like Bit.ly or those built into Hootsuite to shorten your links, your affiliate ID disappears. TinyURL is your best bet if you want to shorten your URL but still track the clicks.
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.