In the end, most customers do not remember the seller much less the card, so this marketing method does not work to convince buyers to return. This is different with internet marketing where the marketers can easily collect email addresses of their prospects and buyers, which they can use in reaching out and forming a relationship with the customer.
For those new to this powerful online merchandising concept, affiliate programs work as intermediaries between the affiliate marketers who will sell products and services and the merchant who provides those products and services as well as the affiliates programs. Merchants work with affiliates to help get their products or services to their consumers.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
The hardest aspect of an affiliate marketing offer to evaluate may also be the most important. Your ability to drive traffic to merchant sites via affiliate links is one of the primary revenue drivers, and it depends in large part on the tools you’re given. These tools are the advertisements merchants have available for affiliates to use on their site. The better the ads are, this more clicks they will get.
Decide on the products you want to sell and choose an online distributor that offers affiliate accounts for those products. Amazon offers thousands of products ranging from books to computers. ClickBank acts as a distributor for thousands of products like e-books and online videos. Some manufacturers offer affiliate programs directly through their own websites. Other manufactures, like Dell, have affiliate programs through third-party services like Commission Junction.
At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
Going into network marketing? Understand that if you're not close to the top of the food chain there, your ability to generate any serious amount of income will be limited. Be wary of the hype and the sales pitches that get you thinking that it's going to work the other way. Simply understand that you're going to have to work hard no matter what you pick to do. Email marketing? Sure. You can do that. But you'll need a massive and very targeted list to make any dent.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.