Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
First, the commission program must be cost neutral to current spending–at plan. That is, what I’m spending for marketing people today, would be the same I would spend for them under a commission plan–at plan. (That’s the way we design compensation program for sales people, let’s do the same with marketing.). Presumably, we would take the current “budget” for marketing people and reallocate it, some level of fixed base pay and some level of variable–commission based pay. If marketing achieved their goals, they would earn the full amount–base plus the commission. If they failed to achieve their goals, they would receive base plus whatever commission they earned. If they overachieved, they would earn more—perhaps with accelerators. All of this is just like sales, except it would be funded out of the marketing budget, not sales.
One of the key elements to success with affiliate marketing is picking the right products to promote. They could be digital information products, memberships, physical products, online services… there are many industries that use this model. When promotiing to your target market, you may be promoting one or many of these different types of products as an affiliate.
Online advertising started to take shape – Cost Per Mille (CPM) models and paid placements were important components of the marketing mix, but difficult to measure. An emphasis on quality traffic and conversion helped transition marketers from buying impressions and site visitors, to paying exclusively for traffic that resulted in a sale and affiliate marketing lead the charge.
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.
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
This doesn’t mean you only sell one product. This means you build out a brand by selling varying yet adjacent products. Over time, your consumer network might consider you a go-to for which type of vacuum they should buy. Additionally, some industries pay more than others. Especially if the product is a harder sell, affiliates may get a higher cut than they would for a product in higher demand.
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.
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In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors. Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.:149–150