One of the most creative incentives through which you can motivate your affiliates is a contest. However, it can also be the one that involves more resources and attention, such as budgeting for prizes and time for monitoring and engaging affiliates in the contest. In order to run a productive contest for affiliates, you should design a mechanism that will appeal not only to the top performers but that will also motivate the smaller or newer affiliates and vice versa.
The biggest problem that most people have when trying to learn anything to do with driving more traffic to their website or boosting their visibility across a variety of online mediums, is that they try to do the least amount of work for the greatest return. They cut corners and they take shortcuts. Because of that, they fail. Today, if you're serious about marketing anything on the web, you have to gain Google's trust.
Marketing has changed more in the past 10 years than it had in the previous 100—launching us out of the age of TV spots and print ads and into the age of websites, online video, social media, and Google. Consumers today are connected to the web 24/7—U.S. adults now spend upwards of 6 hours per day consuming digital media, and that doesn’t count those whose jobs are internet-dependent.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise.
I struggle with the concept of being paid for what we can control. As a sales person, there were a number of years when I missed my quota, and missed major commission payments, not becasue I didn’t “get the order,” but because the company couldn’t ship, there was a product problem or something else outside my control. As a sales person, you swallow real hard, do everything you can to work around those issues and still achieve your goal. Sometimes you can’t, just because “it’s out of your control.” I remember one year, when I managed a very large sales force, most of my people missed numbers and major commission/incentive payments just because of a major issue the company faced with the manufacturability of some product lines. In the past year I’ve had many of the sales people in some of my clients in the electronic components business face the same thing. The people didn’t make their numbers, they didn’t get paid, they didn’t achieve their goals–and it wasn’t their fault. From a performance management point of view, we didn’t fire a single person because they didn’t make their numbers. But they missed out on $10’s of thousands of commissions.
As an affiliate marketer, you usually get affiliate links with unique codes from the merchant whose products or services you are promoting. When you get customers to click on those links, they are redirected from your website to the merchant’s website to complete the sale. The code in your link lets the merchant know that the sale was made from that particular link of yours, getting you a percentage of the sale.
If you’re new to internet marketing and wish to get online as quickly and inexpensively as possible you can start with a social media platform like Facebook - you can create a business Facebook page in less than an hour. However, if you want more control over your online presence, a customized website is more appropriate. Ideally you should have both a website and a social media presence, with each linking to the other.
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.