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Friday, August 31, 2007

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has many descriptions, yet all have the same meaning. Affiliate marketing is a huge business piece on the Internet. It is a cooperative effort between merchants and an affiliate’s website. For many years now, affiliate marketing has proved to be a cost-efficient, measurable method of delivering long-tern results. It has become famous for Internet sites who are trying to make some extra or additional income for their site. Every day, people get interested to affiliate marketing and want to make money out of it. But in many cases, these new affiliates do not fully understand the affiliate world and make costly mistakes. In other words, affiliate marketing has often been misunderstood.

One of the common misconceptions that are being associated about affiliate marketing is “selling”, though selling is an important activity of affiliate marketing and the central function of a business operation. Another is that affiliate marketing is commonly linked with “advertising”. While the importance of advertising in marketing a certain product is not to be underestimated, the fact of the matter is, advertising like selling, is merely a part of the many functions of marketing.
In affiliate marketing, an affiliate is compensated for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer provided through his efforts. The said compensation may be made based on a certain value for each visit. The most attractive aspect of affiliate marketing from the merchant’s viewpoint is that no payment is due to an affiliate until results are appreciated.

Affiliate marketing is typically being run by affiliate networks and this affiliate networks are composed of two functional bodies, the group affiliates and the group merchants. Each has their special function and role when it comes to affiliate marketing. The affiliate network acts as a third party between the merchant and the associated affiliates. The network provides the technology to deliver the merchant’s campaigns and offers. The affiliate network also collects commission fees from the merchant and then pays the affiliates which are part of the program.

The merchant is any web site owner that wants or desires to take advantage of performance based marketing. The benefits to the merchant are many. First, the merchant maintains and operates the affiliate program. If it would be extracted, the merchant needs to do their part by researching interested affiliate websites to ensure that they are a good fit for that particular website. Finding a fit for their merchandise would be the key to more generated income. The merchant has access to markets and customers without him spending valuable time searching out. Banner ads on affiliate sites are not distracting to the site user. It might produce interest for that product and drive the consumer to the merchants’ website. It is also the merchant who decides how much he is willing to pay for each sale that results from a visitor sent from an affiliate.

The affiliate or the affiliate marketer also sees a lot of benefits. The affiliate is a web site owner that promotes one or more merchants and their affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing can generate a full-time income for the affiliate. But this is not an easy task to accomplish. The affiliate needs to have a better understanding with the merchant what the commission will be, expected payment method and time involved in the contract. The affiliate has also the responsibility to stand for the merchandise their user based would be most interested in. For example, if the site has a user base of mainly stay-at-home mothers, then on-line job openings such as surveys would be a good match for them. This group would also appreciate direct links to children’s products and informational sites. Merchandisers often provide targeted, best-seller items and personal support to their affiliate. They often offer sales promotions that will benefit the merchandiser as well as the affiliate.

Affiliate marketing is a great situation for both the marketer and the affiliate. If they would work together, they can be an advantage to both. Plus the fact that it seems to make sense, it is easy and inexpensive way to start, and you can be up and running within a few days. But there is one thing to consider, it is how to get traffic and make your offer different than all others.

Z.H. Dine

Top 5 Work At Home Business Tools

Top 5 Work At Home Business Tools

Let's face it, having a work at home business on the Internet is both exciting, as well as difficult. The competition for customers, as well as the anonymity of the Internet, leads to frustration at times by those marketing their work at home business online.

Many online chores can be time consuming also, taking precious time away from other chores that would improve marketing efforts and success. Since many people have to be reached on a consistent basis by anyone endeavoring to succeed online in their home business, a few tools, that cost very little, are probably a necessity in the fast-paced online marketing environment of today.

Five tools that are economical, and practically a "must-have" for any serious online marketer, are as follows:

1. A professional Website: Whether you are marketing your own goods, services, or products, or whether you are an Affiliate Program Member, or a Network Marketing Member, your own professional Website is a virtual "must" (even if it only looks "professional" and you've created it yourself). There are many good template software programs out there for this need, as well as affordable Website design services. Affiliate Program "viral Websites" or any Network Marketing "viral Website" can be used initially, as well as the "sub-domain free sites", but to see "real sales" everyone will eventually need their own domain name, and Website.

2. A good, reliable hosting service: Sometimes the most affordable is not the way to go, as affordability may sometimes result in a lot of "downtime" for your site, which you want to avoid as much as you can. Most hosts do experience some "downtime" off and on (this can't really be avoided, as technology is never that predictable), but ask others about their own "downtimes" on their sites before choosing a Web host, as too much "downtime" will result in too many lost sales.

3. A good Auto-responder: An auto-responder will automatically generate a pre-written message to anyone seeking more information from you or your business. In any work at home business, especially if you are the "sole employee", it can become difficult to respond to many requests immediately. Since sales are lost many times because of "delays in responding" to the initial contact, an auto-responder will keep the prospects happy until you can get back to them personally.

4. A professional Web address with email: Free e-mail accounts are good for personal contact on the Internet, but should be avoided when establishing an Internet home business. It simply is more secure and looks more professional to have a "business e-mail" with a consistent, well-established ISP (Internet Service Provider), than it does to have a "free" e-mail account. This lends credibility to your business.

5. A good, reliable e-book on marketing, written by a well-known reputable marketing "expert": Look around diligently for this. Although marketing e-books abound, the really good ones are few and far between. A good marketing e-book should cover everything from advertising to zeroing in on your niche market. Digest the book you choose before starting, and you'll see your efforts reap rewards much sooner than if you "try and go it alone" immediately.

These tools are just a start, and of course, there are many more. These are what I consider the "basics" though and will help get you started successfully in your work at home business

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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