There are a lot of different definitions that people will give you if you were to ask: What is Affiliate Marketing? However, all of these definitions come down to basically the same thing. Affiliate marketing is a large and growing sector of the internet business world. It is an agreement between someone selling product (the merchant) and website owners who agree to advertise that product (affiliates). Affiliate marketing has proven itself as a cost effective way to increase sales and is popular with people who want to use their websites to make a little extra income. People take up the business of affiliate marketing every day but often fail due to not really understanding the business.

One thing which is a common misconception about affiliate marketing is that it involves selling โ€“ while selling is something which is a part of affiliate marketing, it is not as if affiliates need to get out there and sell as if they were on a used car lot. Another is that it is a kind of advertising business. While there is indeed advertising involved as well, there is more to the business than this.

Affiliates are paid for each visitor, customer and/or subscriber referred to the merchant through their marketing work.ย  This compensation is usually a per-visit or per-purchase commission. For merchants, this is a cost effective way to advertise, since the affiliate need not be paid until they bring in the desired results.

Generally, affiliate marketing programs are operated by affiliate networks, which are comprised of group merchants and group affiliates. Each has their own role to play in the business, with the network acting as an intermediary, making sure that the merchant’s ad campaigns are delivered and the affiliate’s commissions are paid.

Merchants may be any website owner who has a product or service to sell and wants to gain the advantages offered by performance based marketing strategies. The merchant must start up the affiliate program and look into prospective affiliates to see if their sites would be a good fit for the business. Finding a website with relevant content can make more sales for a merchant. The merchant will also provide affiliates with banner ads which will attract the interest of visitors without detracting from the content on the affiliate’s website. The merchant must also determine how much they will pay affiliates per sale.

The affiliate also gets a lot of benefit. The affiliate is generally also a site owner who agrees to promote one or more merchant products through their affiliate program. For the affiliate who is willing to put in the necessary work, affiliate marketing can produce a full time income. Affiliates have to seek out products and services which will appeal to their existing audience. For example, if a site’s readership is largely birdwatchers, then an affiliate program promoting binoculars would be a good fit.

Affiliate marketing can be a great thing for merchant and affiliate alike. When they work together, they can both benefit greatly from the situation. It is a sensible, easy and cost effective way for the merchant to increase their sales and affiliates to make extra money. It’s easy to begin; you can be up and running as an affiliate and start earning commissions within a matter of days. There is just one thing which an affiliate must do โ€“ drive traffic to your site and stand out form the competition by offering better content to readers.