Affiliates and Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a pretty broad term that encompasses managing traffic on the internet to maximize exposure of your company or product and therefore improving sales of the same. Affiliates would be those who advertise your website and bring in traffic and sales of those who are interested in the affiliate or advertiser, since they may not yet familiar with you and your product.
Affiliate sales can are based on the number of people who come to your website because of the advertising, feeds or links from other companies. The affiliate might get paid based on the number of sales from your website or increased number of hits from the time of affiliate participation. There are firms that specialize in setting up web pages and other internet advertising to maximize the amount of traffic to your website.
Like all advertising, increasing exposure is far different from getting sales. Translating the increased traffic into sales would probably require additional sales techniques. Unlike traditional advertising which might measure success of advertising by the end result in increase in sales, affiliate marketing often gauges “success” based on traffic, or number of hits which actually does not necessarily translate into changes in sales.
There are risks with affiliate marketing as well, as people become more expert in linking their websites to others. The risks might include that people are merely skipping through your website and are actually going directly to the affiliate. One way of keeping your niche and therefore keeping your business would be to clearly differentiate yourself from the affiliate. This will take a bit of practice as you don’t want a COMPETITOR on your website but you want complementary businesses.
As in all advertising, you also want to make sure that your affiliate is legitimate. In the event of controversy regarding your affiliate, you need to leave yourself a contractual “out” in that you can drop the advertiser for such cause. Further, investigations into an affiliate might bring you into a controversy that is inconvenient. We see this with search engines and listing services that make their money such as Craigslist.
Your common interests with affiliates must be clearly distinguished from your involvement with your affiliate. Marketing affiliates also might overload your website. You don’t want so many HITS that your website becomes another search engine rather than a means of selling yourself and your product. There are affiliate marketing firms that often specialize in setting up websites. The importance of feeds from other areas on the internet are also stressed.
Often, the advertisements are accepted by beginning companies for free and therefore benefit the affiliate through no cost publicity for themselves that also provides you with publicity by having this better-known company as part of your marketing strategy. In cases of big search engines, companies PAY to advertise, realizing the value of the company.