Using Affiliate Programs to Extend Your Reach or Create Residual Income
Affiliate companies are very powerful if used correctly. DO NOT TAKE THIS SECTION LIGHTLY because this is incredible stuff and those who take part in these affiliate programs can do so for FREE. These programs are known as Pay For Performance programs and it does not cost one cent to join. Affiliate programs enable a particular company to have their banners (links) placed on thousands of other websites around the world, all pointing back to their site.
These colorful and interactive banners serve to extend the reach of the affiliate participant company by increasing the number of avenues people have in finding out about their site. Search engines are not always enough. By taking part in affiliate programs, a customer goes into a particular website, let's say, Joe's Sports and while there he spots a banner pointing to a store, RareMitts.com, that sells a certain type of hard to find baseball mitt. Now, if he had not been in Joe's Sports he would not have known about Raremitts.com. So these affiliate programs help the affiliate company participant to extend his reach and by doing so he will drive increased business to his website. The reward to the web site owner who placed the banner of that company on his / her site will be that they will receive a commission from any purchase.
In examining Affiliate Programs, we will look at it from two angles. 1) The website owner (Publishers) who takes advantage of affiliate programs in order to enhance his / her site and 2) the business owner (known as the advertiser) who is also a website owner who hooks up with an affiliate broker such as Commission Junction and LinkShare, which are the two most popular affiliate programs going. For the service of having the affiliate broker list them and their banners, they pay a percentage fee to the affiliate broker who then keeps detailed statistics and lets the participant (the advertiser) know the amount of sales made through each individual affiliate and takes care of the commission check.
The affiliate advertiser can log onto Commission Junction or Linkshare, (the affiliate broker) at any time with his / her password and through the use of a login and a control panel just see how many individual publishers are using their banners, how many have " signed up "for their particular affiliate program and the sales attributed to each individual Publisher, as well as all of his related statistics as to amount of clicks and hits.
On the other hand, Website owners, also known as Publishers, go to the affiliate brokers for a few different reasons. Let's examine them.
1. They place banners that they get from the affiliate broker on their website that fall under the same, similar or related category of items that they may sell as well as related products that serve not only to compliment their own websites but help to make it a one-stop shop. Placing banners on their sites also lets them develop a flow of residual income. Let's simplify this. Let's say I have a company called Coolsun®. I have trademarks under this name for clothing, sunglasses and lotions. Including selling those three lines of items I might want to involve other related items such as travel, dining, hotels, rent-a-cars, swimwear and cosmetics, as well as sports. I want to add anything that I feel compliments my site and gives people more of a reason to take care of all of their outdoor needs and warm weather related needs on my Coolsun.com site. The business owner mentioned who for example, has a store called Let Them Eat Cake may want to sell, as a compliment to his website (through the use of affiliates), links for cookware, knives, tableware, aprons, foods from around the world , cookbooks, diet books, spices, and on and on.
These banners are placed on your site by you in an arrangement that you come up with that you feel will attract people to them. I happened to make a page devoted to affiliate banners on my sites which I will show you in a minute. People come to my site, 1) they click on one of my affiliate banners; 2) they then get taken directly over to the website that the banner is linked to such as Old Navy® or Macy's®, etc. They make a purchase and the affiliate broker such as Commission Junction keeps track of the commission that I just made from that purchase. You make a commission because the customer originally came through your site and while in your site then clicked on the banner for Old Navy® and then was taken to the Old Navy website, where they bought a pair of jeans. Commissions range from 3% all the way to 15% and 20%.
Each individual advertiser sets their own commission structure with the affiliate broker. It is important to note that when first signing up with the affiliate broker you then go to the category of your choice and look for store (s) that you would like to have represented on your website by use of the banners that the advertisers have displayed on the affiliate broker site. You click on a box to apply for permission. I can tell you that most of the time the advertiser (s) allow you to place their banner (s) on your site. Sometimes, due to the criteria that they establish concerning their affiliates they may reject you because they might not like the content of your website or they feel that your image is not what they want their banner on. If you are rejected then simply choose one of the other 500 stores available to you under the affiliate broker.
It is important to point out that banners are either static (even though interactive) or dynamic. This means the following: the banners that you place on your site that are not dynamic will expire every now and then and they have to be replaced by a new banner from the same company. Dynamic banners on the other hand, are banners that update themselves because within their code they have a link to the company which updates the banner automatically without you having to worry about that. (You place banners on your site by copying HTML code from the affiliate broker site and placing it in the appropriate place on your page in the source code of a particular web page). After the HTML is inserted at a particular place on the web page within the source code. you will then see the nicely colored and animated banner that you have just placed into your source code when you go back to the normal view. It is very easy and the process of picking the particular banner of that company that you feel is the best one to place on your site is a lot of fun!
Just so I do not forget, as a member of the affiliate broker website (as a member of CJ or Linkshare), you get your own password, and you are able to keep track of all of the affiliate programs that you signed up for as well as getting statistics as to how many sales your banners have made and the commission you are owed. You usually have to earn at least $ 25.00 before they let you either pull the money directly to your bank account or cut you a check.
Keep in mind that the way in which you display your banners is up to you. It's your site so do your thing. Remember: Residual income is produced for the website owner (publisher) and exponential additional exposure for the Advertiser who banners are available on the affiliate broker for you to choose. Go to Commission Junction and Linkshare today and sign up! But before you do so, think about what will compliment your site. What related items that you add to your site will enhance it and make it more attractive to the consumer. Why leave your site when you have everything that they may need? If I can take care of all business here and I have variation and choice then this is great. Think like that and go to it. It's fun and it's FREE!
Summation of Affiliate Companies
1. Affiliate programs are divided among the Publishers (those who post banners on their sites to make commission) and Advertisers (those who give Affiliate Brokers permission to make available the banners that the publishers use.
2. Both Publishers and Advertisers have the ability to log in to the affiliate broker to keep track of their sales.
3. By logging into the affiliate broker, Publishers are able to see how much money they have made from the variety of links and banners that they posted on their site. Advertisers are able to see how many publishers are using their banners and how much money each individual Publisher has made.
4. ClickBank.com is another affiliate broker that concentrates on downloadable information. So, if you are selling a book or audio or movie of some sort you may wish to hook up with ClickBank. They are known as a Digital Products Retailer.
5. If you go to any major store of your choosing and going to the bottom of their website you will see "Affiliate Program" listed at the bottom. Upon clicking on it they will let you know who they use to handle their affiliate program. So, if you have the desire to have that particular store available on your site in the form of a banner you sign up with their affiliate broker whomever they may be and then place the banners of that store on your site.
6. Stores like Amazon.com have their own affiliate program and it is tremendous with many categories and tons of banners.
7. Most Publishers use affiliates to enhance their site. They choose stores that are in the same line of business or related business they are in. In this way, people can take care of all of their related business in one place. On the other hand, Advertisers know that by allowing Publishers the ability to place banners leading back to their sites exponentially gains their reach to the public. The affiliate brokers provide the service all over the world so someone in Italy can be making money off of a store based in California etc. If the goods that the Advertiser is offering is bought after then people all over the world will be placing those banners on their sites trying to get a piece of a good thing.
8. Affiliate programs are a great way to raise money for a school or organization. I go to the ABC School of New York and place popular store banners that people like to shop in such as Macy's, Barnes and Nobel, Sharper Image etc .. If those associated with that school know that by going through the schools banner to get to the desired store will enable the school, or church, or other organization to raise money then they will gladly do it.