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How Affiliate Marketing Works - The Basics

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Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. So, How does affiliate marketing work? Before we get into answering that question you need to know, for the majority, affiliate marketing is the solution to long-term success as an online entrepreneur.

Why is that?

If your just getting started as an affiliate marketer you probably have limited knowledge of traffic generation, building a website or blog, and internet promotional techniques and strategies. When you become an affiliate of a merchant you will learn all of that and also make some money.

After you become more experienced and learn the preselling process you can create your own product to market. Okay we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here; we need to know “how does affiliate marketing work?”

Even super affiliates had to start someplace and some make thousands without creating their own product but they are few and far between. Most affiliates make nothing or maybe a few hundred dollars a year because they never took the time to learn affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is not get rich quick so don't be fooled into thinking you can simply throw together some banner ads and sit back and count your money. It doesn't work like that and you will join the majority and get disappointed if this is your strategy.

Okay; here we go, exactly how does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is the selling of products for a merchant/company and earning a commission on sales made. Before we go further it helps your success if you choose products that you are familiar with and have knowledge about. This way your marketing and promotional techniques will flow more naturally and you will have more success.

For example: On one of my sites I have an article about Behavioral And Learning Problems. It works because I've used the product with a friends family and seen the results. That creates passion for the product and makes the sales process natural.   

When you sign up to be an affiliate you will be given a personal URL (Uniform Resource Locater) which contains your affiliate ID. This is how the merchant will track your sales, clicks, impressions, and other useful information which should be available to you to help with managing your campaigns.

Here's an example: does affiliate marketing work/?aid=123456

Most URLs will have more characters but for simplification the aid stands for affiliate ID and what follows aid=123456 would be your unique tracking code. So whenever a visitor clicks your link with this code the information is sent to your merchants data base. The example above would be a link to your merchants landing page where they follow through with the preselling and order if one is made.

Whenever your link is clicked a cookie is stored on the users computer for later use. In other words if your visitor decides not to make a purchase until a later time you will still get credit for the sale. Some cookies last longer than others and each merchant has their own rules for how long cookies last.

So be sure to check that out when deciding to join as an affiliate. If you find a merchant that gives you a permanent cookie then you have a winner. Most times after you make your first sale you will have a permanent cookie.

Tracking is one of the most important things that you should do as an affiliate marketer. You need to know what is working and what is not working. Lets say you set up a campaign and named it “how does affiliate marketing work”. When you log into your merchants website and go to the affiliates page you will see the statistics. All you have to do is look for the campaign name “how does affiliate marketing work” and you'll find the following:

    The number of times your link appeared on a page. For example any link on this page counts as an impression.
    The number of times a user clicks on your affiliate link. This could be through a text link or banner.
  • CTR:
    ( click through rate) The number of times your affiliate link was clicked divided by the number of impressions. This statistic will be in the form of percentage ( .02%, 2.4%,etc.)
    Do I need to explain this one? How much money you made through the campaign “how does affiliate marketing work”.
    The number of sales that you have made.

There are tons of affiliate marketing programs to choose from. If you want to promote e-books Clickbank is a great choice. You'll literally find hundreds of e-books in numerous categories to choose from. As a matter of fact, Clickbank has over 12,000 digital products in their marketplace.

Perhaps you want to promote physical products then Commission Junction is the place to go. You can always check individual websites out and see if they have an affiliates page.

If you want to really go all out and get an affiliate marketing education, try the Renegade University. The University will get you started promoting your products and creating a web of content. Plus its free to join.

So...How does affiliate marketing work? Find products that you are familiar with, sign up to be an affiliate, know your target market, presell them by adding value and being a solutions provider, and keep creating more content.

Between Clickbank and Commission Junction I just showed you well over 25,000 products that you can promote as an affiliate. You can take advantage of the education site and start to make a decent living promoting other peoples products and when the time is right start creating your own product to sell.

One of the biggest mistakes that affiliate marketers make is choosing products that they like and trying to promote only those products. Bad choice! Knowing your product is essential in the preselling process but you need to find a market that has hungry buyers and then decide on which products to promote. In other words,

  • research what is selling well.
  • search for a target market that is in high demand for hard to find products
  • then market to them.

Success has a simple formula: do your best, and people may like it. Sam Ewing

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