What is Affiliate Marketing?
From the very beginning, the Internet has been about making connections. Initially it was scientists using the connections so that they could share data between their laboratories and universities. In time, hobbyists with different areas of interest began to build websites dedicated to their passions. Eventually, bloggers came along and began creating content related to their supposed areas of expertise. Today, social media allows anyone with something to say or share to be seen by the whole world.
The marketing industry has always realized that the most effective possible marketing campaign was friends telling their friends about products they like. In Affiliate Marketing, the vendor is asking a website owner to pass along an endorsement of his product. If the vendor realizes a sale as a result of the endorsement, he is happy to share a portion of the profit with the site owner, who is now the vendor’s affiliate.
What is Affiliate Marketing? It Is Nothing New
My first exposure to Affiliate Marketing happened before there was even an Internet. I was a young sailor, fresh out of basic training, and very new to the concept of having a steady government paycheck. There were plenty of merchants around the base who were also interested in my steady paycheck.
One of these merchants was a used car dealer with incredibly liberal credit terms. He could be liberal, as I mentioned, Sailors have a steady, guaranteed paycheck. And for me, he had a mid-seventies Ford coupe with terms which were appealing. Just as I was getting ready to sign on the dotted line, the salesman made one more tug to set the hook; he told me that if I brought any of my shipmates in and they bought a car, he would give me a crisp fifty dollar bill.
When the salesman made that last offer, I became an Affiliate Marketer.
Not a very successful one at the time. The first guy I took to the dealer didn’t buy a car. The next one did, and over the weekend he helped me to dispose of $50 worth of beer. Soon after I discovered what lemons mid-seventies Fords were, and I decided that keeping my friends was more important than steering business to an unscrupulous car dealer.
What is Affiliate Marketing On The Net?
Affiliate Marketing occurs at many levels of intensity. A website may be dedicated to a favorite author, and carry a link to a bookseller who carries the authors book. If a site viewer clicks the link and a sale is made, the vendor compensates the site owner. An outdoorsman’s blog may carry a link to a certain pocket knife, perhaps one the outdoorsman actually uses in the woods. If a blog reader buys the knife, the writer gets a cut, but that is not the purpose of the site.
However there are affiliate marketing sites whose purpose is to make a profit through the marketing scheme. For these operators it is important that their sites be optimized to attract a lot of traffic, but more important is to attract visitors who are ready to make a purchase.
Whether your interest in Affiliate Marketing is to turn your website into “a money making machine”, to help defray some of the costs of keeping your site up, or just to pass on tips to your readers about products you know and trust, keep an eye on this space. In the coming days we will discuss how to launch an Affiliate Marketing Campaign and optimize your site to earn the highest profit.
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