There is some confusion about affiliate marketing and it is important to know that there are two sides. Typically the terminology revolves around “publishers” and “advertisers.” While the ultimate goal of making money is the common theme among these titles, there are several differences that you must know about before diving into affiliate marketing. Do your research and decide before you select a marketing company network, which relationship you are going to have with the company. All companies make big promises so it is important to navigate carefully and weigh all of your options.
The advertiser relationship consists of some sort of initial investment and most likely a discussion with the affiliate marketing companies’ campaign specialists. Building relationships within the affiliate marketing company’s network of other site owners or “publishers” who will advertise your product is an important element to remember. In exchange for this service, the “publisher” receives a commission that has been predetermined and a set commission rate given to the affiliate marketing company. The marketing company enabled you to build the relationship with the publisher and gave you access to their sales tools and tracking software so they are due a cut of the sale. As an advertiser, you are able setup the commission for the publisher and even offer performance incentives as a result of higher production.
One thing you must remember is that you are most likely not the only company selling your product type in the affiliate network. You typically have to work to gain the trust of publishers and prove to them that your program is better than your competitors. If your site goes down often or your product is not converting, the publisher reserves the right to move on to another advertiser within the network. Publishers can be fickle so keeping them happy tends to be a challenge. Publishers like to feel that they are important and often times will turn their back on you the second things are not working for them.
Affiliate companies may let nearly anyone into their networks, and that is okay. The important thing to watch, is how the publishers operate within the network. A publisher signs up and gets access to millions offers and it can be pretty easy to scam sites by creating false leads or sales with click fraud and false submissions. Affiliate companies monitor their networks constantly, and will blacklist anyone who is derfauding advertisers. Remember that it is impossible to keep the network 100% free of fraud so you should be careful and watch transactions carefully. Ideally you want to put an ad on your site that you think will convert because this is the only way you get paid. For example, if you are a realtor, it would make sense to have an affiliate ad on your site for a mortgage lending company.
Affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative if you know what you are getting into and be willing to keep up with it. The best practice for affiliate marketing is to have a combination of being both and advertiser and a publisher. Let affiliates sell your product or service and try making a little money as a publisher as well by placing an appropriate affiliate’s ad on your site.