What is Affiliate Marketing?To put this in perspective, we must define the two words affiliate and marketing separately. Lets look at marketing first. Marketing encompasses the many ways a person or company promotes their product or service. Promotion of products/services is done through advertisements, mailings, phone directories, direct ads, mobile scaling, and a number of other methods including affiliates.Affiliates are people that promote a product/service as independent contractors. They are paid a commission by that company, but do not work for that company as an employee. An affiliate is responsible for their own taxes and record keeping, and must represent the company they are affiliated with according to that companies policies and ethics.
So when we put the two words together, affiliate marketing, we get a person working independently promoting someone elses product and/or service for a commission.
Can I Work With Multiple Companies?
It is common for affiliates to work with several different companies at the same time. Unless a company has a exclusivity contract with their affiliates (which most don’t), then you can be affiliated with multiple companies. This is one of the benefits that attracts many online entrepreneurs to this type of opportunity.
The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Besides choosing the right product/service to market, you must also be weary of the company running the program. Doing your due diligence in researching the company and product, before entering into an agreement, will save you many headaches down the road.
As an affiliate you also have a reputation you must protect to preserve your business. Marketing a product where the product doesn’t deliver as promised, or the company itself has substandard customer service will reflect back on you. It’s easy for an affiliate to be lured into a bad deal because the company dangles a juicy, quick turn commission in front of affiliates, but it does more damage than good for your future business.
To make life a little easier as an affiliate there are affiliate marketplaces. Places like Clickbank and Commission Junction have a community of affiliate programs where you can signup and choose which affiliate offers you wish to promote. There are two main benefits to joining a marketplace. First, the affiliate programs are monitored on a ongoing basis for reliability and product quality. Second, when a customer makes a purchase through your affiliate link, the service (Clickbank, Commission Junction) handles the distribution of funds. This means all commissions due to you will be deposited into your account. You don’t have to worry about the company you’re marketing for not paying your commission.
You now find businesses of all sizes offering affiliate programs. Big retailers such as Target and Walmart offer affiliate programs. Decide on a market to sell too, find a good affiliate program to start with, and put the two together – you are now officially in the affiliate marketing business.