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Affiliate Programs  - What are they?

So you’ve been reading about a lot of ways to make money on the internet, and one idea that you keep coming across is promoting affiliate programs.  So what is an affiliate program and how does it work?

We’re going to take a look at one of the most successful affiliate programs on the internet today to illustrate what affiliate programs are.  Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com is one of the most successful online shopping sites on the internet today.  So what contributes to their success?  They offer a huge variety of products at very competitive prices.  They have outstanding customer service, and they have one of the biggest affiliate programs on the internet today. 

What is it?
An affiliate program allows you to promote someone else’s product and earn commissions for every product that you sell.  In the case of Amazon.com you can promote almost any product on their site and earn money for each successful sale that you make.  An affiliate program serves a dual purpose for any site that has a product to sell.  It helps to generate sales, and it helps to increase marketing strength.

So How Does It Work?
When you sign up to be an affiliate (affiliate programs are usually free to join) you will be provided with a special link that will allow the website to keep track of sales that you sell.  What’s a link?  A link is basically a web address that will direct users to a specific web page that is designed to sell a product or set of products for you.  When you refer someone to the site, your link will let them know that you have sent the referral, and will keep track of any sales that are generated from your referral.  If you are promoting a link, this will be done automatically for you.  If you are starting an affiliate program of your own, you will be working with an affiliate program manager that will help you set this up. 

Three Ways to Promote Affiliates

1.  Promote a Website: You will be required to drive traffic to a site.  Usually the page you will be referring people to is the main page of the website.  You are not targeting a specific product, just a site in general.  An example of this would be if I referred people to Amazon.com by posting their website address http://www.amazon.com  This address leads you to the main page on their site.

2.  Promote A Specific Page or Range of Products:  This allows you to post links that will direct traffic to a page that is designed to sell specific products.  This is usually used to help target your visitors.  For example, on Melody’s Mommy I have a section about home business opportunities.  One promotion that I can run as an affiliate is to have a link on my site that will take you to a page that has recommended home business books.

3.  Promote a Specific Product: You can also promote a single product.  For example, in that same home business section, I would like to promote a book Home Based Business for Dummies.  I can pick the link type that I would like from my affiliate tools to promote that link.  For information on types of promotional links that you can use keep reading.

Four Types of Affiliate Promotional Links

More often than not, any affiliate program that you join will give you a set of  marketing tools to help you promote your link.  They can be one or any combination of the following.  If you are a webmaster, you will be provided with the HTML code that you can enter into your website to have the ad of your choice show up on your site. 

1.  Text Links:  In my opinion, text links are the most effective for selling if they are used correctly.  These are great for using in your signature block, articles, or other places where you may like to promote a text link on your site.

2.  Banners or Buttons: Banners are typically used for website promotion, however I have seen people using them in their signature lines on message boards.  These are ads that you will see on almost any website that you visit. 

3.  Search Boxes:  Some of the bigger affiliate programs will offer you a search box that you can put on your site.  Amazon.com offers this. This allows visitors to type in a search term and be directed to the appropriate products on Amazon.

4.  Articles: Some affiliates will give you permission to reprint articles that they have written with the intent to promote their product.  These articles are a great way to boost the content on your site, while promoting an affiliate program at the same time.


O.K. I’m Ready, So Where Do I Find These Programs

When you are browsing through websites, keep your eyes open for a category on the site that says affiliates.  This will usually give you one of two things; the affiliate program for that site, or the affiliate programs that site is promoting.  Here are some affiliate sites that you can sign up with to get started.

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com  (Click on Join Associates at Bottom of Page)

Link Mo Advanced Marketing - https://www.linkmo.com

Commission Junction - http://www.cj.com/


About The Author: Brandy is the webmaster of Melody's Mommy and is committed to helping Moms and Dads work from home.  She lives in MA with her daughter Melody and is a successful work at home Mom.  This article may be used on any site or in any newsletter as long as it is not altered in any way and this signature line remains intact. http://www.melodysmommy.com



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