An In Depth Review of Online Affiliate Marketing Programs.

Affiliate marketing happens to be one of the most convenient, effective and also highly lucrative online marketing strategy, and offers website owners a remarkable cost effective means of earning extra money. These programs are basically aimed at driving more traffic to online merchants that participate in a given affiliate marketing program, which can naturally lead to more revenue generation for them.

Affiliate marketing programs work by the online merchants making arrangements with other website owners who are then obligated to provide links to the former’s websites. This allows the latter to earn commissions when visitors notice or follow these links or perform any other action that they merchant desires such as making a purchase.

In this context, affiliate marketing is often viewed as a highly effective performance-driven online marketing strategy, where a business entity offers rewards to affiliates for driving traffic to their ecommerce websites. There are essentially 3 integral components into such a strategy, and these include; the online merchant, the affiliate, and an affiliate network.

Types of affiliate marketing payment plans
Naturally, there several affiliate marketing payment schemes that anyone wishing to join can pick from depending on his/her distinct preferences, and these include:

Pay per sale
This happens to be the most prevalent compensation option, with approximately 80% of all affiliate marketing programs available utilizing it. It generally works by an online merchant paying a certain commission to an affiliate whose website leads potential clients to make a purchase in their online stores.

Cost per action
This option enables an affiliate to make some money when visitors to their websites perform certain agreed upon actions such as clicking on a link, signing up for a newsletter, or providing some personal information.

Cost per click
In this affiliate marketing payment option, an affiliate receives a commission only when visitors to his/her website not only view the advertisement, but also clicks on it.

Cost per mile
This option requires the affiliate to make a merchant’s advertisement available on their websites.

In the last two alternatives, the affiliate isn’t concerned about whether all visitors that notice or follow such links fit into the merchant’s targeted market. This makes it the responsibility of the online merchant to convert the leads into sales, and meet the total loss should a visitor not make any purchase.
Cost per action and cost per sale on their part necessitate that the visitors not only visit the merchant’s website, but also make a purchase, before the affiliate receives his/her commission.

There are also exist two-tier affiliate marketing programs, where besides earning a commission for their own website’s activities, they can also get extra money for referring other affiliate to such a program, and go on to get a cut on the activities of the new affiliate.

Affiliate marketing programs networks
As would be expected, managing affiliate marketing programs is somewhat a challenging and extremely convoluted task, which require accurate monitoring of the traffic and activities related to an affiliate’s link to an online merchant’s website. While also accommodating for prompt payments to all affiliates in such a program. This is where affiliate marketing networks come into play.

These are indispensable intermediaries who act as a bridge between the online merchant and the affiliate, and take it upon themselves to handle these two tasks. Besides assisting in the recruitment of other affiliates into such programs, by providing a centralized and widely varying affiliate programs on their directories.

Choosing the right affiliate linking method
There are diverse ways in which an affiliate can link up to an online merchant’s website, and some of the most popular ones include:

Text links
This option requires that an affiliate makes available specific text links that can lead visitors to the merchant’s website. The major benefit of this method is that the advertisement is included in the affiliate’s website content.

Banner links
These are distinct boxes that contain some information of a product or service offered with some visually-striking image, and can be highly effective in cases where text links fail to attract visitors.

Link to homepage
This option usually requires the affiliate to provide a direct link to an online merchant website’s homepage, from which potential customers can access the latter’s products/services.

Product specific links
This alternative is available for affiliates who wish to promote a particular product or service that a merchant offers, and is widely noted for the unmatched convenience it facilitates for the visitor.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Brian_John_Njenga/1191088

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