“Internet based affiliate marketing,” also known as associate marketing, is a form of marketing unique to the internet, involving the referral of visitors from one website to another. The target site is generally one offering goods or services, and the referrer can receive compensation based on a number of criteria.
Retailers can use internet based affiliate marketing to vastly expand their number of visitors and thus sales potential. This is generally accomplished by creating a standardised affiliate program; essentially, anyone can register to become an affiliate of retailers who offer such programs. The most common method of compensation for affiliates is on a cost-per-sale basis. This setup is compelling for both the retailer and the affiliate, as for the retailer it represents an opportunity to advertise while paying only for guaranteed sales, while for the affiliate it is a chance to generate income with little to no financial investment. Amazon and eBay, two of the biggest e-commerce businesses, are well known for their affiliate marketing programs.
The possible forms of affiliate sites are only limited by the possibilities offered by the internet. For example, an individual can publish a blog with regular updates detailing deals at his or her online retailer of choice, with direct links to relevant pages on the retailer’s site. When readers, whether regulars or new visitors attracted to the blog via a search engine, social networking site or otherwise, click through and conclude sales, the affiliate receives a commission. As such, both parties benefit.
Internet marketing can take a number of other forms of varying complexity. These include product review sites which link back to retailers; coupon or rebate sites; comparison or directory-type sites; e-mail based opt-in newsletters; customer loyalty marketing sites which offer “reward points” or similar schemes; cause-related marketing sites which partner businesses with non-profit organizations; and even search engines.
Affiliate marketing sites can be operated directly by retailers, or they can be linked by another mutual agreement.
The online consumer can benefit from affiliated marketing sites as well. Affiliate sites can provide certain types of content not normally associated with purpose-built “advertising,” such as straightforward and unbiased product reviews, or site formats intended to help the consumer save time.
The diffuse yet interconnected nature of the internet makes internet marketing not only possible, but highly viable. At any time, a potential consumer viewing one website can literally move instantly to any other. Affiliate marketing takes advantage of this possibility, encouraging the movement of visitors from websites, which could be general or highly specialised in terms of content, to retailers. In certain respects, internet-based affiliate marketing can allow a businesses to “outsource” advertising and guarantee a return on its marketing investment.
Above all, internet marketing is a unique avenue which the savvy merchant would do well to consider learning.
Dean G Holland has 1 articles online
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