1. Represent a product or service.
Represent the merchant’s product or service on
your site through the use of links. These links
may take the form of a banner, a text link, a
search box, or even a JAVA applet.
2. Drive traffic (get visitors) to your site.
Establish a steady flow of targeted traffic to your
site in order to increase your potential to earn
commissions. Once a customer uses your links
to connect to the merchant, the merchant
should pay you. Different merchants specify
what constitutes an action worthy of
compensation, and these can range from a
customer just seeing the ad to actually
purchasing the product. How much you get paid
will also differ from merchant to merchant.
3. Read the contract.
Information should be stated clearly in a
contract. It is your responsibility to read the
contract, even if it is long, convoluted, or boring.
If you are unclear about the merchant’s policies,
either contact the merchant for clarification, or
look elsewhere for a more satisfactory
agreement. Numerous affiliate programs existyou are interested in promoting a particular type
of product or service, a little research should
help you find a reliable program that meets your
needs. Here are two directories of affiliate
programs to get you started (we’ll be telling you
about many more later):
2-Tier Affiliate Program Directory
4. Monitor your site and links.
You must check your site and links regularly to
make sure everything works properly.
Merchants will contact you if changes should be
made. For example, if a merchant changes its
linking code, you should get an email specifying
how this is done.
5. Monitor your statistics.
The merchant should provide you with statistics.
You need to monitor your statistics to make sure
you are being credited properly. Your statistics
reflect the success of your merchandising plan
and allow you to tweak your selling process to
increase your profit.
Who are affiliates?
Affiliates fall into three types. For clarity, we
have excluded powerhouse shopping properties
and large corporate sites. We will call the three
types power, mid-range, and non-productive
1. Power affiliates
Power affiliates, who make a living wage, are aminority of those using affiliate marketing
programs. They usually have a network of sites,
and spend several hours daily maintaining traffic
to these sites. Power affiliates create a large
revenue stream for the merchants. Therefore,
they enjoy several perks; for instance, power
affiliates often have the influence to bargain with
merchants for more advantageous deals. Power
affiliates often work from home. Many power
affiliates are also merchants to vendors who
want to expand their revenue base. Power
affiliates account for roughly 10 percent of all
affiliates. Of course, power is a relative term.
For example, a highly influential site with a small
amount of traffic can command high rates
because of its market impact.
2. Mid-Range Affiliates
The second type of affiliates makes some
supplemental income. These people often
maintain full-time "dirt world" occupations.
These affiliates may have one popular site or a
network of small sites, but they either control
significantly less traffic, or less targeted traffic
than the power affiliates, or have difficulty
converting page views to clicks, actions, or
sales. These affiliates comprise about 10
percent of all affiliates. Merchants like to
cultivate these relationships because many
mid-range affiliates can go on to be power
3. Non-Productive Affiliates
So what about the other 80 percent of affiliates?
Unfortunately, they make little or no money.
Many of these sign up for a program, intending
to use it, but never even put up paying links.
Others put up the links, but don’t control enough
traffic to support sales. Few just don’t have the
knack. The majority of non-profitable affiliation
results from ignorance or apathy. Affiliate
marketing is a competitive business
environment, and, as in any industry, many who