Online affiliate marketing programs have only come to the forefront of business marketing strategies in the last 15 years. As Internet commerce grew, so did an affinity for retailers to use affiliate programs. In 2011, the trend shows no signs of slowing down. For those who do not know what affiliate programs are, they are paid referral systems.
Essentially, when a consumer goes to a website, such as a blog, he will view advertising. This advertising can be in the form of anything from a pop-up ad to a banner ad to an image ad. These ads are typically provided by a merchant that has linked with that blog or website as part of an affiliate program. If the consumer who visits that particular website chooses to click on any of the aforementioned ads, she will be taken to that merchant’s website. When this occurs, the owner of that website gets a revenue stream from the merchant. Depending on the affiliate contract, this revenue could increase should the consumer buy an item on the merchant’s site.
There are many affiliate programs out there. Commission Junction and Link Share have long been the top affiliate programs; however, some new upstarts — most notably Instant Cash Empire — have risen in the ranks. When choosing which affiliate program to rely on, the key is to focus on the one that can best supply you with a revenue stream. To gain a quality revenue stream, you must link with an affiliate program that has products which are geared toward your audience. If the products or ads do not entice your readers, then they will not be likely to go to the merchant’s site. This in turn does not produce any revenue for anyone.
Each affiliate program has strength and weakness. Knowing your reader’s and target audience is essential to having a successful revenue stream for both publisher and merchant.