7.11.08

How To Create and Use Affiliate Programs to Drive More Traffic To A Website



Perhaps one of the most low-profile Internet marketing schemes is affiliate marketing. However, low-profile does not mean unsuccessful, because this type of marketing continues to play a significant role in e-commerce.

What is affiliate marketing?


In a nutshell, affiliate marketing works on a reward system, wherein one website drives traffic to another website in exchange for reward points. Basically, it works this way: if you are an affiliate (or associate) of an online-based company, you create your own website, which links back to that company. Any visitor to your site that you manage to re-direct to that company's website will earn you rewards points. The more points you have, the more rewards you can actually reap. Some businesses prefer this type of marketing scheme because it is a pay-per-performance package deal.

In the non-Internet based business lingo, this type of reward system is called revenue sharing.

How to Create and Use Affiliate Marketing Programs

For the first few years, online business owners only allowed for affiliates with their own websites (or at the very least, their own webpages.) These days however, anyone can become an affiliate by simply: engaging in online discussions (chats, forums, message boards, etc.); using e-mail marketing, using offline promotions; writing e-books; or writing ezine articles.

There are certain advantages though, of having your own website. One: some online businesses require their affiliates to have one. Two: since it is your site, you can creatively promote one or all your affiliate programs, all at the same time. Lastly: a website has greater potential to reach more customers than forums or e-mail marketing strategies.

How to Choose an Affiliate Program

Choosing an affiliate program is equally important. Don't grab the first one that comes along. You can visit Internet Affiliate Marketing Program Networks to compare and study different programs. Plus, most of the advertising merchants here will let new affiliates sign up for free. Choose a few of the programs that seem stable, and a few of those merchants with the longest history of sales and affiliate marketing success. Try not to be dazzled by the promises of millions of dollars, etc. etc. etc.

Once you've sized down your list, look into the quality of the products and services that these merchants are carrying. Your goal is to entice people to check out the goods. If you are not convinced of the quality of these products and services, what makes you think that your site visitors will be convinced as well? Besides, if the goods do fall short of expectations, your name as a marketer is on the line as well. Choose one (or more) which you think will be a credit to you, and not otherwise.

Creating the Site Itself


Once you've chosen from the affiliate program lot, you can either choose a program that can help you "build" your website by providing the necessary tools like banners, graphics and articles. If they can provide you with online training about how to effectively market their goods, then your life will be easier. If not, you then have to dedicate more time and energy into marketing your chosen product and goods.

Try to calculate if the time you spend creating product banners and articles is worth the compensation you will be getting from the company you've applied for. If it is not, it would be best to move on to another program.

The most essential key here is to create quality content in your site. People are looking to yours to see whether you can give them new insights or provide advice to their dilemma or verify a fact about something. A theme-based website will even bolster your reputation as an "expert" in your chosen niche, so try to limit your website to one theme only. Weave all your different affiliate programs in all your pages, but do so in a manner that will be attractive but not overwhelming.

At the end of your creative process, try to sit back and ask yourself if you are convinced with what you have on your site, and if you would consent to buying the products and services advertised within. If the answer is a "no," or a "maybe" then you may want to check out other sites to see how you can improve your own.

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