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Affiliate marketing is an online marketing practice, in which a business comprising of merchants or retailers reward one or more affiliates for each visitor, buyer, or customer brought about by the affiliate's marketing efforts. The basic mantra is to use one site to drive traffic to another. Affiliate marketing is synonymously used to describe an industry where different types of companies and individuals are performing this form of Internet marketing such as, affiliate management companies, affiliate networks, in-house affiliate managers, specialized third party vendors, and affiliates/ publishers promoting the products and services of their partners. Affiliate marketing resembles other Internet marketing methods, since affiliates often use regular advertising methods, including organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, email marketing, and display advertising. However, affiliates sometimes employ less orthodox techniques like publishing reviews of products or services offered by their partners. While search engines, email, and RSS are of much interest to online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a rather lower profile. Nevertheless, affiliates play a stellar role in e-retailers' marketing strategies. Affiliate marketing can turn out to be quite a profitable venture for both merchants as well as affiliates, considering its potential to increase revenue and forge strong business relationships. Let's look at some of the benefits and resources for both affiliates and merchants. 1. Affiliates When you become an affiliate partner, you start relying on your site traffic to attract visitors. You hope that visitors on your site are able to click on interesting products and services rendered by your merchants. By allowing visitors to leave your site and make a purchase on your merchant's online store, you are increasing your chance to earn more commissions. In words of Anik Singal, CEO of, "Your job is to deliver as much qualified traffic to your merchants as possible." In other words, affiliates should be successful in preselling their merchant's products to customers. The job of an affiliate is to propel customers to make a purchase on their merchant's shopping cart. There are many sites offering affiliate programs, but for starters, check out or, or Amazon Associates. Additionally, keep these factors in mind while choosing which merchants to promote:

Is the affiliate program offered by a merchant free-to-join? If not, resist the temptation to join. Determine their reputation in the marketplace. Do your groundwork, and be completely sure you want to partner with them. Ascertain if they have a proven conversion rate. You will not like to waste your time driving traffic to a site that does not sell.

2. Merchants Singal further added, "Why say 'No' to all this extra traffic when it's very little risk to you? You can launch an affiliate program for pennies on the dollar." In order to find and recruit affiliates, merchants can use one of the following methods:

Join a leading affiliate marketing solutions provider, such as LinkShare or Commission Junction. Many providers alert their members each time a merchant joins, encouraging them to explore the possibility of a good match. Perform keyword searches based on your product line. Sift through the sites that come up, focusing chiefly on content sites (like those using blogs.) Ensure the site's reputation and rank. Check its relevance to your target market. It's always better to personally contact the site owner and know their willingness to work with you.

According to estimation, in the last year alone, U.S. $95 billion was transacted online as a direct corollary of affiliate marketing. Those affiliates went on to earn more than U.S. $6.5 billion in commissions. By now, you must be convinced that affiliate marketing works-whether you are paid to share your traffic or whether you are able to maximize sales through your partners, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for everyone.

James O'Brien shopping cart software

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The Secret Behind Affiliate Marketing  
The Secret Behind Affiliate Marketing  

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