What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Entrepreneurs and Affiliate Marketing

A great many of us spend time looking for ways to make a little bit more money. Whether it is because our current job doesn’t pay us enough, or because business is our job, the ideal situation for us would be to find a way of making money without actually doing anything. This is impossible, of course. Isn’t it? Well, to some extent it is, but there are ways of setting things up so that you can make money for yourself without ever having to do a great deal. It does require a bit of work up front, and a little bit of knowledge too, however, so it is not the fabled “money for nothing” situation for which many of us would give our eye teeth. It is as close as most of us will get, though.

The practice of affiliate marketing is becoming more and more popular for Internet savvy entrepreneurs who know enough about the vagaries of business to be able to harness the power of the web and make hundreds, even thousands of pounds without needing to do a great deal. It is actually a fairly simple practice, although there is some amount of corkscrew logic involved in getting to the stage where it is up and running, and paying money to you on a regular basis. There is also some amount of caution required, as the Internet is as riddled as any other marketplace with fraudsters and tricksters. Once you are in, though, you may be surprised by how much money you can actually make.

The idea of affiliate marketing is that businesses gain promotion from an individual or another business placing an advertisement for a product or service on their website. The mere placement of an advertisement, however eye-catching, is no guarantee of a profitable affiliation. The website on which it is placed does much of the work for the affiliate. If we say, for example, that the company looking to advertise is one which sells a range of sunglasses, beach towels and other holiday paraphernalia, the person looking to act as an affiliate would be well-served by setting up a travel blog or website. Therefore, visitors to their website will come to read about traveling and holidays, spot the advertisement and potentially click through to buy a parasol (for example).

As long as the affiliate marketer is aware of the way to do things – and this is usually agreed at the point of making an affiliation – they can earn commission from each customer who buys from the merchant’s website after clicking on “their” ad. The success of an affiliate marketing campaign depends on the marketer pre-selling, however subtly, a product which is then advertised on their site. It can be summed up as telling someone that they need something, and telling them where they can get it, without ever making the link explicit. You leave them to make that link themselves.

First Published: June 8, 2009 EntrepreneurJourney.com