Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Affiliate Programs and the Online Seller

I have been trying to bring together a couple of the worlds that I operate in. I am an online seller and that is why I started this blog. I enjoy selling stuff online, it is just that easy. I am also an affiliate marketer, that is why you see various banner ads on this blog. They help pay some of my expenses and allow me to put in more time researching topics that I think will be helpful to other online sellers.

Many online sellers may not know about affiliate programs or how to use them. I want to start by giving some basic difinitions and then presenting some ideas of how an online seller can use affiliate programs and finishing up by letting you know where you can go online to get more information.

Basic Definitions

Affiliate programs are one of the ways that merchants (more and more all the time) use to increase the number of people that visit their web sites. The more visitors they get the more sales they can make. They increase visits by placing links and banners on other sites (your site for example) and by paying you a commission when someone cliks on the link or banner.

The commissions may be paid per click, per lead, or most commonly, per sale.

Merchants use affiliate network providers or they administer the programs in-house. Affiliate Networks run these associate programs and provide the tracking software needed to make the program work.

A good reason for an online seller to use these programs is that no matter what you sell you can find a merchant to match your site.

To use affiliate programs you have to be accepted into the program. This is easy for many programs and difficult for others. It depends on how pickey the merchant is. Once you are accepted into a program you than gain access to software that tracks and calculates the commissions that you earn. The web sites for the program administrator (called the affiliate network) will also provide the text links, banners (of different sizes and colors). Banners may even be included for different promotions or areas of merchindise that the merchant sales.

Simply put, you send people to the merchants site, they buy something, and then you get paid a commision. You can look at affiliate marketing as you running a small store for a larger mall.

If you incorperate affiliate marketing into your online sales you may be able to increase your income from your online selling activities.

You can read more about the basics of affiliate marketing here.

And I also put together this link to help with the Key words and tricky phrases - Affiliate Dictionary.

Ideas of how Online Sellers can use affiliate programs

As an online seller you can complement your selling activities by including affiliate marketing. You can be an affiliate for merchants that sell items that go with what you sell.

  • For example if you sold mp3 players you could be an affiliate for napster.com or Musicmatch Jukebox Plus. In this example you are selling the hardware and your affiliate merchants are selling song files and software that can be used with the the hardware that you sell.

  • If you have a web site that mirrors your auctions for books, you may use posters.com to offer posters of characters from the books. Or you might want to be an Amazon.com affiliate and offer many more books than you could ever stock for you customers. Other book merchants that have an affiliate program are, Booksamillion.com, or Half.com just to name a few.

  • If you sell books on your site you may also want to offer your customers audio books by being an affiliate for Jiggerbug.com.

  • If you sell baby or children's clothes you could be an affiliate for Minitots.com.

  • You can probably be an affiliate for the auction site that you use to sell your items on. See online resources below.

Online resources

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