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Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a simple way for businesses to increase their exposure using a low risk method of marketing. Put simply, affiliates drive traffic to your website and get paid depending on the terms agreed. For example you could be a business selling timeshares and you pay per lead generated or a business selling toys and you pay a percentage of the sale total back to the affiliate.

For many businesses affiliate marketing represents a low risk way of growing their business. They pay affiliates based on easily monitored results. Costs rise when more income is generated.

As a company considering entering into affiliate marketing, you have a couple of options open to you. You can enter into an agreement with any one of the major affiliate networks currently operating or manage your own in house. Both have their advantages. The major companies are tried and tested and will easily attract new affiliates through their own marketing methods. They are reliable and manage the payments to affiliates on your behalf. This is quite often the easiest route for those companies that don’t have the know-how or the time to devote to setting up an affiliate network themselves. However for a business setting up an account with these companies the costs can be high. Alternatively you could manage your own affiliate network using software like iDevAffiliate, advertised as affordable and easy to install. The initial outlay would be less than running with a major company but there will certainly be a lot more work involved. You have also got to recruit the affiliates and this in itself can cost a lot of money. Payments to affiliates using this method are generally higher.

There are many reputable affiliate networks in the UK.

Smaller companies may well be more open to negotiation on their fees, but may lack the support network. Larger companies will charge more but may bring more affiliates to your offer.

There are many factors that will convince an affiliate to work with one company over another. It is likely they will have chosen the market they wish to sell from prior to looking up the offers. They will compare other companies selling similar items and make their decision based on the offer. You really need to do your research prior to putting your offer on the table. Make sure your commission rates are competitive and ensure you approve transactions quickly. Affiliates will look at your declined transaction rates and how much competition there is prior to accepting your offer. Long cookie rates will further encourage affiliates to your offering. Keeping the affiliate informed at each stage of the process will help build confidence and enhance your relationship. The more help you offer the affiliates the more likely they are to drive traffic to your website.

Competitions are a great way to encourage affiliates to promote your products. Try to tie it in with the products that you already sell, for example if you run an electricals website – a plasma TV for the best performing affiliate that year might well be appropriate.

In this high tech age, virtually everyone has their own website. The stay at home mum or the entrepreneurial teenager – they are all looking for easy ways to make money with very little outlay. And what an entrepreneurial teenager doesn’t know about the internet isn’t worth knowing.

Lisa Mills runs two websites, one selling baby gifts and the other promoting childrens gift ideas

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