What is an Affiliate Program?
An affiliate program is an arrangement a website owner makes with an online merchant so that the website owner can earn a commission whenever they send the online merchant traffic or if any of that traffic makes a purchase. Affiliates are also an effective way to market the online merchant site.
Amazon popularized this idea and functions as a type of dropshipper for affiliates. Amazon handles the order, collects the money, and ships the product to the customer, then pays the affiliate a commission.
There are three basic types of affiliate programs:
Pay-per-sale (PPS), or cost-per-sale, programs pay the affiliate when they send the merchant a customer and the customer makes a purchase.
Pay-per-click (PPC), or cost-per-click, programs pay the affiliate when their customers click a link and visit the merchant’s site. Some programs may negotiate the minimum time a visitor must spend on the merchant site to count as a PPC.
Pay-per-lead (PPL), or cost-per-lead, programs pay the affiliate when a customer is referred to the merchant website and becomes a lead for the merchant.
What is an Affiliate Network?
Affiliate networks act as mediators, or salespeople, for merchant sites with affiliate programs. The affiliate network is responsible for tracking all activity, arrange payments, and provide links to affiliates to refer customers. Affiliate networks are very handy and represent a variety of merchants, however, they earn a commision – typically around 20 percent – of everything the affiliate earns through their affiliate links.
How Can Affiliate Marketing Make Me Money?
If you run an e-commerce site and sell products from your website, you may want to start your own affiliate program to help drive traffic to your merchant site and increase sales. Joining an affiliate network would be beneficial to help you launch the affiliate program and attract affiliates to promote either your site or your products.
If you run an information website or blog and want to earn some income, you can search for programs that are complementary to your website content. After joining a merchant’s affiliate program, you can promote their products or services on your website and post links. Please be sure to research disclosure requirements. I disclose the companies I am affiliated with by posting an ” * ” and disclosing that I may earn a commission from those sites at the bottom of each of my website pages that contain affiliate links.
As an Affiliate, What Do I Provide Links To?
Depending on your web content, you can find and provide links to a merchant’s:
- Home page
- Specific product page
- Co-branded storefront
- Registration form (for leads)
What Kind of Website Do I Need to Become an Affiliate?
Any website, or online communicator, can become an affiliate. Affiliate marketing and affiliate links are especially well-suited to:
- Niche content sites
- Product/Service reviewers
- Email marketers
- eCommerce sites
What are the Top Affiliate Network Sites?
Rakuten Marketing*: Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
ShareASale*: ShareASale has been in business for 18 years, exclusively as an Affiliate Marketing Network. Our technology receives accolades for speed, efficiency, and accuracy – and our reputation as a fair and honest business is well known within the industry. Our objective is to provide customers with an advanced Affiliate Marketing platform. We strive to deliver the best product in the industry, and support it with superior customer service provided by people that will follow up, call back, and provide real solutions. In January 2017, global affiliate network Awin acquired ShareASale to provide further international opportunities to domestic advertisers and publishers.
eBay Partner Network*: Share your passion. Whatever you’re passionate about, it’s on eBay. Share your finds with your audience and get paid when items sell. Simply link an item or share your finds through Facebook, Twitter, your blog or website. If what you share sells, you’ll earn money.
Avangate: Join our premium affiliate network for digital goods and services for global distribution. Establish your brand with our powerful tools and support. Leverage a growing database of 22,000+ software products, advanced marketing tools and expertise and the industry’s highest commissions. And select best-selling titles that align with your content – all while enjoying flexible and complete payment for each sale booked.
Amazon*: Promo codes give customers a discount on eligible products at checkout, and brands who sell their products on Amazon can create promo codes and share with you to refer more customers to their promotions. You can share links to promo codes on Amazon to delight your followers or audience and earn advertising fees
CJ Affiliate: Whether it’s monetizing website traffic, driving more sales or finding more customers, we understand that our clients’ goals are our goals. Learn why affiliate marketing is critical in today’s marketplace and listen to top advertisers and publishers discuss the results they’ve seen running their pay-for-performance programs on the CJ Network.
Clickbank: For 17 years, we’ve partnered with digital marketers like you to sell our products to over 200 million customers around the globe. Our digital marketers stick with our Affiliate Network because of our ever-expanding catalog of quality digital products and unsurpassed reputation for reliability – we pay commissions on time, every time so you never have to worry about when you will get paid.
LinkConnector: For more than a decade, LinkConnector has been earning the confidence of our affiliates. Our Top Network industry recognition is a testament to our mission in exceeding customer expectations. Let us earn your loyalty, and empower you with an unmatched suite of tools and hands-on support. Let us help make your job easier. LinkConnector offers a dedicated team to help affiliates manage and grow their promotions. Our reaction time to affiliate inquiries is usually a matter of hours compared to over two weeks in some of the other major networks.
RevenueWire: RevenueWire provides a cloud-based monetization performance network and commerce platform for businesses interested in growing their revenue. Our platform was built by conversion-rate focused performance marketers, and our ten years of experience and growth in the industry have helped us to optimize our offering to enable and ensure our clients can scale globally, profitably, securely, and with speed. With over a billion dollars transacted through our platform, and multiple industry awards, we’re a trusted network that delivers results.
FlexOffers: Now you can make more money than ever before from your website by promoting products and services through the new FlexOffers.com PublisherPro affiliate marketing network! We feature the latest products, promotions, and online-only offers on our network from top global brands and niche advertisers alike. Our affiliate marketing content can also be easily integrated into any site as banner ads or text links, or as unique promotional copy created by our editorial staff.
GiddyUp: GiddyUp is an Exclusive Performance Marketing Agency that scales customer acquisition for the world’s most innovative and disruptive brands. Unlike other agencies, we don’t require a retainer, bill for campaign strategy, or charge a premium for creative assets. We only make money when you do. Period. Because we only make money when we drive revenue for your business, we’re incentivized to develop ongoing strategies that improve campaign performance and drive bottom-line results.
JVZoo: Everything you need to Succeed. It’s easy and FREE to be a Seller or Affiliate on JVZoo! One account allows you to be a Seller, an Affiliate or both. JVZoo offers powerful, easy to use, industry-leading features all in one place that empower all of our users to connect and succeed online. Affiliates have instant access to all of our affiliate tools and training.
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.