The truth of the matter is that affiliate marketing does not need to be as intimidating or as shrouded in secretive mystery as it may seem to some people who are new to the industry. The fundamental principles behind affiliate marketing make a lot of intuitive sense and they align with how much of the business world has operated for decades, only now applied to the context of the Internet and empowered by an increasingly robust set of tools and metrics.
At its core, affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing paradigm wherein the affiliate only generates a commission from the advertiser when a referral completes a specific action. In principle, this is not that different from a traditional salesperson earning a commission when a customer buys a product or signs up for a service.
The “payable” action with an affiliate program is defined by the advertiser and aligns with the terms and conditions of the affiliate network where the offer or program is found. Payable actions typically fall into a few main categories:
1. The referred user completes and submits an online form. The form may be as simple as providing an e-mail address or it can be multiple pages in length. The form could be used for subscribing to a mailing list or requesting a free product sample. This depends wholly on the advertiser.
2. The affiliate refers a targeted lead to the advertiser. A good example of this would be in the payday loan vertical. Similar to the first scenario, the referral completes a form. Where this differs is that the referral is requesting specific information and becomes a qualified “warm” lead for the advertiser. Similar scenarios can arise with insurance quotes, among other industries.
3. The referred customer successfully completes a sale on the advertiser’s website, purchasing goods or services, either as a one-time payment or on a subscription basis. Under this scenario, the affiliate only earns a commission on a successful sale and not if the referral simply visits the advertiser’s online store.
The easiest and most logical way for a person to get started as an affiliate is to join a leading affiliate network like WOW Trk. This provides access to multiple offers from multiple advertisers, rather than being restricted to a single offer from a single advertiser. The offers can then be suitably promoted through a number of online channels, as limited by the advertiser. These can include mailing lists, website ad banners, social media, and search engine marketing. All of the reporting is then centralized through the affiliate network for ease of review.
Of course, when you go beyond the basic fundamentals of affiliate marketing and dig deeper into the specifics for optimal performance and success, the individual components and practices can get increasingly complicated. The good news is that you do not need to confuse yourself with more advanced principles, utilities and tactics until you are ready to make that leap. And because affiliate marketing is inherently a multidisciplinary practice, you can leverage your existing experience in one area while learning how to grow your knowledge and skills in another area.