Many small businesses have found ways to earn money from visitors to their Web site, even though their sites are not equipped to handle Internet transactions. How? By joining an affiliate marketing program.
After taking time to create and promote your Web site, you, too, may find that joining an affiliate marketing program is a cost-effective way to enhance value of your own Internet investment. That type of "virtual" alliance may help you increase revenue without increasing costs. In addition, an alliance can increase value of your customers' visits by increasing quality of your Web site, thereby encouraging more visits and increasing your opportunities to establish and maintain relationships with your customers.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing programs came into their own during Internet boom of mid- to late-1990s. Organized to create virtual business relationships, they are an agreement between two companies to steer business in form of Web traffic from one Web site to another in return for compensation. If organized correctly, they are a win-win situation for both partners. They help large companies with elaborate, transaction-oriented Web sites increase their Web traffic while providing increased cash flows to smaller businesses with brochure-style Web sites.
How do affiliate programs work?
When you join an affiliate program, you will be able to download an icon or button to add to your Web site. Visitors to your site who click on that button will be sent to transaction portion of your partner's site. Your partner should have specialized internal computer systems in place. Those systems track all sales generated during visit that originated from your Web site. In other words, you will own a portion of all sales generated during that visit. If visitor places an order, you will receive a percentage of proceeds of sale, based on original agreement. A typical revenue-sharing arrangement is for 5 percent of total sale, regardless of size of sale.