One of the most common mistakes of beginners who want to start internet marketing is, they think that they need to learn more before they really start the business. It is true that there is a lot to learn! But unless you really start working, you will never get a chance to learn.
The Basics of Affiliate Business
An affiliate marketing business is about promoting (or recommending) someone else’s product(s) and earning commission on the sales.
The person/company, to whom the product belongs to, is called ‘the Merchant’ and ‘an affiliate’ is the one who promotes the product(s).
The process involved in recommending, selling the products, tracking the sales and paying/getting paid is called ‘the Affiliate Program’.
Your part as an affiliate is very simple. You have no commitment of selling and no targets. No investment, no convincing or no canvassing on your part. Your job is just to spread the word around, and send as many visitors (prospects) as possible to the merchant’s website. Then just wait for your commission.
Most of the merchants pay you per sale basis. Some pay you per lead basis and some of them pay per click basis (a ‘lead’ is generated when a visitor registers with the merchant or asks for some information, usually without making any payment, and when a visitor clicks on the link you provided and reaches the website of the merchant, a ‘click’ is achieved).
Let’s assume that you have put-in considerable amount of effort to send visitors to the merchant’s website. How will you know whether your visitors reached the merchant’s website? And when they reached, whether they bought the product(s)?
This process is called ‘tracking’. Tracking is normally done by the merchants either by installing their own ‘affiliate tracking software’ on their website or by subscribing to a company who provide ‘affiliate tracking services’.
There are few methods to track a sale (or action). The common method is to save a small file called a ‘cookie’ (with your ‘affiliate id’ in it), in the computer of the visitor. And from that time onwards, whatever action he/she takes (like registering or buying) is tracked and accordingly the agreed commission is credited to your account.
The ‘affiliate tracking companies’ (Affiliate Program Providers or APP’s) provide a common platform and help the merchants to find ‘qualified affiliates’ and the affiliates to find ‘honest merchants’.
To start promoting a merchant’s product(s), you need to register directly with a merchant, if they have their own software or with an ‘affiliate tracking company’. If you are registering with a tracking company, you can then find suitable products and merchants and then promote them.
When a desired (or agreed) action has taken place (a click or lead or sale), you will be credited the agreed amount and will be paid (by the tracking company or by the merchant if you registered directly with them) when you have accumulated the minimum payable amount (as agreed).