Most business owners are either somewhat familiar with affiliate marketing or only vaguely aware of it. As far as most of them are concerned, they don’t see how affiliate marketing could impact their seemingly non-related business. By ignoring affiliate marketing, they might just be making a huge mistake.
Thousands of extremely talented people become affiliate marketers each day. The ability to make a full-time income marketing someone else’s products that you don't have to stock or ship is as incredible as it gets.
There are many different online affiliate marketing networks out there. From the large but simplistic ones to the more CPA oriented networks such as Copeac, Neverblue, Commission Junction and others. There are literally hundreds of different networks that a wise business person, whether in offline or online business, should take into consideration. Many of the direct response media companies are seeing this now and aligning themselves with affiliate marketing networks via CPA deals for customer acquisition purposes.
So how does it all work? Actually, it is about as simple as it gets and it can be a huge time and cost saver for traditional offline or direct response companies. Rather than doing your own internal marketing, you can get an army of affiliate “soldiers” to do it for you. And guess what? They bear the risk. You will pay an upfront negotiated price for each lead or customer acquisition and not a cent more. These affiliates will then use their skills to find you customers at their own expense and sell them to you for the agreed upon price. All of this is handled through the affiliate marketing networks such as Commission Junction, for example. They are the middle man that connects you, the businessman, to the affiliate marketers.
There are different types of campaigns that you can consider. Primarily there are three types – leads, customers, CPS deals (cost per sale). Those are listed in the order of easiest to most complex. The leads only campaign is really simple. You pay for each lead generated and collect potential customers that you can market to from your in-house marketing systems. Customer campaigns can be a bit tricky and are generally frowned upon for ethical reasons. The most popular approach seems to be the “free trial” offer with a small shipping fee. The trick is that you also sign customers up for a monthly autoship program a as part of the offer, that, of course, they can cancel before the first shipment if they want to. The free trials attract a lot of people and many will remain customers. The last type of campaign is the CPS one, where the affiliates are essentially selling your full product in one fashion or another and are receiving either a flat rate or percentage-based commission for each transaction (it is not at all uncommon to reward affiliates who generate a lot of volume by increasing the percentage in question). This can also be very effective, but it is not as desirable or attractive to most affiliate marketing agencies because most affiliates prefer the more simplistic lead or “free trial” campaigns. Make sure to check the networks thoroughly before committing to one: playing it safe is always the smart thing to do.