An affiliate program is a program made available by a merchant to promote their products or services in return for a commission on each sale. The affiliate or partner can join by filling a short personal form and meet the merchant’s requirements.
After you have joined, you will be given access to an interface from where you can get your affiliate links, which are encoded with your unique affiliate ID. Merchants make available different tools to help promote their products, text links, content links, static banners, animated banners, search forms, widgets and data-feed.
When a sale occurs, it is tracked by your affiliate link and also a cookie to credit you with the sale. Cookies are set from a session, one day or 120 days, which insure that you will be credited even if the sales is made after the first visit.
There is an affiliate program for everything that can be bought online. Some are independent and others with affiliate networks such as ShareAsale, LinkShare, Commission Junction and ClickBank. Products may be physical like kitchen appliances, shoes, jewelry or digital like ebooks, online education and software.
The commission percentage that you can make varies greatly from merchant to merchant. I can be as low as 3% per sale, mostly physical products; to 50-60% per sale for digital products; to an exceptional 100% for some digital products. Yes, 100% commission!
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There are different ways to make money online with an affiliate program:
The first way is to monetized an existing website which already has traffic. The products that you promote must be related with your website topic and your audience. If your site is about fashion and your audience mostly women between 25 and 35 years-old, it is obvious that you will do better promoting fashion accessories, bags, shoes than software…
The second way is to build affiliate or niche sites around certain products. This takes more time to get results as the new site must get ranked in search engines and promoted actively. Some affiliates have hundreds of these niche websites. This is a long term strategy.
The third way is blogging. You may create a blog with your own domain name on a specific topic that will promote related products and build its authority. This will take at least a hundred posts and lots of back-links to see results. This is a long term strategy. A faster way is to use an already existing viral blogging platform, which rank high in search engines and Alexa. Immediately, your first posts will rank faster and higher because of the authority of the site you are on.
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The last way is to promote a squeeze page, a page that contains a header, sub header, bullet points and a form to collect names and email addresses. The squeeze page offers some kind of bribe, like a free ebook, report or video in exchange of people’s info. This bribe has to be valuable.
The data is collected in an email program with which you can send auto-responder or broadcast messages to promote the affiliate products. This work very well with digital products and the Internet Marketing niche.
I hope this helps.