Companies always need ways to reach new customers. Some may buy expensive TV commercials, pay to have ads on websites or even hire someone to dance at intersections.
But many companies know that nothing beats a friend telling another friend about a product they love.
It’s this kind of person-to-person connection that helped a new marketing idea become popular. It’s called affiliate marketing.
Meet Shauna, who has a popular blog about books. Among her friends and fans, she is known for great book advice and has started looking for a way to earn money for all the time she spends on the site.
Recently she learned that her favorite online bookseller offers an affiliate program. By becoming an affiliate, she could earn money by promoting books on her site. Here’s how it works.
Once Shauna joins the program, she gets special links, or even graphics, to use whenever she writes about books online. These links are unique to her as an affiliate. If one of her readers buys the book using the affiliate link, Shauna earns a percentage of the purchase price.
Over time, these small payments can add up and she can earn money by simply writing about and linking-to her favorite books.
Before using affiliate links, she did research and learned about best practices. Her fans love her website because she’s honest and authentic. They trust her advice. Because she earns money from their purchases, she has the responsibility to be clear about her participation in the program. This could mean adding a disclosure to her site or labeling affiliate links differently. Her fans don’t mind - they just want to know.
Affiliate programs are popular because they give businesses a way to reach potential customers, through people like Shauna. And when an affiliate helps someone discover something new, they can earn a little money that helps support their passion.
Affiliate marketing can help individuals earn a living by promoting products and services they love online. But how the system works is complicated and comes with important best practices. It teaches:
• Why affiliate marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing
• How affiliate programs provide links and graphics to affiliates
• How affiliate links and graphics are used in promotions
• How revenue is shared when a website visitor buys from an affiliate link
• Why it is important to disclose affiliate program participation
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