Why Join Affiliate Programs?

The affiliate marketing programs are widely viewed as a profitable, win-win situation for both parties involved in this process. Affiliation is becoming an increasingly powerful online marketing tool, as more and more worldwide merchants are establishing affiliate programs.

Studies show that nearly half of these networks count several thousands affiliates each. Even if the amount of sales is rather far from equal to those made by means of sponsored links or e-mailing, affiliate marketing allows merchants to extend the presence of their brands on the Web, targeting especially those sites that are in direct relationship with their target. This is actually a very efficient strategy to attract prospective customers to their Web sites.

What Does It Mean to Become an Affiliate?

Launched and popularized by Amazon.com in 1996, affiliation is a partnership that brings benefits for both the merchant (the entity that creates the affiliation program) and the affiliate (Webmaster). The merchant is a company that sells one or more products and that proposes Webmasters to promote its products and gain a commission in exchange of their services.

Each merchant will propose a specific affiliation program that also contains detailed payment methods. The Webmaster that subscribes to this program becomes thus an affiliate. The affiliate marketers will have at their disposal elements of either visual or textual nature (text links, search boxes, banner links, product links, etc.), as well as, from time to time, product catalogs and feeds that can be installed on their sites.

The interest of a merchant is, according to the affiliation principle, to obtain an as widespread as possible network of affiliate Webmasters in order to get high-quality visibility and thus being able to sell its products. Affiliation is beneficial for both merchant and affiliate marketer.

How It Works?

In order to become an affiliate marketer, the first thing to do is search the Web for affiliate networks and join the one that suits you best (e.g Avangate Affiliates Program, Affiliate Program Directory).

To do that, there are some basic steps that must be followed:

  • Once you've found the affiliate network you wish to join, fill out an online application to become a member. You will be asked to provide some personal information (name, address, payment method) and information about your site (URL, name, description of content). You will also have to agree to a service agreement. Most affiliate networks are completely free for affiliates.
  • If the application is approved, you can choose the affiliate programs you find interesting. If the owners of these programs approve, the network will then guide you through the rest of the affiliation process, namely how to post links on your Web site.

You should be aware that it is highly probable you won't make a profit right away. Given that you will most likely to be paid according to the amount of clicks from your site that convert into sales on the program owner's site, earnings from affiliate marketing programs can be rather small at the beginning. Also, the amounts that you earn for every conversion will be pooled until you reach a minimum amount (usually some tens of dollars) that can then be paid to you.

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