Affiliate marketing is defined as a practice where a business rewards one or more of its affiliates for its selling efforts. This includes each patron or consumer that the respective affiliates bring in as well as each business deal closed independently. These rewards vary from company to company and may come in forms of cash or gifts.
With Affiliate marketing, the use of common advertising methods often comes into play. These include using search engines, mass emailing as well as the physical display of advertisements on the internet. Other less conventional methods such as blogging or publishing are also utilized by affiliates, though less frequent. Therefore we can say that Affiliate marketing intersects with online advertising in more ways than one.
The advantages of such a marketing practice supersedes its disadvantages. Because Affiliate marketing offers the merchant more opportunity for exposure and a wider client outreach, an increase in sales is a high possibility. The merchant’s job is simple – sourcing for the right websites as their affiliates. Both parties benefit with such a practice. The affiliate gains superfluous income through advertising for another without having to directly handle customers and the merchant reaches out to its targeted audience through another’s website. Let’s not forget that majority of affiliate marketing programs have no monetary risks involved and they are free for companies to join. Being free of cost also equals more affiliates willing to join, again another benefit for the affiliate that also works well for the merchants. Looking to another advantage, these merchants make it relatively laidback for their affiliates to gain that extra revenue through e-marketing. The merchant basically is responsible for most everything. From providing the materials required to market a product/service, to customer support and shipping – the only thing that remains for the affiliates to do is to actually promote their own website.
Drifting to its shortcomings, affiliate marketing does consist of high commission costs that the merchant might acquire. Selecting the right affiliates to help market your product/service is also crucial. Affiliates have to strive to direct traffic towards what needs to sell. Legitimate merchants and affiliates are plenty, but so are illegitimate ones. There are reports of merchants not paying commission and shutting down programs without their affiliates knowing. There are also affiliates that mislead audiences with false advertising. One other shortcoming is the financial unreliability of such marketing on the affiliates’ part. After all, such revenue is never unwavering with sales coming in randomly or periodically, making it an unfit source of primary income. There are of course gurus in this practice who source out numerous other affiliates of their own to successfully establish affiliate marketing as their main line of work, but better safe than sorry.
The leading benefit of affiliate marketing is the ability to earn money day and night without having to limit oneself to traditional business hours. This is made possible since the internet is almost always successively utilized by many around the world. Let’s not forget legitimate, dynamic and determined affiliates that maximise business and sales for merchants through vigorous and persistent advertising and promotion.
Hence, affiliates play an integral role in e-marketing strategies.