There’s probably no easier way to make money from your small business website than by participating in an affiliate (also known as affinity) marketing program. Your website doesn’t even need to be an ecommerce site to benefit from affiliate marketing. What you’re doing is driving traffic to another website and getting paid for doing so. Sound simple enough? Here’s some additional more information to help you make sense of how affiliate marketing works.
There are four participants in the affiliate marketing relationship:
- The business selling the service or product;
- The company that manages the affiliate relationship (the “affiliate network”);
- The publisher of the ad (the “affiliate”); and
- The consumer who clicks on the affiliate ad and makes a purchase.
If a visitor to your website clicks through an affiliate ad to the other website and makes a purchase, you get a commission (and so does the affiliate network). Two of the best-known affiliate networks are Commission Junction and LinkShare; however, to avoid the larger fees bigger networks charge to handle tracking and payments, you can also use smaller affiliate networks like ShareASale. Amazon also has an Amazon Affiliate program where you can link to products on Amazon’s website and get a percentage of the sale.
But just placing affiliate marketing ads isn’t enough to solve all your website problems. Quality content is important to drive traffic to your site (and to your affiliate ads). If you have tons of affiliate ads, but don’t have quality content, the Google search engines spiders will penalize your site in search result rankings. To make your affiliate marketing program work, be sure you continue to provide new information, valuable resources and quality content for your visitors.