Affiliate marketing can be a very effective way to earn income online without carrying inventory yourself, but you need to stay on top of the latest developments in the industry to successfully capitalize on your affiliate relationships. The text links and banners that were once the mainstay of affiliate marketers are giving way to more creative ways to generate revenue. Affiliates are making use of blogs, social networks, email lists, pay per clicks, search engine campaigns – every kind of online marketing channel available – to get their message out.
Joining the Game
If you’re just coming into affiliate marketing, there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed by all the changes. There are actually many simple options for getting started. The most prevalent way may be to join a revenue sharing program, like Amazon, where you refer a sale for a percent of the commission. Or, if you have your own web site, you might use a program like Google AdSense to run pay per click ads for products or services that correspond to (but don’t compete with) your own offerings. Every time one of your customers click on an ad, you receive a flat fee. Pay per lead is another popular model: you get paid for every marketable lead you provide to a company.
Performance Marketing Developments
As affiliates increasingly utilize web services, data feeds, and video, the industry is taking a huge step forward, a trend sometimes referred to as affiliate 2.0. Like web 2.0, the new industry focus is on employing user-generated content and innovative marketing techniques.
“One of the biggest current trends in affiliate marketing is mobile phone marketing,” states Shawn Collins, co-founder of http://AffiliateSummit.com. “Marketers are finding new ways to monetize this channel.” Some, for example, are sending text messages to opt-in users. The texts provide useful information, but also include sales links. As Collins points out, everyone wins – consumers receive the tips or updates they want, and marketers get the chance to promote their products and services.
Another rapidly growing affiliate trend is video marketing. Numerous web services are popping up to meet the needs of performance marketers. The following are just a few examples of web sites that enable various methods of video advertising:
• Videos hosted by Revver or embedded by Revver users include semi-transparent advertisements.
• http://Magnify.net allows you to create a video channel with integrated advertising from Google and Revver.
• YouTube offers a video unit through Google AdSense with contextual ads built into it.
Putting It Into Practice
As you become comfortable advertising for others, you can easily begin implementing some of these new promotional techniques. Who your target market is will determine which methods you’ll have the most success with – talk to your merchants, try different things, and find what works best for you. Encourages Collins, “Merchants and affiliates are going to continue finding inventive and original ways to market their products with different user sites and tools. The limit to affiliate marketing potential is really your own imagination.”