You sign up for a gym membership. You’ve never really used the service but you’ve decided to join anyway. Once you’ve signed up, you are presented with the option of referring new guests and receiving a commission or compensation in return. You begin to use the service and notice the positive difference in their resources, so you decide to start telling people about it. Before you know, your gym membership is practically free, and not only have you become an advocate for the brand, you’re involved with the growth of their business as well.
The online function of affiliate marketing is no different, and it has quickly become an excellent method for making money online. It takes brand advocacy and two-way symmetrical communication between a company and its publics to an entirely new and more rewarding level. It’s a about time the middleman made a profit.
“Affiliate Marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. It is an application of crowd-sourcing…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_marketing 2009-10-01).
This strategy helps all parties involved grow through various internet marketing methods. For example, it can be as simple placing an affiliate link or banner on your website, it can even encompass forms of search engine optimization and e-mail marketing, and an even more interactive relationship would be to provide links or published articles about your affiliate partner’s products and services. The level of participation is in the hands of the affiliate, ultimately because they are the ones controlling the amount of traffic generated to the initial brand or seller.It’s an extremely effective way of generating money online and leveraging your own business’ online presence.
Firstly, I would examine both the level of commitment you’re willing to put forward as well the connection between your brand and the host’s brand. For example, you’re a flash developer who designs websites for clients. All you do is create the content and make the site work; now your client must go elsewhere to have the site hosted. If you were to become an affiliate of a web hosting service then you would be maximizing your own online business’ potential by receiving a commission for click-throughs or referrals. There is a direct connection between what a flash developer and a web host offers, and by utilizing affiliate marketing techniques you have strategically anticipated a way of keeping your client in connection with your brand. Each company builds off the other making all future transactions happen within a system or cycle of brands.
A second factor you should take into consideration is that it might be difficult to sell your clients on all the original seller’s services if you yourself are not fully engaged as well. Your client is going to want reassurance that if you are affiliating yourself with the host company, you too are benefitting from their services. For example, SoftCom Inc. is technology consulting company and parent company of myhosting.com and mail2web.com. Both of these companies have a tremendous amount of products and resources which could synchronize with the functions of your very own online business. In this instance, products like web hosting packages, email hosting and Exchange with mobile access, domain registration, and e-commerce capabilities all work congruently with the hypothetical Flash Developer or Production Company, etc. You create the content and design for your client and make a profit. You affiliate yourself with a web hosting company like myhosting.com, utilize their functions and create an even greater profit. If your client is satisfied with the service themselves they could also do the same and increase their profit. The more expansive the needs of your clients, the greater the potential is for you to make money from affiliate marketing. The myhosting.com affiliate program is completely free and it provides you with all the necessary tools to get started like banner links, website placement, and email distribution. Even more useful is the range of affiliate services they offer which ensures that you are not limited to only one type of affiliate sponsorship.
Affiliate marketing is brand advocacy and relationship marketing at its most productive. If you the affiliate have a great online product and feel that your reputation could garner a profit by affiliating yourself with another brand’s services, I say go for it. It’s the middleman function of online marketing which has great potential and very few drawbacks. The most important thing to remember is that in order to be successful and make a profit from this web marketing strategy your company and your affiliate company‘s ability to produce a quality product must be at the forefront of how you manage and market the relationship.