One of the pros of affiliate marketing is the low cost. Use a free or “freemium” email marketing tool such as MailChimp to allow you to build an email list and send out newsletters or offers. When looking to understand the quality of your affiliate partners, use a social media monitoring tool like Mention to track what their customers say about them. There are also free surveys or website pop-up tools to understand what kind of content your audience would be interested in. Lastly, you can track and analyze how your affiliate marketing initiatives compare to other types of advertising on your site with tools like Google AdWords.
What kind of commission do they offer? One-time commissions or recurring commissions? For example, many programs pay you one time for sending a customer. On the other hand, some programs like membership sites or SaaS (software as a service) programs will pay you a commission as long as the person you referred is a paying customer. Recurring commissions are great when you can find them!
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
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If, today, you wake up and think of having a passive income through an affiliate channel, the first and most important step is to identify the area, domain, category and industry with which you can relate yourself to the most for being an affiliate. When I say relate, it means you firmly believe you have an at least minor inclination of interest and experience toward what you are getting into. There is another way as well. For those who are driven by just the motivation of earning loads of money, start by researching an area, domain, category and industry that is highly dependent on affiliates or having an extremely high rate of commission. Once done, the individual or company can narrow down based on his research. Why is this important?
Coupon sites usually don’t drive new traffic. They don’t even help convert site visitors into customers. Instead, what happens is your site visitor has already decided they want to purchase but is looking for a discount on the Internet. When they Google, regardless of whether you have a working coupon out or not, sites like RetailMeNot will show up (they even show up when you are not paying them to be an affiliate). Once your user clicks on them, their cookie gets placed and the sale gets attributed to them. That means you’ll have to pay your affiliates commission for a sale that would have happened anyway without their involvement.
High ranking metrics will result in getting your site on the top position of several charts such as Top Alexa sites, Top WOT sites and so more. People usually go through these lists to discover new sites and hence you will be getting referral traffic as well. Who knows? Some of those traffic may be your next big client or loyal reader of your blog.