Affiliate marketing can be a great opportunity for merchants like you, since it’s a pay-per-sale form of advertising, you only pay once you see results.

An affiliate program rewards the affiliates a percentage of each sale. The merchant usually doesn’t interact directly with the advertiser, instead both sides are linked by an affiliate network. So the network takes away from the merchant all the responsibility of managing the affiliates, tracking the sales and rewarding affiliates.

What’s the advantage to using an affiliate program?

An affiliate program can be a great way to drive sales regularly to your store, without you having to worry about marketing your business. Above all, you will only pay a commission once a sale is made, so guaranteed results.

What’s the disadvantage to using an affiliate program?

The biggest concern is if you can afford to cut a 5%-10% commission from your net profit for the affiliate marketer, not including additional fees to the affiliate network.

If you’re profit margin allows you that, great. But you need to make sure this is a profitable venue for your store.

How do you get started with affiliate marketing?

Your first step is to choose an affiliate network you can work with. Some of the big affiliate networks available today are ShareASale, CommissionJunction and LinkShare.

These big networks do require you place a deposit and pay a set up fee when signing up, so it’s important you take these additional costs into account when deciding if it’s the right choice for you.

Next, you will need to create advertising materials such as banner ads that your affiliates can use in promoting your store.

After setting up the program, it will be run by the affiliate network and you won’t need to worry about day to day maintenance.

Affiliate marketing is used by many brands and can deliver amazing results, but before you jump into it calculate your return on your investment and make sure you will remain profitable.

Next, read how you can get more buyers using referrals >>