Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience.
Upselling is a sales technique where the salesperson encourages a more expensive purchase by a customer by persuading them to get an upgraded version of an item or to purchase add-ons. Remember our food processor example? That food processor could probably be best used with a book of recipes, which also can be purchased at the same company’s website.
Affiliate networks play an important role in the relationship between affiliates and merchants. They are the meeting point, which is why most affiliates and merchants will be a member of at least one of them. This chapter focuses on what affiliate networks are and how they work, with the process being explained for both affiliates and merchants. The chapter concludes with five popular affiliate networks in the industry at this moment with most prominent features and benefits highlighted for each of them.
Next, I’m going to walk you through the information that’s in this box, because this is a lot of information in this little box and it can get overwhelming if you don’t know what all these terms mean. The first thing you want to pay attention to is the average amount of money per sale. This is not how much the product costs; this is how much an affiliate makes on average for one sale of that product. When you look at the stats line, this basically drills that down into a little bit more detail. The initial sale is $20.65. Why does this go all the way up to $26.80? That’s because there’s a re-bill feature. What that is, is basically they buy the product, and then there’s an add-on or another option for that person to sign up to some membership site, and that’s how much they make on average from the re-bill. If you average everything together, this is how much the affiliate makes with everything considered.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives. Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.