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.
Understand why affiliate marketing is advantageous. Affiliate marketing is inexpensive. Not only is it free to join an affiliate program, but you also don’t have to deal with storing or shipping products or with providing customer support. Also, it is a source of passive income. You can be earning money even when you’re not working at your computer. Finally, it allows you to work from home.
SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.
The definitive advantage of affiliate marketing is the fact that it is a pretty easy industry to join, namely because there are no barriers to entry. It’s just the matter of your decision. All you have to do is to create an affiliate marketing website (but you can also become an affiliate marketer without a website), choose a compelling niche and finally a particular product or products (goods) that are relevant for you to market. Then you simply sign up for a selected affiliate marketing program, and you’re ready to start.
Since new customers are valuable, it makes sense to offer incentives to your affiliate partners to generate fresh traffic and new customers. You may already have new customer marketing incentives in place — perhaps a first purchase discount or another special offer. The same reason you offer those incentives is why you should pay affiliates more for generating new customers. No matter where the incentive is paid — i.e., to the customer or to the affiliate — the result is the same. You’re paying a bit extra to acquire that new customer because you know your ultimate payback is in the customer’s lifetime value.
This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.