If you are starting from scratch with a brand new product, you may have to guess at what the marketing cost per customer should be. For an established product, you can take historical data and arrive at acceptable marketing costs for each acquired customer. Either way the total cost of marketing involved in the acquisition of a single customer is the sum of all marketing dollars spent acquiring the customer.
If you actually use the product and get results with it, then sharing a case study or your personal experience can be one of the most effective ways of selling those products to your audience. As you build a more responsive list of email subscribers and buyers and your reputation, merchants may offer you “free” samples of e-books or other products.
The pay-per-sale and pay-per-click structures should be pretty obvious. Under a pay-per-lead arrangement, affiliates can get paid even if the merchant doesn’t generate any revenue. In most cases, this would involve earning a commission when a referral starts a free trial to a service. Even if they never pay for that service after the trial expires, the commission is earned.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network. New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.