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Affiliates programs are marketing programs in which individuals who have some connection with a given product or service use various strategies to promote those products. In exchange for those promotional efforts, the affiliate receives some type of return for each action that results in some type of benefit to the owner of those products. While the process can be used in just about any setting, affiliates programs are most popular on the Internet, and often involve the careful placement of banner ads, text ads, and even links on different web sites.
Affiliate marketing has a goal of creating an ongoing network of partners who use various means to promote goods and services offered by a given company. Many online affiliates programs call for the partners to allow advertising to be placed on their personal or commercial web sites. The ads may be in the form of simple text ads that are relevant to the content on the page, or appear as banner ads. In some cases, the process may also involved including links within the content found on a web page. When a visitor to the page chooses to click on a link or an ad, they are redirected to more information about the products and also instructions on how to order those products.
In exchange for allowing the ads and links to appear on the web pages, affiliates programs offer some type of compensation to the affiliate partners. The compensation is connected to specific actions taken by visitors to the site. One approach is known as PPC or paid per click. In this scenario, the partner earns a small amount each time a visitor clicks on a link or ad. A slightly different strategy involves what is known as pay per action or PPA. With this approach, the visitor must follow through with specific activities in order for the partner to receive any earnings. An example of the latter strategy would be situations in which a site visitor is attracted to a link, clicks on the link, and subsequently purchases a good or service after reviewing the product data that he or she is redirected to.
Affiliates programs can be lucrative for everyone concerned. Companies have the benefit of relatively inexpensive sales and marketing promotions that do not cost anything in terms of salaries or benefits for the sale force, which helps to keep overhead costs low. At the same time, this revenue sharing approach can allow a savvy Internet marketer to promote a wide range of products and generate a steady flow of income, provided the ads and links are placed strategically, and actually reach the targeted consumers.