Most people are aware of online marketing, but what is affiliate marketing? Essentially, it is an Internet marketing practice where a business rewards an affiliate for sending customers to the company's website to make a purchase. The affiliate is given a commission for each sale made.
Today, there are more affiliate marketers doing business online then any other type of marketing. This practice takes a load off the businesses when other independent contractors can do the marketing of their products for them. It is a win-win situation for the affiliate and for the business.

Q. What is affiliate marketing, in terms of a program?

A. There are several different affiliate programs that businesses will use, depending on the type of products or services that they might offer the public. Some of the compensation plans that are offered within affiliate programs are straight commission for each sale made. This type of affiliate program is most popularly used. Other affiliate programs will offer commission structures for sales and bonus commissions for customer referrals to the company's sites. Multi-level businesses will offer compensation plans that are much more detailed in nature. MLM compensation plans should be looked over carefully.

Q. What are the affiliate marketing commission plans for referrals?

A. Often times, certain businesses will offer affiliate programs that pay for referring target traffic to their websites. They are looking for qualified customers to sell high-end products or services. Some of these companies would be, but are not limited to, Insurance companies, Brokerage companies, the auto industry, the airplane industry, travel resorts, mobile home companies, etc. Affiliate referral programs can be extremely lucrative. As a rule, these types of programs are not available for just anyone to affiliate with. Quite often, these companies want experienced affiliate marketers that have a previous background in their industries.

Q. What is affiliate marketing doing in the multi-level marketing business?

A. There are many MLM companies doing business online that offer affiliate marketing programs that are open for almost anyone to join. Remember, affiliate marketing is to affiliate with a company and sell their products for a commission. This is exactly what many independent distributors do with multi-level businesses. The network marketer usually falls under the term "affiliate marketer", also.
In many cases, they do not own any of the product lines that they sell to others. The network marketer is an affiliate marketer that makes most of his or her income by recruiting other independent distributors into their downline operations.

Q. In terms of Internet marketing techniques, what is affiliate marketing using to create sales?

A. Sales are the end result where the affiliate makes commissions. Before that goal is realized, affiliates must generate a lot of target traffic to either their own promotional website or to the company's promotional page. Generating traffic is where Internet marketing methods get a work out.
Many affiliate marketers will use a variety of marketing techniques to generate streams of quality traffic to the promo site. Article marketing, Pay-per-click programs, forum marketing and social site marketing at places like MySpace and Facebook. There is no single method that successful affiliate marketers will use to get traffic.

Q. What are the affiliate marketing budget constraints on a new affiliate who has never marketed before?

A. The beautiful thing about affiliate marketing is that you can actually join an affiliate program with a company for free. You can even begin generating traffic to the company's promo site for free by using article marketing techniques and other "bum" marketing methods.
These free methods of generating traffic are easy enough to learn how to do, but they do require a lot of dedication and work. You are basically learning about affiliate marketing as you go. There are many free resources online about affiliate marketing. Many individuals start marketing part-time until they begin making some hard cash.

Q. What is affiliate marketing url coding all about?

A. As an example, you join a company's affiliate program to sell their ebook called "How To Date Beautiful Women in 10 Days". You read this ebook and found that it worked for you. So now you are very motivated to make a lot of sales.
After you have read the company's training manual "What Is Affiliate Marketing Really All About?", they give you a unique piece of code that is part of the company's promo page's url. Every time that someone clicks on this linking code and arrives at the promo site to buy the ebook, you get a commission from the company. They track your hits with this coded url. The code is specific to you.

This should cover a few important points and help to answer your question: "what is affiliate marketing?". It can be a very competitive but lucrative business to get into. The successful affiliates are the ones that create a business plan of attack, then stay on course.
Selling affiliate products is a great way to make a ton of money! A lot of internet marketers do nothing but sell affiliate products, and get rich doing it. You can to. It's not all that hard. It just takes a willingness to learn the ropes and experiment.
Affiliate marketing is basically commission based selling. You create a website, drive traffic to it, and when someone clicks through it to an affiliate merchant's site and actually buys something, you get paid!
What a deal!
Where do you find affiliate products?

From affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Kolimbo, Hydranet, Clickbank and others. There are literally hundreds of these out there.

My main goal with affiliate marketing is to create what I call online, automated money machines. I do this buy building websites, using what I know about internet marketing to build up traffic, and then monetizing the site with affiliate products.
It takes some work to get this going, but the beauty of the system is once you do, you can just forget these sites and they just keep churning out money month after month-with virtually no upkeep.

In order to understand this more, let's talk about how to use your website to sell.
Why would someone come to your site and click through it to an affiliate merchant's page and buy something? Well, you might just be at the right place at the right time, and just get lucky. But we're not going to depend on that. What you really want the content on your site to do is to be of real value to your visitor in their buying decision.
Let's say you have a niche website about organic dog foods. In addition to having page after page of product descriptions, you would want to have more in depth discussions of the various dog foods offered--their pros and cons. This way you help your visitor make sense out of a potentially confusing marketplace. You become a trusted ally, instead of just a funnel to the merchant's site.

This is called pre-selling, and this is what a lot of content on the Internet is all about.
Your pre-selling does two things. One, it gets your visitors to get comfortable enough with you to follow your recommendations-i. e. buy your affiliate products. Two, it creates content that attracts Google searches.
This type of content, the kind that ranks well for Google searches is what search engine optimization (SEO, for short) is all about. Create enough pages of this stuff and you have a built in source of traffic for life!