Monthly Archives: October 2010

Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Affiliate Marketing Terms (Post 3 of 5)

Affiliate Marketing Terms

Part of educating yourself about any marketing medium is understanding the jargon.  It is easy to get caught up in alphabet soup.  It will be difficult to select the proper mediums for your marketing strategy if you do not have some level of understanding about the medium. Education is part of the puzzle. Listed below are several terms related to affiliate marketing.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it will give you the basics. As always consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. Source: Wikipedia

A publisher, also known as an affiliate or reseller, is an independent party that promotes products and services of an advertiser in exchange for a commission on leads or sales. A publisher displays an advertiser’s ads, text links, or product links on their Web site, in e-mail campaigns, or in search listings. The publisher is paid a commission by the respective advertiser when a visitor takes a specific action such as filling out a form, subscribing to a service (both lead examples) or making a purchase (a sale).

An advertiser, also known as a merchant or retailer, is a Web site or company that sells a product or service online, accepts payments and fulfills orders. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their products and services. Publishers place advertisers’ ads, text links, or product links on their Web sites or include them in e-mail campaigns and search listings in exchange for commissions on leads or sales.

Performance-based Marketing
Paying for actions taken by a consumer as they occur on the Internet, rather than paying up front for advertising space. Any type of revenue sharing program where a publisher receives a commission for generating a lead or sale for an advertiser.

Commission Payout
A commission payout is an amount of income received by a publisher for some quantifiable action such as selling an advertiser’s product and/or service on the publisher’s Web site.

Click-through (also called click)
A click-through refers to the action a consumer takes when they are referred from one Web site through a link or advertisement and is taken to another Web site. Click-through ratio is the percentage of clicks for the number of advertising impressions displayed.

CPA (cost per action)
CPA is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every action that is taken by a user.

CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
CPM is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every thousand impressions.

An impression is the viewing of an advertising banner, link, or product on the Internet.

Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. The action that determines conversion is determined by the advertiser and may be a sale on the advertiser’s Web site, a completed lead form, or another action.


Source: All terms unless specified were taken directly from Commission Junction one of the four large players in the Affiliate marketing space (more on CJ on Day 4).

Affiliate Marketing Programs Basics: Is affiliate marketing appropriate for my business? (Post 2 of 5)

Affiliate Program – Yes or No?

Properly planned and managed affiliate programs can become an additional revenue stream for your business. If you read this blog you know that I believe proper planning is a key element to a success strategy. 

Before you dive into an affiliate marketing program it is important to make sure you are educated on the basics.  Failure to fully assess which advertising mediums are best for your company will cause your entire marketing plan to not make the grade. Depending on the type of product you sell, an affiliate program may be an excellent idea or it may be a terrible one. As part of your planning process make sure you know where you fall on this continuum.

Is an affiliate program right for my company?

Affiliate programs can be successful for a wide range of advertisers. Consider an affiliate program if you offer…

  1. Product or services that have broad appeal
    1. Find a network with a large, mass audience
      1. hint: start with a few select targets – go too broad & it is more difficult to manage
  2. Specialized or niche products or services
    1. Find a specialized network geared for your niche market
  3. Business to business products or services
    1. You can build a successful program with an affiliate provider that has a strong B2B network

If you are still uncertain whether an affiliate program is right for our organization contact your marketing coach. Feel free to drop me a line for general questions. I may blog about your questions.

The next blog will unpack some of the terms used in affiliate marketing.


Note: Companies that produce or sell raw/unfinished materials or extremely high-ticket items may not be the best candidates for an affiliate program.

Affiliate Marketing Programs Basics: Affiliate Marketing Defined (Post 1 of 5)

As a small business owner there are more online marketing options available than one can keep up with. Not every marketing channel is appropriate for every company.

An affiliate marketing program may provide an additional revenue stream for your business – if it is the right fit.

What is an affiliate marketing program?  

(Also called Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, Performance Marketing, Partner Marketing, CPA, or Associate Program) In an affiliate marketing program, a publisher receives a commission for generating a transaction, such as a lead or sale, for an advertiser that the publisher is promoting. The advertiser provides its ads to publishers and assigns a commission for each action it wants to accomplish. Publishers place the tracking code for these ads on their Web sites, in their email campaigns, or in search listings. Whenever a visitor uses these links to generate an action on the advertiser site, that transaction is tracked online. If a product or service is purchased, the customer pays the advertiser directly, and the publisher is paid a commission for that transaction.
Source: Commission Junction

Many affiliate program providers have a self-managed option or the program can be totally managed for you. If you have a marketing coach or a marketing person on staff I would recommend the self-managed option.  You will pay a premium for the managed version, however if you do not have the right person who can devote the necessary time to building your program then the managed version would be worthwhile.

Why would I want an affiliate program?

Properly planned and managed affiliate programs can become an additional revenue stream for your business. Success metrics for affiliate programs are easy to establish and measure. Since affiliate programs can directly generate revenue measuring ROI becomes easier.

Educate Yourself

If you think your company could benefit from an affiliate program it is important to fully educate yourself before making this decision.  Being educated about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of affiliate marketing is a key element to a successful program. As with many forms of online marketing and advertising set up can be a daunting task. Once the program is set-up strong, regular maintenance is required however; it will not be as intense as the initial set up process can be. Make sure you have done the necessary research and understand affiliate marketing before starting the actually process.  I learned from experience this will save you time. If you have someone in mind you can run your affiliate program for you, make sure they have experience or are going through the education process with you.


5-Part Blog Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

To coach you along and help in your education process there will be four more posts related to Affiliate Marketing.  I hope you will read them all and then consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing Program Basics
  • Post 1 – Affiliate Marketing Defined
  • Post 2 – Is affiliate marketing appropriate for my business?
  • Post 3 – Affiliate marketing terms
  • Post 4 – Choosing an Affiliate Program network
  • Post 5 – Self-managed vs. Managed program

Helping you get affiliated…


I love that product!

I got 20 of my friends to buy from you and told 20 more about your company…

Every small business owner would love to hear words like this.  A key element to increasing brand awareness is through word of mouth (WOM).  An excellent way to perpetuate word of mouth from a ground-up effort is through brand ambassadors or brand advocates.

What is that, you ask? A brand ambassador is a person is very knowledgeable about the brand, promotes it regularly and publicly in a positive way.  Many large corporations hire brand ambassadors to promote their products or brand. This however is not what I am talking about. Small business owners are not going to hire brand ambassadors, nor should they.

You have brand ambassadors among your customers, clients and staff. Whether your company sells consumer products or services (B2C) or to other companies (B2B) you may already have natural brand ambassadors. You are looking for people who are already passionate about your product.

Where do I look? Potential brand ambassadors could be:

  • The person who buys from you every week
  • That person who can’t stop talking about how good your customer service is
  • That person who has sent you three clients in the last month
  • That person who was significantly impacted by your product or service

These are your brand ambassadors. They are already loyal to your brand.  The challenge is finding ways to help them use their voice to convey their passion for your brand. 

Here are some ideas of how to motivate them to talk about their passion for your brand. Obviously not every tactic will work for your company but hopefully this will get the creative juices flowing.

  • Give them free product for themselves
  • Give them free product to share with their friends
  • Send them several branded t-shirts or other promotional items
  • Create a customer input panel on a specific topic
    • This will allow your most loyal customers to be part of the company
  • Print them brand advocate business cards they can hand out to their friends – inlcude a special discount available only through your ambassadors
  • Allow a select few to be guest bloggers on your corporate blog

Successful small business owners recognize win/win relationships. Creating a formal or informal brand ambassador program can help to significantly increase brand awareness.  As always if you need help in creating a brand ambassador program contact your marketing coach for help.

Remaining passionate…


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