While there are currently tens of millions of blogs worldwide, close to 60 million powered by WordPress alone, many bloggers are not yet monetizing their sites. If you're one of these bloggers, a good place to start is with affiliate marketing: directing readers to a product or service in exchange for a commission on the sale (or other action) when it occurs.
In an ideal world, your affiliates would know immediately whether the lead they delivered was valid or not. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Depending on your end goal for your lead, the process may take minutes or months to complete.For example, your goal may be to build an email database, which typically requires a lead to fill out a simple form. On the other hand, your goal might be to have the lead purchase a service, which may take months for the sale to close. Either way, transparently communicating with your affiliates about how often and when lead quality will be evaluated is crucial to growing a strong relationship with your partners.Also, be sure to set clear expectations with your partners defining what a quality lead looks like so they can send the highest quality lead volume your way.
Ever since I first stumbled across the Elite Marketing Pro launch just about a year ago, I’ve completely loved the system. The amount of value that it has to offer in the form of educational marketing material without taking into account the income opportunity is insane. Everything from traffic generation to sales funnel creation to attraction marketing is covered in the training offered through What’s Working Now, and the products you get access to as a member.
Several years into starting the company, we decided to take a step back, because, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the whole life cycle development projects of when you're developing a website and then a web based application, it's a lot of work and it's a lot of interaction, a lot of back and forth that you have to have with the customers, and at that time it was really early in the days of the internet and a lot of businesses didn't really understand what it took to put these types of web applications together and were trying to nickel and dime us around every corner.
The notion that affiliate marketing is only for gigantic websites with millions of unique visitors is a thing of the past. In the affiliate model, you can receive commission in a pay-per-lead model, but the pay-per-conversion model is much more common. With that said, there is very little risk to the merchant. If there are no conversions, they don’t pay (other than any monthly membership fees charged by the affiliate network).
Many affiliate offers allow you to promote them via email marketing, to your list of prospects. Sometimes this involves using their approved email creative, but other times you have free reigns to create something unique and eye-catching. Split testing, as well as learning from the results of each campaign, will help you refine your approach and increase the leads you generate.
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.
Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, SEO, web development, and selling online courses, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about building your online influence by scaling your content and affiliate marketing strategies on his blog.
Take the email below from Paperless Post, for example. I love the header of this email: It provides a clear CTA that includes a sense of urgency. Then, the subheader asks a question that forces recipients to think to themselves, "Wait, when is Mother's Day again? Did I buy Mom a card?" Below this copy, the simple grid design is both easy to scan and quite visually appealing. Each card picture is a CTA in and of itself -- click on any one of them, and you'll be taken to a purchase page. 
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