Affiliate Marketing in Australia

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I started working with the affiliate marketing model about 4 years ago. Until then I had never even heard of it. When I was working at Carbonite.com.au, I was faced with the challenge of driving traffic to our website and was told that affiliate marketing could be a cheap and effective way to do this.

After several years of being on both sides of the affiliate marketing fence ie an advertiser and a publisher, I think I have a reasonable background to offer some advice.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your business, however you need to have an established brand first. This is important in first recruiting affiliates and secondly for affiliates to makes sales. Affiliate marketing is a channel strategy. It enables you to gain access to a range of websites and have your advertising banners displayed on them. Using cookie technology, when a website viewer clicks your advertisement, lands on your website and decides to leave their name or purchase a product, the cookie tracks the original click and attributes the sale or lead to the website owner or affiliate. For that sale or lead, the affiliate earns an agreed amount of commission.

As mentioned it is a channel strategy, just like getting your product stocked at a retail store. However, it is not about just getting into any store it is about getting listed with the right store. When it comes to website, the right website means a website with growing and relevant traffic. The traffic also needs to be willing to purchase by clicking a banner or text advertisement.

There are a couple of ways to get started with affiliate marketing. First of all you can look at an established network. This means an affiliate network with the software in place and with affiliates to which you can market your products. By selecting the right network, you can grow your affiliate list quickly and get exposure to lots of potential affiliates and their websites. The network can also advise on how to promote your program and what commissions to offer.

The other alternative is to go it alone. Purchase and install affiliate software such as Affiliate Pro and run your own program. This means you can control everything about the program as well as the costs. No network means no network fees, which will on average save you 25%.

The challenge however is that you then need to find ways to promote your program. This can be very challenging and potentially costly.

My advice would be to start with a network so that you can learn the rules and build some credibility. Once you have established some following and can prove that your products sell online, then you can consider going alone.

Has your business considered using affiliate marketing to build new customers?

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