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Affiliate Marketing Basics for Small Business

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What is Affiliate Marketing?

If you are into social networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube LinkedIn or MySpace, you probably have been inundated by low level affiliate marketers trying to hock ways to make a bazillion dollars or get a zillion Twitter followers.  If so, you been exposed (albeit badly) to affiliate marketing.  Affiliate marketing is simply a way to sell your products or services through intermediaries, or sell other people’s products through your website, blog or mailing list.

Start Networking with other Affiliate Marketers

When are you new to affiliate marketing, the landscape can be overwhelming to navigate.  As with most endeavors, networking and finding good mentors is a great place to start.   Affiliate marketing trades hows and conferences are great to learn and network.  I try to go to at least 3-5 per year.   In the affiliate marketing space, I would highly recommend that you attend the Affiliate Summit.  There you can learn all the ins and outs of affiliate marketing from the pros and veterans in the business.

Seek Out Great Affiliate Marketing Mentors

Getting great mentors is also highly advised.  Two of my good mentors have been Joel Comm, of  InfosysMedia,  and Marty Dickinson of Here Next Year.

Affiliate Networks and Independent Affiliate Merchants

Affiliate Networks are large companies that handle the complex data and commission tracking.  These companies has sales reps that get you setup as either a merchant or as a publisher.  There are currently over a 100 such Affiliate networks as Share A Sale, LinkShare, PepperjamNetwork, ClickBank, and Amazon. You can contact these networks through their websites or meetup these affiliate networks are trade shows like the Affiliate Summit.

If you are looking to make money from small or very niche sites, you can set up accounts directly with merchants themselves. Many companies are embracing affiliate marketing and setting up their own networks.  Just look at the bottom of most websites you go to and look for a link that says something like  “affiliates” or “affiliate program.” There, you can register and take part in their program.

For instance, there’s a great Twitter management service called Tweetlater.com.   They have an affiliate progream where you can resell their services.  Even our favorite website hosting company, Hostrail.com has an affiliate program that you can plug right into.  My friend Rich Bryda has done very will with his BruteForceTwitter affiliate Program as well.  The possibilities are pretty much endless!

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