First, let’s define the terms, Affiliate Marketing, Referral Marketing and Network Marketing because there is a difference. Sometimes Network Marketers use the term Affiliate Marketing to describe their program and that isn’t correct.
Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity, resulting in the emergence of a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with Referral Marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales.
Referral Marketing is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies. Referral marketing is a structured and systematic process to maximize word of mouth potential. Referral marketing does this by encouraging, informing, promoting and rewarding customers and contacts to think and talk as much as possible about their supplier, their company, product and service and the value and benefit the supplier brings to them and people they know.
Network Marketing, also known as Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, and can provide multiple levels of compensation. Other terms for MLM include pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing
Affiliate Marketing from Home
There are a ton of Affiliate Programs to join. Some retailers, like Amazon, Apple and others have their own program and others use an intermediary like Share A Sales, ClickBank and others. You can also choose an Affiliate Network where you can choose from a lot of different affiliates to promote.
Affiliate Networks give you the most flexibility. You join and get approval to join the network. They provide the code for your banners, text links and ads. Say you write a blog, you can put one tall ad for an affiliate from the network in the sidebar, a banner ad from a different affiliate at the top and/or bottom and even put other different-sized ads within your blog posts. You simply choose the affiliates you want to promote, choose the ads you want to display, copy and paste the code where you want it to appear.
Those that have their own Affiliate Programs also provide you with approved ads and the code to insert into your blog or website. Both also provide you with code to add to your emails so you can promote them every time you send an email. If you have a Newsletter, you can add them to that as well.
Network Marketing from Home
As with Affiliate Programs, you promote another’s products, but you also recruit people into the program to do the same. The people you recruit become your downline and you get commissions when they make sales as well. Some of the earliest of these were offline. Amway, Mary Kay Cosmetics and others have been around for years. The Internet has facilitated an explosion of programs you can join.
As always, do your homework and make sure the program you’re about to join, especially if it costs money, is legitimate. Finding the right program at the right time is the key and can mean making a lot of money very fast. However, you’ll still have to work at it. Be leery of any program that says you don’t have to do any work.
This applies to Affiliate marketing and Network Marketing as well. It actually refers to a marketing model that’s good for any business on or offline. Word of Mouth Advertising is important. When customers come to you because someone they know or associate with referred them are the most loyal customers you can get. Online, using Social Networking to promote your home business is essential to your success. Be truthful with people and only recommend something you really believe in. Your reputation is extremely important.
In future posts I’ll go into more detail and even give some recommendations of programs I’ve had success with and as always, your questions are welcome.