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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Looking at How Affiliate Programs Work

Revenue-sharing programs are simple to set up and easy to run as a sideline to your existing Web site. No kidding: Earning money through an affiliate program boils down to five steps:

  1. Find a program that offers a product or service you like.
  2. Sign up online by completing the affiliate agreement.
  3. Place links to the program on your existing Web site.
  4. Actively promote the affiliate program through banners, newsletters, and other suggested online marketing tactics.
  5. Collect revenue.

On the surface, these steps are exactly what's required of you. Revving up the revenue stream takes a little more of your time and energy, of course. The amount of effort is minimal, though, compared to other online money-making strategies you might try.

Here are the secrets to building a lucrative affiliate-marketing program:

  • Find a good match. Think about your site's audience and the type of information they're looking for. Finding affiliate programs that offer products and services that appeal to your built-in customer base gives you a head start toward success. Similarly, if you plan to create a Web site around affiliate programs, match your marketing efforts to that prospective customer. If your site is marketed to business owners, an affiliate program for a toy store doesn't go over well with your customers. However, a site created to appeal to the demands of working mothers, or home-based working moms, is a much better fit with a toy store.
  • Drive traffic.

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