Affiliate marketing is a web-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Affiliate marketing is also the name of the industry where a number of different companies and individuals are performing this form of internet marketing.

This includes affiliate networks, affiliate management companies and in-house affiliate managers, specialized 3rd party vendors, and various types of affiliates or publishers who promote the products and services of their partners. Affiliate marketing is driven by entrepreneurs who are working at the forefront of internet marketing.

Affiliate marketing is supposed to be about long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships between product owners and affiliates. It’s a fun and exciting home business that you can run from your personal computer or laptop. Affiliate Marketing is basically a revenue sharing venture between a website owner and an online merchant and is considered one of the best ways to earn money online.

Affiliate marketing is often called; performance based marketing, because you don’t pay the advertiser or product promoter until they sell something. Affiliate marketing is a solid and very effective web marketing tool and appears to be, at the moment, an industry dominated by top performing super affiliates.

Marketing material is provided by most of the product owners or companies but promoting a particular product can be a challenge if you are new to internet marketing and don’t have the proper guidance.

Most Affiliates engage in a variety of internet marketing tactics but one of the most popular seems to be Banner Advertising. Affiliates place the ads of companies on their websites and place a tracking code for these ads into their HTML code. This allows Affiliates to track how many visitors actually clicked on the banner to visit the company’s website.

Many Affiliates fail for numerous reasons but there are several that seem to stand out. First of all many of them don’t realize how much work is involved in marketing a product or service online. They go into the program thinking if they build it they will come.

Unfortunately that only worked for “The Field of Dreams” which is where some of them seem to be residing. After you’ve built your website then the real fun begins when you try to attract targeted traffic to your products.

Another concept some Affiliates don’t seem to grasp is that you not only want first time visitors but you also want return customers and this is where list building comes into play.

You need an Opt-in Form or Squeeze Page on your site with a free offer to entice them to enter their vital information such as their email address and name. When you have your list built you can then email different offers to your members when they become available.

Some Affiliates also make the mistake, when they’re starting out, of paying for traffic. They either get caught up in the nightmare of Adwords, which is what it can be if you don’t know what you’re doing, or they throw money at sites who offer 10,000 targeted visitors a day for $20.00.

Adwords and Google is a great traffic generation tool for experienced marketers who know how to get their site ranked as cheaply as possible.

Other Affiliates make the mistake of not understanding or using the products their promoting. You have to believe in what you’re selling and know what problem the product can solve or what advantage it can offer the perspective client.

And finally, going back to the idea if you build it they will come, this only works if you fill your website with a lot of quality content. Content drives traffic which drives sales. Without quality content you are doomed to failure even before you begin.

Affiliate marketing is a legitimate and effective method of making money online, but if you don’t have the proper marketing plan in place you won’t be around for the long term.