In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
In short, both the affiliate marketer and the merchant will benefit in this program as the merchant will sell more goods and the affiliate marketer will get a commission for every product bought through his/her website.  Many affiliate marketers earn a nice monthly income from selling other peoples’ products!  Later, YOU TOO could be producing your very own products and collaborating with one of the top 10 affiliate programs below to enlist an army of bloggers and website owners to help you become financially free.
But what if you want to take your site to the next level? If you have a content-driven Web site, how can you make money off your traffic? If you are an online merchant, how can you get people to your site to buy your products? One popular option that serves both of these functions is an affiliate program. In this article, we'll examine affiliate programs to find out what they are, how they work, who they are for and how you can use them to benefit your Web site. ­
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
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