Tuesday, 24 April 2012

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How LinkShare and other affiliate program networks can help you

Online affiliate marketing is one of the most effective, cheapest, and fastest ways to promote products and services. With millions of people getting access to the Internet worldwide, merchants have greater chance to introduce their merchandise to the global market, thus increasing the chance of higher revenues.

Affiliate marketing is best alternative for people who are tired and jaded of their eight-hour routine jobs of the real world. As long as they have Internet-connected PCs or laptops, they can work as marketers anytime at home or anywhere else. It is a convenient business because you do not have strict schedules to follow and you are the boss. The success and failure of the business depends largely on how much effort you exerted. The revenue potential in affiliate marketing is limited only by your imagination.

Merchants and marketers enjoy mutual benefits when website visitors (who are prospective buyers) make click-throughs to the merchant's website and initiate a transaction. Merchants earn from each item sold and marketers likewise gain commissions from the purchase rendered by the referred buyers.

If you are eager to immerse into affiliate marketing but you have a hard time getting information about or looking for affiliate programs, whether you plan to become a marketer or a merchant, you can start by visiting affiliate network sites. Affiliate program networks serve as a bridge between aspiring affiliates and merchants. They provide information and assist you in starting your own online marketing business.

One of the most popular affiliate program networks on the Web is LinkShare. They have a vast directory of registered merchants that are organized according to the type of products and services they sell. This is especially useful for aspiring merchants who research on merchants with particular products they want to advertise on their sites. LinkShare thus serves as rendezvous of affiliate and merchant networks that help each other in seeking right partners for their online business.

Affiliate marketers can greatly benefit from LinkShare because they can easily locate the merchants who sell specific products that match the theme of their site. They can also compare commission rates, products and benefits given by merchants. The merchants, on the other hand, only wait for eager marketers to sign up with their affiliate programs. They join networks with other merchants to increase the chance of promoting their products in a larger market, thus increasing also the chance of reaping huge profits.

Affiliate network sites like LinkShare provide convenience to both affiliate and merchants. Its services can save a lot of time and effort since everything you need as a marketer or a merchant can be located in a single place. LinkShare also provides excellent tracking services of your business partner's performance through comprehensive reports and statements. These reports could be vital bases of critical business decisions like deciding to continue to promote an advertiser's products or not. They also record your site's performance (click-throughs) and give you monthly lump sum of your commissions. You can get all of the mentioned services by registering free at LinkShare website.

The only disadvantage of using LinkShare is that commissions are generally lower than direct partnerships with merchants. This is because merchant has to pay for the use of advertising services and technologies provided by LinkShare. There is also a possibility that your payment will be delayed since affiliate network sites would pay only after the merchants have paid them.

So, do you need to use LinkShare or other affiliate networks? Well, it actually depends on you. However, for sure, it will require you greater efforts to find and establish direct partnership with a merchant. Unless you cannot find the right merchant by searching the Web using search engines, you can have an alternative by registering into affiliate network websites like LinkShare. The choice is your

LinkShare changes its name

After seven years of ownership by Rakuten Inc., the Japanese e-commerce company that owns a slew of online retail and e-commerce technology companies around the globe, LinkShare is changing its name.
Formerly known as LinkShare, a Rakuten company, the affiliate and search marketing company has now adopted a new moniker: Rakuten LinkShare. The name change reflects the importance of performance marketing within LinkShare as an organization, says LinkShare CEO Yaz Iida. “The new Rakuten LinkShare logo marks an important milestone in the evolution of the LinkShare brand,” Iida says. “As Rakuten expands its global presence, the LinkShare platform will continue to drive results and create new opportunities for advertisers and publishers through increased market reach and additional services.”
LinkShare, which was acquired by Rakuten in 2005 for $425 million, serves such clients as J.C. Penney, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, 1-800-Flowers.com (No. 45) and others.

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LinkShare was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Tokyo.

Affiliate Marketing with LinkShare

Affiliate marketing tips

What is LinkShare Affiliate marketing?
Linkshare is an affiliate marketing platform.You, the publisher, join programmes/campaigns from leading advertisers in multiple fields and promote them through webpages, blogs and so on. For this you receive a commission, most often on sales that the advertiser makes from referrals from your site, but sometimes commission can be per click through – if someone clicks to their site from yours. How much you earn depends on how much work you are willing to put into it.
This page explains how to join up for a affiliate marketing account and a step by step guide to getting started. You'll find there are 2 links here, one of the UK and one for the USA although, if you are writing for both the Americas and Europe you can promote all these countries companies and products.

To get started you need to sign up for a Linkshare account. Click on the link for either LINKSHARE UK or LINKSHARE USA & CANADA.
This takes you to an online application form which is pretty standard. At this point you have the choice of 'Performance Marketing Network' you want to join up to - US, Canada, UK and Europe. If you write for many platforms you should sign up for all of them but do note that Europe is what they term as a soft marketing potential so it may be more profitable for you to concentrate your work on the US and Canada and the UK where there are the best conversion rates - that is, the highest number of click-throughs that result in sales for which you earn commisssion.
In your application you will be asked where you will be placing relevant adverts, mention that you write for multiple sites.

Earn money by writing on line

No Get Rich Quick Scheme

Once your application is approved Linkshare is easy to use. Right at the start a window will open with an intro video about the dashboard that is worth viewing. They have a very easy format to get started. Their dashboard is well thought out and makes it easy to find advertisers with commissions that appeal to you. They also seem to have attracted prime advertisers.
First of all, Linkshare automatically enrol you for their own referral accounts. By placing their logos and banners on your websites and blogs you can earn money for successful click throughs. This what you might consider a 'soft' option where you are just placing banners on existing pages and blogs.
To earn money you need to get involved in more active advertising though. You can if you wish find a product and company that appeals to you and create separate websites to promote them and do all the promotion that entails. Or you can intersperse your articles and blogs with relevant products. For example, I am using my new blog All Things Cats and Dogs to search out good products that I would be happy to recommend to friends. I will move on to writing individual articles for each product, backlinking or interlinking them all and will probably create individual website for them as I have done with PetFlow.com. It all takes time and effort. This is not a get-rich-quick-scheme - it is a lot of work and what you earn depends on how much work you put in. The chief tip I can give you is to be patient and to slowly build up a portfolio that have multiple backlinks leading to them.

Step by step to using Linkshare

I confess I am just starting out on this adventure so writing this is as much for my sake as for yours. My first foray with Linkshare is in Build a Bear UK because I fell in love with them the moment I saw them – wouldn’t you just love to have a Build a Bear workshop? But I digress.
  • On your homepage, click programs and up pops the categories, - click on the main category title to browse them all or narrow it down to one of the sub sections. Click on that and you will see a list of the current advertisers.
  • It will show you the advertiser – what it is about and what the commission offered is – if you want to know more about what it is about, click on the title.
  • Having decided it is something you are interested in promoting there is an apply button.You need to agree to their terms and then apply.
  • You need to wait for the email that the company approves your website/blog. Don’t get offended if they turn you down, there are plenty more fish in this particular pond.
  • Once accepted you have access to their program – it will show up on your my advertisers page.
  • You can then access the company page which will give you all the information you need plus access to the codes for banners etc for you to put on your page. Included in that code will be your unique trackback number so they can link the sales to you. Simple. It will lay down the words you CANNOT use to create a page – usually anything with their name or logo or anything that will trump them in search engine searching. Most companies will give you what they consider to be acceptable keywords and phrases that you can use that are relevant. Not every company does though.
  • On the side bar you will see buttons to click for ready-made banners, images, and text sorted by types of links. Pick the ones that are more suitable for you and copy and paste them to your blog or website.
  • Some companies have EasyLinks which are essentially a rotating store that appears on your site - you need to allow 48 hours for the company to pick the products that are relevant for your particular site.
  • You can keep track of your click-throughs and sales on your dashboard.

How to Use LinkShare

LinkShare is a popular tool that lets website owners earn revenue from their sites. This tool allows advertisers to place image and text ads on your website in exchange for a percent of the commission from any resulting sales. The advertising is targeted toward a specific niche, allowing the site owner to custom-tailor ads to his audience. Learn how the system works and understand the basics of advertising with LinkShare, and start bringing in revenue to your websites.

LinkShare Basics

LinkShare is a popular tool that uses "affiliate marketing." With affiliate marketing, you place advertising onto your website from various online retailers. When a visitor on your site clicks an ad and orders a product, you receive a percentage of the sale.
Here is a LinkShare usage example: A visitor comes to your website. At the top of the site, you've placed a LinkShare advertisement for a computer company. The visitor clicks the link, is taken to the retailer's site and buys a computer. You would then earn a percentage of the sale. If the percentage were 5 percent of a $1,000 sale, you would earn $50, in this example.
The main advantage of using LinkShare is that there is no up-front cost on your end. You do not need to maintain inventory or ship products. You attract visitors with content. With millions of Internet users online every day, it is easy to see how affiliate marketing can quickly become profitable for a popular website.
To use LinkShare, you must sign up for an account (see link in Resources). Click "Join."

Read over the information on how the system works, and review the case studies. When you are ready, click the icon marked "Join Now."
A registration page will open. Complete this with details of your legal status (sole proprietor, corporation, etc.) and tax information. This information allows LinkShare to pay you for the commissions you earn. You will also provide details on what type of website you run. When finished, your account log-in information will be emailed to you.
Use the log-in details emailed to you to access your new account. Click the direct link provided in the welcome message to access your LinkShare affiliate page.
Once you are logged in with your LinkShare user and password, you will see an overview of your account. This shows advertising clicks, commissions and money earned. To begin placing money-making ads on your site, click "Programs."
There is a large list of categories from which to choose. Select a category that might interest your website visitors. For example, if you run a women's fashion website, you may want to choose "Clothing and Accessories."
Once you have narrowed down the category your visitors are interested in, a list of participating advertisers will appear. You can see what percent commission each advertiser pays per sale. For each advertiser you would like on your website, select the check box, and then click "Apply."
Some advertisers approve your application instantly, while others will review your website before agreeing to place their ads on your site. Approval notifications will be sent to your email.
Once approved by the advertisers, you can begin placing the actual ads onto your website. From the LinkShare member page, click "Links."
Select the advertiser whose advertising links you'd like use. For example, you might click "Office Depot" to place office supply ads.
On the left side of the advertiser's page, you can select which type of ad to place. These can include simple text ads, graphic banner ads and many other variations. Choosing "Banners / Images" is the most common.
You can now preview the ads available to place on your website. Find one you would like to use and click "Get Link."
A box showing the HTML link code for the advertisement will display. Copy and paste this code into your website. Details on how to edit your website are available from your website host. The ad is now active; you will now earn money any time a visitor clicks the link and purchases a product.

Tips & Warnings

·         The most effective way to use LinkShare affiliate marketing is by bringing large amounts of traffic to your website. Visitors will come and stay if you provide valuable content. The more in-depth and valuable your website, the better your commissions and revenue will be.
·         LinkShare is a powerful tool and this article only scratches the surface of what is available. When dealing with online marketing and Internet business, always understand a program before using it.

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