Priest Willis, Founder and CEO of Affiliate Mission.
Priest is President of AffiliateMission.com, an online affiliate management company, managing large to small business affiliate programs, for the past four years.
Priest started in business building PCs, but got tired of cleaning up people’s viruses. Then he sold software on eBay. Next he created websites, and he became an affiliate. He started affiliate marketing and has stayed with it, ever since.
Affiliate marketers earn commissions promoting other people’s products on their websites. A blogger can put up a banner for a related product. Sales are handled by the vendor that sells it. Amazon was one of the first big affiliate players, in 1996.
Merchants with affiliate programs work with a third-party tracking system, or an affiliate network. Some of the big names out there are: CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), ShareASale, and Impact Radius. They track cookies.
Clicking on the banner drops the cookie; the cookie alerts the affiliate network; the affiliate network waits for the sale to convert and register a commission. The commission could be a flat amount, or a percentage of the sale.
Typically, if the sale is not converted within 30 days, the cookie expires. So, the customer may abandon the shopping cart, but if they make the purchase within the duration, the affiliate gets the commission.
Andy asks how people could get into affiliate marketing. He could enter as a merchant, offering affiliates incentives to market his books on their websites, or he could become an affiliate of a merchant in a niche where he already has a blog with readers.
Affiliate marketing will not drive traffic to your site. If you decide to start a cooking blog, and want to affiliate with an oven manufacturer, be aware of the work ahead of you, to get a following that will provide eyes for your affiliate banner.
Look on YouTube for great videos to teach you about affiliate marketing. This works on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all three or any one. Post the text links in connection with your mention of the product, or in your bio.
Priest recommends only affiliating with products that are cohesive with your own brand. A computer blog doesn’t need a banner for skateboards or detergent. Look at your pages as real estate, and think where to put the banner or link.
Affiliate Mission works for large merchants to manage their ecosystem of network and affiliates. They represent the merchants to the affiliates, supplying current materials, links, and cookies. They find new affiliates for the merchants.
Priest likes capitalism to make a difference in the world. He tells clients that Affiliate Mission will give 3-to-5% of their profits from that client to a charity of the client’s choice. The mission is giving back.