Affiliate marketing is all about promoting another vendor's product and getting your readers to visit his sales page. And it's really really – you get the visitor to click on your affiliate link, they go to the vendor's sales page, they follow his call to action and – Bingo! You earn a commission. But some types of affiliate programs are easier to convert than others.
With this type of affiliate marketing program you're generally promoting a product – either physical or digital – and when the customer completes the transaction, you earn your commission. This is the most popular and most commonly seen type of affiliate program but not necessarily always the best choice. While it's true that people like to spend money on a product they can actually see, touch or download immediately, you've got to come up with great content on your site and hope that the vendor's sales page will do it's job and get the visitor to buy. Commissions are generally pretty high but you have to work for those conversions.
With this type of affiliate program, your mission, you should choose to accept it, it so please get your reader to click on a link. Perhaps the advertiser is just looking to increase his traffic or maybe he has something really cool on his landing page that he wants to show off. He may also just be trying to develop his list and he's willing to pay you to send people to his squeeze page. In any case, once the reader clicks through, you earn your commission. Mind you, it's generally a very small commission – but it's also a lot easier for you to get people to click a button than it is for you to get them to part with their hard earned cash.
With a Pay-Per-Lead program you generally earn your strips when your visitor clicks through and fills out a question or opt-in for more information, or downloads a toolbar, etc. A little more difficult to sell than Pay-Per-Click, and you usually earn a larger commission. Some of these programs can be quite lucrative, too. Real estate agents, stock brokers and insurance providers sometimes pay big bucks to get you to promote their site.
As always, when choosing your weapon, be sure to do your niche research. No sense spending your time building a website around a Pay-Per-Lead promotion if, in the end, nobody wants the information.