Historically, the sole commercial station in a market would commonly take affiliations or secondary affiliations from most or all of the major national networks. As a local monopoly, a station could become a primary affiliate of one of the stronger networks, carrying most of that network's programming while remaining free to "cherry-pick" popular programming from any or all of the rival networks. Similarly, some markets that had two commercial stations shared a secondary affiliation with one network, while maintaining separate primary affiliations (such as in the Ada, Oklahoma-Sherman, Texas market, where until 1985, KTEN and KXII shared secondary affiliations with NBC, while the former was primarily affiliated with ABC and the latter with CBS).
Affiliate agreements can be entered into by any type of business, from sole proprietor to corporation. Affiliating with another company is a good way to promote your business and make more money by joining with someone who has a proven track record and a larger customer base. But before you join an affiliate program of any kind, consider these questions (from Leslie Truex, Home Business expert).
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A handful of networks, such as the U.S.-based Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television and National Public Radio (NPR), have been founded on a principle which effectively reverses the commercial broadcasting owned-and-operated station model and is called a state network. Instead of television networks owning stations, the stations collectively own the network and brand themselves as "PBS member stations" or "member networks" instead of as affiliates or O&Os.
I will give you a very simple example. Let’s say you build up an audience of 50,000 readers and out of that 50k you have about 1% that trust you (1% of people that trust you online is actually very huge), so that equates to 500 readers. Out of that 500 readers you will have about 10% that will buy your eBook and other affiliate products, so 50 people total. So, if you are selling your eBook for $10, you will make $500. Of course it doesn’t stop there, those people that buy the eBook and like it will most likely recommend it, and you will have a snowball effect where more people keep buying your book and other affiliate products. This is just a rough example that shows you some realistic numbers. Do not ever think that if you build up a huge number of readers that they will all trust you and buy the products that you promote; if it was that easy everyone would be a millionaire by now.
An influencer is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
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.