Identify Your Web Site's Goals 92 Leads Finding a new customer is the goal of many Web sites. Similar to offline sales, Web sites looking for leads attract visitors that eventually buy elsewhere, but those visitors tend to switch channels far earlier in the sales process. When someone walks into your home improvement store with a printout of the Web page with the snow blower's model number and price, you are making an offline sale. Someone who downloads your article on the difference between snow blowers and electric snow shovels is a lead. Many corporate sites exist entirely to generate leads, such as consulting firms, construction contractors, or other companies that normally bid a custom service for each customer. "LEADS R US:" ARE YOU AN AFFILIATE MARKETER? Often leads are handled within the same company, but they can be passed to other companies, too. A special kind of business, called an affiliate marketer , exists solely to create leads for other businesses. Affiliates are usually paid based on sales (typically online sales), but their goal is the same as other lead-passing Web sites: to get a customer interested in a product and close the sale elsewhere. Although some offline businesses work in similar ways to affiliates, affiliate marketing has really grown up on the Web. Pioneered by Amazon, affiliate marketing provides a way for a retailer or manufacturer to attract traffic from other Web sites (the affiliates) by setting up financial compensation for affiliates to send prospective customers their way. Amazon has since renamed its affiliates associates, but the name affiliate has stuck to describe this unique form of Web marketing. An affiliate program is created by the affiliate program sponsor (the retailer or manufacturer) to enroll companies such as yours as affiliates, providing you with links to place on your Web site. When your visitor clicks your affiliate link, the visitor is taken to the program sponsor's Web site, where they might purchase one of the sponsor's products. Depending on the terms of the affiliate program, that visitor's click might cause you, the affiliate, to get paid for