Making money as an affiliate marketer is not only doable but relatively painlessly simple. However, is it still the best place to start? My answer would be a hands down, resounding YES! Of course this is coming from someone that has been in the trenches of affiliate marketing for 8+ years now. What might seem like old hat to myself and my associates, could be considered some sort of a foreign language for the beginner.
If you DO find yourself in the position of a novice for the time being, relax. I will make the info in this article easy to understand and digest because I want, REALLY want you to “get” this!
We have all heard the same old dog and pony show regarding the so called “easy money making” act of “blogging for dollars.” You know those ads that start out “You Too Can Make Money at Your Kitchen Table in Your Underwear!” complete with the obviously fake proof of earnings. If you can see past all the smoke screen and bright lights the earning potential is in fact real and yes, obtainable.
Let me be perfectly clear though money or financial gain doesn’t come easy. There are no magical loop holes or get rich quick tips. It all takes time, determination, and yes … that nasty word: work! So if you have come here looking for some pixie dust, you will be sorely let down. However, if you stick around I’m positive that with an open mind you will find the following to be informative and even possibly uplifting.
What is affiliate marketing?
Not wanting to assume that just because you landed on this article that you actually know the true definition of the term, Wikipedia defines Affiliate Marketing as:
“Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts”
Basically if you write a blog about the latest and greatest dog grooming book and/or tool, and one of your visitors buy’s said product via an affiliate link on your page, you will then be financially rewarded for helping out the dog grooming book/tool business.
Because you don’t have to create or have your own product to sell to others, affiliate marketing is probably the quickest and cheapest (although not necessarily the easiest) way to start making money online. You simply match up buyers and sellers, and take a commission on the sale that has been referred by you.
Affiliate marketing at its very core is about relationships, a relationship between three parties:
Advertiser: In the world of affiliate marketing, an advertiser can be a company or individual selling a product such as bottle of vitamins, clothing, or a downloadable book/CD. Basically anyone with a product to sell and the desire to pay someone else to promote that product.
Publisher: A publisher is an individual or company that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a financial reward/commission.
Consumer: The final component to this circle is the consumer. The consumer is the one that see’s the Publisher’s ad and takes the action needed to purchase the Advertiser’s product. The completed sale is referred to as a conversion.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to send traffic to the advertiser’s site/product. Most affiliate sites, such as OfferVault, offer ready made text links, banners, or forms that already have your special code embedded in them. Most times, it’s as easy as copying the code and placing it on your website/blog to start referring traffic to the advertiser.
When interested consumers click on these links from your site they get redirected to the advertiser’s site and if they purchase a product you as the referrer make a commission.
Why should you be an Affiliate Marketer?
With the introduction of Web 2.0 and the vast amount of user contributed content, Affiliate Marketing has experienced an explosion of growth. Anyone that has a blog, personal website, or even a twitter account SHOULD be using Affiliate Marketing techniques to monetize those sites. Here is why:
Cost effective: Marketing on the internet is cheap (especially if you have your own website and/or blog). You don’t have to worry about the headaches or costs that come with creating a product, since those costs and worries are carried by the seller. You also don’t need a physical business location (this is where working in your underwear comes in).
Global Market: Online marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people all over the world easily.
No Fees: Affiliate programs are free to join.
No Storage No Shipping: Let the seller worry about these!
No customer service: Again, it’s not your product. The seller will take care of all the customer complaints or inquiries.
Passive income: A 9-5 job can give you a fixed income as long as you continue to work (but we all know how that works – most states are at will employment). However, depending on your marketing skills Affiliate marketing can create a steady flow of income even when you are not in front of your computer. Just like anything else, Affiliate Marketing is learned, the more you work at it, the better you will become.
Work from anywhere: As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere, wearing anything .. even your PJ’s or undies!
Some Affiliate Marketing Myths
It’s difficult and complicated to get started with affiliate marketing. It’s really not rocket science, Anyone can learn how to make money in affiliate marketing. Just like everything else though, it does require some time, know-how and skill.
- Affiliate websites don’t require much management. Because the internet is continually changing and evolving, so should your site. The more you update your site with fresh content, the more likely you are to continue to attract fresh visitors. Which in turn means new customers and commissions.
You only need one good affiliate program to be successful. One of the keys to affiliate marketing is diversity. True, it’s good to not be too broad with your subject or niche, but you don’t want to “niche yourself down to the ground” either.
If your niche is too obscure then you are limiting your viewer base and thus your commissions. The same goes with your choice in affiliate programs. Shop around, just like the consumer you are, and find the right products and commission rates that suit you and your unique situation.
Consumers don’t like affiliate marketing. HUGE myth! Affiliate marketing is based on the premise that consumers often desire more information on the product that they are interested in, other than simply what is listed or written on the advertiser’s site.
This is where you, as a potential publisher come in. Done well, your efforts will add value to the users search and in turn EARN you the commission.
Affiliate Marketing won’t last. Hey, anything is possible I suppose, but let me ask you this…
How long do you guess it will take for humans to NOT want the reassurance of an educated opinion? Yeah, a LONG time. Affiliate marketing will be around a while, don’t worry…
So Now What?
You say you’re ready to dive in? Here are a few simple steps to get you started:
Pick a product. The actually is the step that most get hung up on the longest, simply because they want the “perfect” product. The thing is, and listen up, the perfect product doesn’t exist! Take the bread aisle at the grocery store for example. There are probably a 100 different varieties of what? Bread! Wheat, white, oat crusted, garlic, round, square, sliced – you get the point. Different people have different needs.
A simple tool (again no pixie dust here) you can use to find a profitable product to promote is to visit Amazon.com, click on “shop by department” and scroll through the categories and sub-categories. From there see which products seem to be the most popular and have the most or best reviews.
Narrow down your choice to the top ten, and then move on to the next step.
Vet your product. Can you make money off of this product? You can answer this question by researching the product to see if they or anyone else offers an affiliate program for it. Some advertisers manage their own in-house affiliate programs, others use companies such as CommissionJunction.com to help manage their affiliate sales. Once you have your product, now you need somewhere to promote it.
Create a simple website. This can be as simple as a free blog from blogger.com or WordPress.com or a small hop up to your own domain and hosting (About $10 for the domain ad $5 a month for hosting) there are so many free tools and training out there its astounding!
Say something about your product. If you’re not a world class writer, don’t worry! people want to read something written by someone they can actually relate to, think “Housewife” not Hemingway. The one power most have but refuse to use is the ability to just do it, use yours!
Get visitors to your site. The final step in this whole process is to get eyeballs looking at your site. Not just your mom and 200 or so closest Facebook friends either, but qualified buyers. Web searchers that are looking for the solution to their particular need.
So how do you get all those Google visitors to find your site? The simple answer is: Several ways! SEO, backlinking, and social media are only a few.
The key to any new venture is to give it all you’ve got! Immerse yourself in the project, and hang in there even when you feel like you want to throw in the towel and give up.