Many ways exist to make money online. But maybe affiliate marketing is the quickest, the best, the cheapest and the easiest of them all.
In this article I will cover the following points:
• Definition of affiliate marketing
• Parties involved in affiliate marketing
• How affiliate marketing works
• The different types of affiliate marketing programs
• Why you should work as an affiliate marketer
• Types of products to promote
• Some major affiliate networks
• Some major online merchants with In-house affiliate programs
• Tips on becoming a successful affiliate marketer
• How to promote in affiliate marketing
• Scale up your business
• Outsource tasks
• How you get paid
• Marketing systems for dummies
• Best affiliate training program
Before continuing, let it be made clear that the notion that making money online is easy is a myth. This is gullible only to newbies.
Any successful internet marketer knows that it takes time and work to succeed online. So anybody looking for easy money should maybe try the lotto or, as they say, go rob a bank.
Honestly don’t do either.
Let’s first Define affiliate marketing
Before delving into this post, I would first of all like to define affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s (or company’s) products and earning a commission on the purchase made by each visitor or customer you bring.
Parties involved in affiliate marketing
There are four parties involved in affiliate marketing.
They are the merchant, the network, the affiliate, and the customer.
The merchant is the person or the company that offers its products to be promoted against the payment of a commission.
The network offers its platform for display of the merchant’s products. It also handles the sales, processes payments, and provides affiliate management tools for the merchant.
The affiliate is the person, business or publisher that promotes the product. They get paid a commission when their efforts lead to a sale.
The customer is the person who the affiliate’s link has directed to buy the merchant’s product.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
You take a look at an affiliate network. If you like their offer, you sign up as an affiliate.
You next check the platform. If a product appeals to you, you sign up to promote it.
You then receive a unique affiliate code from the seller. It could be text links, hop links, banners and/or affiliate links, etc. You copy this and place it on your website or in a copy elsewhere.
When any visitors from the traffic you drive to this link like what they see, they click on the link. This redirects them to the product site.
If they purchase a product or subscribe to a service, you as the referrer get a commission.
Your affiliate ID, coupled with some affiliate softwares, enable the sellers to track your performance.
You also have full, real time access to all sales and commissions stats.
Types of Affiliate Programs available to you
The types of affiliate programs from which you can make money are Cost-per-action and Pay-per-call. Others are Pay-per-click, Pay-per-install, Pay-per-lead and Pay-per-sale.
With Cost-per-action, you the publisher get paid when the action agreed upon, (such as newsletter sign ups, impression or click) gets taken.
With Pay-per-call, you the promoter get paid for every phone call a potential customer makes from your leads.
With Pay per Click you get paid on the number of visitors your affiliate website redirects to the Merchant’s website. This is irrespective of a sale being made or not.
With Pay-per-install, you the publisher get connected to software developers and receive a set amount for every product installed. This mainly involves promoting free software that has adware attached to it.
With Pay-per-lead, you the publisher get paid for any leads you generate to such things as trial offers and promotions. Also, to downloads, filling out a simple contact form, etc.
There are two types of Pay-per-lead programs.
In one, you get paid just for sending visitors to the target site.
With the other, you only get paid if the customer actually takes the action wished by the merchant. This can be signing up for a service.
With Pay-per-sale, one of the most profitable affiliate marketing techniques and the most common, you get a certain percentage of the sale. Only when the referral you made to the product makes a purchase.
Why you should work as an Affiliate Marketer
Here are the reasons:
Fast growing sector: Many people agree that affiliate marketing is one of the fastest growing internet marketing techniques in the world. This promises long-term business opportunity for you.
Earns you good money: Affiliate marketing is considered by many as one of the world’s best internet marketing techniques. As such, it can enable you to earn good money online.
Free to join: You don’t have to pay anything to join any of the affiliate programs.
Cost effective: Affiliate marketing demands little or no capital outlay for these reasons:
– Working on the internet is cheap
– You have no production costs. The product is already developed by the seller
– You don’t need a physical business premise
– You don’t have to hire employees
– You don’t have to commute to work
– You don’t need working clothes
Global Marketing: Online marketing enables you to reach people from every corner of the world.
Seller takes care of everything: For this reason, you don’t have to worry about:
– Customer support
Passive income: Affiliate marketing can create a steady stream of income which keeps coming in even when you are not working.
Work from home at your convenience: If you are able to make enough money in affiliate marketing, then you can afford to work from the comfort of your home.
Profitable for bloggers and webmasters: Affiliate marketing has been a popular method for bloggers and webmasters to make profit on their activities.
You can begin selling something as an affiliate as soon as you have a platform to sell it on.
What Types of Products Should You Promote?
The first rule is to follow your passions.
If you have a strong enthusiasm for affiliate marketing, you can create a blog like this one dedicated to affiliate marketing. Then you use it to promote affiliate marketing products.
Some of them are website creation, Web hosting, webinars, and keyword research tools. Others are various types of software, online affiliate training course, paid subscription services and other virtual products.
But if you aren’t particularly passionate about a subject, you may try unique niches.
This is where competition is usually little or non-existent. Because they are often not promoted by a lot of affiliates. For example, instead of exercise equipment for all, you may promote exercise equipment for senior citizens.
Fortunately, on the merchants’ platforms, the offers are arranged by categories, sub-categories and products to promote.
You can get them to promote from the major affiliate networks and online merchants with In-house affiliate programs.
Here are Some of the Major Affiliate Networks
Some of the more popular affiliate marketing networks are ClickBank, LinkShare, Share-A-Sale and Commission Junction.
Among them, maybe ClickBank and LinkShare are worth your while.
ClickBank offers you thousands of affiliate programs in almost every niche. It pays commissions ranging from 50% to 75%.
LinkShare gives you access to some popular affiliate programs, such as Buy.com. In addition to paying you commissions of up to 20%, LinkShare offers you many useful tools. For example, you will have real-time access to payout data and overview of the latest merchant offers from your dashboard.
And Some Major Online Merchants with In-house Affiliate Programs
Some of the big ones are Amazon and eBay. Others are Canadian Tire, Walmart and other popular retailers.
Amazon offers you one of the biggest in-house affiliate programs. It operates a performance-based fee structure which gives you from 4% to 15% of the revenue for the items shipped to your customers.
However eBay pays you for banner views and link clicks. They have also launched a couple of innovative affiliate marketing techniques, such as the Editor’s Kit. By this, you cross-promote other sellers’ items and earn commissions.
How to Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer
Having great products to promote is one thing. Being able to market them successfully is another.
Here are some ideas about how to become successful in affiliate marketing.
1. Conduct Market Research
To become successful in this highly competitive field, you must know the market needs. Then offer appropriate products to satisfy them.
It’s obvious that if you are promoting any product at all and it turns out to have a low demand, then no matter how hard you try, you are only going to make little or no sales. You would better use your time and save yourself heartaches if you did some research to find a product with a ready market.
One way to do research if your site gets decent traffic is to conduct a survey with your visitors, baiting them for feedback with a decent freebie.
2. Choose the Right Merchant
The right merchant is the one who has an affiliate site where you can get help. Things like marketing materials such as reviews, videos, etc. Above all they should offer timely customer service. This ensures better customer satisfaction.
I once bought an expensive traffic package from a British company called Hypervsp. Realizing it wasn’t any good, I contacted them for a refund. But all my attempts to get my money back proved futile.
I reported them to the appropriate authorities but they simply closed down. Money lost!
Imagine if someone had proposed this to me. Do you think I will ever trust them again? Never!
So don’t hurt your credibility since online work depends a lot on this.
3. Promote only a Handful of Good Products
If promoting one affiliate product isn’t easy, imagine how overwhelming it can be when you sign up for too many different affiliate programs. You certainly won’t be able to promote any of them properly.
Start with a handful of products. And add others only when you are successfully promoting the first ones.
4. You Need Traffic, the More the Better
The more targeted traffic you send to the affiliate sales page the more your chances are of making a sale.
You can get such traffic through Google Adwords and BingAds.com, for example.
With these two, you simply make a keyword rich ad in your account and add your affiliate link as your target page URL.
5. Use Other Product Promotion Strategies
It is important for you to use different product promotion strategies. This will enable you figure out what are working and what are not.
6. How to Figure out what are Working and What Are Not
Test, measure and track your campaigns.
You can have two different ads for each campaign. Then make an A/B split testing to measure the performance of each. This way, you will see which campaigns are bringing in more money than the costs.
You may scrap or tweak the losing ads and scale up the winning ones. Changing a few things here and there can increase your conversion rates dramatically.
If you are using banner ads, try to place them on different areas of your site. You may just find positions which make the ads more prominent than others.
Don’t be satisfied with just the basic stats available from most affiliate programs. Use your own conversion tracking software too.
7. Use Other Helpful Tools
Other tools will help you to be more efficient in affiliate marketing.
Don’t just place affiliate links on your website and hope that visitors will click on them and buy. To make them take the action you want, setup everything correctly.
For example, if you are using a WordPress powered site then consider getting a plugin similar to the Affiliate Link Manager.
8. Stay Up-To-Date with New Methods and Techniques
Affiliate marketing techniques are changing all the time. So it will do you good to stay current with new techniques and market trends.
Which Methods Can You Use to Promote in Affiliate Marketing?
Here are some ways to use to sell your affiliate products.
Build a List
It cannot be said enough: the money is in the subscriber list.
Visitors who like your content will not only keep coming back for more, they will also gladly give you their email address to be loyal fans. This will enable you build a subscriber list.
This list will enable your fans to receive updates and once in a while special deals.
Perhaps the best thing you can do with the list is upselling. It is easy to sell complementary or similar products your customers have bought from you because they know and trust you.
Create a Niche Site
Write about what interests you.
Are you afraid what interests you may not pull enough people to your site to become popular and make you money? Remember the saying, “If you build it, they will come.”
If something interests you, it is possible that you will write about it with passion. And this will create better content and produce great videos about it. All of which will enable you to have a more engaging website.
The over two billion people on the Internet are large and diverse enough for you to find people to consume your website’s content. You will also certainly find an affiliate scheme and the right products to offer them.
Get Freebies for Your Customers
Everybody loves freebies. Ask your affiliate merchants for free products, promotion codes. Or, even get limited-time offers to pass on to your customers.
Established affiliates can even negotiate for special discounts which enable them to sell cheap. This gives them a competitive edge.
But you as a new affiliate can convince the merchant whose product you are promoting to help you with same to launch your site. If you have traffic, they know this will bring them business, and they are more than likely not to refuse.
Produce More Quality Content
Content is king is not an empty saying.
Producing great, engaging content is not an easy affair. However, the chances of achieving that increases with the amount of content you create. In other words, the more content you have on your site the more the chances that you will engage with customers.
Once you do this, you also increase your chances of others linking to your site (backlinks). This will boost your search ranking and improve traffic generation.
Use Social Media
Social media will do your affiliate marketing doubly good.
First, you can use it to promote your content and engage with your consumers more directly. People not only consume your content on social media, but also they engage with you on a personal level, by offering feedback.
Secondly, social media helps to improve your search engine ranking. This is because the search engines use social media output in their ranking algorithms. This is understandable. The more people are tweeting, plusing, sharing and commenting on your posts on social media, the more this tells the search engines that your content is interesting.
Write Honest Product Reviews
Affiliate marketing thrives on credibility. And one of the ways to render a product you are promoting credible is to write honest reviews about them. This means you must genuinely represent the product you are promoting, pointing out not only its qualities but also its flaws.
Your reviews must be high quality, detailed, and as unbiased as possible. You must have both positive as well as negative reviews on your site. Preferably, the products you recommend must be those you yourself have used and can thus speak authoritatively about.
Another important aspect of writing honest reviews is the word-of-mouth effect it creates. Somebody reads your review, purchases the product and is satisfied with it. This person tells another person about your site. The pattern continues until many people are talking about your site.
Scale Up Your Business
In addition to posting articles and reviews on your site, you must also optimize it. When the money starts rolling in, don’t consider this as the end of your efforts. Scale up your business. You can do it by building more email lists through doling out freebies. You can also create a social media storm, build more niche sites, organize contests, etc.
You don’t have to do Everything Yourself, You Can Outsource Some Tasks
Affiliate marketing enables you to outsource tasks like advertising, content creation, video creation, etc.
Some of the best places to hire freelancers for asset creation are Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.com. At Fiverr, you can purchase content for as little as $5. For off-shore outsourcing, check out Onlinejobs.ph and EasyOutsource.com.
How are you Paid in Affiliate Marketing?
The popular payment methods for paying affiliates are wire transfer, checks, money orders, or PayPal. However many affiliate networks use their own payment tools.
Affiliate marketing systems for dummies
Do you want done for you affiliate marketing system? These are the ones I use:
Best Affiliate Marketing Training Program
All of the things said above can help you succeed in affiliate marketing. But everybody knows the difference between the way a trained and an untrained person work. The same is true of affiliate marketing.
Fortunately an affiliate marketing course exists. It has given the best affiliate marketing training or course to 100,000’s of people making money online. Check it here now.
Certainly this post has awakened some comments in you. So feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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