What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?  It’s is a way of making money online where you, as a website owner or advertiser, are paid by a business for promoting their product or service.  You do this by helping people find the information they’re looking for.
The payment is based on either selling the product (I’m going to say product from now on but it could also be a service) or for a visitor taking an action (like signing up to a mailing list). The payment is called a commission, and can be fixed amount or a percentage based on the sale.
The payment may be a one-time payment, or (much better) recurring payments.  Recurring payments only occur when the product you promoted results in recurring revenue for the business.
That’s the general idea, and it’s a great way to make money online.  I advise anyone starting a home business to give it a shot (reasons why below).

So how are affiliate products & services promoted?

The most common way is from your website, typically a blog.  You might do any of the following about the product:

  • write a review
  • write a tutorial
  • write an article
  • write an endorsement
  • post an advertisement

You are provided a special link that you use in any of the above instances.  When someone clicks the link, they go to the product’s website and that visitor is marked as coming from you thanks to the special link.  A cookie in the browser identifies and tracks the visitor and if they make a purchase within a specific period of time (usually 30 days), you earn a commission.
The other method of promotion is through paid advertising.  You might buy a banner ad on a website, or (much better) use Pay Per Click (PPC) ads.  PPC ads include Google ads, Bing ads, Twitter ads and the current holy grail of advertising, Facebook ads.
The reason Facebook ads are so good is due to the ability to target you audience very specifically.  You can target based on location, income, relationship status – basically everything that people put on their profiles and also some factors based on their behavior.  It’s amazingly deep and I’ll delve deeper in a future post or video.

What kind of websites are needed for affiliate marketing?

Your website will be based on something you may (or may not) be interested in.  This is called niche marketing, marketing targeted to a very specific audience.  For example, a blog about sports cars has a broad audience while a blog about 1954 Corvettes has a very specific audience.  Choosing something you have an interest in is helpful as it will feel less like work and more like fun.
There are thousands of websites on the internet about every topic you can think of, and many of them are generating income for their owners. You can create a website like this about any topic you want. Here are just a few ideas:
[threecol_one]Bad Habits
Child Custody
Table Tennis
Web Design
Learn Spanish
Marriage Help
Self Hypnosis
Time Management
Virus Alert
Women Self Defense
Art Investing
Car Auction
Herniated Disk
Natural Insecticide
Restaurant Recipes
Lose Love Handles
Play Poker
  [/threecol_one] [threecol_one]Estate Planning
Birth Announcement
Body Detox
Destination Wedding
Wheat Grass
Golf Ball
Bachelorette Party
Car Alarm
Nursing Job
Survival Kits
Baby Music
Car Subwoofer
Bow Hunting
Personalized Child Book
Swing Set
Hire a Nanny[/threecol_one] [threecol_one_last]Crocheting
Home Improvement Loan
Cheating Spouse
Salad Recipe
Alcohol Addiction
Small Business Grant
Aquarium Owners
Stamp Collecting
Trust Deeds
Wedding Speech
Memory Foam Mattress
Paralegal Schools
Subliminal Messages
Private Investigation
Fly Fishing[/threecol_one_last]

Online marketing is a growing industry, and a safe source of income for the future.

The internet is reaching more and more people every day. Millions of people are shopping online, and that number is only growing with every passing year.Internet Growth 2020Providing these shoppers with information relevant to what they’re searching for is not a crazy money making scheme. It’s a legitimate business practice, and there’s a desperate need for online marketers to produce this information.

Why do businesses like affiliate programs?

Because they only pay for a sale and someone else handles all the promotion.  That’s it – every time they pay a commission it’s because they’re getting revenue, just for sitting on their butts.
The presumption is that the cost of the commission is less than the cost of acquiring the customer on their own.  But businesses do cover themselves as commissions are often held for a period to make sure that the customer actually pays.

Why is affiliate marketing a good home business idea?

When you look around, most businesses are selling something, be it a product or service.  If you don’t have a product or service to sell, affiliate marketing can expand your possibilities. This is especially good for people who don’t have the time to create products or sell services – or the knowledge to do so.
While affiliate marketing isn’t the only way to make money from websites, you can create a site whose audience will want or need products that you can market.  This requires developing trust between you and your readership.  On the flip side, if you promote the wrong product that trust can be broken.

What kind of products can be promoted in affiliate programs?

Almost anything.  Toys, books, sporting goods and all other kinds of physical products.  Information products like ebooks and online courses.  Insurance, website memberships and more – the list is practically endless.

How hard is it to make money?

While you can make a lot of money, I wouldn’t call it easy money. It takes time to build a website up and then you need a combination of the following:

  • traffic (the more the better)
  • finding relevant products
  • finding quality products
  • building trust with your readership
  • having a readers who are interested in buying the products
  • being able to write good sales copy (and more)

And again, you can turn people off if you promote too hard or push products or poor/dubious quality. Plus, affiliate marketing doesn’t work on all sites.  For some niches you’ll have a hard time finding products, in others the readers aren’t interested in buying and for other sites marketing products just doesn’t make sense.
However, you can ramp up pretty fast by advertising to a targeted audience via PPC ads (more on that in a future post).

Want to know more?  Click the little question mark to the right to get in touch.

Photo credit & license

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