Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting another company's products or services for a commission.
This is the way I've been earning a full-time living online since 2009 and making money since 1998.
We use affiliate marketing because it's a very simple, transparent model for earning an income online. It's not about joining some pyramid scheme where you have to recruit people to sell random products.
You create a useful, themed website that provides information, and then casually recommend products that are related to your topic.
Let's say your site is about reviewing plasma TV's. You could join Best Buy's affiliate program and earn a commission when someone purchases a TV based on your site's referral.
Affiliate marketing is probably one of the quickest and cheapest (not the easiest) ways to start making money online as you don’t have to create any products yourself. You simply link up a buyer and a seller, and you take a commission on the sale that has been referred by you.
Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?
Affiliate marketing can be a profitable venture for you, as a merchant or affiliate. It presents you with a great opportunity to increase revenue, and build valuable business relationships.
As an affiliate partner, you're capitalizing on traffic you already have. Every time someone clicks through your site and makes a purchase on your merchant's site, you earn a commission. "Your job is to deliver as much qualified traffic to your merchants as possible." That means pre-selling their products to customers, and preparing them to make that purchase when they click through to their site.
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What Make Affiliate Marketing Interesting?
- Global Market: Online marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people all over the world easily.
- No Fees: You don’t need to pay anything to join affiliate programs.
- No Storage No Shipping: You don’t need to worry about storage, packing or shipment of the product. They are all taken care of by the seller.
- No customer support: You don’t need to provide any customer support or deal with consumer complaints as the Seller does that for you.
- Passive income: A regular job can give you a fixed income as long as you continue to work. Depending on your marketing skill Affiliate marketing can create a steady flow of income even when you are not in front of your computer.
- Work from home: If you make enough money then you don’t have to worry about going to work at the same time every day or getting stuck in traffic. You can work in the comfort of your own home.
- Cost effective: Marketing on the internet is cheap and you don’t have to worry about the production cost as the product is already developed by the seller. You don’t need a physical business location or hire employees either.
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 refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.
- Google-adsense- Offers a contextual advertising solution to web publishers Delivers text-based Google AdWords ads that are relevant to site content pages. It is a free program that empowers online publishers to earn revenue by displaying relevant ads on a wide variety of online content. Try it out now
- Amazon associates- Join the Amazon.co.uk Associates Programme and start earning money today. The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest and most successful online
- Adbrite-AdBrite offers CPC, CPA, and CPM in a variety of formats including text ads, inline ads, banners, video, full page ads, ads in photos. You can set your own price and run ads from another ad network if AdBrite can't supply an advertiser at your asking price.
- AzoogleAds-AzoogleAds is a large affiliate network serving CPA ads from Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies. They offer solutions for search, web and email campaigns.
- BannerSpace-BannerSpace offers different levels of representation depending on your traffic and exclusivity. They can take over your entire sales department by putting a team on your site and managing your entire inventory. They can also work with your existing sales team to fill remnant inventory. For small to mid-sized sites (less than 20,000 daily page views), they work like most ad networks, supplying CPM/CPC ads to fill up your inventory.
- BlogAds- specializes in selling advertisement on blogs. Their ad unit combines images with mult-linked text. You can set your own prices (they take 30%) and write your own blog description to sell your ad space. You need to be invited by a current blog member in order to join.
- Chitika-chitika offers one-of-a-kind ad products that provides powerful and integrated promotions. They are all CPA ads for products, so is a good network to use if your site is related to shopping or has a good tie in with products. Chitika offers a wide variety of categories and ad units to choose from, so you have more control over the type of products to feature instead of depending on keywords to be picked up by their ad server.
- ClickBank-clickBank is an affiliate network with over 10,000 products available. Commissions range from 1% to 75% with a minimum commission for a single sale at $0.25 and the maximum at $100.
- Clickbooth-clickbooth is an affiliate network that has been around for more than a few years. They test all their offers to ensure income potential and gives weekly payouts to top publishers. They also donate a portion of their revenue to charitable causes.
- Clicksor-clicksor offers both inline text ads as well as targeted text and graphic ads in various sizes. You can choose from CPC, CPM, or CPV ads and earn up to 60% of the ad revenue share. Their system will evaluate the content on your page and serve relevant, contextual ads.
- CrispAds-CrispAds caters to blogs and serves contextual graphic and text ads based on the keywords and advertisers you select. Most are CPC ads unless ads are purchased as a monthly sponsorship at the rate you set. Unlike most networks that have a minimum payout of $25-$100, their minimum is set at a low $5.
- FeedBurner-FeedBurner is a popular network that offers advertising for your feed as well as your site. Their site ads include Google Adsense to get the most inventory fill for your space. Even though FeedBurner does not have a minimum feed count to serve ads, advertisers are unlikely to purchase feeds with low numbers.
- IndustryBrains-IndustryBrains serves CPC contextual text and graphical ads with rates determined by bids advertisers place for specific categories. Unsold inventory can be used for rich media graphical ads that are paid when users view an ad (the ads are interactive).
- Mirago-Mirago is a leading network in Europe, so if you have a lot of European traffic, they can monetize your inventory with content-targeted links.
- Select Your Merchants Carefully: A lot of affiliates select their merchants on the basis of who pays the highest commission, but like to select based on who has the best reputation and quality product. The next factor I look at is the sell-through rate –which merchants convert better.
- Stay Current with New Methods and Techniques-Affiliate marketing is a very competitive field and people are always coming up with new techniques. Try to stay current with these new techniques and market trends otherwise you will fall behind.
- Relevance: To be a successful affiliate the product you are promoting should be relevant to the content of the site you are promoting from. For example, if you write a blog about Bass fishing then your affiliate links and banners should appeal to bass fishermen. If you have banners for food and wine companies or cruise lines on your bass fishing blog, you may accidently get the occasional click and purchase –but it will be very occasional. Whereas if your links and banners were to a company that sells bass boats, rods and reels and bass fishing guides, they you will see a lot of potential earnings.
- Create Original Content: There are a lot of article sites where you can get free content to use on your website or blog. There are free articles out there on almost any topic. But beware. Google looks for duplicate content. If they see an article on your website or blog that is identical to the content on others, they will penalize your site in the search results ranking. So always try for original content.
- Use Multiple Merchants for Your Niche: You don’t want to overdo this, but don’t put all your eggs into one basket –or merchant. You can get away with three or four merchants and it is easy to spread these all around your site without overcrowding and pestering your readers with offers.
- Choose the Right Merchant-When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.
- Use Helpful Tools-Find tools that will help you be more efficient. There are many helpful tools out there. If you are using a WordPress powered site then consider getting a plugin similar to the Affiliate Link Manager.