If you are just getting into internet marketing or even just starting to explore the possibilities of making money online, then affiliate marketing may just be the place to start.
An affiliate is like a salesperson for someone else’s product
He or she finds products that would benefit the market that they are in, and recommends that their readers consider purchasing that or those products. For that referral, they earn a commission, sometimes just a one-off one, but sometimes, they will also earn future commissions from that same customer that they’ve brought to the merchant.
An affiliate is able to earn income because the merchant is willing to pay part of the purchase price for their products to the affiliate that brings them a customer.
This is done all the time, in all sorts of businesses. Most major corporations have marketing staff and salespeople whose job it is to find customers. They’re paid salaries, and usually commissions as well, based on how much business they bring in.
Of course, you’re familiar with department stores and auto dealerships and just about any business that you walk into. Those people who take you from your walk through the door all the way to the cash register are actually salespeople, and many of them earn commissions on your purchases, depending on how their salary is structured.
Online businesses have found that recruiting affiliates is a dream come true. They can reward those who bring them customers, but they don’t have to deal with the fact that those who aren’t quite so good at the job don’t have to still be carried on the payroll with a base salary, fringe benefits, payroll taxes, office space, etc.
Affiliates only get paid if they bring in customers who spend money.
So it’s feasible for a big Internet company to have many thousands, perhaps millions, of affiliates, where that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Amazon, for example, and perhaps the first online business to set up a major affiliate program, has several million affiliates, and their payout on individual purchases is relatively small (typically from 4% to 10% of the purchase price). Also, their terms are relatively non-affiliate-friendly (they only pay for purchases made from the referred customer within 24 hours).
Still, since Amazon has so much merchandise to offer customers, and since so many people are very comfortable shopping on Amazon, many affiliates just absolutely love promoting their site.
On the other hand, many marketers that sell information products (usually downloadable products such as eBooks, software, videos) typically pay 50% or more (sometimes 100%), and often track sales from referred customers for life.
When I was starting to get into internet marketing, I couldn’t understand how someone could pay 100% on a product that they worked long and hard to create, but it’s very common now to do so. The benefits for the product creator are that they get to add the person that the affiliate sent them to their email list, as a buyer, which is a very profitable business asset to have.
In fact, I’ve seen instances where sellers pay as much as 200% commissions on the initial sale (yes, that’s not a typo), because they know that once the customer enters their “sales funnel”, they’ll spend much more in the future, on average.
So what does this all have to do with you?
Well, first of all, it means that there never will be a situation where a company that has great products will have “too many” affiliates. They’ll welcome you with open arms, trust me, and if they don’t, there are plenty of alternatives.
That being said, the challenge is, where do you start?
Affiliates who do well typically have a large list of email subscribers, but if you are just starting, you don’t have a large list… yet.
Don’t worry, that’s not the only way to profit as an affiliate, but you do want to keep that in mind and start building up your own email list if you want to maximize your affiliate income in the future.
In order to do that, you want to set up your own blog, on your own domain, and write content that will soon start attracting readers. You also have to have something that will convince those readers to sign up for your email list, so that means starting to brainstorm topics that you can write about in your niche (which is another decision to make) that will have enough value that people will trust you with their email address.
That also means that you have to sign up with an autoresponder service like Aweber or Getresponse, so that your email subscribers are handled securely and professionally.
So yes, there are costs involved… domain name, hosting, autoresponder service. None of those are overly expensive, but the hosting and autoresponder service are paid each month, so it’s a commitment that you need to make.
After signing up with the autoresponder service, you need to set up what’s called a squeeze page, which is a place for your readers to enter their name and email address, in return for the benefit that you promised (typically a free report or product).
One by one, your list will grow, and as you start building a relationship with the people on your list, they’ll begin (hopefully) to listen to your recommendations about products that you feel are in their best interest.
Rule number one for affiliate marketers: never abuse that trust.
An email list is key to making significant amounts of money as an affiliate marketer, but remember everyone (even the most successful affiliate marketer) starts very small.
Just remember that every marketer starts with a list size of zero.
Day by day, that number will grow, and so will your income.
Can you see that affiliate marketing has merit and that you should consider it?
If so, here are a few steps to getting started.
First, you want to start paying attention to products in the marketplace, typically online since that’s where you’ll be marketing, that have affiliate programs. For example, Amazon, which has an amazing assortment of products available.
They’re not the only company, obviously. Remember that hosting company that you signed up with?, and that autoresponder service that you joined?… they have affiliate programs and will pay you to refer those who trust your recommendation.
Chances are, just about everything that you purchase online will have an affiliate program in place.
So you want to get yourself in a place also where you can take advantage of those programs.
But before all that happens you need to decide on what market you’ll be entering (your niche).
Then you’ll need to select your hosting provider, which will be where your domain actually resides in cyberspace. Then you’ll need to set up the pages on your site. Nowadays most do that with WordPress, and your host will probably have an easy way to install WordPress on your own domain.
Then you’ll need content to start attracting search engines so that people can find you.
You’ll need the autoresponder service where your list will reside, as well as the emails that you write, and you’ll learn through their tutorials (or on Youtube) how to set up your email lists and forms and how to communicate to the people on your list.
You’ll need something to entice people with, to convince them to sign up onto your list, and you’ll need the squeeze page so that they can do just that.
And then you’ll need to keep in touch with those people on a regular basis so that they don’t forget who you are. Those emails will serve to build up the “know, like, and trust” factor of you in their eyes.
Does that sound like a lot? Maybe it is, but as you take step by step, you’ll get to the end sooner that you might expect if you’re reading these words as a total newbie.
So take it slowly, do it right, and you’ll find that affiliate marketing is a wonderful way to earn a nice income.
However, I’m not recommending that you limit yourself.
Most marketers diversify their income streams. including creating their own products (and recruiting their own affiliates), but all of them will have started from scratch with an email list of zero people and little knowledge, and the same opportunities exist for you no matter whether you are introvert or extrovert, have a few hours a week to spend online, or all of your time, you really just need to get started and take small incremental steps to get to your goal .