A Newbie Entry Guide to Affiliate Marketing


Business in the Internet space

With aid of the Internet (or the Web as it is often referred to) we can have almost everything right at our fingertips; and with just a few clicks we can get access to thousands, or even millions of pieces of data and relevant information on virtually any field of interest. And over the past two decades the Internet has – and continues to – effect torrential changes in many facets of human endeavors, including commerce, education, health and finance, among others.

Experts say that the information space, commonly known as the “World Wide Web,” grows by over a million pages everyday as more and more people utilize the Web for information, education, entertainment, business and other personal reasons. Moreover, it really doesn’t take a business-oriented individual to realize that this phenomenon can bring about substantial financial gains. That having been said, the unprecedented rapidity of growth in Internet use over the same two decade time span presents business opportunities that any entrepreneurial minded individual would jump at.

In view of the above, if you think that only business persons can make a lot of money from the Web, you might have to do some rethinking of this viewpoint, because you too – if you turn your attention to it – can earn big bucks through effective use of the Internet, even if you don’t have a product/service (‘product’) to sell, or a high-profile and established company. And if you are wondering, how? The answer is through affiliate marketing, which is a very popular Web-based business type you might have come across while surfing.

A win-win for merchant and affiliate

Affiliate Marketing is a revenue sharing system based on contracts and various “terms of use” guidelines agreed to between product owners (‘merchants’) and promoters/marketers (‘affiliates’) who get paid for referring customers to merchants’ sites, and/or promoting the merchants’ products and services on their own websites. It is one of the burgeoning Web-based industries because it is proven to be a cost-effective, efficient and quantifiable means of attaining significant earnings – most of which can be considered profit due to the very low to non-existent overhead – both for the merchant and the affiliate, as well as other players in the affiliate program (affiliate networks and affiliate solution providers).

Affiliate Marketing works effectively for the merchant and the affiliate; the former because s/he utilizes this method to advertise products to a larger market, which in turn increases the chances to earn more; and the latter because of the opportunity to market and sell products and get paid a commission without having to incur the expense of creating those products. The more affiliate websites or hard-working affiliates the merchant gets, the more sales s/he can expect; and by getting affiliates to market his/her products, s/he is saving time, effort and money it would take to look for possible markets and customers.

When a client clicks on a link in the affiliate website, purchases the product, recommends it to others who might be looking for the same item or buys it again, a merchant multiplies the chances of substantial earnings. On the other hand, an affiliate marketer benefits from each customer who clicks on the link in his website and who actually purchases the product or avails him/herself of the service provided by the merchant, because that affiliate gets paid a commission (percentage or fixed amount) for each sale made as a result of such clicks.

For the new affiliate

Consider for a moment that you wanted to be an affiliate marketer and, according to what you’ve learned, make your own small fortune from the Web. You would begin by following the three most basic and easiest steps to your own affiliate marketing business. First you would identify a particular item you are interested in, or passionate about, so you won’t be bored and forced to develop your affiliate website later on. Focusing on a specific area you know very well will help you bring out your best without much risks and effort.

Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income

You can add a personal touch to your site and give your visitors, who are potential buyers, an impression that you are an expert in your field. This way you can gain their trust and eventually encourage them to buy the products you endorse. Next is to look for good paying merchants and products or services related to your interest and create now a website; but make sure, while choosing your affiliate products, that you must consider their conversion rate (—the number of visitors-turned-buyers).

Keep in mind also that there are various affiliate networks and affiliate solution providers that can provide you with information on the most popular, in-demand and profitable products along with the best paying merchants; so the key here is to be wise enough to choose the right one(s). Now that you have decided where to concentrate, have chosen the products to endorse and the merchant(s) you are supporting and have created your own website with a top level domain name and reliable hosting, you are ready to promote.

Start promoting

Promoting is a crucial task, since it is through this activity that you would be able to drive traffic to your business website, increase sales and of course, make a profit. In affiliate marketing, it is entirely possible to earn large sums of money in a short period of time, especially when you’re endorsing high-priced items. Expensive products are hard to sell; but with the right marketing strategies and sales techniques, you can attract visitors to your site, redirect them to the merchant’s site and entice them to buy products.

Techniques, strategies and methods of how to best promote the products would, however, need a separate article and discussion; so in the meantime, just continue to educate yourself by reading affiliate marketing guides, books (ebooks) or other online articles about the best advertising techniques. Remember that there is really no facility for a quick path to success; because while affiliate marketing may seem very tempting due to the numerous encouraging testimonies of merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, it still entails a great deal of hard work and persistence.

Likewise, you need to be creative, flexible and willing to embrace new ideas to market your partners’ products until you find the perfect strategy that works for a specific market which you are targeting. Neither signing up for an affiliate program nor copying ads and leading others towards the merchants’ site guarantees success; and many affiliate marketers fail to understand this, leading them to quit when they don’t make sales and start looking for other programs with which they invariably repeat the same mistake.

Persisting through failure

This type of failure due to inconsistency, impatience and misinterpretation of what the affiliate marketing business is all about and how it should be conducted often lead the unsuccessful “would-be” affiliate to conclude that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams in the Web. The truth is that even as you’re asleep, you can work your way to great financial success if you employ the right strategies in affiliate marketing. So be smart, be creative and be persistent in your affiliate marketing business and surely, you’ll achieve success in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income

Practical Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success


Establishing an affiliate business

There are literally hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs available in this eCommerce marketplace, and they all claim to be the best, while many of them try to create the impression that all an individual has to do in order to make money on the Web is use their links and banners, and then wait for the money to start rolling in. That is obviously not the way affiliate marketers begin to make money; although money can, and often does, start rolling in once the groundwork is laid and fundamental steps are taken by new affiliates; so the impression is primarily a false one.

That having been said, an affiliate marketing career can only be successful if the affiliate is ready, willing and able to commit significant time, energy and resources (financial and otherwise) to building the necessary relationships and “following” that s/he can convert into return visitors, referals and buying customers (traffic) that is the cornerstone of an affiliate marketer’s business. Establishing this cornerstone is not accomplished overnight, and is not made possible by simply placing banners/links on a website and then wait, although links and banners are part of the overall affiliate marketing scenario.

First things first

Individuals who aspire to be affiliate marketers must first determine what kind of merchants (companies that own products which affiliates market and sell) they want to work with from a product-to-website compatibility standpoint; and they must also do the necessary research on a company’s credibility, reputation and commission payout history. Once these two steps have been completed, first-time affiliates can then start thinking about links, banners, buttons, badges and such as well as how they fit in with the design and theme of their websites.

Choosing banners

With most affiliate programs, affiliates are offered a variety of banners to display on their websites; but very few of them will be effective if those banners are not compatible with a site’s content, or if their placement takes away from the sites appeal. The problems with most banners are their size in the sense that if a banner that is overly large (in pixels and kilobytes or kb), it will take a long time to implement (render) and use. Therefore, it is recommended that affiliates use banners that are no more than 15kb in size.

When you, as an affiliate, select any kind of graphical advertising, you should try and keep the theme of your website in mind; because even though graphical ads are meant to stand out and catch the eye of website visitors, they should not be so overbearing that everything else on the page is completely ignored. On the contrary, banners should be placed on website in a way that their presence is complimentary to the site’s design, format and content.

Pop-ups, pop-unders and text link ads

Many eCommerce companies that takes on the role of affiliate merchants now give their affiliates the opportunity to use pop up or pop under ads which, according to popular opinion, are not the way to go; because these types of ads have been known to annoy visitors, and therefore are normally closed before they even have the chance to load. However, if you must use one or the other of these ads, you should opt for pop unders which only display once per visit, and usually after the visitor finishes his/her visit.

One of the most successful and popular methods of advertising among affiliates is text link ads, because they are easy on bandwidth; they don’t use a lot of space; and they can easily be implemented into most types of page layouts. Good text links provide some information as to why your visitor should investigate some of the offers being made from your website.

Email advertising

The direct promotion via email has really taken off over the last several years, although it has brought tons of spam with it, and was almost entirely responsible for the now famous Can-Spam Act of 2003; so if you plan to use email as a major part of your advertising campaign in promoting your affiliate products, make sure to stand behind what you sell, and make yourself available to answer any questions.

Keep in mind also that many email service providers, including Hotmail (by Microsoft), Yahoo! and Comcast, among others, have installed spam blockers and other software to prevent your marketing emails from getting through to their intended recipient.

Patience

If you feel confident that your website can generate great sales for certain companyies, you should contact them to negotiate an arrangement; but if they don’t seem too enthused to begin with, you should remain patient as companies are approaced every day with affiliates looking to make better deals. The reality remains that most affiliates can’t deliver what they promise, and companies are aware of this fact.

You should always keep in mind that most forms of advertising will take time no matter what methods you plan to use, so devote some time and a lot of thought before you make any type of decision. Although something might not happen overnight, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen because some things take more time to develop than others; and if you want to get the best out of your efforts, time and resources devoted to an affiliate marketing career, you’d probably be better off if you take your time and get it done the right way, whether it takes a few days or even weeks.