If you are new to the world of online marketing, you may not be familiar with the term affiliate marketing. It is a technique that many business use to promote their business, products, and services.
An affiliate is a person who signs up to help promote the business, and the business pays the affiliate a commission for their completed work. This could be based on a sale, a visit to the businessís website or when someone fills out a registration form on the businessís website.
Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for the both the affiliate and the business owner. The businesses owner only has to pay the affiliate upon performance. They can have a literal sales army, promoting their products, and they only have to pay the people who are earning money for them. The affiliate enjoys working with the business, as it allows them the opportunity to earn a passive income from home.
It is very easy to get started in affiliate marketing and there is not much start-up cost, either. All you need to get started is a computer and an internet connection. A high speed connection is not required, but it is recommended.
When you sign up with an affiliate program, you will receive access to links and graphics that you can place on your website or blog to promote the program you signed up with. Some companies also offer articles, special reports and other tools that you can use to increase your sales.
It is possible to earn money as an affiliate with just a blog or even through email; however, having a website will allow you to earn even more money. You no longer need to know HTML as there are many HTML editing software programs and site builders that can help you create a website. You could also pay a web designer to design your site, but as an affiliate marketer, you will need to learn how to perform basic maintenance in order to change your links and promote new items.
To get started, you’ll need to find some companies to promote. One option is to sign up with an affiliate network, such as Commission Junction or Linkshare. These companies mange the affiliate programs for big corporations such as Wal-Mart and Target.
You can also find websites that offer a product that you feel would appeal to your target market and apply to become an affiliate with them. When you visit a website, try to find a link that says “affiliates” or “associates.” This link should take you to a form, where youíll need to enter some basic information such as your name, email, and website address. Some companies allow anyone to be their affiliate and some have restrictions, such as traffic minimums, etc.
Affiliate marketing can open up a stream of passive income to you, and can be a great way to start or add to your existing online business.
Your Affiliate Questions Answered:
1. Q: How exactly do you make money from Affiliate Marketing?
A: We touched on the answer to this question in the previous question. When you (the affiliate) refer someone to a product (or service) and that person makes a purchase, you receive a commission on the sale.
However, there is more to it than that. After all, how can a company know for sure that you are the one who sent this person to their website since you’re not there to tell them and the person buying may not even know your name?
When you sign up to become an affiliate with a company or individual, you’ll receive a special link (your affiliate link) that is embedded with a tracking code to let the affiliate program owner identify you among other affiliates and their own marketing methods.
Whenever you use this special affiliate link to refer someone to the company’s website the person’s visit is tracked to you via that special code. There are various software programs that make this possible and the process is beyond the scope of this particular report. Just remember that visitors to the website are tracked back to you from this special code within your affiliate link.
Whenever someone who uses your link purchases something from the company’s website you are credited for the sale and receive some sort of payment.
Common types of affiliate payments:
Sales Percentage – This method is the most common form of payment to affiliates. Example: For every sale you refer as an affiliate, you’ll earn 50% of the total sales price. You refer $50 worth of sales and we’ll pay you $25. Percentages vary and are set by the company or individual who runs the affiliate program. They can vary from 5% all the way to 100%.
Pre-set dollar amount – This type of commission is not extremely common, but it is out there, specific dollar amounts could include things such as: For every $5 worth of product sales you refer to us, we’ll pay you $1 or a flat $20/sale.
Credits – Some sites pay their affiliates in credits that can be used for future purchases of their products. An example of this would be receiving 1 credit for every dollar’s worth of product sales you refer.
2. Q: Do I need special training to become an affiliate marketer?
A: In short, no you do not need any special training to become an affiliate marketer. However, understanding how Affiliate Marketing works in order to get started and be successful at it is a plus.
3. Q: I couldn’t sell water in a desert and forget about a life jacket to a drowning man too! Can I still be a successful affiliate.
A: The key isn’t in pushing a product or service down people’s throats, but instead talking to them just like you would a friend or family member. If you can recommend something to your spouse or neighbor then yes, you CAN be a successful affiliate.
More importantly, it’s not as hard to recommend affiliate products to your audience as it can sometimes be to those close to you in every day life. And, as an affiliate marketer you are doing just that…
Unlike a door to door salesperson who knocks on everyone’s door in the neighborhood without knowing anything about the residents — trying to get them to buy t-shirts or magazine subscriptions, affiliate marketers already have an audience. The people they are promoting to have already expressed an interest in what they have to say and information they have to share, which includes recommendations for products or services they have a need for.
What makes it even easier to be an affiliate marketer versus an on the street salesperson selling to any and every body they come in contact is that you have help. If you’re not good with putting words together that make people want to buy a product, don’t sweat it. If you’re afraid you’ll sound too pushy, don’t be.
As a member of a good affiliate program, you’ll be given plenty of tools and resources to help make sales easier for you to achieve. You’ll receive graphics, pre-written sales copy and more to help you.
As an affiliate it’s your job to get people to a company’s website. Once the person is there, it then becomes the company’s job to close the sale.
So, yes, you CAN be successful as an affiliate marketer even if you don’t think you could sell a life saving device to a man drowning in the ocean.
Remember this: Most affiliate sales are done online and you don’t have to spend one second talking to anyone.
4. Q: I’ve been scammed one too many times into paying money for something only to discover it’s a scheme or worse, those requesting the “fees” just take my money and are never to be heard from again. Does it cost anything to become an affiliate marketer?
A: Depending on how you choose to promote products you may incur costs to do so, however to get started and actually become an affiliate marketer, there are no costs associated with it.
There are no start-up fees or any other fees required to become an affiliate marketer. No money is given by you to the affiliate program owner or anyone else to participate in the programs.
You simply find products you’d like to promote and sign up for their affiliate program by filling out a short form. The information you provide will vary by affiliate program but here are the main ones that almost every program asks for: First Name, Last Name. Email Address, Login Information including login name and password (if they aren’t automatically generated), You paypal email address (so they can send your commissions), Your Mailing Address (especially important if you are receiving your commission payments via check)
Some programs may also ask for your telephone number and/or your Tax ID or Social Security number. Don’t be scared however because they ask for this information. If you live in the United States and make over $600 in any given year in commissions, the affiliate program owner is required by the IRS to send you a Form 1099 for tax reporting purposes and will need your Tax ID or Social Security number for this reason only.
While we’re on the subject of taxes, affiliate income is taxable income so be sure you are reporting it to the IRS, even if it is less than $600. Other than that, taxing is out of the scope of this report. However, you can visit www.irs.org and research information regarding self employment income for more information.
At the beginning of this answer I mentioned the fact there can be costs associated with affiliate marketing depending on how you choose to promote a product. While the details of these types of promotions are also out of the scope of this report here are just a few items that may incur costs should you so choose.
Purchasing a website specifically for promotion of a program
Buying the actual product or service in order to get a better idea of how it works, what the customer service is like, etc.
Paying for options such as taking out newspaper ads, Google Ads, or other forms of advertising for the product beyond things you may already possess
Again, these are extra costs that you choose whether or not to acquire. They are NOT required to be an affiliate marketer by any means.
5. Q: What types of companies actually pay people to promote their products and services?
A: This is another area with endless possibilities when it comes to affiliate marketing. Every day more and more companies are realizing the benefits of having affiliates promote their products and services and implementing affiliate programs into their marketing arsenals, if they haven’t already.
Some of the biggest companies in the world use the force of affiliates to create increased profits for them. Here are just a few well known companies that know just how smart it is to recruit others to promote them and pay them good money to do so: Nike, Microsoft, iTunes, Progressive Insurance, Walmart, Amazon
And that’s just a very small list. There are companies everywhere from small online only businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies and bigger who will gladly pay a commission (and good ones too) to promote their products and refer sales to them.
There is almost no field, at least that I know of and I work daily with affiliate programs, that doesn’t have tons of companies willing to pay someone in some form or another for promote their products for them.
6. Q: Where can I find products to promote?
A: Affiliate programs are not hard to find, especially online. Here are some ways you can find programs to promote with very little effort required.
Website Searches – You can easily do a search on the Internet for companies in a specific market that have an affiliate program. For instance if your market is dieting, simply do a search with words like “dieting sites with affiliate programs” or “dieting affiliate programs.”
Visiting Sites You Already Know and Shop At – Do you have a particular website or company that you love to shop with? If so, head to their site and check to see if they have an affiliate program. Chances are they do.
Affiliate Networks – This is probably the most popular There are a ton of sites which specialize in nothing but affiliate programs and those who wish to sell their products through them. Some of the more common affiliate networks include: Clickbank.com and CJ.com.
Finding affiliate programs to enroll in and promote is not difficult at all. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the easiest part of the whole process.
7. Q: How do I know which products are the best to promote?
A: We’ll make this very easy for you and just get straight to the point. The following one thing is the biggest determiner of whether or not you’ll convert clicks into sales in an affiliate program – YOUR MARKET!
You have to have a market that is interested in the types of products you are promoting. For instance, you will do no good promoting chocolates to a dieting market or engagement rings to married couples. You must do your research and know your market before determining which types of products will appeal to them.
This could mean the difference between success and failure as an affiliate marketer if you get it wrong. Don’t forget this basic but crucial fact:
You must know your target customer in order to successfully promote products and services they will actually buy.
8. Q: How and when do affiliate marketers get paid?
A: Payment times and methods vary from affiliate program to affiliate program, but the majority of online affiliate programs pay their affiliate commissions the month after sales have been made.
Let’s say you referred 5 visitors to a site that converted into sales for that company in the month of January. In a program that pays the month after, you would receive your commissions for those five sales sometime in February.
As for how affiliate marketers get paid, I stated earlier in this report that Paypal is a very common method of payment for affiliate managers. Some also pay by paper check or direct deposit into a checking or savings account. And some will give you the choice of how to be paid.
You’ll need to verify payment percentages and dates with each program you sign up for.
The Best Resource
The most excellent guide on affiliate marketing is written by a woman who has earned over $400,000 in her first year. It is a must-read if you want to make money online as an affiliate.