What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you haven’t been paying very close attention to the internet business/marketing industry you probably have never heard of the term “Affiliate Marketing”. However, you don’t have to be on the cutting edge of the industry to understand it or have been exposed to it in some form or fashion.
Chances are, you are a regular customer of products or services that have been sold via affiliate marketing. or have been marketed to via affiliate marketing.
Have you heard of Expedia.com or Amazon.com? These are two of the biggest affiliate networks in the world today, and I’d be willing to bet you’ve used one of them.
I’f you’ve ever bought a car, you have been a customer of one of the biggest affiliate industries in the world as well, that being the automotive industry.
So what is Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate Marketing is nothing more and nothing less than a product being sold by an independent salesperson to a consumer for a commission. The salesperson is not an employee of the company that pays him or her a commission but merely an independent contractor approved or licensed to sell that product.
In the online or internet world, it’s called affiliate marketing. In the offline or bricks and mortar world, we call it commissioned sales. Either way, it’s pretty much all the same.
As internet marketers, we have the unique ability to market products of our choosing and sell them via the internet to the right type of customers. And because we use the internet to market products, we can reach customers world wide.
What kind of products can you sell?
With affiliate marketing, you have a large range of products and/or services you can sell. The following are the types of products or services you can market online.
- Physical Products
- Information Products
- Lead Generation
- Application and Software Downloads
Each of these categories has sub-niches of products you can specialize in selling.
Amazon.com is one of the biggest affiliate networks that sells physical products. As an affiliate marketer, you can pick one of the thousands of products in Amazon’s marketplace to promote. For example, you may decide to do a review on a pair of bluetooth headphones and post it to your website. Every time somebody clicks on your post and subsequently purchases the product through your customized link on Amazon’s site, you get paid a commission.
Where do you find products to sell?
There are a few ways to find products to sell for affiliate marketing.
The first is to apply to an affiliate network. Once approved, you have access to that affiliate network’s products to promote and sell. Most networks have hundreds or thousands of products to sell. The advantage of using an affiliate network is that they provide all the commission processing and payments to their affiliates. They deal directly with the product owners so that you don’t have to . They also bear the risk of collecting the commission payments, meaning, they promise their affiliates payments regardless of if and when the product’s owner pays.
The other way to find affiliate products to sell is to simply do a google search on a particular product or brand. For example, you would search for “Nike affiliate program.” If Nike has an affiliate program, you would be taken to their affiliate page to get information on their program and to apply.
The downside of going directly with a product manufacturer or owner is the risk of not being paid. Although, if you are selling a reputable product at an affiliate network, you can negotiate directly with the product owner or manufacturer for a better commission payout.
So why would someone want to become an affiliate marketer?
There are many reasons why a person would want to dive into the online world of affiliate marketing. And of course, there are pros and cons to the industry.
- Easy to become an affiliate – there is quite a low barrier to entry in becoming an affiliate. That’s why there are so many out there. But don’t let that discourage you. Affiliate marketing takes work and dedication, just like an other business. You get out what you put in of course.
- Can work from anywhere – As an affiliate marketer, or internet business owner in general, you can literally work from anywhere as long as you have a reliable internet connection and a laptop computer. That being said, if you are like me, your environment is conducive to how productive you can be. Don’t let the pictures of internet business owners laying in a hammock on the beach make you think that you can be productive anywhere. I typically need a table to work from and a quiet environment.
- You don’t own any products or hold any inventory – For me, this is probably the biggest pro of being an affiliate marketer, at least in the beginning. Many people want the ability to work for themselves and work for anywhere. But the whole concept stifles some people because they thing they need to come up with the next biggest fidget spinner type idea in order to be successful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are LOTS of full-time affiliate marketers that are literally making multiple six figure incomes…some seven figure, from promoting products that they don’t own.
- Unlimited earning potential – With affiliate marketing, you have the ability to earn as much as you would like, unlike working a job where you have a set salary and maybe the ability to get a 3% cost of living adjustment raise each year. But this doesn’t mean that you become an affiliate and just start raking in truck loads of cash. Affiliate marketing take work…let me repeat…AFFILIATE MARKETING TAKES WORK. There are too many “gurus” out there talking up how somebody can sign up for their course and 30 days later make millions of dollar just from clicking the mouse around on the computer. Don’t believe this hype. Whereas it’s true that a person can make a ridiculous amount of money with affiliate marketing, many people don’t because they are not willing to put in the work. My suggestions is to learn as much as you can, and take action along the way. Be diligent and consistent, and success will follow.
- Takes time – Affiliate marketing is not an overnight success for 99.9% of the people out there. If you need to make money right away, stay employed, save your cash, and work at learning and doing at least an hour a day.
- For faster results, it can require money – There are many ways to be successful with affiliate marketing. The quickest way is to learn Pay Per Click marketing (PPC) and spend money on advertising as opposed to trying to optimized a blog for search engine results. PPC is a complicated matter, but once learned it can really help you get positive results fast. But in order to do this, you must have the money to spend on it. I wouldn’t stat with any less than $300/month for PPC ads. And the more you can invest in advertising, the quicker results you can get in your campaigns to analyze and start split testing to see what converts.
- Requires some skills – You don’t need to be a hard core computer programmer or coder to become an affiliate marketer, but it does require a bit of technical know-how around the computer. Skills can be learned though, and for many of the skills you need to be an affiliate marketer a person can learn them within a few days to a couple weeks.
- Your friends may become jealous – I’m a bit joking here, but in all seriousness, once you can achieve a decent level of success with affiliate marketing and actually have a legitimate business, people close to you may start becoming a bit envious. Because successful affiliate marketers appear to be “living the life” their friends or family my start asking questions and wondering what the hell is it that you do and are you ever going to just get a real job like everyone else. Best bet, ignore this static, enjoy the fruits of your labor, and continue living life on your terms.
So now that you know what affiliate marketing is, what you can sell, and the pros and cons, hopefully you can make somewhat of a decision on whether or not it’s for you. Affiliate marketing is not for every one, but it is a good, honest way to make a living and then some if you do it the right way.
If you are interested in affiliate marketing, I would recommend signing up for the 7-Day Video Training Series by the Six Figure Mentors. It will discuss in further detail how somebody goes about setting up campaigns, picking niches, and driving traffic. Click on the link below to get your first video sent to your email inbox today.