Making Money As An Affiliate
Affiliate marketing is a great way of making money online -- it's basically a twist on the old-fashioned way of making money on commission and there are still lots of companies offering this form of marketing such as Avon, Tupperware and double glazing companies. The Internet has opened up a lot more opportunities and there are literally millions of products available for affiliates to sell.
You can sell affiliate products through your own website or you can use another platform such as eBay, Amazon, Click Bank or Craigslist to sell other people's products. Either way works well. The main thing is that you choose your products carefully and consider how much profit you could actually make before you take the plunge. Many products offer a decent level of commission, but others are hardly worth the bother because you have to sell a huge number of units to make any money. You also have to factor in your marketing costs as these can add up considerably. If you're using pay per click or any form of paid advertising, this will eat into your profits and although there are plenty of free ways to market your products, there is a limit to the amount of free promotion you can do.
Choosing your affiliate products
One of the best ways to market any products on the Internet is to find a small niche market. It's very difficult to succeed with untargeted mass marketing because there are so many competing products and unless your visitors can find you using keywords, then you are unlikely to get visitors to your site. At least with a niche market, your keywords are more targeted and it is easier to find potential customers.
So, start by defining your niche market by looking for a group of people with a specific problem that you can offer a solution for. That means you have to define your market first, then look for products that address the needs of your prospects.
You can also do things the other way round and find affiliate products that are aimed at a niche market. If you do this, make sure there are not hundreds of other affiliates selling the same product otherwise you will have the problem of affiliate saturation and it would be very difficult to sell.
One way of finding something unique to sell and avoiding the problem of affiliate saturation with the more popular affiliate products, is to track down products that you would like to sell from product owners that are not offering an affiliate program. You could effectively be the only affiliate for a particular company and this would greatly increase your chances of success. All you have to do is approach the product owner and ask if they would be willing for you to sell their product on a commission basis. It's doubtful that any business owner would turn down this opportunity and the only thing that remains is to find a practical way of identifying your referrals from the general traffic coming to their website. Using codes and links or special pages and shopping carts dedicated to your particular clients is one way to achieve this.
Getting some leverage from being an affiliate
There is an argument against affiliate marketing – that you might make a small profit but you are essentially working to build up somebody else's business. The product owner is the one who will make the most money and will also get to develop his business and create a list of customers. If you want to make a business from being an affiliate, rather than just making a bit of extra cash on the side, you should consider steering your affiliate customers through your own website to give you the opportunity to collect their contact details. This will allow you to approach them in the future and offer other products -- either affiliate products or your own.
This is not underhanded -- most of the top affiliates do this and really you are only playing at affiliate marketing unless you start developing your own list. All you need to do is direct your prospects from your marketing materials to your own landing page. This can be very simple but it gives visitors the chance to register their name and e-mail address before they click through to the product owner’s website. Sometimes this can be off-putting for visitors but you can make it worth their while by offering something for free of your own -- perhaps a free report or short digital book that they can download there and then.