Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing

 

is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of online marketing. Companies of all sizes and types offer affiliate marketing programs to the owners of websites and blogs. For example; Amazon, EBay, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot all have affiliate programs as part of marketing efforts.

The website owners participating in the affiliate marketing programs are called affiliate marketers. Affiliate marketers generally earn a commission or a referral fee whenever one of their website’s visitors follow an ad or link and make a purchase.

Affiliate marketing can be a very attractive small business opportunity because:

  • Affiliate marketing has very low start up costs.
  • It can be done part-time or full time.
  • The affiliate marketer will typically select market products in niches that he or she is passionate about.
  • The affiliate marketer is able to control his or her schedule. She can work late at night, early in the morning, at home or in a hotel at the beach.

Companies like to participate in affiliate marketing programs because they do not have to pay a referral fee or a commission for unless it results in a sale or a lead. The requirements and fee schedule is agreed upon prior to accepting the marketer into the affiliate program.

What do affiliate marketers have to do to earn commissions from companies that have affiliate marketing programs?

As a quick over view,

The goal of an affiliate marketer is to create a niche website or blog that people want to visit because it is informative or entertaining. In addition to quality content, the website will also have some links or ads that might be of interest to the visitor. If the visitor likes the links or ads enough to make a purchase, the website owner will earn a commission. So, it is very important that the affiliate marketer understand who the potential visitors are and what they want.

If the website does not get any visitors that spend enough time on it that they want to make a purchase, the affiliate marketer will not make any money.

How does the affiliate marketer get persons to visit their website:

1. Create and provide quality content that people are actually interested in.

2. Publish quality articles that are written in a way that they will rank well in the Google search engine. If the website does not rank on the first page of Google, visitors may never see it. This is called search engine optimization (SEO)

3. Use various forms of social media to notify other people of new articles and blog posts on the website.

4. Email campaigns

5. Participation in online discussion groups,

6. Using paid advertising to as a method of getting more people to the website or to promote individual blog posts or articles. Ideally, you would rather not have to pay for advertising because that will reduce your net income. If you do opt to use paid advertising, it is important that you are following the rules for the affiliate marketing programs that you are participating in. Basically, they want to make sure that your ads are not competing with any paid ads that they are running.

 

Affiliate marketing is NOT an еаѕу, gеt-rісh-quісk buѕіnеѕѕ орроrtunіtу

Despite what some people say on the internet, affiliate marketing is not an easy. Nor is it even remotely close to a get-rich-quick sort of business opportunity. Instead, it іѕ а buѕіnеѕѕ орроrtunіtу thаt muѕt bе tаkеn ѕеrіоuѕlу. It does require work. The potential income is dependant on:

  • How much time the affiliate marketer invests into the business,
  • The amount of commission that can be earned from the products or services that the affiliate marketer is promoting,
  • The amount of consumer demand for the product or service
  • How knowledgeable the affiliate marketer is about the product or service being promoted.
  • How well the affiliate marketer is able to understand what the target audience wants and needs.
  • How well the affiliate marketer’s ability to communicate why it would be beneficial for the visitor to purchase the product or service.

If someone has an established website or blog that has a large group of dedicated followers, it should not take as long to generate income. However, most affiliate marketers do not start out that way. Other marketers will try to speed up the rate they earn money by launching an aggressive marketing campaign by purchasing ads that are intended to drive people to their websites. The latter provides no guarantees and it cuts into the profit margin. Yet, at the same time it can work.

 

How does the affiliate marketer get persons to visit their website?

The following is a very condensed overview of the possible ways that an affiliate marketer can encourage people to visit their website. For more details, I encourage joining the Wealthy Affiliate training program. All for one low fee, they provide certification courses, weekly training, website hosting for up to 25 websites, plus a very active community.

Here are the steps.

1. Create and provide quality content that people are actually interested in.

2. Publish quality articles that are written in a way that they will rank well in the Google search engine. If the website does not rank on the first page of Google, visitors may never see it. This is called search engine optimization (SEO)

3. Use various forms of social media to notify other people of new articles and blog posts on the website.

4. Email campaigns

5. Participation in online discussion groups,

6. Using paid advertising to as a method of getting more people to the website or to promote individual blog posts or articles. Ideally, you would rather not have to pay for advertising because that will reduce your net income. If you do opt to use paid advertising, it is important that you are following the rules for the affiliate marketing programs that you are participating in. Basically, they want to make sure that your ads are not competing with any paid ads that they are running.

Please note that items #1 and #2 are the fundamental requirements that will contribute to long term success. Without a website with quality content, the other methods will be ineffective.

 

How much money is needed to start an affiliate marketing business?

There is potential to earn thousands of dollars each month. Amazon and the other giant companies that already have big marketing budgets wouldn’t waste their time with affiliate programs if the affiliate marketers didn’t help them gain additional sales.

Not counting the cost of your computer and Internet service, I think it would be possible to start an affiliate marketing business for between $100 – $600. With the higher amount, I am assuming that you chose to make monthly payments for training or hosting services rather than paying upfront. For $100, I am assuming that you only needed to invest in two months of training.

An affiliate marketing business, may be one of the least expensive online businesses to start. You will not have to invest in product development nor inventory. An online business or store would still require a website, computer and Internet. Many new sellers gravitate towards marketing platforms such as EBay, Etsy or Amazon. They require sellers pay insertion fees, monthly fees, and commissions on the sale. With affiliate marketing, you do not have all those fees. Plus, if you absolutely love those companies, all three have affiliate marketing programs.

Make sure you have a source of income while in the startup period.

Please, please, please realize: Unless you already have a popular blog or big social media following, you need to make certain that you have enough money to live on until the business starts producing adequate income. This time period required to generate a profit will vary just as much as people’s ideas of what adequate income is varies. It might take a year or two, especially if you don’t follow a training program or if you do not commit enough time to your affiliate marketing venture.

Regardless, most people describe the affiliate income at first as being like a few drops of water that becomes a trickle that become a nice income stream.

You will need  savings or another source of income that can be used to pay the bills during the start up phase.  

What is required to start an affiliate marketing business?

1. Computer

2. Internet Service

3. Basic affiliate marketing training that will teach you how to set up the website and to get it to rank in the search engines such as Google. The program should keyword research, writing content, finding and applying to affiliate programs, importance of writing content and getting comments. The best training courses will teach you how to promote your website using organic strategies that do not cost anything other than your time.

(I recommend Wealthy Affiliate Training.   The membership/training fee includes hosting, SSL certificate and instructions on how to set up the Wordless websites. Their normal price is $349 for a year long membership or $49 per month.)

2. Domain name These typically cost between $10 -15 per year depending on sales and who you purchase from.

3. Website Hosting Plan $15-$20 per month for a decent plan. (Included in the WA membership at no extra charge for up to 25 websites).

4. SSL security certificate. At this moment, the security certificate is not mandatory. However, Google is starting to place a higher value on websites that take measures to protect visitors private information. The SSL certificates allows the website address to start with https:// rather than http:. The security certificate costs seem to vary. Some hosting plans will provide one at no extra charge. Others may charge around $50 per year per domain. (WA provides SSL certificates for websites hosted on it’s server at no extra charge).

5. Website – Most likely you will want to use a wordpress website. (IF you have never set up a website before, WA walks you through the process. They make it seem simple.)

When you apply for affiliate marketing program, the vast majority of companies will require that you have a website or blog that you control. The website or blog can not be part of a larger website such as the free websites associated with Wordless.com or a Realtor’s blog on Activerain.com. These blogs are typically set up so that individual users can not ad their own advertisements.

Even if you were to splurge on the yearly membership for the Wealthy Affiliate Training, the start up costs associated with an affiliate marketing business is comparatively low.

 

How much can you earn with an affiliate marketing business?

Money earned from affiliate marketing will grow as time passes.People’s earning potential varies widely.  You can earn a full time income.     To complicate matters, most high earning affiliate marketers are not going to share with the world how much they make. Those that do are typically trying to sell some sort of book or training program. They share their results as a way to get more business.

Your income will depend on the commission rate for what you sell.

For example, if your website visitors primarily purchase books on Amazon, you will only make a couple dollars per sale unless your have a lot of visitors buying huge quantities. On the other hand, you will make more promoting companies that sell high dollar items or that have recurring sales.

 

Well, I’ve gotten carried away talking about affiliate marketing.  Thanks for reading this far.  If you have any questions or concerns, let me know.

–Sondra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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