Affiliate Programs

Lesson 3

It’s official, sliced bread has finally got its butt kicked and is down for the count. I can personally say with 100% confidence that there not only exists something that is “the best thing since sliced bread” but something that is the best thing ever to exist along the lines of money making opportunities, and that is the affiliate program.

The affiliate program, no matter how you look at it, will allow you to open up revenue streams you never thought existed. It has already empowered millions of people around the world and made countless of average people rich beyond their wildest dreams. In a nutshell the affiliate program gives you the power to:
Be your own boss.
- Make more money than you ever dreamed of.
- Stay at home with your family.
- Reduce stress level caused by the daily grind.
- And so much more.

Just think for a moment of any of the old-school pre internet “affiliate” programs that existed. Yes even before the advent of the internet, affiliate programs did exist, but were not called as such. Each company had their own fancy monikers for these types of revenue sharing programs; they may have called their affiliates “associates” or “partners”. These associates would sell anything from cosmetics to dish washing detergents door-to-door. Associates would sign-up other people (sub-associates) to sell the company’s products. One company that immediately comes to mind who uses this tactic is Amway. The sub-associate began a home business opportunity, the associate who signed up this person got a percentage cut from all his sub-associates’ sales and as a result, the company got to sell more of their product.

Even in today’s money making opportunities that exist outside of the internet you can see evidence of “affiliate programs” or franchises as they are called; from fast-food restaurants to car dealerships. But do you have over $300,000 to startup a franchise? Are you willing to give up thousands of dollars a month in franchise fees? I thought not, otherwise you probably would not have downloaded this book.

Online affiliate programs are like the classic door-to-door opportunities, but on steroids. Here’s a small comparison between the traditional sales affiliate, with that of its online counterpart.

First off, let us see how these old school affiliates used to run their business:

- They would visit twenty to thirty potential clients a day
- They would probably make two or three sales a day
- Sales were limited to their travel restrictions and costs
- Business depended on their actual physical activity; you sleep in, you lose out.
- Self-esteem constantly battered by rejections.
- Constant juggle with traffic, gas expenses, car maintenance, etc.

Now let us take a look at affiliates running their business in the digital age:

 Thousands of potential clients visit you daily.
- Hundreds of sales a day
- Sales potential is worldwide.
- Completely automated; you sleep in and money keeps rolling in
- Totally anonymous
- Flexible working hours, work in your pajamas

Affiliate marketing is a very useful method for making money online, although it typically requires substantial experience and a strong following. Strictly speaking, affiliate marketing involves operating a website and directing the visitors to the website to external sites that sell products. The website owner then receives a percentage of the profits from every sale that was initiated from a referral from the initial site.

Affiliate marketing is especially appealing to people because it requires little to no startup costs and because very little work is involved in the operation; one does not need to produce a significant amount of content, nor do they need to actually develop or create the product themselves.

The main task involved in starting an affiliate marketing business is to create a blog or website that serves as the forum from which to link to other companies. While the blog or website need not produce enormous sums of content, there should be some guiding theme or objective to thevsite—otherwise, there is no motivation for the public to even visit the site. The home page for the web page should clearly explain its objectives as this will ensure repeat visits from the public. In many cases, affiliate marketing sites review product, linking to the products and receiving a percentage of the profits. While it ostensibly reviews products, it is very important that evaluations are not negative or people would not purchase the product; essentially affiliate marketing sites operate as publicity mechanisms for the products they promote.

If it is predicated on offering reviews, the affiliate marketing site should be organized around a central theme or market niche. If a site reviews everything from cooking products to sporting goods, this is liable to confuse the product and create the impression that there is an ulterior motive behind the reviews and that there is little specialization.

Therefore, the company should create a niche that is broad enough to generate large amounts of profit while at the same time retaining a scope that is narrow enough to create the public impression that they are specialists in the particular field they have chosen.

In some cases, affiliate marketing sites do not review products but instead provide advice and link to resources that provide more information on the topics addressed. This approach typically centers on broad issues rather than specific products; while this can ensure a broader audience that is also more loyal and (in some cases) communal, it also means that the site may require more consistent updating.

The layout of the website or blog is crucial in attracting people to click on the link to the product. In most cases, people simply are not motivated to click on products, and the layout of the website must entice them to investigate a product that they might otherwise not have any interest in purchasing or even viewing. Therefore, it is crucial that spam software engines are not deployed and the site should be organized in an aesthetically pleasing fashion that highlights the products that are linked to and paints them in a desirable light. Search engine optimization is also a critical skill for succeeding in article marketing; success in the field is predicated to a great extent on the number of visitors to the website, and so it is imperative that keywords are utilized and that popular search terms appear whenever possible. When entering the field of affiliate marketing, interacting with others through forums can also provide helpful tips and words of advice from those who have been successful. Affiliate marketing is difficult because it depends on people buying a company that is not actually produced by those conducting the marketing. It also requires companies to agree to pay the affiliate marketing site a percentage of the profits, and this can be difficult to accomplish. However, with effective marketing strategies and substantial site traffic, an affiliate marketing site can become very profitable and succeed even through relatively little effort