What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing (also called Internet Marketing, Online Marketing or Associate Marketing) is a word that you might never have heard before, and even for those who knows it, it could mean different things. In short, Affiliate Marketing is basically when someone markets someone elseâ€™s product or services for a commission, or a portion of the sale.
It may sound simple, but there are people who do this as a full time job, and some of them have made riches that will stupefy most of us. It may sound unbelievable, but it is absolutely true. The most wondrous thing about Affiliate Marketing is that it is quite easy to do. There is the wonderful advantage that an affiliate marketer does not have to worry about customer service or the shipment of orders. The Affiliate Marketer makes his/her money simply by advertising someones else products or services and leaves the customer support and shipments to the merchant, while collecting his/her commission for every single successful sale.
Is this method successful? Yes, Yes, Yes. Affiliate Marketing is probably one of the most successful methods of making money on the internet available. It is a simple and easy process to master and some people really rake in thousands of dollars a month by simply working a few hours a day.
But do not be mistaken. Although the process is very simple and easy to learn it can be quite tricky to make thousands of dollars continually, unless you have a good idea of what you are doing. And this is where this site comes in: it will learn you the basics you need to know to be a successful affiliate marketer.
Think about this: while you are reading this page, there are thousands of affiliates world-wide making money and using this method as a full-time career or part-time extra income. Some really make a grand living earning their money online.
It was already stated that affiliate marketing is a very versatile and successful method. The reason for this is that you can market almost anything as an affiliate. Products helping people with weight loss, acne, making money, planning a retirement, starting their own business, getting parts for cars, buying cars online, making and publishing e-books, study methods to improve grades, painting techniques, gambling, investing, sports, health, improving almost anything you can think about, protecting your computer from viruses, finding love online, hotel accommodation, vacation planning, herbal medicine, plastic or cosmetic surgery, buying and selling your property etc., can be marketed via affiliate marketing.
These things we just named are sometimes called niche marketing (you will learn more about niche marketing later) and the more efficient you can become in identifying a profitable niche market, the more money you will make online. Just remember that some niche markets are so flooded with affiliate marketers (who do this professionally) that it can be hard, and in some cases impossible, to enter these markets profitable. The aim of affiliate marketing, and the advice from this site, is not to take the professionals head-on, but rather to help you understand how to find those smaller niches that can be very, very profitable to enter.
If you have an active interest in some of these niches, it could be to your advantage, but you really do not need to be an expert in a niche market to market it profitably.
If you ever search for something like a CD, book, weight loss program or any of the above things we named, you probably already came across an affiliate marketer, perhaps even without knowing it. Almost any term you could search for under Google will show you Google Ads in the right hand column. These ads are also used by affiliate marketers to promote products and are called Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC Advertising). Google makes use of these methods, as well as Yahoo. Google calls their PPC Advertising method Google Adwords. You will learn more about this later.
If you ever purchased something online there is also a big chance that you purchased the product by means of an affiliate. Do it now: open a new browser window and search for that product in Google. Do you see the ads on the right hand side? Some of those ads are affiliate marketers. People advertising merchantâ€™s products or services and some are making thousands of dollars while you are reading this!
If you think about it, internet marketing presents a winning situation to all who take part. The merchant decides how much of the sale price the affiliate will receive (in some cases it can be as high as 75% - yes, 75%). Some merchants, if left only with traditional advertising methods will never see good profits. But affiliate marketers make use of various methods to advertise the product on behalf of the merchant. Some use websites, other PPC advertising, or some use email marketing, viral marketing, advertising via forums or classified sites… some even make use of a combination of these. For the merchant it gives the opportunity of having his product advertised to thousands, if not millions potential buyers without any extra work on his side and no cost until someone buys his product.
No matter what method people use to advertise a product, and some methods are surprisingly creative, the goal remains the same… to make money. And the best of all… affiliate marketing gives you the opportunity to cash in yourself and build your own online business, either part-time or full-time. You only need a computer and internet connection to run this business and you can live almost anywhere in the world and work anytime of the day, for as long as you want or need. Nice!
Some people actually dive into affiliate marketing without the proper preparation and quickly learn that affiliate marketing may be a simple process, but you still need to work hard to be successful. Riding a bike is so easy that some 3 or 4 year old mastered it, but for someone who has never set foot on the pedals of a bicycle it will take some practice to master the art of riding a bicycle. Riding a bicycle is a simple process, but it still needs practice, patience and perseverance to ride with confidence and ease. To be profitable in affiliate marketing is the same process: it takes time, perseverance, practice and some falls to be successful.
One of the most important aspects of online marketing is finding and researching a potential niche market. This can be a laborious task and a lot of newbie internet marketers shy away from this, but if you cut corners on this part of the process, you will surely cut your profits also… take time to research a potential profitable niche thoroughly before jumping in.
Although you must always remember that almost any thinkable niche will have competing affiliate marketers, some niches will have more than others. Taking your time to seek those that have the least possible competitors will most likely help you realise the most profits. Not all niche markets that have little competition is necessarily profitable.
Luckily there is a lot of tools that can help you find those profitable niches. Some tools are free, some not. Starting with the free ones will probably take longer and produces less information, but at least you will not risk any money in the beginning. Starting out with the free tools can be a good idea until you are able to buy the better tools with your profits. By then you will also have a very good idea of what you are looking for in a product and save yourself a bundle in buying the wrong product for your needs. So letâ€™s move to the next section and look at some tools you might need, read my post about Affiliate Marketing for beginners.