What exactly is affiliate marketing?
 
As an affiliate, you sell online merchants products or services. You put a link to their website on your website or blog, then as your visitors click on the merchant’s link, you will get a commission if their click results in a sale.
 
Some merchants will also pay for your visitors clicking on just their site. There are many different programs out there.
 
Simply put, affiliate marketing is a way for you to make money referring visitors to the vendors’ sites if those visits result in a sale of the vendors’ product or service.
 
There are two models of affiliate marketing.
 
The first is your basic point of sale commission structure. When you make a sale, you get a commission.
 
The second is the two-tier affiliate program. This one will pay you for recruiting others into the affiliate program and will pay you a percentage of your recruit’s sales as well. It’s not MLM because there are only 2 levels.
 
I must admit, that when I first learned about affiliate marketing, I thought it sounded so good that I was tempted to just jump in, sign up for a bunch of programs, and then just sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in.
 
Some sites make it sound just that easy to get going and make a ton of money. Fortunately, I knew better than to just believe that.
 
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your website or blog, but there are some things you need to know to be successful with it.
 
Some people use this entirely as their way of making money online. Whether you are interested in affiliate marketing as your primary online business, or you would like to monetize your website, it’s important to understand what is involved in doing it right.
 

1. How to select a program.

 
• If your website already has content, select products or services related to that.
 
If you are making a website with the sole intention of marketing affiliate programs, then you may want to consider such programs as Clickbank or Sharesell.
 
These programs allow you to sell anything you can imagine. The list is endless. You can sell everything from sporting goods to electronic equipment.
 
You might want to also look into affiliate programs offered through credit card companies. Some of these pay just for your visitors to click on their sites.
 

2. What to look for in an affiliate marketing program.

 
• Look for one with quality products or services. You want to sell something others will want and be satisfied with. You won’t want to ruin your online reputation by selling inferior products.
 
• Look at the compensation plan. How much will you get paid for each sale? Some programs have a really good payment plan, others are not so generous. Make sure you know. Also know when they pay, how often they pay, and if there is a minimum you must make before they will pay you.
 
• Make sure the company is stable and reputable. Do they pay on time? Do they have a lot of complaints? Any sign of trouble, run the other way.
 
• Read your contract! Some contracts have a non-compete clause, meaning you can’t sell or promote anything that is similar to their product or service. That might be ok, just realize it so you don’t get yourself into any trouble. Also, make sure they are strict with their anti-spam rules.
 
• Look at the kind of support they offer. They should offer things like banners, logos, sample ads. Are there helpful employees there to help you if you need it?
 
• Do they ask for money up front? Most of the time, you shouldn’t do that. There are plenty of reputable companies out there that won’t require you to shell out money to sell their products.
 
• Also, check to see if you will get paid for return customers or repeat business. Some companies will pay you each time your customer makes further purchases. Others will only pay from direct visits from your site to theirs.
 
• Check to see if there is potential for residual income. Some companies will actually allow you to retain customers for a lifetime!
 
That could turn into some nice residual income for you. Also, if the product or service you are selling through your affiliate marketing program is something customers use over and over, as on a monthly basis, see if you make monthly on-going commissions.
 
• One other very important thing. You don’t want to drive traffic from your site.
 
Make sure that you can set up your affiliate link so another window comes up and your customer doesn’t have to navigate from your site.
 
If you have an affiliate program that drives your customers from your site, you better be making some hefty commissions!
 

3. How to get your affiliate programs out there.

 
• If you already have a website that is generating good traffic, you can simply add some affiliate programs to your site.
 
Pick ones that are related to the content in your site.
 
If you plan on marketing affiliate programs only, you are still going to need a good website to drive traffic to your affiliate links.
 
You can’t just put up a splash page with your links and expect the search engines to love you and send you visitors.
 
They won’t. In fact – they won’t even like you : )
 
• If you don’t have a good site that is pulling traffic, you will have to spend money to buy your traffic.
 
If you have to do this, you might want to reconsider using affiliate marketing. People are making a fortune in affiliate marketing by buying advertising, but they know what they’re doing and they often had a very costly learning curve.
 
If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you’ll probably end up spending far more than you make.
 
• Another good way to get you affiliate programs out there quickly is through a Blog. With a blog, you can get your affiliate programs out there right away, while you’re going through the timely process of building your web site.
 
With a blog, you can monetize your affiliate programs right now, as soon as you can write an article. With a website, you need to have a large body of information and a lot of traffic before monetizing.
 
• You can also utilize affiliate marketing through traffic exchanges – sort of like a free advertising forum where everyone agrees to receive advertising in exchange for the opportunity to advertise their products or services.
 
• Another way to drive traffic to your affiliate programs is through an e-zine.
 
If you don’t have one going already, or haven’t considered doing one, you may want to think about adding this to your arsenal of marketing weapons.
 
With a monthly e-zine, you can drive traffic to your site and your programs. You can mention your programs, talk about them, generate interest.
 

So that’s Affiliate Marketing in a nutshell.

 
It can be a fun, lucrative way to make extra income. If done right, the potential for making good money is there.
 
It’s just not a get rich quick overnight business. Of course, there’s no such thing anyway – unless you win the lottery.
 
And most lottery winners lose all of their money very quickly because they haven’t developed a wealth mindset.
 
If you study the information above, you’ll have plenty of resources to make your affiliate marketing a success.