When you haven’t got a product of your own to sell and you are wondering how to make money from internet marketing, the best formula to make money is to either come up with your own product, such as an information or tangible product, which can be sold over and over, or if you are not a business offering your own offers, it is possible to make money selling products and services provided by others, by becoming an affiliate.
An affiliate is someone who is officially connected to an organization; in internet marketing terms, this person will earn commissions from marketing products or services of one or more of their business partners. How they earn, in terms of percentages and how often they receive revenue varies between affiliate programs established by companies seeking to find third party resellers of their products.
This article focusses more on the affiliate marketer who resells the products and services of others, rather than businesses looking to establish affiliate programs to extend their market reach.
How to Make Money as an Affiliate
The appeal of affiliate marketing is that you can work your own hours and automate many reselling systems. It offers flexibility to those with e.g. family commitments, or for whatever reason are experiencing difficulties finding work. However, it would be a mistake to believe some of the hype amongst promoters of affiliate programmes that this work is easy. The formula to make money for any affiliate marketer is choice of appropriate program and consistent and persistent effort over time.
Go Niche: There are so many great programmes available, it’s difficult to know which to choose, so start with those subjects you are interested in, because you are going to be working on selling and promoting those products and services daily for the foreseeable future. Think long term. If you have specialist knowledge, this helps you to zero in on a niche market and build on your expertise. Being specialist is an asset, rather than going for a broad approach of being a reseller of all things and master of none. Your audiences will be buying into you as much as your products, so establishing yourself as the authority in your chosen niche help builds trust and loyalty, so buyers will return, making it easier for you to cross and upsell.
Be aware that it is a minority of affiliate marketers who strike it rich; many lose money. Once you have established your ideal niche, then, it is important to establish which products and services will make you the kind of returns you are looking for. This means scrutinising margins and being aware of the difference between commission earnt per sale and cost per customer acquisition.
Reduce Risks to Build Resilience
Risk mitigation is not something many affiliate programmes warn you about, but it is important if you want to make money with affiliate marketing that you understand the potential pitfalls. For instance:
• It takes time to generate the amount of consistent website traffic needed to convert to sales.
• Quality of sales will depend on the value you offer to visitors with your online content; this is an on-going learning process as technologies advance.
• Affiliate hijacking can happen, whereby you are not credited for your referral. URL masking is essential. Each affiliate has their own unique ID, but if this shows in a URL, buyers may delete your personal details, going direct to the producer.
• A poor quality affiliate programme can ruin your professional credibility, when deliveries are not timely, if they happen at all, for instance. Some companies may not even pay you for your efforts. It’s essential that you take time to establish links with quality businesses partners who have well established programmes with affiliate resellers or referrers.
• Remember, you have no control over the products or services you promote, or how your business partner operates. It is important to do your research on a company’s background before getting excited about their gizmos. Speaking of which, it helps to purchase products yourself, so you can attest to their quality. Check review sites or work with affiliate networks in order to ensure reliability for your customers.
• The affiliate marketing sector is renowned for being highly competitive. Be aware that when you find your ideal program, many other affiliates are promoting it too. It is worth doing a search online to see what comes up in the search engines and think about how you can put an original spin on what you offer and also get a realistic view of what it will take to establish your business in the search engines to compete. Time is money; your upfront marketing efforts mean cost per conversion will be much higher, this will reduce over time as you achieve viral impact and extend your reach.
• Getting to know your market and understand their motivations requires learning the techniques for harvesting data about them, so you can improve what you do. This is not always easy, given that essentially, your customer ‘belongs to the merchant’. You can track stats on how many sales you make, of what product, but generally speaking, you’ll never really know who made the purchase unless you engage them in social media; this is your most difficult challenge. When you learn to make money online, you are learning the art of engagement with your business, in order to understand your market and up and cross sell your fans.
Building an email list is still one of the best ways to reduce your marketing costs, while getting to know your audience. The most successful affiliate marketers use this strategy in their affiliate marketing campaigns because it is cost-effective and builds business intelligence. Email marketing is a way to build relationships and foster loyalty to you. Remember, people buy from people.
Setting up lead pages and a market funnel is an on-going business objective; it can become highly sophisticated to segment your audiences and keep messages appropriate and relevant to them.
When getting started, it’s useful to create a special or free offer to warm audiences to you. This can be a product or information, such as eBooks and white papers. Information can provide links to your affiliate product page.
Whatever you do, your results are pure guess work without monitoring your metrics. These offer snapshots of the relative success of your affiliate programs, so you know where to focus your attention.
If you want to make more money with affiliate marketing than your individual learning and marketing efforts can achieve and leverage the efforts of others expertise, chances are you will have even greater success by checking out successful affiliate networks. These professional agents have established relationships with sellers and have expertise in the industry. They can give reliable returns from effective programmes and additional support, which when starting to learn how to make money in internet marketing can make the difference in getting off to a stronger start.
Different affiliate networks offer different services, so it can be hard to know who to partner with. Those established companies, such as TopOffers.com, are more likely to understand what is needed to balance the needs of product producers and affiliate marketers more fairly. Their commission structures and support systems will be established such that an affiliate can make money online, while the producer also profits.
These agencies will take some of the heavy lifting out of getting set up and building your affiliate marketing business. When the going gets tough, they have your back and will offer practical advice to implement and keep you on track. They certainly take the loneliness out of the long-distance reselling.