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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Affiliate Marketing Made Simple

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It's been a while since I spent any time talking about affiliate marketing even though it's something I do every day. A friend of mine asked me for a quick primer on affiliate marketing so I thought I'd share my thoughts with everyone who reads this blog. 

I know from the many comments and emails that many of you are interested in driving more traffic to your websites, improving rankings, and making the most from your PPC and other online advertising.

Many of you have also shared your goal to generate revenue online through affiliate marketing. For those of you who may not be all that familiar with affiliate marketing, the concept is simple: get paid for selling someone else's product. You might be asking, "why sell someone else's product and not my own?" The reality is that affiliate marketing isn't for everyone but it's great if you don't want to deal with the hassles of running your own traditional business.

Selling physical products, either from a retail establishment or online with a website requires that you advertise, sell, and process orders - usually through an online shopping cart. Once you've made a sale, you need to package and deliver the product, support any calls that come in (product questions, shipping inquires, reship damaged inventory, etc.). The process is labor intensive and time consuming.

Enter affiliate marketing. When selling someone else product through an affiliate network the steps are quite simple. You begin by selecting an affiliate product, do some affiliate advertising, and send traffic to a vendor's sales page. When a prospect converts you get paid.  Simple, isn't it?.  The advantage to you is that you're earning revenue with no inventory, no customer service, and no hassles.

What's wonderful about affiliate marketing is that there are plenty of product to choose from and dozens of large affiliate networks that aggregate many advertisers into a single platform, making the process of finding relevant products easy. Different products and offers also have different payouts. You can choose to sell big ticket items with big commissions or smaller offers. There are even recurring offers that deliver a steady income to the seller month after month... my favorite!

Getting started with affiliate marketing is simple to do. Visit a site like Clickbank to find suitable offers and promotional links.  All you need to do is start driving traffic through the links posted on your site and as prospects purchase items for the vendor's web page, you get paid. Most affiliate sites pay every couple of weeks by check, direct deposit, or via PayPal.

There are lots of ways drive traffic to your affiliate offers.  Use your website, write and distribute an article, review the product on your blog, tweet about it, use PPC marketing, etc.  There are many ways to promote different types of products.  I recommend that you choose products that have a good commission ($25 or more) and are related to your content.  If you have a web site about trucks, refer users to affiliate products such as truck parts.  If you stay relevant, you'll get good results.  Wander too far off course and your traffic will never convert.

If you want to start making money online, I encourage you to sign up for an affiliate network.  It costs nothing and can begin generating some extra cash for your wallet.  Successful affiliate marketers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, or more.  Affiliate marketing is a great way to do business online and everyone should join in.


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