Today I want to answer a few questions for you and hopefully get you moving in the right direction with your affiliate marketing business. First, I am going to outline what affiliate marketing really is. Then I am going to let you know about the different components of affiliate marketing and how the effectively work together. Then I am going to show you how to leverage this business model to create a profitable start-up online.
First things first though…
What is involved in the Affiliate Marketing Business?
The affiliate marketing biz is composed of two parties, the affiliate and the merchant. The affiliate represents the person who is essentially working for the merchant by driving traffic to their sites. In exchange for this traffic/sales, the merchant offers a commission. This is typically paid on the Cost Per Sale, Cost Per Commission, or Cost Per Action basis.
So, as an affiliate you would sign-up to the merchants affiliate program, where you would then get your OWN unique link in which you could use on your website, blog, email, twitter, facebook…wherever really that you could get traffic and potentially sales.
For a larger explanation of “Affiliate Marketing”, see the definition on Wikipedia.
For example, one of the largest digital affiliate product networks is Clickbank. Clickbank contains over 100,000 affiliates and well over 10,000 merchants. By being an affiliate of this network, you can promote any of the 10,000 products owned by the merchants (or all of them).
Here is an example pay scale for a few of the items:
Merchant: Strip That Fat (dieting product)
Product Price: $57
Affiliate Gets Paid: 75% commission, or approximately $38 per sale
Merchant: Magic of Making Up (dating e-book/videos)
Product Price: $39
Affiliate Gets Paid: 75%, $23.97
How do affiliates become profitable?
By selling other people’s products. That is in it’s simplest and most archaic form, and might be a reality for some, but things have changed over the last couple of years.
Affiliate marketing is no longer just about “selling stuff”. Rather it has made a progress into the world of “helping” people out, and holding out for a reciprocation. Not all people will give back, some will, some won’t, but the core of your business model as an affiliate should be to be passionate about something, and the success will follow.
Let me give you an example. Say you really loved animals, in particular dogs…so you created a dog-related website. Once you learn how to obtain traffic, all you need to consider is plugging in relevant affiliate offers within your website. I know first hand there are many products within the dog niche, the dog training niche, the dog food niche, and the dog accessories niche, so depending on your site, you could target them appropriately.
This could go for any niche. ANYTHING imaginable. I know people selling affiliate products within some of the craziest sounding niches!
How do merchants grow their business?
If you own a product or service, you are considered a merchant. Merchants run their businesses through having quality affiliates. If you want to be a successful merchant, you should really understand the core principles behind becoming a good affiliate. The reason for this is that affiliates are the driving force behind most businesses online.
Let me say that again.
Affiliates are the DRIVING FORCE.
So if you are reading this now (as a merchant) and you have affiliates but have been pushing them under the rug or can honestly say that you have not been giving them the tools and motivation to succeed, then you need to get on it.
If you own a product and have an affiliate program, but don’t have many affiliates, you need to start focusing on recruiting affiliates. Where do you recruit. Places where affiliates hang out right?
Can the affiliate marketing business be self-taught?
There are mixed emotions and opinions on this subject. Some people are confident that you can learn for free from related affiliate marketing forums like WarriorForum and Abestweb (among others), however I am not so sure of this. The problem with getting info for free is that there is usually other motives for the owners to profit from you, and the communities tend to be riddle with negative people that all think they are experts. You can try this if you want to go the free route, but you may waste several months or even years without creating any profit at all…and ultimately, CONFUSED!
Rather, it is important that you get an education on how to properly set-up an affiliate marketing business. One that offers you not only the adequate training, but the tools, and the mentors, and a quality community to stand behind you. I know of one such community that offers this and that does it well.
You can make a go at this alone, but it is not always a wise solution. It is like trying to build a house without having the initial foundation or education. Your house may collapse or be constructed incorrectly. The same thing may happen within the affiliate marketing business unless you have the proper training.
Steps to get a affiliate marketing business up and running?
Step 1: You need to know what you are doing
Yes, an education…a PROPER education is important. You do not want to learn what worked in the affiliate marketing world 2 years ago because it simply will not work today. Investing in a quality online education is the best route versus offline schools as typically the offline materials become outdated too quick and don’t teach you the “what you need to know now” sort of stuff.
Step 2: You need to decide on what “niche” you want to enter
I know this sounds tough, but you do not need to freak out when you think about finding a niche. Instead, create a short list of THREE niches that interest you. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing? What are you interested in learning more about? Answer these three questions and you have three excellent niches that you can start with.
You will be much better off researching, promoting, and writing about something that you like…it will make life much easier as an affiliate.
Step 3: You need a domain of your own
When choosing your domain name, you should think of something that is relevant to your niche. For example, if you are creating a site in the football niche, you should have a domain like:
This is good for Search Engine Optimization as well as for your visitor recognition (they will instantly see your site is relevant).
Step 4: Build, build, build
Just like lego. The more you build, the bigger your fort will become. Once you have a site in place (How to Create a WordPress Blog tutorial here), you have something in place you can build upon and continue to grow. This will lead to a successful affiliate marketing business and in a matter of a few months, you could have something really special up and running.
Hope you enjoy this and if you have any feedback or questions, just leave it below.