Affiliate Marketing is it Right for you?

photo by flickr.com licensed under CC
photo by flickr.com licensed under CC

Affiliate Marketingis one of the most popular ways, Internet marketers look to earn their first income online.

When considering trying to create an income from the Internet many people succumb to the offer of ‘easy money’ schemes. I can assure you that in my many years of experience of Internet Marketing there is no such thing as an easy money businesses.

You can see hundreds of Adverts on the net promising passive income schemes, money for doing nothing – well almost. They always show how easy it was for Joe Bloggs to earn zillions in his first six months. If it were that easy everyone and his dog would be an Internet Marketer.

This article is not intended to put you off trying to earn an income on-line; there is plenty to go around! It looks at one aspect of income generation through Affiliate Marketing.

For those reading this that are new to the Internet let me explain briefly what affiliate marketing is.

Within four years of the origination of the Internet, William J Tobin developed the first Affiliate system. In conjunction with IBM he formed PC Flowers & Gifts.

They paid commission on introduced sales and built a force of 2600 affiliates turning over more than six million dollars. The rest as they say is history.

Affiliate marketing strategies are a great alternative to traditional employment. Yet, it does not mean ‘No Work’.

It is a meritocracy that is where you earn on the results of your hard work and personal performance.

You can be paid direct by the owner of the product or by a third-party network. Clickbank, Commission Junction; Affiliate Window and Amazon are among the networks that pay commissions.

There can be up to four sections of an Affiliate Sale:

  1. The Merchant – They are the original owners of the product.
  2. The Network – they offer a catalogue of products and pay the seller direct for each sale made.
  3. The Affiliate – you. You only earn when you arrange for a client to buy the goods of the Merchant.
  4. The Client – They buy the product of the merchant because you introduced the benefits of the product to them.

Affiliate Marketing is a simple way to discover how the market works but you cannot be successful by sitting on a beach 365 days of the year, while money pours into your bank account. I know all the adverts that would try to tell you otherwise. You do need to work at affiliate marketing by promoting the goods you have selected to offer through your website. You can drive traffic to your site through pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimisation.

This article does not go into depth about types of marketing; you will find that information elsewhere on this site.

There is another way of affiliate marketing promotion that you can use and that is by building a review site. This is where your site will feature up to three similar products and you will write information on each of them.

Some review sites grade the promoted products with a star system. Giving the site visitor product information and encouraging them to click on the link that takes them to the sales page.

To do this you will have to ensure that your affiliate agreement allows you to promote more than one product from your site. You should never recommend a particular product on a review site; after all, each one should have an affiliate link. Your job is to give information so the client can make a decision.

You product information must be fair to each product and not biased toward one only. To do this if your affiliate merchant does not provide product information you will have to do research on the Internet.

You will now understand that Affiliate Marketing is not a get-rich-quick system. What it can do is build up a good level of income that can in a short time replace the income you get from your 9-5 job.

Affiliate Marketing requires patience, consistency and hard but rewarding work.

Before finally selecting the product you want to promote through affiliate marketing there are a couple of things to be aware of.

Look on the merchants home site for the ‘affiliate section’, what do they offer you that will help to promote their product? Maybe they offer a newsletter or business strategy. If they offer nothing, that is usually what you will get in the form of support. You could decide to use one of the affiliate marketing networks as a safeguard; they have indicators to help you with your selection.

affiliate marketing
photo by wikipedia.com licensed under CC

For example Clickbank includes a factor called ‘Gravity Score’. This is their sign of the number of affiliates who earned commission on that product over the previous 12 weeks. The highest gravity score may not be the product to promote. It shows that there is a great deal of competition selling that product. Unless you are an experienced marketer it could be better to avoid it.

What Clickbank fail to tell you is the average worth from the number of prospects you send to the vendor.

Earnings-per-Click (EPC) is the most important figure when selecting which product to target. It fulfils the old adage of ‘turnover is for vanity profit is for sanity’.

It is no good sending your visitors to a vendors website if it is incapable of converting as many as possible into sales. Yes, it is nice to see the commission figure whether it is a percentage or an amount. But it equals nothing if you do not know on average how many people you need to interest and send to a site to make a sale.

For example if out of every 100 people you send to a site, five buy, the conversion rate is 5%. If all you consider is the size of cheque you receive you could get disillusioned by always focusing on buyers.

In our example suppose those 5 buyers earned you a £500 cheque. Instead of saying that 5 buyers earned you £500 think each of the 100 visitors you sent to the site earned you £5 that is EPC

This will immediately change your attitude to marketing to get visitors to the site not trying to pick out the buyers. Now you know that by sending 1000 visitors to the site at £5 each you will earn around £5000.

Do you now see how important it is to know the EPC for a product? It reflects the ability of the vendor’s sales page to turn visitors into buyers. The higher the EPC number the more incentivized you will be to market any product to the best of your ability.

When you are sending a consistent number of visitors to your chosen site, which is when you can take that deserved holiday. You will be earning while you relax and play as long as you analyse the figures when you get home. You will need to put in some extra effort on your return.

The negative part of Affiliate Marketing is you are always dependent on the vendor keeping their product up to date and online. If they decide to close down or they fall foul of a Google algorithm it is your income that suffers as well as theirs.

It is important to not put all your eggs into one basket. The top affiliate marketers promote more than one product to protect themselves from such an event. Do not wait until you lose your income to try to replace it.

Once you have one website producing income replicate the work you have done not just once but two or three times.

The intention of this article is to open up the concept of affiliate marketing and help you to be aware of some of the issues. You will find more detailed information on Affiliate Marketing elsewhere on this site.

As normal if you have any questions about affiliate marketing or any other subject just drop a comment in the box below and I will try to help you all I can.

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