Most people want to make lots of money, work very few hours and be their own boss, and thanks to the creation of the internet, it’s never been easier to do or less expensive. The World Wide Web brings thousands of opportunities to build an empire of wealth right in front of your personal computer. Sounds too good to be true, right? Not so in the case of affiliate marketing.
While there have been many ‘get rich quick schemes’ since the internet first made its appearance, there are other genuine and legitimate ways of making cash online. Affiliate marketing is a real money making strategy that has been successfully used by millions of online businesses across virtually every sector on the web. If you want to know more about affiliate marketing, and how you can get your own slice of the pie, our informative and easy to read guide to affiliate marketing will get you well on your way.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when a site helps drive traffic or sales to another site for a commission. That’s the nutshell explanation and essentially what it really boils down to. To give you a better perspective, affiliate marketing can trace its roots back to the late nineties, when the web started to expand thanks to the launch of various search engines such Google and others. Website owners began to build large audiences (traffic) which marketers saw as an incredible potential, a way of driving some of that traffic towards their products or corporate brand sites.
How Does it Work
Affiliate marketing forms one part of the holy trinity in online marketing – marketer/advertiser – publisher – consumer/end user. Let’s take a look at the first element of the three, the marketer/advertiser.
This is the entity that either manufactures the product or brings it to market. This could be anything from clothing and jewelry, to flight and holiday tickets and everything in between. On this end of the spectrum, the product doesn’t even have to be physical, someone could be selling an idea or a concept, perhaps in the form of an eBook or digital product. The point is that this end is where the product emerges from and is also the entity that will pay you to help sell or source traffic for their product.
The second element of the triangle is the publisher, this is the entity that promotes the product on their own website. The publisher will then earn a commission in exchange for this promotion. There are various ways in which this promotion can be achieved, including adding banners and links to their site, interesting articles relating to the product, news blurbs, reviews, videos and more. It really boils down to the type of product, type of website, and the creativity of the publisher/promoter.
The final element of the triangle is the consumer or end user. This is the intended target of the product owner. If you own a website and are affiliated with a brand for example, the people visiting your website are the ones that see the ad or article that you published for the brand and, if it interests them, they’ll click on it.
There are many affiliate networks out there that list all the companies willing to pay you a commission on any sales from people you referred to their site. These commissions on sales will vary depending on the deal made between the affiliate network and the business. Some companies may also pay you for each person you send to their site regardless if they make a purchase or not. These type of deals are often referred to as pay per lead activities.
What Do I Need to Get Started in Affiliate Marketing
Just like any other business, there are a few things you will need to get started. There are essential requirements needed to get the ball rolling which include access to a computer or internet-enabled device and an internet connection (such as Wi-Fi or data plan). Once you have these basics in place, you can begin researching potential markets and niches on the net. It helps to have an idea of the type of product or service you wish to promote. An interesting fact is that many affiliate marketers actually start out in a niche that they are already interested in, such as a hobby or activity. Let’s take a look at some of the other elements to consider when jumping into affiliate marketing below:
If you desire to make money online, you’ll need a good website to attract potential readers or consumers. There are a number of aspects that need to be considered to build a successful website, and in turn, a successful affiliate marketing business.
Search engines tend to focus on interesting, well-designed websites that add massive value to internet users. In order to get into a search engine’s good books, you may want to design a great looking website that aims to appeal to the target audience. The next part involves keeping your visitors interested in spending time on your website. The way to achieve this is to fill your site with interesting, high value content. This can be by way of great articles, infographics, interesting videos, useful tips, advice and how-to’s or a combination of all of the above.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and what this means is how to optimize a site to give it the best chance of being crawled buy a search engine, indexed and ranked. And if you want to make money online you are going to either need some knowledge about SEO or you must pay someone who does. An experienced SEO expert will be able to help you design a website that will fit your needs and structure it in the best way for search engines like Google and Bing.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes most people make when building their affiliate business is starting out with a poorly structured website. This can lead to web pages not being indexed which will result in poor Google rankings. If your site is not on the first page for your keywords, you will not make any money, regardless of any other effort. Think about it, when searching for something online, how often do you actually go to the secondary pages of results? Let’s look at an example: Let’s say you’re looking to move to New York City and you’re searching for apartments with “NYC Real Estate” as your search term. There’s a strong possibility that you’ll stick to the results found on page 1.
This is what SEO strives to achieve; to create authority within a specific market and to remain authoritative for as long as possible.
What are the Most Profitable Affiliate markets
There are many different niches that can make you very rich in a short period of time with a successful website. While it is generally believed that the more popular a certain niche is, the better your chances are of affiliate success. However, this is not always the case. In certain instances, some niches may seem quite attractive based on the size of the overall market, but the competition may be too high for it to be viable option to start with. In these instances, it may be a good idea to select a niche that is highly specialized, with high traffic volume and with relatively low competition from other affiliate sites. Having said that, here are the two top niches based on personal experience. Let’s take a look at them below:
We have all heard of websites like expedia.com, one of the leading online travel websites that help travellers decide where to stay, how to book accommodation and other interesting bits of related information.
This is a perfect example of affiliate marketing at its finest. The site focuses on multiple aspects of travel and attracts users to make purchases based on its smart search ability and exclusive deals. This is when the site earns a commission; simple yet highly effective affiliate marketing.
After travel, online gambling and sports betting are the next largest money maker for affiliate marketers. Just as the travel site compares prices, online casino affiliate sites compare different online casinos, and instead of price, what they usually push are the welcome bonuses and promotions casinos offer new players.
Online-casino-canada.ca is a great example, and if you look at almost every page, the site presents a table with multiple casinos listed to attract potential players to register an account and depositing money at an online casino.
Aside from the more obvious aspects of online casino affiliate marketing, the important thing to note is the value added content we touched on earlier in this article.
A great online casino affiliate site will add in-depth reviews that show potential customers exactly what they can expect to find at a particular online casino website. This can include the type of games that they have on offer, the level of security, the level of service and customer support and even the various payment options available.
In fact, payment options or brands such as PayPal can be a whole other avenue open to you as an affiliate marketer, without the need to build a new site.
Advantages to Affiliate marketing
- Not having to worry about inventory
- Low Startup Costs
- Since all you are doing is redirecting people to other businesses, you do not need to offer customer service It’s solely the responsibility of the merchant.
- You can maintain several affiliate sites at the same time because they require very little maintenance.
- The way you get paid is based on when someone clicks on a link from your site to the merchant’s site. The user gets a cookie placed on their computer and is usually active for around 30 to 60 days. All purchases during this time will count towards credited commission for the sale. However, if a user makes a purchase on a different device, clears the browser cache or has the cookie expire, no commission is earned on that sale.
- In the casino field for example, the affiliate gets paid based on player’s losses, but is also partially responsible for any winnings the player makes. In this case your account will be credited with a negative carry over.
All in all, affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money using the internet and it is much less expensive than starting a traditional offline business. One of the most attractive aspects of affiliate marketing is the relatively low startup costs involved. In fact, you do not need to invest in state of the art equipment to get the ball rolling, a regular laptop or similar device along with a reliable internet connection is all that’s needed.
However, it is important to take affiliate marketing seriously if you want to succeed in it. It is not a get rich quick scheme and it does take time before any affiliate site starts to pay for itself.
Do your homework, spend time learning about setting up a simple yet solid website, get to know how SEO works and how to use it, and learn the ropes about targeting a niche that interests you. There are thousands of people out there making a great living from affiliate marketing, and as with anything, it’s all about how you do it that really counts.
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