What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?

Is Affiliate Marketing Right for Me?

If you’re new to online marketing, your head may be swimming with all of the potential business models you have at your fingertips. In fact, some people get overwhelmed trying to decide what the right path is for them to take.

You know you want to pursue something that you’ll understand. And, you want to make money – with an option that has no ceiling for income potential.

That’s what online marketing is all about.

Affiliate marketing is one branch of the Internet profit tree you could tap into – and it’s perfect for newbies, advanced marketers, and those who want to go at their own pace (slow or fast).

You can easily absorb all of the lessons to help your income soar, regardless of whether you’ve spent three minutes – or three years trying to learn the ropes of online marketing.

So let’s go over a few decision-making criteria that could help you see if affiliate marketing is your preferred option.

1. There is a zero to low start up cost involved.

That’s always nice! Whether you have a shoestring budget set aside or you’re working from nothing, affiliate marketing is a strategy that doesn’t ask much of you from the start.

The investment you’ll be making will be effort, not cash. Of course for those who want to jumpstart their return, you can always do a little investing in things that cost money – like a domain, hosting, and some advertising if you want to – but it’s not a necessity to get the ball rolling.

When you’re just getting started – and there are so many different business models to choose from – you may not be sure if you’ll enjoy (or profit from) some of them.

When you find a strategy that’s no or low cost like affiliate marketing, it lessens your financial risk.

Some business models require a huge investment up front – and then, not only are you wasting time and effort if it fails, but you’re out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.

Another great thing about the nonexistent upfront costs associated with affiliate marketing is that you can be just as successful using 100% free promotional efforts as you can using a paid platform.

2. There’s no website needed.

There are many ways to begin affiliate marketing right this second without spending a dime.

For example, you can use a free blogging platform to start blogging about your niche topic – and refer your readers to items they may want to buy so that you get a commission.

There are many different places that allow this – aside from blog platforms, such as HubPages, and Zujava. All of them are free to use, and they welcome marketers who can create some good content.

You can also begin posting on a free blog if you want to – but you have to be careful because if you’re too promotional, sites like Blogger or WordPress might shut you down.

It’s always best if you can go with a domain. You can find great deals on domains.

For example, you can do a Google search for a coupon code for your favorite domain registrar like GoDaddy.

Just enter something like “Godaddy coupon” and then the month and year that you’re searching.

Sometimes this can knock a domain’s price down from over $10 to just a dollar or two!

And hosting isn’t much at all. Hostgator has great deals too – and you can get a plan that costs under $10 a month.

If you’re worried about building a website, don’t be.

There are people who offer free blog installations so that all you have to do it log in with a username and password and start publishing content as an affiliate marketer.

Or, find the instructions on how to install WordPress free online and do it yourself.

But again, it’s not necessary. You can get started without a website and begin putting some of your earnings back into your business later if you want to take that approach.

You don’t even need sales experience to become a great affiliate. Your job isn’t to sell the customer, but to connect them through whatever platform you’re using, so you won’t have to worry about websites or copywriting to make a profit.

3. There’s no hassle of product creation for you to worry about.

Creating a product can be daunting to newer marketers. You have to learn all sorts of things – niche research, product creation through multi media platforms, how to launch a website and create high-converting sales copy, and more.

Plus, there’s no production costs involved – like paying for graphics, launching on a paid platform, and paying for a tool that delivers your product to the target audience.

With affiliate marketing, you’re not burdened by all of these inconveniences. All you’re doing is being the middleman.

That means you go into a niche hoping to bring together buyers and sellers. You’re the liaison between the two. This can be just as rewarding as being the one who created the product.

So for instance, let’s look at how an affiliate marketer would be the primary go-between:

Let’s say you pick the acne niche.

Your job as a product creator would be to provide a solution that helps people cure or treat their acne.

But if you’re an affiliate, your job is to find the people suffering from acne problems and point them in the right direction to where they can find good help – to the sellers.

The key to becoming a super affiliate is to build a list of subscribers (they have free list building tools until you can afford a paid one) and become their go-to person whenever they need advice.

Someone they can trust.

You’re not actually providing the advice – you can if you want – but you’re just saying, “Oh you need help with acne scars? I know of the perfect product for that – here’s the link.”

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it WorkOf course, building a stronger rapport with your readers will increase conversions. If you take the time to review and maybe even implement products and share your results, that will help you convert even better.

When it comes to product creation, you’re limited on time and the creation process. It might take you months to take a product from conception to completion.

But as an affiliate marketer, you can instantly begin promoting from a catalog of hundreds of products with a wide range of opportunities for your readers. You’ll be profiting on all of them, not just one income stream.

4. It allows you to go into many niches to test for profitability.

Here’s one of the BEST perks of pursuing affiliate marketing: Diversity.

You get to dip into dozens, possibly even hundreds of niche markets to see what works best for you.

You’re going to get to determine:

·    Whether it’s easy to compete in that niche.

·    How much you can potentially earn.

·    Whether or not you find it satisfying.

All three of those are very important factors for your online success as an affiliate.

Some niches will be harder to break into than others, so as an affiliate, you can test the waters to see how easy it is to dominate before you buy a domain and pour your heart and soul into it.

Potential earnings will be of concern to you. If the traffic’s coming, but it’s hard to convert the visitors into buyers, then you might prefer to go with another target audience.

Personal satisfaction is what this career path is all about! Online marketing in general is about being your own boss – not having to pursue tasks and topics that don’t fulfill you.

As an affiliate marketer, you can dabble in many niches all at once – getting a feel for what satisfies you.

You’re going to probably hear a lot of advice about keyword volume and competition – but it’s important to pay attention to which niches make you feel like getting up out of bed early just so you can get engaged with your audience!

5. It’s easy for newbies to master quickly.

A great perk of affiliate marketing is ease of use.

So many people find it intimidating to go into product creation because there are so many behind-the-scenes elements involved – including many technical skills you need to know.

But as an affiliate, you’ll need to learn some basics that are easy for any level of marketer, including things like:

·    Blogging

Blogging is simple when you’re on a free platform. You’re basically going to pick a name and URL for your blog and start publishing posts. It’s good to learn what people want in terms of blogging.

One of the biggest factors is personality. They want you to share insight, opinions and advice with them.

Blogs are a great place to review products and share your results and they rank well in search engines.

·    Video Reviews

If you’re comfortable with video, then you will want to start using YouTube and maybe embedding those onto your blog.

In your videos, you can talk about the niche problems and solutions that you advise them to purchase through your links.

·    Web 2.0 Platforms

Web 2.0 platforms are sites like Zujava and Hub Pages. Those sites, plus article directories, let you publish free content using your affiliate links. The sites are easy to master if you just take your time and read the instructions on how to set up your pages.

·    Social Marketing

Social marketing is all about sharing. You’ll be using sites like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and Pinterest to share your blog posts and links to good products that you think will help your niche audience.

6. Your Customer Service Is Non Existent

One of the most time consuming tasks when selling online is handling emails and requests from customers. They may have download issues, need clarification about the product, or want other help.

As an affiliate, none of that is your problem. It all rests on the shoulders of the product creator.

It’s their job to handle the customer once you send them there, so you can continue working on what matters most – converting new customers.

Affiliate marketing is right for just about everybody. Even product creators adopt an affiliate strategy to complement the product development branch of their business.

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