If you have found yourself here, the chances are that you have been researching setting up your own business and the most cost effective ways to do this.
Affiliate Marketing is definitely one way you can build a home business at a very low start up cost, if not for free.
So what is affiliate marketing about?
Let me explain..
Affiliate Marketing Definition
Affiliate Marketing has really grown in popularity over the years and is now more and more accessible to the average person. A complete internet beginner can get involved in affiliate marketing. You don’t need a product yourself, and in some cases you don’t even need any money to get started.
The essence of affiliate marketing is about selling someone else’s products. An affiliate would create an online resource, less technically known as a website ;-), within a specific niche or product area, and use this to provide information to consumers about products within that niche, and then encourage those consumers to click on links, placed on that website. Those links redirect to other manufacturers websites and the affiliate will get a commission for every sale made. These commissions can really vary from 5% to up to 75% depending on the product, so as you can imagine, this can be really lucrative.
Usually the manufacturers or retailer will add a cookie to their website to remember from which affiliate link the customer came from, and add a time frame to this, so that if that customer doesn’t buy immediately but comes back a month later, the affiliate will still receive the commission for that purchase. How long a cookie lasts varies from 24 hrs to a lifetime – I like that last one!
Have a look at this video which explains it in a little more detail. You will need to scroll down the page a little to see the video, but actually there is some really useful information on this page.
Affiliate marketing is carried out on the internet, and so often employ these techniques to drive customers to their sites:
- Search Engine Optimisation – being found on search engines by optimising the content
- Paid Search Engine Marketing – sometimes known as PPC (Pay per click)
- Email Marketing
- Content marketing
- Display advertising.
If you are interested in becoming an affiliate marketer, you can learn about all of these in specially designed courses, some of which you have to pay for and some which are FREE
But Can I Actually Earn Money By Affiliate Marketing?
To be honest, if you can build a website, then you can learn how to drive traffic to that website. It’s all about driving traffic and there are programs out there to help you learn how to do this, even if you are a complete beginner. Some are better than others. I have listed a few out there below so that you can consider them.
And interestingly, many large companies out there have affiliate schemes, some of which might surprise you, so if your interest is in shoes, you will definitely have no problem finding someone whose shoes you can sell. Amazon for one! This for me is a real clue as to the legitamacy of affiliate marketing. If amazon do it..
I hate to disappoint anyone looking for a get rich quick scheme because affiliate marketing will NOT do this. Just like any other viable and real business that you set up on your own, it needs work. You have to put in the hours to build the interesting content, to share it on social networks, to create your email campaigns. So you have to have patience and you have to be willing. But it can be seriously lucrative, if you are prepared to work, and wait. And the best thing, as far as I am concerned, is that you don’t need to sell to your friends and family in awkward selling parties. The buyers are faceless.
Lets have a look at the specifics, the pros and cons..
The good things about Affiliate Marketing:
- It’s Very easy to set up
- You do not have to own a product, you sell other people’s products
- You can choose a product / niche that is of genuine interest to you, so your own business can be enjoyable
- There are very low costs to get started, or it can even be free to start as with my number 1 recommendation
- You work for yourself and set your own hours
- You don’t need to sell to your friends and family
The not so good things about affiliate marketing:
- The internet is a very competitive environment and you need to know what you are doing to get the cut through
- You have to work hard
- Profits are not immediate, but that is the same with any REAL business
- You need to be proficient in writing content. You don’t need to be an author, but you just need to be able to write in a friendly personable manner
There are many programs out there which teach you about affiliate marketing, programs designed for right from experienced marketers to complete newbies.
My favourite one though is Wealthy Affiliate, and I am actually a member here. The reason why I like this one is because it caters for everyone. It somehow manages to not be patronizing to those who know something whilst giving those who know nothing, the absolutely key information they need.
Not only is the training totally comprehensive, but they have a brilliant community who help out with questions immediately, so you are never on your own, AND you get to build your website for free. You can read my full review here.
The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses
Below is a list of of the top affiliate marketing courses out there which would help with your training. For more in-depth analysis and cross comparison of these courses, please see my article on the best affiliate marketing program for beginners
- Wealthy Affiliate University – a fully comprehensive training program for beginners to experts teaching you how to build your affiliate business from nothing. Learn more about them here.
- Affilorama – an very effective affiliate marketing training course with video training tutorial and a whole host of tools to get you started,
- Chris Farrell Membership – A focus on email marketing here by building a list through the training. A very interesting and tried and trusted approach
If you have any questions or any feedback whatsoever about this article, please just drop me a message below.