Affiliate Marketing is a way to earn money by selling other people’s products.

Manufacturers are savvy to the fact that the most effective sales force are the people that have purchased their products and can provide reviews for others. A network of people using word of mouth and helping others make informed choices is a very effective sales force.

As an affiliate marketer, you become part of that sales force.  The manufacturers don’t expect you to do this for free and have provided a way to reward you for reviewing their products with a commission.

Affiliate Marketing is an online technique that is very similar to the old traveling salesman model.  You are paid a commission on sales that you make for the vendor.

Affiliate marketing is a good way to start an online business.  This is a legitimate business model that will actually allow you to make money online.  There are thousands of companies  that are online making a good income through Affiliate Marketing.

The Process of Affiliate Marketing

The customer, of course, is not someone you meet face to face but an online customer.  Rather than going door to door, you provide a space that

people find through the search engines or social media channels.  This space or website promotes the product that you are affiliated with and drives people to the merchant’s sales page.  When your customer then buys the product, the merchant will pay you a percentage of the sale.

Set Up

To set this up you need a couple of things.  First, you need to have a website that makes the product attractive to the buyers  and helps to increase their confidence that this is, in fact,  the product that they are looking for.  Second, you need to locate an affiliate program that will allow you to link with their product offerings.

Choose Your Product

Choosing your product is a personal thing.  You will be writing reviews and building a website around the product.  To do this you either need to be familiar with the product or be able to research the product sufficiently to provide a good thorough review of your product and several similar ones.  Reviews are the most effective way to provide customer confidence that you know what you are talking about and have their best interests in mind.

Build a Website

Building the actual website is actually easier than you might think.  There is a CMS (Content Management System) product that is used by the majority of online businesses,  called WordPress.  I will provide a WordPress Walkthrough here on Online Lab Guy.

 WordPress is very easy to set-up and can even be done automatically by most hosting companies.  It will take you a bit of time to understand the nuances of this program but you can create a website in under 5 minutes.

Your site can be customized to look just the way you like with Themes that are available. There are over 14,000 themes that you can choose from and more are being created every day.  Once the theme is chosen, it is a matter of writing good content and building pages.  This is all done in an editor that provides a visual representation of what the page will look like.  There is no need for you to understand coding or be a programmer.  Everything is click and type.

Find an Affiliate Program

Finding an Affiliate Program can be done online in a few minutes.  You type the name of your product followed by a Plus sign (+) and the words “Affiliate Program” into a Google search.  In a matter of seconds, you will be provided with a list of the vendors that have this product or product line available to you.

One of the most popular Affiliate Programs that is available for most people is Amazon.com.  Amazon will pay you between 4 and 8% depending on the volume of sales that you make in their network.  All you have to do is sign up with their Affiliate Network and all of their products are available to you. There are a few products that Amazon does not pay commission on.  Their Kindle product is one.  Several Cameras are also on the no commission list.  There are a few other restrictions.  A few states have instituted laws that make it difficult for Amazon to do business in their states.  If you live in these states Amazon will not pay out any commissions to affiliates living inside their borders.  You can also get around these laws by incorporating your business in a state that will do business with Amazon.

Other networks are available that will allow you to do affiliate business in these states.  Several of the largest ones are Commission Junction (now called CJ Affiliate) and ShareASale.

Benefits

The benefits of doing an Affiliate Marketing business online are that you can make a significant income with very little investment.  The merchants like this system because you are providing them with free advertising.  Their outlay is also tied to your performance so their risk is very low.  They only pay out when a successful sale has occurred.

Drawbacks

Wealthy Affiliate Join Page

There are some drawbacks.  The marketplace is quite full of other affiliates so you need to understand the mechanics of Affiliate Marketing to be able to find your customers and get them to your site.  There are some shady people on the net that will make your life difficult as well.  You need to understand how to protect your site from unwanted intruders and the occasional hacker attack.  WordPress has plugins that add functionality to your site. Security settings are available in several of these to keep your site safe and secure from hackers and spam.

Learning to be effective at Affiliate Marketing is not difficult but the marketplace is constantly changing.  You will want to join a community of people that are up to date with the latest techniques and Industry Standards.  It would also be prudent to join a community that will teach you the ins and outs of this business.

If you have any questions or would like me to clarify these points please ask in the comments below.  I will do my best to provide you with the help you need.

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