Affiliate Marketing: What Is It And Can You Make A Living From It?
You’ve more than likely seen all the hype surrounding Affiliate Marketing, along with the 1000’s of guides all promising to make you a fortune from it, but what exactly is it, does it still work and can you actually make a living from it?
Let’s have a closer look and see if it really is the fastest and easiest way to get started making an income online as it’s claimed to be, or if it’s past its sell by date.
What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing?
Firstly, Affiliate Marketing is a bit of a rubbish title. Not exactly self-explanatory, is it?
It should be called “Earn online promoting other peoples products”, because that’s what it is and it’s hard to think of an easier way for the uninitiated to begin to make money online.
It’s certainly one of the oldest. It’s not some fly by night ‘push button’ tactic, in fact it’s been around for at least 20 years now.
It’s used by some of the biggest brands online and these mega companies are totally switched on, so if they are embracing it, you know it works.
These companies and 1000’s more like them have embraced affiliate marketing because it works so well for them. They can extend their salesforce and increase their customer base and profits, without any up front costs.
- In a nutshell, online companies will pay ‘affiliates’ commission for sending visitors to their website, when any of those visitors buy something or complete an action set by the company.
The company get the sale or outcome they want with no upfront cost, the customer gets the product they wanted and the affiliate earns their commission. Everybody wins.
The amount of commission paid to the affiliate varies from company to company, but is anywhere from 3 or 4% all the way up to 1000%.
Some companies, depending on the niche, will pay over the odds for the acquisition of a new customer, in the form of your referral. Basically, they understand the ‘lifetime value of a customer’ and they’re know that it’s worth paying a premium to get a new customer into their marketing funnel.
- Hosting Companies often payout up to $150 but the initial transaction may only be for $4.95
- Online Gambling Operators will pay anywhere up to $300 for an initial deposit of $10
There’s method in their madness, as getting buyers is the most expensive aspect of online business. Once they have a buyer in their system, they are experts at ‘following up’ with them and make multiple sales, cost effectively.
So as you can see, the affiliate model is an excellent way for companies to expand their salesforce without their up front costs, as they only pay when a sale is made.
It’s also great for affiliates, as they get to instantly sell 1000’s of products to suit their audience, without the time and effort of developing their own, without dealing with customer service, returns, enquires or payments, processing or deliveries.
The business model is perfect.
- Product owners who are willing to pay a commission on a sale, have controlled marketing costs, as they only pay out the commission AFTER the sale, so there’s no up-front cost. And the sale didn’t take any work from them, so it’s all extra, easy income.
- The affiliate earns their commission, without the hassle of developing their own product, dealing with delivery, returns, or customer service etc.
Sounds perfect to me.
Is it still possible for ‘average’ people to earn a living from it?
The thing is, affiliates can easily stay under the radar, anonymously raking in commissions from their website or sites, so you won’t read too many accounts of earnings.
However, after so many years involved in affiliate marketing, we know there are those who make a few $100’s a month, spending a few hours working on their business, while others earn 6 figures a month = $100,000+, having made affiliate marketing their full time business.
So yes, you can still make a living from affiliate marketing, as many people do.
Most very successful affiliates started out slowly, testing the water and learning as they go along. Once they see the potential, they keep gearing their efforts up, until over time, their online income surpasses their salary.
Can you make a fortune overnight with affiliate marketing? No, you can’t.
Despite what you may have read, ANY online business takes effort and a commitment to learning how to do it right. But compared to bricks and mortar business, affiliate marketing can be starting with virtually zero investment, can be mastered relatively quickly and can grow really fast, with a little effort.
It’s all about getting the right information and avoiding the hope raising hype of overnight riches.
Writing product reviews for the products you’re an affiliate for is a great way of attracting targeted visitors.
Most people look for reviews of the products they’re thinking of buying. If you can attract that kind of traffic, by posting your review of a product you’re promoting, the conversions into sales can be really high, and lots of sales means lots of commission. It’s a great way to start earning as an affiliate.
There are many people who have built an impressive full time income from affiliate marketing in a matter of months. But they joined a reputable affiliate program with a ton of personal support, like ClickSure, got stuck in and now they are reaping the rewards.
Imagine ditching the 9 to 5 rat-race and the rush hour traffic, to wake up each day, stroll to your PC and check your overnight commissions. People really are doing this and the industry is getting bigger every year. There are still so many opportunities to make a good living from home as an affiliate marketer.
It’s FAR from past its sell by date.
It’s such a great business model that more and more companies are jumping onboard, along with more and more people realising that it offers the perfect work from home opportunity.
All you need is a simple website, which you can create in WordPress in less than an hour and content to put on your website. You base your content around a ‘niche’, such as make money, online trading, slimming, body building etc, which will be of interest to people in your niche.
Once you are set up you look for suitable online products to promote:
- Join an affiliate program like ClickSure and choose products to promote on your website, which match your niche and can solve your customer’s problems.
- You will be given a unique affiliate code which you use to direct your interested visitors, to the product owners website.
- When any of your visitors click on the link, go to the website and buy the product, you are paid a commission.
You don’t always need to ‘sell’ products all the time to make a commission, depending on the product owner and affiliate program. Different affiliate programs can use different payment terms such as:
You can see why the affiliate model is really attractive to those taking their first steps online.
All you do as an affiliate, is promote products on your website and via social media etc. You can set up in no time and the pay-outs can be excellent.
Unlike bricks and mortar business, there’s barely any outlay, or huge list of things you need to get started. To get started as an affiliate, all you really need to know is how to build a simple website.
You simply add content and add affiliate links to your site and you don’t have to know much else to set up. The focus is on getting traffic to your site.
“At ClickSure we have step by step guides on setting everything up, including a simple but effective website, how to write content and how to promote your site to suitable visitors, once you’re ready to roll.”
As you go along, you’ll learn more and more about how to improve the effectiveness of your website, in fact many affiliates are so surprised how easy it is, they build more sites to earn in different niches.
It’s known as ‘rinse and repeat’ as it’s very easy to build more similar sites in different niches, once you’ve built your first.
Some affiliates go on to create huge authority websites, with 100’s of pages obviously filled with their affiliate links, while some build a whole business around affiliate marketing with hundreds of employees.
You’ve seen examples of these sites such as Confused.com and GoCompare etc, as they are affiliate websites, done on a huge scale. But click through to any offer on their sites and buy, and they’ll earn a commission. These sites get millions of visitors a month, so just imagine how much money they make!
And then there are the sites which began with an innovative idea, caught the wave and simply never stopped growing. Some of these such as GoCompare, Quidco or Ladbible are now multi-million $ companies.
In other words, when it comes to the internet and affiliate marketing, you just need an idea and a never say die attitude and you could be the next huge success story.
The main thing you need once your website is set up, is traffic.
There are a million and one ways to get visitors to your website, but don’t let that scare you.
If you’d like to skip the blood, sweat and tears, we have some great step by step guides on the very best affiliate traffic techniques. You only need a handful of proven, tried and tested tactics, to build your online business quickly.
How much does it cost to get started?
You’ll need hosting at around $10 a month, a domain name is around $10 a year, a high quality affiliate program (Like ClickSure, it’s FREE), a willingness to learn and a little drive and determination.
To begin with you can use free traffic from the search engines, forums, Facebook etc and you can spend more on traffic to speed things up, or build up to it later if you want to.
Compared to starting an offline business, it’s like night and day.
Imagine opening a shop offline. Rent, stock, utility bills, advertising, insurance, delivery costs etc, etc, etc. It all adds up to your monthly ‘break-even point’, which is how much you have to earn just to pay your costs, before you have any profit.
As an affiliate marketer on the other hand, it’s around $10 a month to cover hosting and your domain name is around $10 a year. Obviously if you buy traffic, which you can build up to, there’s a cost involved, but there are many free ways to get visitors to your site.
How would you get visitors to your bricks and mortar shop?
Other than walk by visitors, it’s all going to cost you. And remember, with a physical shop, you are limited to local people for the most part. With a website however, you can sell to someone on the other side of the world, at 3am, while you’re sleeping.
There are virtually no limits online.
“Basically, as an affiliate you’re rewarded for helping a product owner to promote their products or services. At ClickSure we have product owners ready to pay you when a visitor you send to their website, buys their product.”
As an affiliate, all you need is a personalised link from the product seller, so any visitors you send to the product site are recognised as coming from you and paid accordingly.
The best thing is, even though it’s the easiest way, there are more millionaires online who made their money from affiliate marketing, than any other online tactic. It takes work to reach those dizzying heights, but plenty of people have done it.
So that’s affiliate marketing in a nutshell.
All good then, you’ve got the big picture, but the scale of the thing is why you should be enthusiastic about trying it out.
The Scale Is Huge . . .
Do not believe the “Affiliate marketing is too competitive now” comments you may see on line. It’s ridiculous. Obviously, certain niches and markets are really competitive now, but there’s still room for everyone.
And don’t forget that competition means there’s a definite market. So don’t be afraid of it. A lack of competition should worry you more.
Remember that everyday millions of people search the web for products, services and information. In fact there are an estimated 5,922,000,000 (5.9 BILLION) searches every single day on Google covering a huge variety of keywords, giving you plenty of scope to get found and make commissions.
With everyone now accessing the web via their mobile devices, eMarketer estimates that m-commerce opportunities will reach over $100 billion by 2017. Smartphone retail sales for this year are expected to total $14.59 billion, and that figure will more than double to $30.66 billion by 2017.
When done right, Affiliate Marketing can be a great way to earn online. The opportunities are huge and actually growing, rather than shrinking.
As long as companies want cost effective extra sales of their products and services, there will always be a need for affiliates. There are literally 1000’s and 1000’s of products to promote as an affiliate and the payouts can be 75% of the product’s cost, which soon adds up to build an income.
As with any serious opportunity online, it takes work and application to succeed, so do not fall for the hyped up offers claiming to build you a full time income in 8 hours. Sorry, aint gonna happen.
However, learn how to do this the right way, apply yourself to as many hours as you can manage, don’t give up and you could be one of the lucky affiliates who actually earn an impressive online income month after month.
And wouldn’t that be nice?