The Internet has been making more people rich in the last 20 years or so than any other business platform on the planet. It's truly extraordinary how easy it is to make money online using affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing you ask? The short answer is it is using you (called an affiliate) as the marketing vehicle for the millions of products out there that need buyers.As an affiliate marketer you are essentially a salesman selling great products that you believe in or have an interest in (you can choose from literally millions of affiliate products), but there are no conventional "sales" jobs involved in selling them.Select A ProductThe first step is to select a product to promote from literally millions of products and services that exist on the Internet. There are usually 2 types of affiliate programs with similar yet different concepts. Both concepts are designed to make affiliate sales but how you get there is a little different for each.Affiliate Program ConceptsWhich one is best? They both have their place in the online marketing arena. Each affiliate needs to make that decision for themselves as to which concept serves their needs the best ... The one common thread both concepts have is you will need to join whichever program you choose by providing identifying information as to who you are (name, address, email, social security number, etc.) and how you want to be paid (mailed check, direct deposit, PayPal, some programs may offer others too).Your affiliate link is how you get paid (make a commission) for referring potential buyers to the product website. By using your affiliate link for referrals, the product website then knows which affiliate has sent the buyer to the website. If the potential buyer does in fact purchase a product from that referral, the sale is tracked and credited to the referring affiliate.The first concept is you have a single product or service where that one item is offered by itself. Usually the author or a reseller (someone who has the rights granted by the product owner to sell the product themselves) offers an affiliate program for the product. To become an affiliate you will need to join and be assigned a unique affiliate link and password to your account. The link will both identify you as an affiliate for that product and also identify which affiliate you are so they know who to pay for a sale. You will need to keep track of what affiliate link goes with each product you sign up for as each product will have a different affiliate link.The second concept is having one affiliate program wrapped around numerous individual products and/or services. This type of affiliate program has numerous advantages over the single product program:
Only one account for all commissions to accumulate (this is a huge advantage as you will see a little later)
One account, one password to keep track of for numerous products and services
Numerous products and services to promote with one account
New products are added regularly into the one account
High volume activity and usually a support staff exists which provides quicker support responses
No need to worry about getting paid. These sites exist by keeping their affiliates happy. This may or may not be the case for an individual running an affiliate program "Down Side" to Affiliate ProgramsThere are couple of "down side" points to make about affiliate marketing. Payments for credited referral sales (earned commissions) are usually not paid right away. There are good reasons for this practice by those running affiliate programs:
When a sale is made at a website, the buyer is usually given a money-back guarantee period of time, usually 30 days, to use and evaluate the product to make sure it meets the users needs.
If the buyer requests a refund of the purchase, then the affiliate also loses their commission for the sale. Payments to the affiliate are usually delayed until after the refund period has expired so the product owner is not "left holding the bag" for already paying a commission on a sale that has now been refunded.
Commissions are usually paid on a regular payment cycle, normally monthly. What you earn in one payment cycle is usually not paid until the next payment cycle. This way all commission payments can be handled at one time and is not a full time job paying daily or even weekly. The main "down side" to affiliate marketing is that most, if not all, affiliate programs set a minimum dollar amount you must reach in commissions before they will cut you a payment. This usually ranges from $20 - $50 or more in some cases. Breaking this down in simple, easy to understand terms is best served by an example.Say for example you sign up for an affiliate program that has a $30 minimum payout level and the product sells for $49 with a 50% commission. You do all of your work and generate a sale from your affiliate link. OK, you have made a $24.50 commission (it will actually be a little less as you are paid on the net sale, after all processing expenses are paid) ... You get that paid to you on the next payment cycle, right? Not exactly ... You see, your commission does not reach the $30 minimum payout the program sets before they will incur the expense of cutting you a payment.So what now? Well, you have to wait until you make another sale to get you over the minimum before you get your commission on the first sale. This could actually carry over for months before you actually get paid. In some case, you may never reach the minimum if you do not make more than one sale. In that case, your commission remains in "limbo" forever.And to make matters worse, this minimum payout level applies to each individual product for which you are an affiliate. Different products are owned by different people and the earned commissions for all products do NOT accumulate to get you over any minimum payout level.Any minimum payout level problem is solved when using affiliate sites instead of individual affiliate programs (this is the huge advantage referenced earlier). Each sale you make under the umbrella of the affiliate site is accumulated into one qualifying pool so you only have to make cumulative commissions to meet the minimum payout level to get paid.To qualify for your commissions, you could make sales of 2 different products and the earned commissions from both are combined for you to reach the minimum payout level. Yes, this is huge ... Instead of having 10 different sales individually setting in 10 different affiliate programs, none of which meet the minimum for you to get paid, now you have those 10 sales commissions added together to get you over the minimum payout level and now you get paid for all 10. I hope you see the huge advantage the umbrella type of affiliate programs offer.How To Get Your Affiliate Link OnlineThe beauty of affiliate marketing is that unlike a salesman in the real world, you are not trying to convince anyone of anything. You just register a domain (which is recommended but not required) and put up a product review minisite, a one page website that describes and promotes all the features and benefits of the product being promoted.Although a product review site is recommended for the best results, it does require that you do have some web space on the Internet. Hosting accounts are available for just a few dollars a month so this should be within anyone's reach that has a true desire to be an affiliate. Many review sites can be placed on one hosting account. In fact you could well have thousands of review sites on one hosting account.If you do not want to create product review sites, there are alternatives. Some affiliate sites offer you pre-made products and websites and are available for free for your use if you join their affiliate program.Promoting Your ProductThe seller in essence does all the conversion work; you just have to send targeted traffic to the sales page.Here are a few ways to promote your affiliate link:
Article Marketing: Write an article describing the features and benefits of the product
eMail Marketing: Use your article as an advertisement in ezines or mailing lists
Classified Ads: These are available all over the Internet for free
Pay Per Click Marketing: Choose the best place for your ads
Many of the larger affiliate sites offer training and promotional materials for your use for free You are only limited by your imagination on how to market your affiliate link. Be creative. Step "outside the box" and create a new way that works for you. You can also research Online Marketing by searching the Internet. Online Marketing is a huge field and there are tons of informational products already written on the subject. Take advantage of that and you are on your way to financial freedom.Making MoneyAffiliate marketing is all about making money for both parties and often the commissions on sales (buyers you send to the site through your affiliate link) are 50% or higher! Some of the better affiliate programs pay as high as an 80% commission on every sale you make.Although the product owner handles the product delivery, customer service and virtually everything else beyond your referring targeted potential buyers to them, including overhead, you get paid the same amount if not more as they do on the sale! Your only overhead is your domain (usually under $10 a year) and web space (a few dollars per month) if you decide to do review sites.You can use the many free advertising venues such as online classified ads, article submission sites and more to refer traffic to your affiliate link site, however you would be missing out on building a much higher income potential because you would not be able to push these articles up in the search engine rankings as easily as if you had a domain. Getting traffic from search engines is the gold mine of affiliate marketing!Thank you for your time and interest in learning more about affiliate marketing. Choose your affiliate programs and products carefully and wisely. We hope we have provided some insight into what to expect if you decide to enter the affiliate marketing arena. We wish you the best in planning your strategies and implementing your plan.Just remember, if you keep doing what you are doing now, you can expect to keep getting the same results. We urge you to challenge yourself, move off your comfort zone and try something new. It can be very rewarding both in satisfaction and financially...You do not have to want to become a full time marketer to enjoy affiliate marketing. Use it for a little extra Christmas money or to put a little spending money in your pocket you can just blow on something you have been wanting.Step "outside the box" and give it your best shot.