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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Affiliate Marketing 101

It's incredible the number of people wanting to earn money online who just sign up for an affiliate marketing program and then wonder why they are not making any money. How many times do you need to h ear that there are no quick and easy ways to earn large sums of money on the internet? Sure you could sign up for one of these get paid to post forums and spend endless hours in front of your computer just to earn a measly $10 per month! I do believe that the real internet gold is in affiliate marketing.

There has been a great attraction to affiliate marketing as a way to earn money online since it was created, and this is because it is easier that selling directly or drop-shipping: with affiliate marketing you do not have to buy a product and then sell it, leaving you with a loss if you cannot sell your products; you do not have to handle products, you do not have to worry about after-sale services, you do not even have to handle the transaction between the provider and the buyer; affiliate marketing is a totally risk-free business.

The problem is that the majority of people think it is easy and it will make them rich after just a few days. Let me put you right here: I am not saying that you can't make money with affiliate marketing, I am just saying that if you join the right affiliate marketing program, if you are willing to work for your money and if you get the right advice, you can earn a handsome, steady income from it.

When I say the right affiliate marketing program, I mean that not all programs suit everyone. There are a lot of opportunities to choose from, and you must do some research before you launch yourself in your affiliate marketing venture. If you have a passion for a topic like psychology for example, you should go for a program that lets you sell books on psychology rather than a product than allows you to earn a bigger commission per item sold, but that you know little or nothing about.
Beware also of affiliate marketing programs that ask for a joining fee: there are a lot of free affiliate marketing programs out there, and I believe that a website that asks you to pay before signing up has no other design than taking its own members' money. I would be very dubious that anyone other than the website owners could make any money with these.

If you want to earn money from affiliate marketing, you do have to put in some effort. If you already own a website and get traffic to it, then your work is already cut out for you: you need to choose a product related to your website that you can write about; you can write a review praising the merits of your chosen product, place some advertisements on your website for it: the program you signed up for should provide you with a code containing your affiliate ID that will bring your website's visitors to the product's website when they click on that link, and if they decide to buy the product you will earn a commission.

If you do not have a website, you can either get one (nowadays there are tools that can easily let you set up a more than passable-looking website), set up a free blog or even a Squidoo lens on a topic you are passionate about and write reviews as I have described above. Keep in mind that you will need some time and effort to build up the necessary traffic that will allow you to make one sale; you will have to read up on SEO and traffic-building, be patient and not lose hope.

If you do not wish to choose a product to promote but still want to be an affiliate marketer with Clickbank, one of the most rewarding affiliate program online, you can get a Clickbank portal, which is a great tool: it is a free website that also comes with free hosting and that allows you to promote the 10000 products from Clickbank's marketplace; when you sign up you will automatically have your Clickbank affiliate ID inserted in the 10000 products of your portal so you don't even need to know anything about coding or websites, all you have to do is bring visitors to so that you can earn commission on whatever product they decide to buy.
One thing I strongly recommend to all would-be affiliate marketers is to write a few good quality articles about the product or products you are selling and submit those to online article directories; very few article directories allow you to include affiliate links in your articles and author's resource box but including your website's address would be very beneficial to your business, as people that may not otherwise visit your website may read your article and want to buy the product you are writing about. Writing articles and having them published in places outside your website will be a great help in earning money online from affiliate marketing as well as from your website's ordinary business: this will bring more traffic to it and this traffic will more than likely bring you buying customers for your affiliate products.

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