So, what is the best home business to start? Depending on whom you ask, the answers will vary. But anyone who actually makes a living online will tell you that affiliate marketing is the way to go. People simply love the idea of affiliate marketing. In fact, many are taking it up full-time. You can make thousands a year advertising other peoples products online–you are paid every time you help generate a sale. But it is not that simple–you have to know exactly what to do if you are to make money.
So lets quickly run over the some of basics of affiliate marketing…
With affiliate marketing, you are promoting someone else’s product, website, or service. When a visitor clicks on your affiliate link on your website (or through your ads) and makes a purchase from the merchant you are promoting, you get a commission. The commission amount you are paid is based on the commission % and the price of the product. In the end, both the merchant and affiliate win as they help grow each other’s businesses.
From a merchants perspective…
Companies like the idea of using affiliates to grow their business, so they usually offer generous commission to lure potential affiliates in (up to 75%). Companies can then have thousands of affiliates promoting their products and only have to pay the affiliate if a sale is made.
From an affiliates perspective…
You can work with as many companies as you’d like when you’re an affiliate. All you have to do after you get your affiliate link is get as much traffic as possible to the merchant website.
Many companies can’t do without affiliates-who usually do the boatload of advertising.
The lifestyle you lead…
Affiliate marketing allows you to work at your own pace and be your own boss. You choose the hours you want to work. The amount of money you can make with affiliate marketing is virtually limitless.
With that being said, you can clearly see why affiliate marketing is the best way to make money online.
Now lets run over some important rules…
Rule #1: Know the products you are promoting
To me, familiarizing yourself with the product you are promoting is the key to affiliates writing a comprehensive review. When you actually own the product that you recommend, your visitors will be in awe of your in depth analysis (lets face it, you can’t fake a good review).
Your review should point out the good, as well as the bad, of a product/service; you must be unbiased at all cost. If you neglect writing a good review, then your customers won’t believe you, and they will quickly exit your site in favor of a more reliable source. This is a rule that many affiliate marketers look past, but I guarantee if they would follow this first rule they would have sales going through the roof.
When I first started using this technique a couple of years ago I simply couldn’t believe how much it helped my sales conversions.
So don’t be lazy; know your product and then write the best review possible.
Rule #2: If you bought it, you should use it.
It shocks me when people purchase a book or guide but don’t actually use it. You have got to put your plan in motion and use the products you purchase to your advantage. That means you must read and reread every chapter and implement every technique you learn. That is exactly what I do and I make a living online because of it.
The bottom line is that most people don’t want to read and follow simple instructions; they want an easier way out. What you want to do is read and implement. If you do that, you will have great success with affiliate marketing.
While I know many people hate the idea of buying anything, it truly is an advantage when you know something that your competition doesn’t. So rule# 2 is to pick up a quality affiliate marketing guide, read it, and put it in motion by applying all of the techniques that you learn. If you are serious about making money online, you have to learn as much as possible.
Rule #3: Choosing the right products
If you want any kind of success with affiliate marketing you are going to have to choose the right products. That means you must join a good affiliate program–the last thing you need is to be in business with a bad merchant who doesn’t pay as promised and/or has a dismal affiliate program altogether.
Most affiliate programs are free to join. You must spend time finding high quality affiliate programs if you are to make money. But if you want to save time and choose from quality merchants all in one place, you can just check out some affiliate networks. All you have to do is sign up once and you’re introduced to thousands of products from many different companies.
The main advantage of an affiliate network is that, unlike individual affiliate programs, they will pay you from their network as opposed to individual companies sending you separate paychecks. For example, if I join the affiliate programs of Citibank, Circuit City, and Best Buy, I would receive 3 separate commission paychecks. But if I were to sign up to these programs directly through a network I would receive one big fat paycheck instead of three separate checks.
The other advantage of the networks is that affiliate programs are ranked so you know which ones are doing good and which ones you should stay away from.
Bonus Tip # 1: Don’t always go after the products with highest commission payouts, they tend to convert less–even though there are exceptions such as gambling and computer products that convert very well in spite of higher prices. For now, you should stick with lower priced ($50 or less) products until you are more experienced with affiliate marketing; they convert at incredible clips.
When you apply this rule, you will have more customers that are willing to pay at your doorstep.
Rule #4: Getting Traffic
It’s not just the products; it is your marketing ability that will make you money. The marketing methods that you use will ultimately earn you the money, not the products alone. And one technique that you are going to have to master is getting as much traffic as possible. Lets face it, no matter how great your product is, you still need traffic.
I will briefly cover the best ways to get traffic.
Lets start with…
Good ol’ SEO…
First, you should apply some white hat Search Engine Optimization: Link exchanges, writing high quality content, submitting your website to the major and second tier directories, writing articles, writing press releases etc.
Use viral marketing to grow your business…
Take advantage of viral marketing. Give away free reports, free ebooks, and free downloads. You should make it possible that your subscribers can give it away to there visitors and audience as well. This will quickly spread the name of your business and generate unprecedented traffic.
Last, but certainly not least, is pay-per-click advertising. The best PPC service is Google Adwords. Running a successful campaign can get a bit tricky, but if you get it right, you receive highly targeted traffic instantly.
If you use these three techniques, you give yourself a much better chance of getting a high volume of quality traffic.
Rule #5: You are going to need a website
In the last lesson I covered different ways you can get traffic. Now we are going to talk about the importance of a website. Yes, you can send traffic directly to you merchants by Direct Linking and see some success without a website, but to really take advantage of affiliate marketing you must a have good website. With a solid website, you can “wow” your visitors with great content, take advantage of email marketing, write reviews for different products, provide reliable information, sell ads (such as Google Adsense), and so much more.
Rule #6: Using pop ups to your advantage…
When someone visits your website, you only have about 5-10 seconds to grab the visitors attention. What happens if you do all that work to get traffic and the visitor leaves and never returns? You have wasted time and money advertising and implementing SEO techniques. A good way you can turn that traffic into loyal visitors is to have popups that advertise your newsletter or any other particular offers you may have. What happens is a customer likes your websites presentation and sees a pop-up window and decides to give you their email address for future references.
I highly recommend you take advantage of using popovers; they are great attention grabbers and it is a must for any affiliate marketer looking to grow his or her opt-in list. Remember your opt-in list is where some of your most loyal customers will come from.
Affiliate marketing is a dream come true for anyone looking to earn money from home. It has changed my life and I am now doing things that I never thought possible. If you work hard, it will happen for you as well.