Affiliate sales are a good friend of any internet marketer. Anyone can make some money with Adsense or god forbid through filling out a million surveys online. You can fight to earn a little extra money there, but truth be told the real money is in affiliate sales. The way to think of it is that affiliates use advertisers to send them traffic so they can make money. That’s right! Advertisers are the middle men, and who makes money, the middle men or the guys at the top?
There are a lot of different types of affiliates, some of them sell physical products, others sell services, and others sell electronic information like ebooks. All that’s consistent is that they will cut you in on their profits (ranging from modest to possibly huge). Small companies do it (for example, I sell maple syrup for a little mom and pop place in Quebec) and HUGE companies do it (eBay and Amazon, for example). There are as many companies selling products that want your help as you can possibly imagine.
There are lots of setups for affiliates too, some start out small and as you increase the sales you direct to their sites the percentage you earn from each sale goes up. There are programs that actually will pay you 75% or more of the cost of the product. My personal favorite are subscription affiliate programs that will pay you a continued % of sales for as long as the person you refer stays signed up, which are great because it is a fairly safe residual income, even if you stop getting anymore traffic to your site for some reason. Some affiliate programs are pay-per-click, some are pay-per-lead, and others are pay-per-sale.
Another interesting type of affiliate program are called “multi-tiered affiliate programs” or “two tiered affiliate programs”. What is so special about these programs is you don’t just make money when you sell a program, if you tell a friend about the program and they make a sale then you actually get a commission from that too. It can all add up really quickly because that can result in you having tens or even hundreds of people essentially working for you. I know this is starting to sound like a pyramid scheme, but it isn’t so don’t worry. I guess this is the point where I mention that if someone asks you to sign up for an affiliate program you should run in the other direction ha ha.
So, I guess now that you understand what affiliate programs are, I should give you a little more on how to sell them…
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First off track down high quality affiliates because the more value you deliver to your readers the more they will come back and trust your advice. You can make a lot of money from a small readership if you point them in the right direction. Now that being said, you shouldn’t see these people as your friends, especially when you’re trying to make a living online. It’s your job to sell people products, and while one needs to draw a moral line it does somewhat come down to dollars and cents. I personally wouldn’t sell people something that would harm them, or encourage someone to give away their life savings, but hey if someone wants to plunk down $20 to buy an ebook that will promise to make them millions then I guess it’s steal from the stupid and give to me.
Another good thing to do is to focus on targeting selling keywords. Basically what a selling keyword is is one that indicates a person in looking to purchase a product at the time for example “buy”, “for sale”, “cheap”, or “used” are all great selling keywords. Other good words are ones where people are seeking more information about a product for example “best”, “review”, or “top” are all good too.
The alternative to the well targeted keywords is going after the big fish. Quantity over quality can sell to, but it’s tougher to rank for these words in search engines. I generally start a site to go after the well targeted keywords and once it ranks well for those I start going after the tougher general ones.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to being successful with affiliate programs and it does take a large amount of work. Once you get a hit though you can make a lot of money in a very short amount of time. You don’t need to go out and find the highest paying affiliate programs. Just find a few that are high quality with good commissions, and that you feel comfortable promoting.