Affiliate marketing has always been around in some form but it has especially exploded over the last decade as Internet marketing has taken of and become a viable way of making a living. If you are interested in affiliate marketing, here are some things that you need to know.
Affiliate Selling: A Brief History
Affiliate marketing has been around since practically the dawn of time—the door to door salesmen who would peddle tonics, encyclopedias—all of that was affiliate marketing. It evolved over time to include beauty products (Avon) and house wares (Tupperware, Yankee Candles) and now even informational products that are sold via the internet can be a source of affiliate income. You choose the product you want to promote and, for every unit sold, you earn some money.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Product sales aren’t the only way to earn money as an affiliate. There are also programs like LinkShare, TextLinkAds, etc through which commissions can be earned via ad sales, clicks and even impressions. There are revenue sharing programs you can enter. Amazon.com has these programs, Google has these programs and MonetizeIt is the Media Whiz affiliate network.
So Which Do You Choose?
How much money you stand to earn through affiliate marketing largely depends on how much effort you want to put into the program. For many people affiliate marketing is a source of passive and additional income (or “Mad Money”). If this describes you, you will be best served by the link and ad revenue sharing programs. These allow you to put snippets of code up on an already existing website, like a blog. Insert the code into the side bar, go back to doing your regular thing and collect when people click through the ads and buy the products or services advertised.
If you hope to earn more than passive income
, you will be better served by choosing product promotion affiliate programs. You can find all sorts of them online—a quick stroll through Clickbank will turn up dozens of different opportunities of which you can take advantage. Some of the older programs like Avon, Tupperware, etc are still popular as well. These are programs that will allow you to build a website that revolves around the products you want to sell or even allow you to buy inventory and sell door to door.
A Word of Caution
Do not confuse this with Multi Level Marketing (aka the Pyramid Scheme). MLM is different and is best left alone.
Always do your research before signing up for any affiliate program
. Check out their reputations online and run at least a cursory check on them through the Better Business Bureau. If you can, track down some current and former participants in the program and ask them what they think. You want to make sure that the products are high quality and that payments are sent out on time and that the commissions are consistent.
Affiliate marketing has been around since one person said to another “you can sell my rock collection for me and I’ll give you half of the sale price.” It grows and evolves as people do and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. If you’ve been hoping to bring in some extra money, it’s definitely worth checking out.