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Affiliate Marketing Success

Updated on September 22, 2014

Becoming an Affiliate Marketing Acrobat

Ever wonder how to make money online from what you know and what you already have? Affiliate marketing examples here show how this can be the answer to making money online with a work at home legitimate opportunity.

Affiliate marketing is selling without selling with no shipping, no stocking products, no employees, no hassles. Learning to be a pro affiliate is a matter of recommending products or companies that YOU have used and found to be useful. It is free to become an affiliate and the opportunities are endless.

Why are there so many affiliate opportunities out there? Simply because everyone is hungry for internet traffic and sales to their websites, and so they are willing to share profits with those who bring traffic and drive sales.

The challenge is in getting traffic to your site and then converting that traffic into sales. It is well worth the effort to learn HOW to affiliate with integrity and professionalism.

Affiliate Marketing Advantages

Affiliate marketing can be profitable.

  • Becoming an affiliate is free, so very low start-up costs.
  • Work from home yet work hard and consistently to succeed. Beware considering your affiliate activities as a home business in and of itself, best as income related to another primary business venture.
  • Earn side income. Build significant income potential virtually risk free.
  • Low expenses business overhead investment, no product development costs, etc.
  • NO shipping or storing of products. You don't even touch the product!
  • Work a flexible work schedule that eventually allows residual and passive income. Make money while you sleep or play.
  • Not the same as MLM (network marketing) though similar in a few ways.

What Affiliate Marketing is NOT

Be realistic in your expectations about earning as an affiliate marketer.

  • NO hard sells or cold-calling! Great, however you DO have to work hard behind the scenes getting traffic and conversions. The affiliate must take action in creating quality referrals and to promote them with smarts in order to GET the web traffic
  • Not a get-rich-quick scheme! There are tons of affiliate marketers out there who haven't made a dime - you have to WORK at it beyond throwing some links out there in a haphazard way.
  • Not a guaranteed income. Affiliate income is commission-based on a percentage of sales, and that will fluctuate.
  • Not simple to handle bookkeeping Once you begin earning, the amount of paperwork, tracking, record-keeping that's ongoing. You'll develop systems for managing this, and unless you can outsource it, the paperwork of running a home business well enough to keep the IRS happy is significant.
  • Not easy. There ARE learning curves. Invest in educating yourself with quality mentors and training. Most affiliate marketers never make a dime, sad but true. Often they are led to believe all they have to do is throw some links out there and that's it. Wrong! There's much to learn if you actually want to succeed. The internet has become huge and over crowded with tough competition.
  • Not creating link farms! What is a 'link farm'? It's an expression that refers to those websites with little to no information about products, rather just a page full of product links. Before recommending a product, tell why. In detail...features & benefits, pros & cons. Make it personal. If you can include a photo of you using the product, even better. Don't just say you own the product - prove it.

The above list could be considered negatives IF the person trying to become an affiliate marketer believed otherwise. If you are aware of all the points above and can accept them as realities in the life of an affiliate marketer, then you just might be ready to affiliate with success.

affiliate marketing
affiliate marketing

Be an Affiliate with Integrity

Recommend what you know, and do it well. Explain WHY a reader might want to get X product with many benefits and features.

If you are going to become an affiliate, then I'd recommend you do so only for products you have used yourself and know something about personally. WHY would you recommend this product or service? If you cannot honestly give a detailed answer to that question, then there's no integrity in recommending such. Can you describe specific benefits and features of your product in detail? If not, then some other affiliate can, and WILL do so...and that affiliate earned the sale.

The internet is already loaded with trashy affiliate pages that list link after link with zilch description nor details about WHY a person might consider such a product or service. I hope you don't buy from these people and the last thing you'd want to do is become another one of them. There's much more integrity in recommending a small handful of top products well, than to spill out a bunch of naked affiliate links. Naked? Yes, for if it is only a link with no real reasons for the referral, then it is naked, not clothed appropriately, and considered in poor taste.

Which Companies Affiliate?

Most companies now have affiliate programs, and those that don't will likely begin to affiliate soon.

Affiliate marketing has grown and become so common that a company trying to do business WITHOUT an affiliate program nowadays is missing out. This includes common storefronts that you might not have considered. They all need affiliates to promote their products! Here are just a few of the BIG brand-name companies that now use affiliate programs to promote their products online:

* Barnes & Noble * Dell * Discover Card * Dollar Rent-a-Car * eBay * Eddie Bauer * Gateway * Gap * KMart * New York Times * NBC * Old Navy * Patagonia * PayLess Shoes * PetSmart * SONY * Sports Authority * Staples * TimeLife * USA Today * Verizon Wireless * Weight Watchers * Target * Walmart * KMart ...

The list grows all the time. If you already use the services or shop at one of the stores above and know that business well, then that might be a perfect affiliate relationship. Also, just about ALL credit card companies now have affiliate programs. Direct someone to their webpage from yours and if they fill out an application, then YOU get paid. If same person gets approved for a credit card, then you get paid MORE! Best of all, this income is automatic and passive.

Affiliate Marketing Examples of Success

  1. The Teacher A teacher enjoys writing and began publishing articles online about her passions. She writes book reviews, publishes tutorials and creates tribute to some favorite artists, musicians, authors, etc. Her articles include links to those products and similar ones on amazon.com or elsewhere.
  2. The Machinist This guy is brilliant when it comes to anything mechanical, can figure out how to fix machines and make them run like a top in no time flat. He works hard and will retire within a couple of years. Meanwhile his hobbies include other machines, not the kind he deals with at work everyday. He likes machines he can ride on like motorcycles and ATVs, even riding lawn mowers. He published a couple of articles related to motorcycles and ATVs. These articles included links to amazon.com and eBay or other affiliate sites where these items could be purchased. He's beginning to earn profit and looks forward to doing more of this after he retires.
  3. The WAHM The Work At Home Mom has 3 children under age 5 and finds working outside the home not to be a viable option. She publishes articles online about topics of interest to young moms: best educational toys, quick nutritious snacks for kids, birthday party ideas, etc. She writes about what works best for her and other moms, then publishes articles with links to her affiliates: amazon, eBay and others.

Rosalind Gardner, the Affiliate Marketing Queen

Rosalind Gardner is often referred to as the affiliate marketing queen! For good reason, since she has actively taught affiliate marketing since 1998. She is totally honest and trustworthy, will show you how to steer around scams and strategies that will just frustrate you.

All of her materials, from her blog to website to ebooks are created in a style that is easy to read, personable, informative and up to date. She teaches by example, doesn't just tell you what to do but shows by example. Note how she works, from the way she writes her website (Net Profits Today) to her blog organization to the way she sets up her office.

The Super Affiliate Handbook

by Rosalind Gardner

What IS a Super Affiliate? They are those affiliates at the top of the earnings tier because they've applied skills that result in passive income. Super affiliates are not random nor do they just promote 'any' product, they choose carefully in products and promotional efforts. They stay laser focused on only certain products and promotions.

Super affiliates can not only earn from their own sales, but from sales of other affiliate marketers on their team. This is is some ways similar to MLM, yet NOT the same. There is no monthly sales requirement nor pressure to prospect others.


Affiliate Networks VS. Individual Programs

Networks broker for many programs VS individual affiliates

Affiliate networks are sort of like brokers for many different companies. Get accepted into a network, then you are free to promote any of the products within that network. Some of the major networks are: Clickbank, Commission Junction, Shareasale and Linkshare.

One big advantage of focusing on affiliate sales through these networks is that the record-keeping is done for you. Affiliate marketers must keep track of sales & income for tax purposes, and the networks will have it all stored in their database.

Some companies offer their own affiliate programs independent of a network like those above. This is fine as long as they don't ask you for a fee AND provide you with the appropriate tools for promotion. Amazon and eBay both have their own well-developed affiliate programs independent of any other network.

Some affiliate marketers find it easier to promote products from only one network. One reason many find that the networks are easier has to do with record-keeping, since the networks will have systems in place for that so the marketer doesn't need to create it themselves. Also there's less to learn and less websites to visit with it all in one primary place.

All of the programs work in a pretty similar way, and I'd rather choose based on my knowledge of the product itself rather than the source of the affiliate program. If I find a product I really value, then I will recommend it whether it is offered through a network or an individual.

Free Affilate Marketing eCourse - Affiliate Masters Course - HIGHLY Recommended

Affiliate marketing requires strategy based on proven successful plans. It is NOT about randomly throwing a bunch of links out there to see if they stick. Save yourself time and aggravation by developing your own plan based on real working business models.

This course over-delivers useful information for affiliate marketers and it is FREE!

Allan Gardyne (of associateprograms.com), said this about the Affiliate Masters Course... "I don't know of any report anywhere which does a better job of explaining how to succeed in affiliate marketing - and you don't have to pay a cent for it."

Apply yourself to this free course, and you'll be FAR ahead of the pack.


IM Report Card Review Website

Why is internet report card different?

1) Real and unbiased reviews

2) No affiliate links are allowed

Reviews are done by independent staff with no affiliate links allowed (except by site owners). So there's no advantage to those interested in 'reviewing' a product or person just for their own gain. Membership is free.

Considering a new program or purchase? Check it out with IM Report Card FIRST. A good resource (not perfect yet better than most) for internet marketers.

Consider going to IM Report Card and getting a free membership. Then check their reviews before purchasing products or services online.

About Online Internet Marketing Review Websites

Why beware internet marketing reviews?

Many (most) online review websites were created with an agenda in mind. For example, the affiliate hustler tends to follow an agenda similar to this: Here's my review of X product and here's why you don't want it...yada yada yada...and then here's what you REALLY want instead, followed by an affiliate link.

These sites started showing up a few years ago, and now they flood the internet. Few sites exist that give a truly unbiased viewpoint, one without an agenda in mind.

Actual unbiased reviews that truly exist to be a real and reliable evaluation about a product, service, person or company are very rare.

Affiliate Marketing Supersystems: Datafeedr

Datafeedr gets high marks from affiliate marketing pros.

Affiliate marketing can be time consuming. You might focus mostly on amazon.com as an affiliate, however commissions there are low, only around 7%. So building sites which promote products from affiliate programs higher commissions is worth a consideration. For example, many Commission Junction programs pay 30% per sale or above.

Consider a system that allows you to generate affiliate product stores using a WP Plugin? One that generates codes and updates automatically. You can actually create an affiliate store filled with products from a variety of merchants you are affiliated with using Datafeedr.

Before Datafeedr, in order to get the functionality they now offer, it would require a programmer who was willing to pay individual fees to access the APIs from CJ, LinkShare, ShareaSale and many many others. Then the programmer would have to somehow mix them together to get them to appear inside one store. Datafeedr has done all that hard work.

Datafeedr is not free, however for the powerfully integrated system and advanced tools the pricing is reasonable. Datafeedr is getting attention from serious affiliate marketers.

Affiliate Disclosure

Responsible affiliates DO disclose, it is now required.

You might have noticed recently some phrases on websites that indicate an income for the webmaster for sales. That is because this is now required and so it is beginning to appear on affiliate web pages.

A short phrase such as this one will suffice for disclosure...'this webpage receives a small stipend for purchases originating here, thanks.'

A Common Affiliate Marketing Strategy

If you are tempted to build a number of niche mini sites laced with affiliate links in the hopes for big income, you might reconsider. Success online with ANY business does not start with simply building websites.

Two problems with this method:

  1. Link farms are dead. Most were slapped by recent google updates, so this tactic was killed anyway. Websites filled with links and little content about those links are a dead end.
  2. Random marketing to strangers. Relying on organic traffic from search engines can also be a dead end.

Growing a loyal audience by building an online list of followers is a much smarter tactic. This is a point not discussed very often in discussions about affiliate marketing. Ignore at your own peril. A few people I have followed for years who agree are Jim Cockrum (Silent Sales Machine), Alan Gardner (SBI) and Jim Thornhill.

From Jim Cockrum about affiliate marketing: "Affiliate marketing done right DOES NOT involve selling to strangers in my opinion. It involves earning trust over time (it takes TIME)! It involves making gentle suggestions to friends that trust you. It involves recommending products that you genuinely believe in and stand behind. It involves having loyal followers that WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU and also have no problem with you getting a commission for your insightful endorsements."

In other words, affiliate marketing is not a business in and of itself. Trying to make it become one will likely become a losing battle. While this method of marketing to strangers may have been somewhat successful in the early days of the internet, the competition for traffic and sales is much more fierce to depend on such a hit or miss approach.

"Show me someone that relies on their google rank for a paycheck and I’ll show you someone that won’t have a paycheck much longer. Google really enjoys flipping switches and scrambling page one results in pursuit of the perfect mix of content and end user experience." ~ Jim Cockrum

This one issue is maybe THE most important of all to understand about affiliate marketing, and yet rarely discussed. I learned the hard way. I've accumulated small earnings from a collection of mini niche sites for several years. However that income is totally dependent on search engines, not reliable nor lucrative long-term.

My income from mini niche sites has fluctuated wildly over the years since around 2009 with a few encouraging bursts of sales, yet NOT consistent...and lately dwindled heavily not only due to low traffic but also other changes like Google updates AND those dreaded Amazon Nexus laws. See more about that at the SoloSpark links below.

How's your affiliate marketing going? Have a favorite affiliate? or a favorite affiliate mentor or network?

Have you figured out a way to make money online from what you know and what you already have? Before you go, please comment below.

Affiliate Marketing Guestbook - Can you picture yourself affiliating in a work at home legitimate opportunity.

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    • scicluna profile image

      scicluna 

      4 years ago

      One of the best affiliate marketing sites I have ever seen. Wow, excellent mix of information great product suggestions. Thank you for the excellent contribution.

    • profile image

      MusicMentor 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for all the useful information and resources. I am going to bookmark this page.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @craftycollector: Glad it helped, thanks.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @zourkas: Yes, and while in the process of creating a product, a great way to develop another income stream.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @iLeadmedia: Thanks.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @lakkolmahendra: Thanks for visiting and for the positive comment.

    • lakkolmahendra profile image

      lakkolmahendra 

      5 years ago

      Nicely explained. Want to try affiliate marketing but don't have much information. You have explained in detail. thanks.

    • profile image

      iLeadmedia 

      6 years ago

      very comprehensively explained. thx

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for great information and for some very useful resources. Much appreciated!

    • craftycollector profile image

      craftycollector 

      6 years ago

      This is just the kind of information I need, and am progressing around Squidoo, trying to find out as much as possible. Thanks so much for the information.

    • profile image

      zourkas 

      6 years ago

      Another extraordinary lens !! Great work.... I think affiliate marketing is the best way to earn money online if you cannot create something by yourself!!

    • profile image

      xmen88 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens. Great stuff.

    • teamunited12 profile image

      teamunited12 

      6 years ago

      Good information - thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Great resource.

      I need to apply more and explore more of what is in this lens.

      Thank you BG

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      8 years ago

      I have been an affiliate marketer for several years and there is always something more to learn. Thank you for the pointers!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I hadn't heard of the Trillionaire opportunity. Looks like I should look into it. Great ideas shared here!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 

      8 years ago

      This thread is just what I needed at this time! 5* and I am your fan! (My secret word for this is risktaker! perfecet and prophetic! )

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've never done any affiliate marketing, but your experiences ... and successes ... were interesting to read. Continued success to you in your endeavor.

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