A lot of people these days want to find ways on how to make more money through opportunities made possible by the Internet. In Google’s stats alone, about 165,000 people search about the subject every month. Fortunately, good matches to these search queries continue to be provided.
Yahoo listed ten popular online business ideas. Randy Duermyer at About.com mentioned eight practical Internet business ideas for making money at home. And Harpreet Singh in BusinessToday enumerated twenty very doable ideas to make money online. In these and in almost all other search results, affiliate marketing became one of the surest and fastest ways for making money through the web.
Affiliate marketing, is “a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.” Anyone with a website of their own can be an affiliate. And the best part of it is you don’t have to deal with the burden of providing product support, not even the slightest hassle of delivering the products to your customers.
A freelancing work at home service provider with a web-based virtual office, a retailer with a virtual store front in the internet, anyone with a blogging site with a decent number of followers can earn additional money alongside the regular income that they make from their core business activities just by becoming an affiliate for another merchant’s products or services.
With each sale generated through the referral links from their sites, affiliates stand to keep a sales commission from the selling establishments / merchants. Unlike in the offline world, tracking of these affiliate sales are done automatically, so it is very convenient to the part of the affiliates.
How does one become an affiliate marketer?
One route is to apply directly with an advertiser. This avenue is particularly appropriate for an online office or store front where the advertiser transacts business either as a regular buyer or as a regular seller. Most online businesses, especially those selling digital goods or services, usually have an affiliate program of some sort on their own. So if you want to go this way, all you need to do to get started is find the link to the affiliate page on an merchant’s website.
The other route is to join an existing affiliate network run by an established affiliate marketing organization. The advantage here is that these affiliate networks generally already have in place a good working relationship with a number of advertisers. So there will be lots of advertisers ready for you to choose from.
Moreover, they can help the prospective affiliate to select the right brands for their particular websites. They also usually provide support and technical assistance to their members in furthering business development and in availing of opportunities for revenue optimization.
Among the more popular affiliate marketing companies are Google AdSense, Clickbank. E-junkie, PayDotCom and Commission Junction. The site affiliates4u.com is an excellent resource for learning more about affiliate marketing.
To make good money in affiliate marketing though, it is not enough to just allow the advertiser’s ads to be posted at your site, then sit back and wait for the commissions to start coming in. Affiliate marketing is after all still performance-based marketing. How much commission you earn depends on how much of your own audience you can make to act on your advertisers’ links.
Typically, there are two ways this is done. One is by offering free or discounted goodies, usually how-to guides and ebooks, and asking the audience to click at the links for details. The other is by an outright positive review and endorsement of your advertiser’s product. A successful affiliate marketer of course employs a mix of both.
Entrepreneurs contemplating of starting an online business would do well to consider at the onset how they can integrate an affiliate marketing program into their business plans and business strategies. It is a good and steady source of a parallel income stream to complement their regular core business revenue.