Affiliate marketing is all about getting paid for selling products and services you don't own, or provide, and staying on the right side of the law. Someone else goes to the trouble of developing services, software programs or digital products. They do all the hard work and you collect the money.
Of course, it's a little more complicated than that and there is some work involved. But to the keen affiliate marketer, the rewards can far outweigh any pitfalls.
Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing arrangement between the product developer, known as the affiliate merchant, and the affiliate marketer, who is anyone willing to promote the sale of the product by using any type of legal means available to advertise.
This relationship will allow the affiliate merchant to grow their revenue by paying only for the advertising that results in a sale. The affiliate marketer will profit by making a percentage on a sale that he does not have to manage when the sale is completed. In other words, the affiliate marketer's participation ends with the sale.
How the affiliate gets paid depends upon how the affiliate program is set up. Some merchants will run their own affiliate program. They'll have special types of software that assigns each affiliate marketer a special link that's used in promoting the product. The software will track the sales of every affiliate and the merchant will pay the commission periodically, using either PayPal or another method of payment.
Some merchants use a third party, such as Clickbank, who take care of the whole process, including payment to the affiliate. Clickbank also make it easier for the affiliate marketer by having a fully-searchable catalogue of products for the affiliate to choose from.
In selecting products or services to promote, the affiliate's income is directly tied to how well the selected product or service sells, and the size of the commission for that product. This means that it is very important to select carefully when it comes to choosing the affiliate merchant you'll be partnering with.
Be on the lookout for programs with commission rates no less than 50%. You should also give preference to programs that pay commission on multiple levels. This means that you'll also be able to earn commissions on sales made by people who buy the products through your affiliate link, then go on to become affiliates themselves.
You should only promote products and services for companies, or individuals, that provide you with training programs and sales aids, such as banners and other marketing materials, that you can use in your promotional efforts.
As an affiliate, you should try to select products that you aren't embarrassed to promote, and that you'll feel comfortable recommending to your family and friends if they should ask you about it.
You'll do much better if you promote products that you fully understand and are already familiar with. This way, you'll be able to write better adverts without having to worry about finding the right things to say.
Affiliate marketing is probably the best business model in the world. There is no stock to carry, no direct sales to make and no after-sale service to provide. It's also free to start, which is probably the reason there are so many affiliates out there.