Making Money With Affiliate Programs

So Lets Kick It! off with Affiliate Programs.

I am going to break down this post into two individual posts, the first part will focus on what exactly affiliate programs are, and how they work.  The second part will present you with a blueprint that you can use to start making money with affiliate programs.

In order to truly understand how affiliate programs work, and how you can make money with affiliate programs lets get you some of the basic information about affiliate programs, how they work and how they can make you money.

Think back to retail sales – I’m sure everyone has done some retail in their time.  I’ve worked several retail jobs – most positions were hourly wage + commission, while some were hourly wage only (those really sucked sometimes).

The sales positions that were hourly wage + commission were great – the more I sold, the more I made and each item carried a different commission rate.  The commissions were anywhere from 5% of a product to as much as 25% of the product, but you should also remember that many of the products had HUGE markups.  For example a computer cable (any type) were purchased for around $0.50 each and sold for well over $9.95 to as much as $19.95.

Sales + Commission jobs were usually a win-win situation.  If the sales person is good at what they do, they make great commissions, otherwise they just get an hourly wage — but most companies do expect their sales people to meet some quotas, so you can’t really sit on your backside expecting a job for long.

Affiliate programs are sort-of like your sales job but you get only a commission, no hourly wage.

Like the sales job, you are only as good as the products you try to “sell”, and how well you promote your products.  The more competetive the product, guaranteed the more competetive the keywords would be to sell that product – that’s why you see so many people resort to spamming (think about all those viagra and discount pharmacy e-mails you get).  If someone could send out 50,000,000 e-mails for viagra and they happen to get a 1% hit who happen to buy – they’ve just made a few dollars.

Affiliate programs allow you to sell hundreds of different products without knowing a thing about the products.  You could set-up one or a hundred websites selling everything from fruit baskets, to meat and wine, to construction equipment or consumer goods.  Some products will need more finesse, and in some cases you could even create your own affiliate program (we’ll talk about this later) even if a company doesn’t have such a program.

Affiliate programs are nothing more than revenue sharing opportunities.

Here is an example of how an affiliate program works.

Suppose I enjoy golf.  I’m a golf fanatic.  I live and breathe golf, so naturally I’d like to make some money off of my addiction… er, hobby.

So I set-up a golfing website or blog and I post regularly.  I’ve amassed quite a readership, but I’m not monetizing the visitors nor am I doing anything to monetize my regulars.

So I sign-up to a few of the top affiliate networks out there and sign-up for several of the best rated golfing programs.

Initially I just slap on the advertisments on the blog, and though I make some money it’s nowhere what I could be doing.  So rather than just post advertisements, I make the advertisements part of the posts.  I include ads at the start and end of the posts, but I also try other things.

For example, I decide to do a series of posts on how to improve your swing and in the course of the posts I also have someone video tape some lessons – perhaps teasers, perhaps freebies (you do know what I’m getting at, don’t you?  I won’t go into it here – but will save this discussion for another post).  But as I post the series, I ensure each set of posts is keyword rich for specific keywords.

Each of the keywords that I am targetting is then linked to a specific affiliate program – because the keywords are phrases that are searched on there is a very high probability that they pages will get picked-up by the search engines and if I’ve done my job right then I may get into the top 3, 5 or 10 listings.

Each time someone clicks on the link they are redirected through my affiliate link (which includes my special tracking ID) and if they purchase an item – I get a commission on it.

Now I may only make $5 or $100 per item (or even more) but if I can direct 10,000 people to my site daily and out of that I manage to interest 10% of the people to click on the links (so that’s 1,000 people) and out of that 1,000 people 3% buy something (so that’s 30 people) then I get a commission on their purchase.  It could be a few dollars to as much as $300 or more (for example, treadmill sales regularly result in commissions in excess of $100 — redirect and sell 10 of those per month and you’re making some good money).

Affiliate sales are a numbers game – you need to drive visitors to your site and your content needs to be good enough to have them return and click on the links.

Something else you want to do with any affiliate site you run (especially if it’s something you enjoy) is to further monetize it:

  • Set-up e-mail subscriptions/lists
  • Create personalized or general training guide or videos
  • Create and develop physical products

That’s only the tip of the iceberg – there is so much more that you can do with an affiliate site.

I will expand on this article to go into more detail on how you would pull all this information together to create a tight, well developed website that is guaranteed to make you money (well, I can’t really guarantee you anything).

As always I welcome your feedback and questions!

Take care!

About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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