Affiliate marketing programs have a lot of appeal for those wanting to develop an extra source of income or to start their own home based business. One of most appealing advantages is that they don?t require a great deal of technical knowledge. Another being that little or no start up costs are required to get your business off the ground. If you take those two facts alone it?s easy to see why affiliate marketing has become so popular.
Once you have set up your website, put in your affiliate links and started promoting your website, it virtually becomes self sufficient, only requiring you to do periodic testing and tracking to make sure your selected products are returning sales.
The concept of affiliate marketing is that you are promoting products for a merchant who will pay you a percentage of each sale gained through your links. You don?t have to worry about dispatching products, dealing with queries from customers or any other of those time consuming aspects of a normal brick and mortar business.
You don?t need to develop products, carry supplies for distribution; in fact you don?t even have to know much about the product at all as the merchant is the person who will deal with the customer once you have made the initial referral.
However, what is important is that you are selective about what products you choose to promote.
It?s important to do a bit of research first to find out exactly what potential customers? are searching for and what they are buying. There are several ways to do this such as checking out Amazon or EBay if you are thinking about selling physical products.
Look at Google trends, do some keyword research using free tools like Google?s Ad words/Keyword tool. If physical products aren?t your thing and you want to sell digital products checkout Clickbank and see what is popular with the affiliates there.
Once you decide on the product you want to promote, make sure the merchant supplies plenty of free affiliate tools, such as articles, pre written emails, banners etc and of course make sure you copy down your affiliate link so sales are credited to you. These are all things which can save you time having to develop yourself.
One of the disadvantages of affiliate programs is that in a lot of cases you will be competing with other affiliates to get traffic and sales. This is where you need to be careful about what you are going to promote and try and find keywords that have at least 100 searches a day but not more than 50,000 competitors. These are only ball park figures but can be used as a starting point until you have gained some experience.
Before you sign up for any affiliate program it is a good idea to do a bit of research online first, check the reputation of the company, for issues like regular payments and any other derogatory feedback from affiliates.
Initially you should consider signing up with one of the larger established affiliate companies, this way you can be fairly confident that your interests are protected in regard to payments and support.
Affiliate marketing is the same as any other business and has positives and negatives, but on the plus side following these few simple rules can help you avoid most of the pitfalls and give you a head start to getting yourself on the right track.