What is Affiliate Marketing and How Do You Make Money With it?

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: January 10th, 2008

Everyone wants to make money online. With all of the options out there for generating revenue, the question becomes where should you begin?

Affiliate marketing was my second stop on the income trail. I first looked into affiliate marketing when I felt I had a good handle on how AdSense worked and I wanted to add another tool to my income arsenal.

AdSense is a great place for new internet marketers to start. Google offers cut and paste code that automatically finds the most appropriate ad for your page and serves it. AdSense allows you to “fire and forget” ads and let Google do all of the background work and heavy lifting.

When I entered the world of affiliate marketing, the only online income I was earning was from AdSense which pretty much takes care of everything for you. I had some experience with Google’s referral products (which are as close as Google gets to affiliate marketing), but I had never ventured into the land of payment on ACTIONS instead of CLICKS.

AdSense vs. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be intimidating at first when you are coming at it from an AdSense perspective. The biggest difference is that AdSense pays you when people click on an ad, whereas affiliate programs pay you when users take actions like making a purchase or signing up for something. Payout can range from a few cents to more than $25 an action.

Another difference is that Google’s AdSense will sort out a lot of the less desirable companies and individuals for you by prohibiting pornographic content, and content related to illegal activities. hen you venture into the land of affiliate programs, you need to be a bit more careful when you select a product to promote.

A great example is that I promoted Joel Comm’s Secret Classroom DVD set because I believed in the product. Since then, I have been asked by a number of individuals and companies to help them promote their products as well. Some I helped out with, but most I did not. It wasn’t because they were bad people or anything – I just didn’t believe in their products.

How to Find Quality Affiliate Products to Promote

Most companies who are serious about promoting their products through affiliate programs hire an affiliate management company to handle the process. A company the I use and like a lot is Azoogle Ads.

Now don’t misunderstand – just because Azoogle has a TON of high-quality products you can make money promoting on the Internet that doesn’t mean that ALL of the products they have are awesome.

A while back I ended up promoting a desktop wallpaper program that was FREE to download, and I earned $.75 for every person that downloaded it. It turns out that the wallpapers were actually spyware, and they were making their money by displaying ads to people who didn’t want to see them. Talk about blowing your credibility! As soon as I realized what had happened, I stopped promoting the product – lesson learned.

On a more positive note, I earned more than $100 in a week by promoting Omaha Steaks online. I bough some Google AdWords ads and drove traffic to a discount coupon I had created for the promotion. I spent about $70 on traffic, with a profit of $30. Nothing to write home about, but imagine if you scaled that success across a hundred or so products!

Do Your Home Work and Strive for Scalability

When it comes to affiliate marketing you have to do your homework and make sure you are promoting a product that is legitimate and worthy of your reputation. There is a lot of money to be made in affiliate marketing, but it is by no means a “quick buck”.

If you are experienced and knowledgeable in a niche, you should be able to find a product that resonates in that niche. Determine the best way to promote it, get your promotion online, and move on to the next product. In most cases, affiliate marketing is a numbers game. If you play your cards right, there is a LOT of money to be made.

  1. Evan said on February 23rd, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Really nice post. I like the breakdown of Adsense vs. affiliate marketing. I think plugging a good affiliate program always wins the day over Adsense!

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