Monday, May 11, 2009

What is Affiliate Marketing?

The Big "???"

Are you one of those who are so excited to make some bling bling after hearing about the hefty profit reaped by those who succeed in the business, and started to look for resources to guide you to the same success; just to find out that there are so many resources available with tons of websites claiming their products, tools or approaches are better than others with candy-coated reviews that you feel like grabbing all at once at the same time?

That's exactly how I feel when I first heard of the idea while searching for something else online, and I believe hundred thousands others have the same experience too.

Let's Get Packing...

So where do you start to make some money online? And with so many products to choose, how can you be sure you choose the right ones?
Everybody has their unique experience in this online marketing business and I believe only a small fraction did strike their pot of gold in the first round. For the rest it was a series of mistakes and tweaking before they got their shares of sweet success, that is if they are still patient and persistent enough to stay on the game.

Affiliate What???!!

My recommendation is to start with affiliate marketing and build your knowledge of other options therefrom. Look for resources which give you some general idea by understanding basic terminology of the trade and some basic techniques. Then spend a lot of time researching online, reading articles to build your understanding and the current trends. Once you know basically how things work, you can start reading reviews of various ebooks in the market, because by now you have at least a general idea of what the books are all about. Then you can decide which direction you want to go. Do you want to make money as an affiliate selling other people's products and gain commission, or by developing domains to build up the traffic through membership subscription and then sell the them at a much higher price, or so many other methods?

Affiliate marketing has become more and more competitive these days as more and more people are joining the program (due to the promises of unimaginable wealth and the economic downturn). If you learn economics, its like the theory of supply and demand. Online customers are the demand, and the affliliates and marketers are the supply. As more people are splashing their ads pages trying to pitch customer, people will have more choices and the chances for affiliates and marketers individually to get sales will reduce. So in fierce competition like this you need to devise a different and competitive strategy to win customer's heart. The game here is to win your potential customers heart to buy from you. It is not impossible, but a very subtle and tricky game.

So how do people still manage to make money in this business?

Some of the thinkable reasons are:
1. they manage to find a loophole (by chance or by being a genius) in the system that attract huge sales for them
2. get constant and close coaching by experts in the business who know every trick of trade of the business, in most cases at a cost
3. have their own website, build traffics who trust them who over time become loyal visitors confident enough to make purchase from them.

And how can affiliates lose money in the business, who later become reluctant and in the end give up?

Some possible reasons are:
1. they set up an ad campaign without monitoring it resulting high cost of advertisement without getting any sales
2. have their affiliate links being hijacked or hacked, resulting them to lose commissions
3. become victim of "attention-stealers". This is the same like normal hard product selling where you wasted your energy and resources to persuade a potential customer to be interested enough to buy, suddenly is snatched by another cunning and slick marketer. This can happen on web pages where comment posting is allowed and a marketer promoting the same product will post a link to their own site, ending up with the customer purchasing from the latter.

In this online business, your "affiliate link" is your life. Got your life tampered or intercepted by others, then you lose your commission.

Well, are you still interested to start your online business to make money? Good, that's the spirit.

What Are The Tools?
It's not that easy to recommend which materials are suitable.

The reasons are:

1. different people have different approach of learning or method that they want to implement.
2. affiliate marketing is a very dynamic business which keeps on changing with new trends and techniques

To get a head start in affiliate marketing, I used these two books - Rich Jerk and Affiliate Payload. You can give them a try if you want.

Other books that I suggest are Newbie Cash Machine, Commission Blueprint and No Monkey Business. I suggest them because these books are introductory and widely recommended on the internet.

Some Words of Advice
Now that you have general ideas of what to do, what to watch out for and what resources to get, I suggest you start by following the instructions as directed in the manuals such as how to register, how to choose product to promote, how to put up a landing page, how to put up an ad campaign, and see how it goes for you. But my sincere advice is, don't expect an instant $2,000 in your account right away. But if by any chance you got it, hey congratulation!

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