What is Affiliate Marketing About? Short and Simple Explanation

what is affiliate marketing about in a nutshellWhat is affiliate marketing about? That’s a question that more and more people are asking these days as it is seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Of all of the ways to make money online, it remains one of the most lucrative, and perhaps one of the easiest ways for a newbie to get started. The concept is a relatively simple one, but there are certainly many nuances to it.

Typically, you start by choosing a topic that interests you. Something that perhaps you are an expert in or that you have a keen interest in. Most importantly it should be something that you are willing and able to write about, to share your ideas about in a convincing, authoritative manner.

Choosing a topic is the most important phase, as that will determine what transpires from there, and will ultimately determine how successful you are. So as far as what is affiliate marketing, it’s essentially choosing products or services that you want to promote through the content that you write.

For example, let’s say you are an avid gardener, and that gardening is truly your passion. You know you can write confidently about all facets of gardening, e.g. choosing flowers, planting vegetables, landscaping, etc. You’ve probably bought numerous products over the years, and you know what works and what doesn’t work.

So you would create a website or a blog about gardening, and on the site you would craft articles about gardening. The next step as you are figuring out what is affiliate marketing about would be to find products to promote on your site.

What products would you promote? Pretty much anything that you believe would help your readers become better gardeners. Perhaps you’ve used a special watering system, protective gloves, sun visors, nutrient system…any products that you have enjoyed using, you can talk about and then recommend on your site.

What is Affiliate Marketing About in a Nutshell?

So what is affiliate marketing exactly? When you refer one of your readers to a merchant, and they buy something, that’s affiliate marketing. You are in essence an affiliate of that company, and they pay you a commission for referring that customer to them. You’re kind of like a middleman…finding the buyer, finding the seller and bringing them together.

You may be saying OK so I understand what affiliate marketing is about, but how do I find these merchants? That’s a very good question. First, choose a handful of products that you think you want to promote. If possible, choose ones that are not too inexpensive, because you’re only getting a percentage of the sale. Then, search out these products online.

If the company has its own website, see if they have an affiliate program that you can sign up for. If not, go to one of the larger sites like Amazon and see if the product is sold there. If so, you can sign up for Amazon’s affiliate program, and whether the customer buys the item you recommended or a different item altogether, you still get a commission.

make money affiliate marketingThe 4 Steps to Building a Successful Affiliate Website

There are lots of smaller steps involved in building an affiliate website and getting it making money. Generally they’ll all these are the four main “phases” you’ll go through:

1. Market Research. The first step is to figure out what affiliate products you’re going to promote, how you’re going to promote it, and whether it will be profitable!

This is market research. This is a really important step, because if you get it wrong you could end up devoting months of effort to something that won’t ever make you money.

2. Build Your Website. Having decided the topic and products you’re going to focus on, the next step is to build your website. This isn’t as difficult as it might sound. There are a lot of simple tools these days that give you a professional looking website.

3. Get Visitors to Your Website. No visitors = no sales. This is likely to be where you devote most of your efforts after you’ve built your website.

There are lots of strategies for getting people to visit your site. Some will give you an instant traffic boost, while others are longer-term strategies.

4. Optimize Your Website for Sales. A few tricks can make it so that visitors to your site are more likely to buy something.

Tips for Succeeding as an Affiliate

To succeed as an affiliate marketer, you need to equip yourself with the right mindset from the word “go.” Here’s how:

1. Set a Goal and Keep It in Focus. Give yourself something to aim for. Write down where you want to be in six months: How much passive income do you want to be generating? How many websites do you want to create? How many articles do you want to write for your blogs?

2. Balance Research and Action. There are a lot of resources, websites and experts on the topic of making money online. There are also hundreds of different ways to do it, but the only way you’ll ever succeed with any of them is to see ONE through to the end.

We’re not saying to keep a closed mind to new ideas and strategies, but make sure you balance your research with real, tangible action. Try to spend 20 percent of your time learning, and 80 percent of your time actually DOING.

If you purchase a course, or subscribe to a particular strategy, make sure you actually go through with it. Don’t fill your computer — or your head — with courses you’ve never completed.

3. Be patient and Enjoy the Ride! Your affiliate empire will not come about after a few days sitting in front of your computer. Give yourself a chance! Stick with it.There is no point worrying about what might or might not happen in the future. If you hit a setback, take it in your stride.

Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls You Need to Avoid

We’re not meaning to be negative here, but there are a few common traps that new affiliates often fall into. If you’re aware of them, you can nip them in the bud before they sabotage your business.

Pitfall #1: “Analysis Paralysis”.

The Pitfall: When you’re a rookie affiliate marketer, it’s easy to get stuck on tiny details. Maybe you spend two weeks researching domain names, or you get bogged down and confused by keyword research. Your momentum stalls, time ticks by, and you may end up giving up before you even get started!

The Solution: Maintaining momentum is much more important than getting things exactly right. Treat your first affiliate site as your “test” website, and don’t expect it to be 100% perfect. If you find yourself getting stuck on something or procrastinating over something difficult, try to find a way to move past it.

Pitfall #2: “Shiny Object Syndrome”.

The Pitfall: Almost every new affiliate can admit to suffering from this! It’s the habit of getting distracted by every new product or system that comes along. You might start a project, but you never end up completing anything because you’re dragged off in a new direction by the next “bright shiny object”. You end up with a whole bunch of unfinished projects, incomplete knowledge, no money and no income!

The Solution: If you start a training course, make sure you work it all the way to the end. This is the only way you’ll really get any benefit about it. If you’re following a system… finish it.

Half-finished systems won’t make you any money! If necessary, cut down on the number of mailing lists you’re on, or the number of blogs you read. There are hundreds of ways to make money on the internet, but at this point you only need ONE. Choose one, and then give it a chance to work!

Pitfall #3: Unrealistic Expectations.

The Pitfall: Many affiliates dream of becoming millionaires overnight. (A lot of people will tell you overnight riches are possible — because they want to sell you something!) Building a great passive income as an affiliate is absolutely possible, and it’s much easier and faster than building a traditional business. But it still takes time and effort.

The Solution: A little perspective adjustment is all you need here. Think about it this way: Traditionally if you wanted a great income, you’d study to become a doctor (or some other highly-paid professional).

You wouldn’t give up within your first month of study, complaining that you weren’t making any money yet, would you? You’d realize that getting to that high salary requires years of study.

As an affiliate, there’s definitely the possibility of earning as much as our doctor friends. (You might even earn more.) And you won’t need to study as long, or incur a crippling student debt along the way. But you will need to put in SOME work and spend SOME time before you get it right. It’s not a total piece of cake, but it’s easier than putting yourself through medical school! Stick with it, set realistic goals, and view success as a marathon, not a sprint.

Pitfall #4: Going for the “Quick Buck”.

The Pitfall: Trying to find “loopholes” or fast ways to get results. You may see products that claim to be “the secret XYZ doesn’t want you to know about,” or that promise to get you onto the front page of Google with just a few quick automations. The risk here is that you’ll invest time or money into something, and it won’t actually help you. It may even hurt your business.

We’ve seen affiliates hop from one dirty trick to the next, always looking for the “easy way”. It never ends up working long-term, and it’s extremely disheartening for them to have to start from scratch every time another quick trick fails.

The Solution: In this case it’s best to stick by the old mantra, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. If something promises you fast results that you probably don’t really deserve, it will either a) not work, or b) be a temporary boost that won’t work for very long — and then you’ll be back where you started.

Be wary of claims that a particular tool or strategy will result in money pouring into your accounts overnight. Take all sales pitches with a good dose of skepticism. If in doubt, jump online and ask for other people’s opinions in forums.

Pitfall #5: Building too Many Sites too Quickly.

The Pitfall: Building multiple sites straight away thinking, “more sites will make more money.” Then, when none of the sites have been given the full attention needed, they flop.

The Solution: Start with just one affiliate website, and build it like a home. Would you haphazardly lay the foundation? Would you slop the dripping paint brush widely all over the wall so that the carpet is stained? Of course not! Build your website to last. Once it is established and optimized, then move on to the next one.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a way of making money online by promoting someone else’s products. As an affiliate you’re essentially a commission salesperson for the products you’re promoting. You earn a commission for every paying customer you send to the merchant selling the product. It’s kind of like being a real estate agent: You don’t own the home you’re promoting, but you get a nice commission for promoting it and finding the right buyer.

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