How often do you lay awake at night wondering if you’ll get a decent pay rise this year? Or ponder what you can do that'll give you back time freedom? And, what'll make you fulfilled and passionate again?
What are you secretly afraid of happening, IF you don’t leverage the internet today to escape the rat race for good?
You're not alone in your concerns. Many people we speak to share them!
So you start by looking it up on Google. You read some gobble-de-gook on Wikipedia about performance-based something or other . . .
. . . which then goes on to use all the longest marketing related words under the sun.
You try other results of your Google search.
Ads wow you. You fall down information rabbit holes. You're confused by lingo and jargon. (cookies are treats we eat right?)
And then . . .
OVERWHELM sets in.
You’re smart but you never manage to build a complete picture in your mind of what it is you have to do to earn a living as an affiliate marketer.
That’s because all those posts on Google have an Ulterior Motive. They simply want to catch you in their net – and divert you into signing up for their services.
It’s tough out there in the internet jungle. Not everything is as it seems on first glance. There’s poison, pitfalls, and piranhas at every turn.
Which is why we put together this smart person's guide – ALERT: Embrace Affiliate Marketing for a Life That Matters.
Fasten your seat belt! Let’s go.
Cut To The Chase: Here’s The Real Deal With Affiliate Marketing
Its' also called online marketing.
So what is Affiliate marketing all about?: Sell other people’s products to earn commissions. Its' also called online marketing.
So, when you become an affiliate marketer you’re basically a commissioned salesperson – BUT . . . you DON'T have to do cold calling or one-on-one selling.
So forget sleazy car sales men and door to door Readers Digest peddlers.
You’re more like the Maître D in a restaurant – hungry diners show up at your door, sniffing the aromas of their favourite food, and you simply guide them to their table and hand them the menu to make their selection. Only this guiding takes place in a virtual restaurant on the internet, so you never get to meet the customer.
In the virtual world, you know the person is already in the market, hungry for what you have to offer. You simply help them make an informed decision to buy what it is they need, which you just happen to be promoting.
And because it all takes place online, don’t have to talk to anyone. Ever.
You simply promote and earn.
It’s the easiest way to earn an income online.
Why Does Affiliate Marketing Exist?
Maybe you’re wondering – why would a company pay out big fat commissions on sales when they could attract the customers themselves – and cut out the affiliate.
The answer is simple. It costs a company much, much more to advertise and attract all those customers to their website themselves, than it does paying out fat commissions to affiliates!
Using a virtual sales force of affiliate marketers is a powerful and cost- effective marketing strategy for any company.
It’s a win-win scenario. The company gets more customers. You get paid!
Online marketing is an industry that’s growing like topsy, as shoppers are happier than ever to buy online.
Most online merchants, worth their salt, have a setup to make it easy for you to become an affiliate. Go to your fave online store, scroll to the bottom of their website, and look for a link to sign up as an affiliate.
Are You On Board?
What’s the guts of it all?
Now we've answered “what affiliate marketing is” and we know how it can help you leverage the internet and set up a substantial online business that’ll future proof your lifestyle and income; the next common sense question is: What are the pros and cons of affiliate marketing?
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The huge appeal from being an affiliate marketer is you get to benefit from, or leverage off, other people’s knowledge, time, ability and experience!
What that means is – you don’t have to create your own product in order to profit online.
So you promote other people’s products, and receive a commission for your efforts.
The pros or benefits are you DON'T need the following:
- Product of Your Own: you don’t have to invest your time and effort to create a product so you don’t have to rack your brains thinking what to create and can start earning online today. Some affiliates make millions – and have no products of their own.
- Website: you don’t have to have a website or even know about websites, so there’s no technical hang ups stopping you either (not in the purest form of affiliate marketing anyways)
- Deliveries: there are no delivery hassles as the product owner, or merchant, handles all that (which can be a nightmare – ever seen eBay retailers down at the Post Office posting all their parcels?)
- Support: there are no customer service issues, as again, the product merchant, manages that (people can be as weird as folk!)
- Banking: you don't need payment processors or e-commerce shopping carts, as the product merchant manages that too – again, no barriers to getting started as there are normally heaps of hoops to jump through to set up a merchant account.
All sounds rosy and good!
What about the downside? The bad and the ugly?
The cons or drawbacks are:
- No Customers: In the purest form of affiliate marketing you introduce prospective customers to someone else’s website and offers. That means you never know who your customers are, or how to contact them, or how to get them to buy from you again.
- Slow Payers: When you make a sale, you may not get paid for up to 60 days afterwards 🙁
- No List: You build someone else’s business and not your own because you’re not building your own list of prospective customers. So, in the purest form, it’s not the best long term business model. But promoting the right types of products and services as an affiliate can provide great income streams as part of a wider online business model – more about that later though.
What Are The Nuts And Bolts?
You now understand the unlimited monetary upside of being an affiliate marketer.
And the downside is affiliate marketing shouldn’t be the only stream of income in your online business. But it can be the first income stream when you’re just starting out.
You do need to build your own database, or list, of prospective customers. That will ensure future growth and have people buy from you again and again.
BUT affiliate marketing remains the easiest way for you to get started online.
To be an affiliate for a particular product you first need to sign up to an affiliate program. Signing up is usually free.
Program – Platform – Payments
An affiliate program (sometimes called an associate program or affiliate platform) is a legal arrangement where an online merchant (like Amazon.com) promises to pay you a commission when you send them customers interested in buying what the online merchant has to sell.
Your commissions from online marketing will be based on one of three common payment structures – which will be specified by the merchant when you sign up.
Those three common payment structures are:
- Pay Per Sale: When you refer someone to the merchant’s website and they buy something, you earn a certain percentage of the value of that sale. This is the most common basis of paying affiliate commissions.
- Pay Per Visit: Some merchants pay commissions based on the number of people you send to their website, whether those people buy anything or not.
- Pay Per Lead: The merchant pays you when someone uses your affiliate link to visit the merchant’s website and enters their email address (opts in) so the merchant gets a prospective customer lead.
In essence, when your affiliate link sends targeted visitors (commonly known as ‘traffic’) to the merchant’s website, they’ll pay you accordingly as pre-agreed.
Piece of cake!
The Real Mechanics
When you sign up with an affiliate program, you’re allocated a unique affiliate ID, which is inserted into a unique affiliate link. It might very well be a bunch of numbers, but it’s unique to you. This special ID and link identifies you (the affiliate) as the sender of traffic to the merchant’s website.
SPECIAL TIP: Be sure to keep a separate record on your laptop of each and every affiliate link you have for each and every product or service you promote as an affiliate. You never know when the opportunity will arise for you to email, or share on social media, a link to something you know will benefit a prospective customer!
As you might imagine . . .
You’re paid a pre-agreed percentage of the value of a purchase each time a prospective customer uses your link to click through to the merchant’s website and buys something.
OK – so here’s where online marketing start getting deep.
As an affiliate marketer you need to know a bit about them and how they help you.
You’re probably wondering: “How does the merchant’s site know that YOU sent that visitor?”
Your affiliate ID is included in a small file, called a cookie. That file's saved on the visitor’s computer identifying you as the referrer.
When that visitor buys something from the website, the cookie shares your affiliate ID. That way the merchant instantly knows you were the referring affiliate and you’re due a commission on that sale.
Just be doubly sure you always use your correct affiliate ID in all links you place on websites, in emails, and on social media platforms.
Fortunately, . . .
You DON'T need to understand how cookies work.
Cookie Tech and Crumb Trails
Cookie technology works for many things, like when your computer “remembers” your password and user ID when you log onto one of your online accounts.
And have you ever searched for a certain pair of shoes or a new smartphone, and it feels like that product is following you around the internet because you see advertisement banners everywhere on unrelated websites? Those ads appear because a cookie has been placed on your computer.
That type of cookie is different to an affiliate ID cookie though. Affiliate marketers rely on ‘first-party’ cookies, which remember (store or record might be better words) the link or ad the visitor to a website clicks on, as well as the date and time of the click.
One drawback with cookies is, if a prospective customer goes to another computer to search again to buy the product, your affiliate ID will not be stored on that machine. It’s not a big problem though, and is certainly not a show-stopper.
You're now better informed to become an affiliate. But there's more to learn. Let's move onto part 2:
For Part 2 of Alert: Embrace Affiliate Marketing For A Life That Matters – to delve into affiliate marketing lingo and the steps you need to take to succeed as a winning affiliate marketer – CLICK HERE
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