Affiliate Marketing Defined

Sometimes I don’t like meeting new people. That’s because after we exchange names I’ll usually get the inevitable question – “So what do you do for a living?” After seven years I still don’t have a response which makes sense to the average cubicle dweller.

Internet Marketing is my usual reply. Unfortunately this answer usually attracts a bunch of follow-up questions. Some are normal. Like “Who are your clients?” or “My computer does ____. Can you fix it?” Some are just plain stupid. Like “Are you a spammer?” or “Do you run a porn site?”

It’s hard to describe what I do for a living because I don’t go to an office. I don’t have any clients. And I don’t have the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle.

When I’m in a mood to talk, my response is a little more specific “I am an affiliate marketer.” Then I try to quickly describe how it works before I get my LEAST favorite question- “You actually make money doing that???”

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In future posts I’m going to write about affiliate marketing and how you can use it as a tool for designing your perfect life. However before doing that, I think it’s important to give a brief explanation of how affiliate marketing works.

The quick definition of an affiliate marketer is someone who promotes a product or service in exchange for monetary compensation. In a way, an affiliate marketer is like being an online salesperson. Your job is to convince a person (or a group of people) that a particular product is beneficial. If they make a purchase you receive a sales commission.

It’s pretty easy to get started with affiliate marketing. You find a product you like. You sign up for their affiliate program and receive your tracking link. Then you promote this link through techniques like managing a newsletter, writing articles, or {ahem} running a blog.

Why I Like Affiliate Marketing

The major benefit to affiliate marketing is its simplicity.

Within five minutes you could be promoting a link and making money. You don’t need a website. You don’t need a product. And you don’t have to deal with credit card processing or refund requests. Your only job is to send web traffic to a product. That’s it.

Another benefit to affiliate marketing is the cost.

To get started you don’t really need to spend that much money. I would definitely recommend investing a few bucks into certain things like a website, an autoresponder service, and a HTML editor. But the reality is you could get started without investing a dime. All you really need is an affiliate link and a place to promote it.

The Drawback of Affiliate Marketing

The major benefit is also its primary drawback. Anyone who wants an online business usually starts with affiliate marketing. The Internet is filled with hundreds of thousands of people trying to earn money with this method. So no matter what product you choose to promote you’re going to have some competition.

What’s the good news? Despite having a lot of competition, it’s actually pretty easy to make money with affiliate marketing. All you need to do is pick the right niche, find quality leads, and know how to sell to these prospects. The truth about affiliate marketing is 99.9% of your ‘competition’ will be lazy. With a little bit of planning and effort you can build a loyal group of followers who’ll want to buy through your affiliate link.

Parting Thoughts

I want to be honest here. There are way too many blogs about affiliate marketing. So I won’t do you a disservice and pretend to be an expert on the subject. I know what works for me. But I’m not going to position myself as some sort of affiliate marketing guru.

I urge you to do research if you want to learn more about this way to make money. While I’m going to provide a bunch of personal lessons, I don’t want to run a ‘me too’ blog that only talks about affiliate marketing.

My parting comment is I’m in the process of researching different tools on affiliate marketing. Personally, I learned the hard way. Through a lot of work and a lot of experimentation. I would like to prevent you from making the mistakes that I did. My goal is to find a website that teaches everything you need to get started. That way you won’t have to waste time banging your head against a wall like I did. J

Fortunately I think I’ve found something useful. It’s a membership site that’s dedicated to teaching the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing. The problem? I haven’t had time to review what they’re offering. I refuse to give a personal recommendation unless I know I’ve found a total solution. So I’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned…

Take Action. Get Results.

5 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Defined”

  1. Hey Steve I look forward to follow up post on this. I actually bumped my head so to speak in the beginning, jumping in with both feet, had banners and links all over my blog…you can only imagine. It has been a learning process and I’ve made some coins here and there but don’t pretend to know much so I’m looking to see what you say about the membership site. Keep us posted

  2. Lee— Will do! Actually, this is a post that I wrote a few months back. So look in the “affiliate marketing” category and I have a few more listed. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll have a lot more listed.

  3. Hi Steve,
    I appreciate your honesty. There are to many sites giving unrealistic
    expectations and are disappointed.
    I love affiliate marketing. It is a great way to get a very qualified
    lead, you can sell to a number of times

    I look forward to your update about the resource your found

    wishing you success,
    Jeff Faldalen

    • Thanks Jeff,

      I too love AM. I really do think it may be one of the best ways to potentially make money online. However so many marketers are trying to market themselves when talking about it and are being anything but honest. AM has potential, sure. But it also takes a lot of learning and hard work. There are no “4 hour workweeks” that lead to success.

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