Affiliate Marketing – A Low-Maintenance Income Stream
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get your feet wet in e-business. No need to own a product or offer a service. No worries about storage, shipping or payment processing. You simply send people (i.e., potential customers) to a merchant's website that you represent as their affiliate. If your referrals buy (or complete a required action — filling in a form, for example), the merchant pays you a commission.
That, in essence, is the beauty of the affiliate concept. You can be up and building a business in record time, at minimal risk.
If you're an online entrepreneur in need of a product to promote, affiliate marketing programs are the answer. Top-notch merchants supply everything, such as excellent products, ordering, credit-card processing, and delivery. Your job is to supply the marketing.
All you need to do is to put yourself in the pathway between customers and quality merchants and earn a commission for your efforts. But, like any "real" business, effort and passion are essential ingredients for long-term success.
"Get-rich-quick" schemes don't work.
What's needed for successful affiliate marketing? It boils down to these 3 critical factors…
1) Do the critical upfront thinking and planning
Set up free organic traffic-building (from the Search Engine searches) right from the start by identifying a high-demand/low competition theme for your website and brainstorming the most profitable topics related to your theme. Start a solid foundation for your monetization plan by selecting the best relevant affiliate programs.
2) Then put yourself into your visitors' "click path"
Deliver customer-focused content, building Search-Engine-Optimized pages that rank highly on a search results page. The higher the ranking, the easier it will be for people to find your site. There are many ways to stay on their radar and build their trust, which is important for converting a visitor to a customer… publishing a regular e-zine, offering visitors a way to interact on your site, setting up a Facebook account, etc. Repeat exposure reinforces your expertise and credibility.
3) Lastly, eliminate dependency on any one single source of income.
By diversifying into other, complementary monetization models beyond affiliate marketing, you reduce risk. You are protected in case, for example, your merchant partner goes bankrupt, or shuts down their Web division, or reduces commissions, or fails on their payments.
So build traffic first and then monetize it using the low-risk affiliate model, either as a primary or secondary income stream.
Learn how to make affiliate marketing part of your Web success.