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An introduction to affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a good way of creating a passive income through your pre-existing website, blog, forum or email list. In a previous article I spoke about how and why to start a blog, here we will look at another way in which a blog can earn cash for you even if you are only writing on areas of personal interest.

Affiliate marketing began as a side effect of people connecting their sites to the sites of other people. It was quickly understood that if you had a trusted following and you suggested an item to your followers then people were much more likely to purchase that item. Therefore sellers have for quite while now employed people to advertise on their own personal or business sites to bring in more customers.

Affiliate marketing therefore is a true and tested way both of advertising and of making money depending on which side you are on. Nowadays lots of large companies, such as Google for example, offer an affiliate program that rewards bloggers and similar internet users for forwarding people to their websites.

Why should I be interested?

If you have a site, a blog or even have a big social media following then you have an enormous potential market of customers interested in buying products and services digitally. By utilizing that market you can start to earn cash from your website/blog even if it is only a personal blog or website. There is little to no reason you shouldn't be earning money from all the time and effort spent working in your chosen field.

What's in it for me?

For each and every item an affiliate sells the affiliate makes a share of the sale price. Various businesses offer different percentages that range from quite small amounts to a surprisingly large cut. Usually large companies will offer a flat percentage across all of their products while individuals or small businesses will often offer a greater percentage on digital or downloadable products.

What's in it for the businesses?

For companies affiliate marketing is a very cost effective way of marketing. After all there is no initial layout for this way of marketing, they just pay you when somebody makes a purchase. That means a business might use lots of affiliates who talk with hundreds of potential customers and can therefore reach a huge market of clients with absolutely no upfront layout.

How can I start?

Prior to counting your money there are some things you will need to do first. Obviously if you have no followers yet then you will have no one to sell ideas and products to. So the first thing you will need is a website, blog, email list, or other method of engaging people online.


As soon as you have managed to get viewers coming to your site, or whatever other place you have gotten their attention, then you can start thinking about joining an affiliate program. The simplest way to become an affiliate is often by going directly to the company or site that you want to market for and ask them if they have a current affiliate program, which you can then sign up to, or if they would be interested in creating one.

What can I sell?

When looking into marketing opportunities for affiliate marketing there are two main points to be remembered,

  1. Keep your marketing suitable. If you writeabout cars for example, but are selling health and fitness equipment then the chances are you will get little to no interest from your readers. The best items are products that you have directly talked about or that go along well with whatever you have been talking about.
  2. Only market items you personally use. If you begin recommending bad quality products to your readers they will lose all interest in paying attention to what you have to say. Think about having a good friend who often gives you horrible advice, you might keep him as a friend, but would you continue listening to his/her advice?

Is there genuine money to be made?

The answer to this question is it depends. You see many people who use affiliate marketing sell only an occasional product of little value and so get few returns. Of course your layout is still nothing so that any money made by this type of marketing is an extra.

To make more money though you will either need to be selling large quantities of small profit items or a smaller quantity of higher priced items. Again this all depends upon carefully picking the product(s) you wish to work with.

So, where is the negative?

The biggest downside to becoming an affiliate marketer is that you will of course have to sell things. This usually means placing banners or affiliate links on your website or blog. Most people don't like doing this as they feel it makes their website untidy and that it is unethical to market products to people who have faith in you. Once again so long as you are circumspect in the method in which you place ads on your site and as long as you only sell products you trust then these issues will be relatively minor.

Other tips?

Like all things experience is paramount. Of course because there have been people who have done this for a long time already there are plenty of people out there that can show you how to become successful in the industry. Many affiliate marketers who have done well for themselves sell courses or ebooks about how they were able to make money online.

As I say with all of these things be careful who you buy extra training from as there are also some people out there that just want to make a quick buck. So, please do your homework and exercise a little caution whilst looking for a mentor in this area.

Also remember that if done properly this is not a get rich scheme. The amount of money you will get from affiliate marketing depends for the most part on the amount of effort you put in.

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